When Ryback dropped his first podcast explaining why he left WWE back in August, one of his biggest complaints was the fact that Vince McMahon had lied to him about a big push, one that would have included “squashing that little twerp” AJ Styles at WrestleMania. THE BIG GUY was sure to note those weren’t his words, but McMahon’s.
Sports Illustrated asked Styles about this and, not surprisingly, he took the high road:
"I think what Ryback said may have been true at that time. I don't know that Vince knew exactly what he had in AJ Styles, and I think his opinion of me changed somewhat quickly. That's OK, I've been doing that my whole life — changing people's opinion of me and what I'm capable of. I'm not mad at Ryback. If it was said, it was said, and I'm not mad at Vince McMahon. Opinions vary, and they change."
That’s easy to say now, of course, what with Styles the reigning WWE world champion and the top star on SmackDown Live, but it’s also possible Ryback is absolutely being honest on how he was pitched. There was always a very real fear that Styles wouldn’t be the star he’s always been once he got to WWE.
Thankfully, McMahon changed his mind, if he ever made it up to begin with.