Ryback; WWE writers are scared of Vince McMahon
Ryback says WWE television is being ruined because the writing team is "scared" of Chairman Vince McMahon.
The 34-year-old grappler - whose real name is Ryan Reeves - left World Wrestling Entertainment in May over a contract dispute and in frustration at how his in-ring character was portrayed on the company's programmes such as 'RAW' and 'SmackDown'.
Now, Ryback has taken aim at the company's founder Vince, 71, for hurting his ability to perform as a wrestler and for presiding over a culture of fear in the business.
In an interview with Sports Illustrated, he said: "The promos were atrocious during my whole last run. I delivered them exactly as I was supposed to deliver them, but the writing was so out of touch. I remember Jericho went up to me and asked, 'Who's writing this?' And I said, 'Vince. I've tried to get it changed but he wants me reading it word for word.' Vince wanted me to read his promos word for word, and I never enjoyed that and I never will.
"The problem with these writers who work for Vince is that they're scared. Everyone is scared. I used to tell Vince that all the time. I've told him, 'You have all these people who are scared around you. They can't truly do their job. They're always going to play it safe and nobody is going to take chances.' That's why you see these promos with guys, week in and week out, playing it safe, staying within the guidelines, keeping the sponsors happy, and keeping it PG. They don't want to take a chance with anybody saying anything that could create controversy, and that's why you see the product the way it is today."
Ryback had questioned the WWE's policy of paying Superstars who won matches more money than those who lost even though the result of the bouts are pre-determined and both performers put in the same amount of work, effort and "sacrifices".
Despite the acrimonious end to his 12-year stint with WWE, he insists he will always be grateful to the sports entertainment company for taking a chance on him.
Ryback - who is now working on the independent wrestling circuit and launching his own training supplement business - said: "I'm thankful for my time in WWE. I love professional wrestling, I've loved it since I was a kid. Working hard allowed me the opportunity to showcase my talent on their platform. I have a lot of the things I have in my life because of that, so that's never been a question. My decision to no longer work there comes down to business. Having the opportunity, hitting a home run time and time again, and not having the other end reciprocate the effort I was putting in was my issue .. The trouble is they never went out of their way to protect me, and when that happens year after year, I knew I needed to get out of there before any damage was done. They went out of their way to run me into the ground. I couldn't stay there anymore."