Ryback (wrestler)

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Reeves (left) as Ryback on SmackDown.
Ring name(s)Ryan Reeves[1]
Skip Sheffield[1][2]
Billed height6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)[3]
Billed weight291 lb (132 kg)[3]
Born(1981-11-10) November 10, 1981 (age 30)[1]
Las Vegas, Nevada[4]
Billed fromSin City[3]
Trained byBill DeMott[4]
Al Snow[1]
Jody Hamilton[4]
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Reeves (left) as Ryback on SmackDown.
Ring name(s)Ryan Reeves[1]
Skip Sheffield[1][2]
Billed height6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)[3]
Billed weight291 lb (132 kg)[3]
Born(1981-11-10) November 10, 1981 (age 30)[1]
Las Vegas, Nevada[4]
Billed fromSin City[3]
Trained byBill DeMott[4]
Al Snow[1]
Jody Hamilton[4]

Ryan Allen Reeves[1] (born November 10, 1981) is an American professional wrestler. He is signed to WWE, currently working under the ring name Ryback. After being one of the eight finalists on WWE Tough Enough 4, he later signed a developmental contract with World Wrestling Entertainment and wrestled in Deep South Wrestling and Florida Championship Wrestling.[5] and Ohio Valley Wrestling from 2005 to 2007. During that time, he formed a tag team with Jon Bolen called High Dosage.[6][7] He also participated in the first season of NXT in early 2010 under the ring name Skip Sheffield.


Early life

Born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada, Reeves started watching wrestling at the age of five and was allowed to ring the bell at a live WWF event.[8] Wanting to become a professional wrestler, Reeves began weight lifting at 12 years old. He was nicknamed "Silverback" as a teenager, after a childhood friend joked that he resembled a silverback gorilla, and later adopted it as a part of his ring name.[9] Reeves excelled at baseball and football while attending Western High School and Palo Verde High School. He also played college baseball during his freshman year at the Community College of Southern Nevada, however he broke his foot and ended up missing two seasons.

Professional wrestling career

Tough Enough (2004)

Reeves spent the next two years concentrating on training to enter professional wrestling. He also attended University of Nevada, Las Vegas, majoring in fitness management,[8] while working part-time at the Monte Carlo Hotel and Casino. Reeves sent a brief one minute videotape of himself to become a contestant on $1,000,000 Tough Enough and was invited to Venice Beach with 49 others. During the first week of training, Reeves suffered from bronchitis and a rib injury. He eventually became one of the eight finalists to appear on SmackDown! and the last to be voted off.[10][11] Even though Reeves lost, he impressed WWE officials enough for them to sign him to a developmental contract. He would spend some time back in Las Vegas healing from his injuries before heading to Atlanta in March 2005.[9]

Deep South Wrestling (2005–2006)

Reeves started training at Deep South Wrestling, a professional wrestling school located in McDonough, Georgia. On September 1, 2005, he made his official debut in a tag team match with Lash LeRoux against Team Elite (Derrick Neikirk and Mike Knox) at the premiere show for DSW. During the next several weeks, he would team with Jack Bull, Ryan O'Reilly, Mike Mizanin and Nick Mitchell against tag teams including Team Elite, The Regulators and The Slaughter Brothers.

He began wrestling single matches a month later against Mike Shane, Mike Knox[12] and Palmer Cannon. On November 23, he entered a championship tournament for the DSW Heavyweight Championship and eliminated by Mac Johnson in the opening rounds. He also lost to Freakin' Deacon on December 17. Several days later, he wrestled two matches in one night. The first was a tag team match with Damian Steele against The Regulators and the second was a singles match against Mike Knox, both matches he lost.[13]

In January 2006, he formed a short-lived tag team with Ryan O'Reilly and faced Team Elite and The Gymini. Before the team could gain momentum, the WWE transferred Reeves from Deep South Wrestling, to Ohio Valley Wrestling two months later. Reeves wrestled his last match losing to Freakin' Deacon on February 26, 2006.

Ohio Valley Wrestling

Training (2005–2006)

After training in DSW for most of 2005 and early 2006, Reeves arrived in Ohio Valley Wrestling in early March. He defeated Kasey James, Pat Buck, Da Beast and Nick Nemeth in dark matches during his two months and, with Mikey Batts, won victories over the teams of Billy Kryptonite and Russell Simpson, and Jack Bull and Vic Devine.

On May 10, Reeves teamed with Tag Team Champions Kasey James and Roadkill to defeat Aaron Stevens and Deuce 'n Domino at an OVW television taping.[14] Three days later, he and Mikey Batts lost to Kasey James and Roadkill in a title match. He later broke his thumb after throwing a punch, which sidelined him for almost a month.[15] On June 17, Reeves made his return as he teamed with Cody Runnels, Shawn Spears and Elijah Burke to defeat Los Locos and Deuce 'n Domino in an eight-man tag team match.

In July 2006, Reeves was suspended for 30 days due to failing a drug test as part of WWE's Wellness Program.[6][16] According to Reeves, he had been taking several over the counter bodybuilding supplements one of which inadvertently caused a false reading. The supplements he was using were later taken off the market due to this effect and, although his suspension remained in place, Reeves eventually returned to the roster after passing a second test.[9] His case was later featured on the CNN documentary Death Grip: Inside Pro Wrestling.[17]

High Dosage (2006–2007)

After his previous 30 day suspension, Reeves returned while sporting bleached hair. In September 2006, Reeves began teaming with Jon Bolen, who together became known as High Dosage.[18] Scoring early victories against teams such as Los Locos (Aaron Lamata and Low Rider) and Gothic Mayhem (Johnny Punch and Pat Buck), they began feuding with the then newly formed team of Eddie Craven, Mike Kruel and "The Bad Seed" Shawn Osborne.[18]

The two did not fare well against the trio losing both tag team and single matches to them during the next few weeks. On October 18, he and Bolen also lost to them in a handicap match. Things soon changed however when High Dosage beat Eddie Craven and Mike Kruel a month later. As a result of their victory, they were allowed five minutes alone with Shawn Osbourne but he was able to escape with the help of Craven and Kruel. Although continuing to face their rivals throughout the year, High Dosage also won matches against Los Locos and Bad Company defeating the latter in a Handicap Coal Miner's Glove on a Pole match on November 29. On December 9, High Dosage teamed with Seth Skyfire and lost to Craven, Kruel and Milena Roucka. Reeves also took part in a four-way Elimination Christmas Present match with Kruel four days later. The participants included Justin LaRoche and Charles Evans, T.J. Dalton and Steve Lewington, and Seth Skyfire and Paul Burchill who eventually won the match.

On January 6, 2007, High Dosage lost to Justin LaRouche and Charles Evans. They also lost to Tag Team Champions Cody Runnels and Shawn Spears four days later.[18] This was their last match together as Reeves was officially released from his contract less than two weeks later.[19][20] In April, it was announced that Reeves would be starring in an upcoming film called Som Tum with Todd Shane and Nathan Jones.[21] Reeves would make one final appearance in which he and Pat Buck lost to Colt Cabana and Shawn Spears in a match for the DSW Tag Team Title on November 14, 2007.[22]

Return and departure (2008)

After being absent from Ohio Valley Wrestling for over a year, Reeves returned to the promotion. After several months, Reeves, now renamed Ryback, debuted as a Terminator gimmick and subsequently won the Heavyweight Championship on September 15 after defeating Anthony Bravado.[18] Ryback held the title for two weeks before losing it back to Bravado on September 29.[18] After losing the title, Reeves was re-signed to a developmental contract with World Wrestling Entertainment. To explain his departure from OVW, Ryback lost a Loser Leaves OVW match to Bravado.[18]

World Wrestling Entertainment / WWE

Florida Championship Wrestling (2008–2010)

On December 16, 2008, Reeves, under his Ryback ring name and character, made his in-ring debut in Florida Championship Wrestling, losing a tag match with Jon Cutler against Kris Logan and Taylor Rotunda. Ryback soon formed a tag team with Sheamus O'Shaunessy and the duo unsuccessfully challenged for the Florida Tag Team Championship on a few occasions until O'Shaunessy was called up to the main roster.[18] After the Ryback character was scrapped, Reeves made his FCW redebut on October 25 under the ring name Skip Sheffield, a cowboy gimmick, where he defeated Jimmy Uso.[23]

NXT and the Nexus (2010)

Reeves (far left) as Skip Sheffield at SummerSlam.

On February 16, 2010 during the final episode of ECW, Sheffield was announced as one of eight FCW wrestlers, called "rookies", to take part in the first season of WWE's new NXT show.[24] Although Montel Vontavious Porter was originally to be his mentor, or "pro", he was later replaced by William Regal.[25] Sheffield made his NXT in-ring debut on the March 2 episode of NXT, where he teamed with Regal in a losing effort against Matt Hardy and Justin Gabriel.[26] On the April 27 episode of NXT, Sheffield picked up his first victory with a win over Daniel Bryan. However, on May 11, despite an earlier win over Darren Young, in the first NXT elimination poll, Skip Sheffield was eliminated by the Pros. He was one of three eliminations behind Bryan and Michael Tarver, and commented that he will be back.[27]

On the June 7 edition of Raw, Sheffield along with the other NXT season one rookies, interfered in the main event match between John Cena and CM Punk, attacking both competitors as well as the announcing team before dismantling the ring area and surrounding equipment.[28] On the June 14 edition of Raw the rookies attacked General Manager Bret Hart, when he refused to give them contracts.[29] The following week on Raw, Vince McMahon fired Hart and announced the hiring of a new General Manager, who had signed all seven season one NXT rookies to contracts.[30] The following week, the group was named the Nexus.[31] On the July 12 edition of Raw, The Nexus, without Darren Young, competed in their first match together, defeating John Cena in a six-on-one handicap match.[32] The feud continued at SummerSlam, where Team WWE fought Nexus in a seven-on-seven elimination tag team match. Sheffield eliminated both John Morrison and R-Truth from the match before becoming the third member of The Nexus to be eliminated. Ultimately, the Nexus lost the match.[33] On August 18, during a live event in Honolulu, Hawaii, Reeves broke his ankle in a tag team match with David Otunga against The Hart Dynasty.[34][35]

Reeves then underwent extensive surgery after breaking his ankle, with a third surgery being his last.[36]

Return from injury and undefeated streak (2012)

Reeves returned and defeated Michael McGillicutty in a dark match prior to Raw.[37] On the January 6 tapings of SmackDown, Reeves reverted to his old ring name Ryback and defeated Jimmy Uso in a dark match.[38] Reeves, now sporting a beard and new attire, returned to television on the April 6 episode of SmackDown under his Ryback ring name and as a face, where over the following weeks he would continuously squash jobbers, while also picking up wins against established roster stars such as Heath Slater and Derrick Bateman.[39][40] At Extreme Rules, he made his pay-per-view debut as a singles competitor when he defeated two more jobbers (Aaron Relic and Jay Hatton) in nearly two minutes.[41] At Over the Limit, Ryback defeated Camacho in another squash match.[42] On July 3 during The Great American Bash episode of SmackDown, he defeated Curt Hawkins to continue his winning streak.[43] After defeating Tyler Reks the following week on SmackDown, Ryback defeated both Hawkins and Reks in a handicap match at Money in the Bank[44] and again during Ryback's Raw redebut on the August 6 episode.[45] On the July 27 episode of SmackDown, Ryback began his first feud since returning to the main roster against Jinder Mahal, after Mahal lost via countout instead of continuing to wrestle.[46] Ryback faced Mahal in a rematch on August 3 episode of SmackDown, but won via disqualification after Mahal struck him with a microphone.[47] On the August 24 episode of SmackDown, Ryback finally defeated Mahal via pinfall,[48] and did so again on the September 3 episode of Raw.[49]

In wrestling

Championships and accomplishments


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External links