The most recent episode of Chael Sonnen’s podcast, You’re Welcome, featured former WWE writer John Piermarini. They don’t talk a lot about wrestling, focusing more on Metamoris and BJJ, but there was some talk of pro graps.
Around the 36 minute mark, Chael states:
“I gotta tell you, I don’t get Ryback. I don’t get it as a character, I don’t get it as a draw, I don’t get it. Am I missing something? Are they gonna be able to transform this guy and bring him in in some capacity other than what he’s doing now, which is just being a big meat head that goes out there and screams and spit comes out of his mouth?”
Pretty valid question from Sonnen, though I wonder if any of this is coming from Chael being friends with CM Punk, and Punk’s less than kind words for the Big Guy. Piermarini offers some defense of Ryback, saying:
“They pushed him just as hard, I want to say a year or two ago, and it didn’t work. They stopped utilizing him, they put him in a tag team, it went nowhere, and he got injured, he came back, and they did essentially the exact same thing that they did with his character when it didn’t work or catch on the first time. You know that you’re not catching on when you’re in the ring and they’re chanting the name of someone they think you’re trying to be like, which is Goldberg.”
Piermarini adds that he sees good qualities in Ryback, including “someone who can talk, be different, and stand out”. John feels that they aren’t doing justice to Ryback as a talent in the way he’s been booked. Piermarini then flips the script on Chael and asks who he thinks could take Ryback’s place. Chael’s response is pretty interesting:
“They did some major cuts, and they cut a guy named Brodus Clay. Brodus Clay was a terrible wrestler, but he had an amazing entrance. He was entertaining, he was fun, and there’s something compelling about a fat guy dancing. And he was pulling it off, it was like Rikishi, man. There’s something to watch there, I thought that it was interesting.
Ryback, I don’t know what I would do with him, but throughout the history of wrestling, the singlet has never worked. And if you want to make an argument, the only one you’re going to stand a chance with is Andre the Giant. But I think we can agree that had to do with the fact that he was 7’4″ and you had to put him in some type of a suspender. The singlet has never worked, I don’t know why you would take any part of a gimmick that is a tried and true failure.”
I eagerly await Ryback’s hastily-deleted Twitter response to this podcast.