On May 2, 2016, just before the broadcast of Raw's weekly episode, Ryback was dismissed from the arena where the show should have taken place due to a dispute with some WWE executives (legit). The next day he released a press release on his Tumblr page in which he explained that he was dissatisfied due to the difference in treatment in the wrestler payments and the lack of possibility of having creative control over his character.
On August 5, 2016, Ryback announced that it had mutually terminated its contract with WWE. Immediately after leaving WWE, Reeves announced that he was looking for booking offers from various independent federations. His entry into Northeast Wrestling was announced on August 25th.
In WrestlePro Reeves he made his debut as The Big Guy and on October 15, during a live event in New York, he won the WrestlePro Tag Team Championship with Pat Buck. On a recent episode of the Shooting Blanks Wrestling Report on the Conversation with the Big Guy Ryback podcast, he discussed AEW potentially surpassing WWE in ratings.
Ryback on AEW and WWE
"I can only imagine a guy like Rusev would have to be a top priority on getting him into that system," Ryback said. "I know Chris had mentioned that a Roman Reigns could thrive over there, which Roman would.
Roman's top-notch and is a great worker. Rusev is [as well]. He's got a character and a built-in brand. I think he'd give them a little boost specifically in the ratings." Ryback continued, "I think Chris talked about WCW and bringing in past guys, and I do think you have to be careful about that.
But, I also think that era was different with how guys made money, guys not being hungry and guys getting older when coming in. I think looking at from a business point of view, you have to look at it from a case-by-case basis.
You have to look at a brand and look at his following, and you go, 'Can we benefit from this guy? Can he benefit from us? Is this a good pairing?' It's an individual performer thing. I don't think it's good to group anybody as a whole.
Maybe it's higher," Ryback continued. "I don't know, but you have to look at it like that where you can get new eyes and those new eyes will become fans of the guys who you have and become familiar with them.
You just continue to build because I think AEW has the potential to surpass WWE in time in the ratings, on the RAW and SmackDown side of things. They're just so early on, so we kind of just have to wait and see. But, they're staying on top for the time being."