Former WWE wrestler Ryback is well on his way to making a pro wrestling career on the indie scene following his departure from the company this year.
Nicknamed “The Big Guy,” many have long thrown jabs at wrestlers like Ryback for their large, muscular bodies and assuming it all came by way of enhancements.
Ryback though says while he messed around with them years before his run in WWE, his body did not take kindly to them.
“I had a very negative reaction to testosterone and different steroids where it shut me down tremendously. And when I say, ‘shut me down’, my natural testosterone did not come back or it was not back to what was perceived to be the normal limits, which is not uncommon, but everyone reacts differently,” Ryback said on Conversation with the Big Guy (transcription via Wrestling Inc.).
“I never abused them as far as, when I say ‘abused’, compared to what other people were doing. It was always very mild, but everybody reacts differently to them. But for me, my body, it shut me down, so for the five years before WWE, and I was tired at times, but you just kind of get used to it, I guess.”
While many are skeptical of WWE’s drug testing, Ryback says the Wellness Policy is a great system.
“That’s one thing with WWE, I will say, and from my experience, I was tested all the time and they did a great job. And I love that that was implemented because, and not to say that steroids were the only thing contributing to people dying early. It was a lot of things. For whatever reason they did it, who cares? They did it and it’s a good thing, and, I’ve always, from day one, that’s one thing I am proud of them for, that they did implement that because, for me, it, like, put restrictions on me, where, like, it challenged me. Like, and I feel like I’ve been able to look the way that I have by making those changes and adjusting. It makes me even more rare.”
Ryback thinks WWE is purposely trying to get away from muscular wrestlers like himself given the controversial history of WWE and steroids.
“That’s one thing with WWE, I did say, I feel like they’re using guys now, they’re conditioning the audience that the WWE wrestler looks different these days than they used to and they’re getting away from the bigger guys and whatnot, even though they had a guy like me that fit in perfectly and did everything the right way. But as a whole, I’m a rare thing. Not everybody looks like me. I realize that.” Ryback said, “we’re too close to that steroid era still where people are afraid to take a step back a little bit because you’ve seen what it looks like.”