Posts Tagged ‘ryback’

WWE’s Ryback to The Rock: ‘I Am Not Someone You Should Overlook’

December 4, 2012

WWE Superstar Ryback (THQ)

The path from the bottom of the card to the main event is usually a long and arduous one. Everyone from “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and The Rock to John Cena and Randy Orton has had to put up with their share of setbacks on the way to the top.

Not our buddy Ryback. One minute he’s making local enhancement talent question their career choices, the next he’s facing CM Punk for the WWE Title on Pay Per View.

I spoke with the hungry one in the days leading up to his TLC title opportunity to get his take on his meteoric rise to the top, his sweet catchphrase, and those pesky Goldberg chants…

Don’t Miss WWE: TLC Live on Pay Per View – Sunday, December 16, 2012

Gordon Holmes: You have rocketed to the top of the card. Has that had a chance to sink in yet?
Ryback: I live my life one day at a time. I try to do my best each and every day. I don’t try to look too far ahead; I try not to dwell on what’s happened in the past. It’s been unbelievable to go from being in the ring with local athletes…fine local athletes might I add.
Holmes: Of course.
Ryback: Moving on up, essentially jumping to the main-event scene out of nowhere. It was like showing up one day and here we go. And I was prepared for it, thank God. But it’s been a tremendous opportunity. I feel I’ve done well. I feel very at home where I am now. I look forward to being in this position for a long time.
Holmes: Has anything about this new position surprised you at all?
Ryback: No, not at all. My goal is to become the WWE Champion and be the foundation of this company. It’s a great company, it’s a company I love and believe in. This is what I expected it to be. Every day is a challenge. I’ve got to work very hard outside of what you see in the ring. And I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It’s fun. That’s the most important part for me.

Holmes: You’re part of the downloadable content for the “WWE ‘13” video game. What’s it like to see a virtual you tearing up the competition?
Ryback: It’s unbelievable. I grew up playing all of the WWE games. To see myself in the game now with Attitude Era stars like Stone Cold and The Rock, Mankind, the Undertaker…it’s awesome. And it’s great that kids of this generation get a chance to play as Ryback and challenge whoever they want. Hopefully they’ll beat up CM Punk like I do in real life.
Holmes: Speaking of the Attitude Era, is there anyone from that time that you would’ve liked to have Shell Shocked?
Ryback: All of them, to be honest. I say “Feed Me More” because I’m all about competition. And more is never enough for me. I want people to give me more because I can handle it and I want to succeed. But, obviously “Stone Cold” Steve Austin was the top dog of that era; that would be the guy for me.

Holmes: You are a monster. You are a huge dude who just ripped through the competition. How do you differentiate Ryback from other guys who’ve cut a similar path?
Ryback: It takes time for people to see differences in Superstars. Our fan base is the most loyal in the world. They become loyal to someone. So, to be compared to someone from the past, it’s up to me to differentiate myself as time goes on. It just takes time. I’ve been compared to some great Superstars.
Holmes: You’re referring to the “Goldberg” chants?
Ryback: The Goldberg chants and whatnot, he was at the top of his game. He was at the forefront of WCW. He was the hottest thing going. To be compared to that right now is great. But, I’m different in many ways. I bring a lot to the table. As you see every week, I’m very intense. I look forward to speaking more as time goes on. It’s a slow build, we’re creating patience with people in a time when people aren’t very patient. It takes time, you know?
Holmes: Absolutely. And what happens if you ever step into the ring with Goldberg?
Ryback: You’re going to see a hell of match, that’s for sure. And it would end with Shell Shocked, one…two…three. You never say never in this business. If that’s presented to me I will welcome it with open arms. You’ll be hearing, “Feed me more.”

Holmes: Part of the challenge with your rapid rise has to be taking part in matches you’ve never had to deal with before. I’m thinking specifically of October’s Hell in a Cell and this month’s TLC match.
Ryback: Yeah. (Laughs)
Holmes: Are these things you have any kind of experience with?
Ryback: Coming up in developmental you’re not put into these matches on a regular basis. My big thing is film, watching past matches and the Superstars that were put in those situations. Just being a student of the game. Two weeks before Hell in a Cell, I got the DVDs and I watched them. I study what other guys do, I start and stop, what would I do in this situation? I prepare mentally because I feel like doing things in your head is pretty close to doing the real thing minus the physical pain and whatnot. So, that’s how I approach all of these things being thrown at me.
Holmes: Do you pop in the “WWE ‘13” video game and start smacking people with ladders?
Ryback: (Laughs) Yeah, that’s the cool thing about this game, you can do anything. It’s cool to see that the franchise has evolved.
Holmes: It’s a training tool.
Ryback: It is a training tool. You can come up with new moves just playing the game. I’m all about that.

Holmes: I think you’re very fortunate in that it seems like there is a world of talented guys behind the scenes who can give you advice and steer you in the right direction.
Ryback: Yes.
Holmes: Is there anyone in particular that you go to?
Ryback: I keep a very small circle of guys. Everyone offers advice, it’s up to me to take it and apply it. The guys that’ve really been instrumental to me so far are Arn Anderson, Triple H, William Regal, and Michael Hayes. Those are the guys that I have open ears for at all times.

Holmes: Guys that have had your kind of sudden burst into the spotlight…sometimes they get a big head as far as the business goes. Have you been taking steps to keep yourself in check?
Ryback: Yeah, definitely. You see that with guys, that’s not me. Anyone who’s known me since I’ve been with the WWE knows that I don’t get too high, I don’t get too low. I take things one day at a time. I’m very thankful for everything that I’ve gone through, whether it’s bad or good. I love WWE, I love being a part of the company. I want to be the foundation for WWE. I’ve always said; however much money you have, that doesn’t make you better than anybody. I’m just a guy that likes to work hard that wants to be my best and make a difference in the world eventually. As much as life has to offer, I want it. I want everything. But that would never go to my head. We’ve seen it before, but that’s not what Ryback is all about and it’s not what I’m about. I believe in helping others and giving and things of that nature.

Holmes: At TLC, you beat Punk, you take the title. What happens to The Rock at the Royal Rumble?
Ryback: Shell shocked. I was just saying, that’s cool that fans get to do that with the video game, they get to see that match beforehand. It would be a tremendous honor and I would be very thankful for the opportunity and that’s one of my goals. Punk and Rock are locked into the Royal Rumble thinking that’s the for-sure matchup. In this business anything can happen. Nobody expected me to be where I am now except for me. To be in the ring at the Royal Rumble and to hear The Rock’s music? I would not be shocked. I hope Dwayne takes notice because I am not someone you should overlook.

Watch WWE: TLC, Sunday, December 16, 2012 at 8 p.m. ET on Pay Per View.

Ryback is available as DLC for “WWE ‘13” on Tuesday, December 4, 2012.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

WWE’s Paul Heyman on Ryback: ‘Nobody Can Be Undefeated Forever’

October 25, 2012

Paul Heyman (THQ)

I don’t know if the Paul Heyman/CM Punk dynamic would work on screen. I don’t need a mouthpiece.” – CM Punk (August 17, 2012)

The Straight-Edge Superstar is right, he doesn’t need a mouthpiece. But he’s certainly benefiting from having a conniving advocate who lurks in the background.

I spoke with Paul Heyman, a man some consider to be the best creative writer in the wrestling business, in the days leading up to Punk’s big title defense at “Hell in a Cell.” During that chat we discussed how he’s enjoying his new on-air role, Brock Lesnar’s opinion of the wrestling business, and what’s best for Ryback’s career…

Order WWE: Hell in a Cell Today

Gordon Holmes: You’ve taken on a bit of a new role on TV in that you’re more of CM Punk’s advocate than his manager. Has that been challenging for you?
Paul Heyman: No, it’s just a different role to play. You know, with Brock Lesnar…Brock doesn’t like to speak so it’s natural for me to do the talking. And it’s very easy for me to advocate for Brock Lesnar because I’m a great believer in him. It’s not too much of a stretch to hype accolades about Brock Lesnar. With CM Punk, I don’t have to do a lot of talking for CM Punk. I would present the case that I’m more of a lobbyist for respect for CM Punk as being the best in the world. It’s a different role to play and  I love the challenge of it just because it’s not the same role I was playing with Brock. Like any other performer you don’t want to be pigeonholed everyday for the rest of your life.

Holmes: Speaking of Brock, I read his book that you collaborated on, “Death Clutch.” And it seems like his biggest problem with the wrestling industry is the travel. Now with the limited dates he’s working it doesn’t seem like that’s a big problem anymore. My question is; does he enjoy the business more? Because I really enjoy watching him wrestle. It seems like he was designed to do it. It’d be a shame if he wasn’t enjoying it.
Heyman: There’s an old expression in the professional wrestling industry; you spend 23 hours and 40 minutes of your day traveling and working out and eating properly and dealing with rental cars and hotel rooms and family situations and divorce lawyers. But, the 20 minutes a day you spend in the ring is not only the best part of the day but makes everything else worthwhile. I believe that is the case with Brock Lesnar. I believe that Brock loves to perform. And, I think Brock lives for the moments that he’s in the octagon or the ring. It’s getting to the octagon or the ring and all that it entails to get there and the time that he spends away from his family that he finds unbearable.

Holmes: CM Punk has a big title defense against Ryback this Sunday at Hell in the Cell. Anytime you have an undefeated character such as Ryback, it provides some unique storytelling challenges. If it was in your hands, how would you handle the Ryback character?
Heyman: I think Ryback is going to demonstrate to the audience on Monday exactly how he handles defeat. And, nobody can be undefeated forever, it doesn’t work that way in real life. And, it’s easy to look like the biggest tough guy in the world when you’re on such a winning streak. But, can you maintain that aura about you once you lose? Brock Lesnar did, and I don’t think that people look at Brock Lesnar today and think, “Oh yeah, I remember the night he lost to this guy.” I think Ryback will face the very same thing. Now, I know there are people out there who have presented the case that Ryback’s entire aura has been built on the fact that he’s undefeated. I think a stronger case can be made that once Ryback is defeated, he’ll be even a stronger character for WWE because you have gotten this out of the way.

Holmes: Probably my favorite thing you were involved with during your managing career was the Dangerous Alliance in WCW. You had Ravishing Rick Rude, some guy named Steve Austin, Bobby Eaton, Arn Anderson, Larry Zbyszko, Madusa…just an amazing line-up. If you were to recreate that stable in WWE, with CM Punk of course being the centerpiece, who would you pick?
Heyman: Wow…I find the fact that CM Punk and I are together…that makes us a Dangerous Alliance. I’d obviously never suggest that I should represent anyone else on television without first mentioning the name Brock Lesnar. As for rounding out the rest of the roster. I’d say we have the choice of cherry picking anyone. I’d certainly add Randy Orton to that group. And I’d take a young, hot, hungry tag team that is having an uphill battle with the system, someone like the Usos. I’d give them the stardom they deserve. And when it comes to the females. Since AJ doesn’t have the taste to accept my marriage proposal, I would probably grab someone like Nattie Neidhart who could probably tie everyone into a pretzel and make them tap out in 30 seconds of a legitimate fight.

Holmes: I understand you did some writing for the “WWE ‘13” video game. What did that entail?
Heyman: It entailed putting together the storylines for the Universe mode and for the Attitude Era. I have a viral marketing company called the Looking 4 Larry Agency and we were doing the viral marketing for this game anyway. And then THQ came to me about writing the actual storylines because I have a bit of product knowledge for that.
Holmes: A bit.
Heyman: Yeah. And so we were off to the races.
Holmes: As a writer, I feel like every time I branch out into a new format or genre I learn something new. Did you learn anything writing for the game? It must be much different than writing for a television show.
Heyman: The big difference between writing for WWE television and writing for the “WWE ‘13” video game is that once I wrote a storyline Vince McMahon didn’t yell at me about it.
Holmes: The guys at THQ didn’t chew you out?
Heyman: Who’s going to yell at me from THQ? I’m the guy they turn to to be the creative rabbi. Vince McMahon? He loves to yell at me.

Watch WWE: Hell in a Cell, Sunday, October 28, 2012 at 8 p.m. ET on Pay Per View.

The “WWE ‘13” Video Game will be available for XBox 360, PS3, and Nintendo Wii on Tuesday, October 30, 2012.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

WWE Champion CM Punk: The Rock Is ‘Completely Underestimating Me’

October 24, 2012

WWE Champion CM Punk (THQ)

The best wrestling moments tend to happen when you have no idea how a match is going to end. The Undertaker and Triple H at Wrestlemania 28, CM Punk vs. John Cena at Money in the Bank 2011, Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart at Survivor Series 1997…

And now, CM Punk vs. Ryback at Hell in a Cell.

In one corner you have the WWE Champion whose lengthy title reign seems destined for a date with The Rock at the Royal Rumble. In the other you have the undefeated newcomer whose “Feed Me More” chants have been erupting in arenas across the country.

I had a chance to talk to the “Best in the World” in the days leading up to his big title defense and asked him about the rise of Ryback, the return of the Rock, and the benefits to having your face plastered all over a video game store…

Order WWE: Hell in a Cell Today

Gordon Holmes: What you do on Twitter is your business, but if you could refrain from making fun of the St. Louis Cardinals during this interview, I’d appreciate it.
CM Punk: I cannot promise anything.
Holmes: And…we’re already off to a bad start.

Holmes: One of the most important parts of being a champion with a long title reign is being able to have entertaining matches with a wide variety of opponents. In the past year you’ve had to face big guys like Big Show and Kane, brawlers like John Cena and the Miz, and technical guys like Daniel Bryan and Chris Jericho. Your opponent this Sunday, Ryback, is very different from all of those guys. Does facing someone with such a power-based offense change your approach to the match?
Punk: It doesn’t change my approach to the match. I’m still confident in my own abilities, but I’m not going to get arrogant because Ryback is a hell of a specimen. There’s potential for a title change on Sunday. There’s a potential for a title change anytime I get in the ring, but I always find a way to win.
Holmes: Is that a feather in your cap to be able to work with so many different styles?
Punk: Absolutely. I think the fans, whether subconsciously or consciously, know that whether I’m wrestling Rey Mysterio or Big Show or Kane or Daniel Bryan it’s going to be a good match.
Holmes: Sunday is Ryback’s first main event. What do you think he’s going through mentally as he prepares to take that next step?
Punk: I think he’s trying to get his head right. I’m positive he has butterflies. If he doesn’t, then something is wrong with him. It’s just what he does with those butterflies.
Holmes: Last time we talked you said one of your goals was to make more people into stars.  Do you think Ryback has what it takes to break through and become one of those top guys?
Punk: Absolutely. But, it relies a lot on what he does in the position he’s put in. We need guys. Make no mistake about it; we need guys. Hopefully he’s one of them.

Holmes: The “WWE ‘13” video game is being released next Tuesday with a familiar face on the cover. Have you had a chance to sit down and try it out?
Punk: The game is excellent. The cover has never looked as good as it does this year. There’s tons of new features. You get to play as Attitude era characters, you can collapse the ring, you can collapse the guardrail. There’s tons of sweet new things.
Holmes: Is it better to have your face on a video game than it would be to have it on a commemorative cup?
Punk: Oh yeah. I can walk into any video game store and my face is plastered all over it. That’s pretty wild.
Holmes: Probably makes it easier to pick up girls.
Punk: (Laughs) God knows that’s what I do when I go into video game stores.
Holmes: Good point.

Holmes: You’re a very goal-oriented guy. I think I’m also quite goal-oriented. However, I always think I’ll be able to relax once something is achieved, but that’s never the case. You’ve talked about having very few goals left in the wrestling business. When those are all done, I can’t imagine you just kicking back and relaxing in Chicago. Is there a plan for your next chapter once you leave the ring?
Punk: Yeah, of course. I can’t exactly tell you what that is yet…(Laughs)…that’d spoil it. I am a very goal-oriented person and one of the goals is seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. One of the goals is getting out of the wrestling business with my health intact. I think that’s a very important goal. And if you don’t have that goal you’re not being realistic, because this isn’t going to last forever. And, I don’t think you’re being fair to yourself. I don’t want to be one of those guys who’s forty-five, fifty and wrestling.

Holmes: How has your “Best in the World” DVD been received so far?
Punk: It’s funny, I’ve only heard a couple of negative things and it was from people who were obviously trying to get a rise out of me on Twitter. You know, “I saw your DVD and it sucked.” Well, then you obviously didn’t watch it. The response has been overwhelmingly positive. We worked really hard on that thing, and it was pulling teeth getting a lot of that stuff in there. But, I did it and I have zero regrets. I’m so proud of that, I think it’s the defining moment of my career.

Holmes: Whenever we talk, I like to bug you about how you’d fare in an old-school wrestling organization.
Punk: No, I love it. I appreciate it.
Holmes: I’m a big fan of ‘80s tag team wrestling. The British Bulldogs, the Hart Foundation, the Midnight Express…my question is…who’d be your ‘80s tag team partner?
Punk: Oh man…I don’t know… Paul Heyman always draws a lot of comparisons with Eddie Gilbert and myself. So, if it’s the ‘80s I’m tagging with Eddie Gilbert.

Holmes: If you make it to the Royal Rumble as the champion you’ll be facing a gentleman known as The Rock. Do you think it’s easier or tougher to get in the ring if you’re not working a full-time schedule?
Punk: He can lift a lot heavy weights and he’s got all those big muscles. But, all of those muscles need oxygen. And when you’re not in the ring every night like I am, you can’t keep up with the best in the world.
Holmes: He’ll have trouble keeping up with you?
Punk: Absolutely.
Holmes: One of the things…
Punk: 100%! I want to be very clear about that. I think he thought John Cena was going to be an easier target than he was. And I certainly think he’s completely underestimating me. He’s bitten off more than he can chew.

Watch WWE: Hell in a Cell, Sunday, October 28, 2012 at 8 p.m. ET on Pay Per View.

The “WWE ‘13” Video Game will be available for XBox 360, PS3, and Nintento Wii on Tuesday, October 30, 2012.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

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