If you’ve followed the WWE tenure of Ryan Reeves aka Ryback aka the guy who C.M. Punk says is pretty sucky at taking care of opponents, aka the poor man’s Goldberg, you’re no stranger to his super stiff promos and thoroughly unappealing persona. You might not be aware, however, that outside of the ring Ryback is a thoughtful fella, one who has taken the opportunity of a contract dispute with Vincent Kennedy McMahon to challenge the existing paradigm of how pro wrestling works :
Wrestling is pre determined, we as performers know before we go out to that ring or perform a backstage scene who is winning and losing etc or have a general idea of what we are going to say. It blows my mind how in a sport which is pre determined from a company standpoint winners are paid so much more than the losers. Every single person who works for WWE from top to bottom is absolutely just as valuable as the next. The winners cannot win unless the losers go out there and agree to lose to them.
It blows my mind that in this day and age though we still adhere to this formula. Obviously things have always been this way, but does that make them right? Times have changed and our goal as humans should be to evolve and learn from our past and the past of others so we could make this world a better place. Why is it a guy who is told he is going to go out and lose and does everything he is told be paid not only less, but much less than said winner over a period of time. Every single performer for WWE sacrifices the same amount of time from home and their families and every single man or women goes out and does what they are told. Looking at this formula though losers turn into what fans like to call jobbers and their value decreases in the companies eyes and before you know it they get released. For what? For doing exactly as they are told!
Why not pay the talent equally? The winners have more MERCH as it is or are supposed to anyways so they get that extra perk, but why make the guy who is told to and agrees to lose earn less and sacrifice spots in big pay per view match ups etc. This is one of the major problems with wrestling and WWE today. Most guys take great satisfaction in helping making other talent, the bitching and the moaning we always hear about stems from the fact they know they are ultimately over time going to make less and live in fear of being released.
I am proud to say I have never gone to change a finish and have gladly took pride in helping put over other talent. Hell look at my pay per view record of 12-26 and you will see that has been the pattern of my career. I have always been confident in my ability and work ethic to being my best every day and ultimately always felt that by doing good it was the right thing to do. Personally seeing my money go down over the years though even though I was working as much as ever and being denied magazine covers and other projects as well as watching my role diminish no matter what I did or how hard I tried takes its toll on a human. Being told no matter how hard I work or how good I get doesn’t always pay off is something I fucking refuse to ever believe in my life. I am a creative being and to be restricted time and time again is no way to live life.
This is sort of like someone with a drama degree complaining they can’t make Ryan Reynolds money or something. Of course it’s super arbitrary the way some workers are pushed and others aren’t, but there’s very little to indicate that Ryback moves the needle in such a direction you could really say the WWE is leaving money on the table. Handful of pops early on aside, where’s the pudding-pop-proof? Ryback says merch sales are an unfair barometer (true — he never asked to lose) but he’s never boosted ratings and who the heck is buying tickets specifically to see him? Out of all the men or women the WWE has underutilized, I’m not sure Ryback even cracks the top half dozen.