Immediately after announcing his WWE departure, Ryback announced that he would be taking independent bookings. It was announced that Reeves would wrestle at Rumble in Rockland for Northeast Wrestling on August 25, his first non-WWE appearance.
He also appeared on August 27 for Northeast Wrestling at Wrestling Under the Stars 5. In WrestlePro, he won the WrestlePro Tag Team Championship with Pat Buck at the WrestlePro event in New York. "The Big Guy" Ryback did his first UK appearance since leaving WWE for Revolution Pro Wrestling, defeating Gideon Grey and Rishi Ghosh.
Ryback appeared at a Wrestlecon event on March 30 where he defeated Colt Cabana. On August 5, 2017, Ryback defeated "Swagzilla" Sean Kustom to win Australia's Rock & Roll Wrestling's World Championship.
He has not lost a match on the independent circuit since August 2017. In a long interview with Wrestling INC, the former WWE superstar reflected on AEW potentially winning: “WWE is not going to want to lose this one way or another because NXT is a reflection of the WWE brand.
It is WWE, so I don’t know how long they keep the current format but I think if they go in, I think they are going to be shocked if they go into the losing end in all of this. If they do, I wouldn’t be shocked at all if they do switch the format where they record NXT on a Raw or SmackDown brand and they adjust things where they have the big crowd currently there.
I think they will definitely look for something if they think they are losing because of the live audience. They are not going to want to keep losing in the ratings, I know that much. Vince McMahon is very highly competitive so I think they are looking at it like this is a good way to slow down AEW with NXT”.