Ryback spoke about the releases with Wrestling Inc's Raj Giri on the Shooting Blanks Wrestling Report podcast. Ryback said part of him is happy that Axel no longer works for WWE, but that he is still upset at the release.
"In one way, I'm very happy for him, because I feel the he was never going to be allowed to be himself or to do anything significant there," Ryback said. "On the other hand, though, I know he has a wife and kids, and I know them. When you have a steady paycheck coming in for years, and then that all of a sudden is not going to be there anymore in these times of uncertainty, it makes me a little bit upset that he got released with the other guys like Heath (Slater) that I personally am invested in and know. I just think it is horrible timing with everything, but hopefully all this is easing up.
"I truly mean this, like with Heath and him, Joe, if he can be Joe Hennig, I think AEW can get some great, great stuff out of him and I think he could add to that roster, in one way or another."
Ryback spent time teaming with Axel in WWE as "RybAxel," though they didn't find much success together and were broken up in less than a year. Ryback noted the chemistry he and Axel had even though they didn't do much for television, and gave praise to Axel and Bo Dallas for getting the B-Team over to an extent.
Ryback said people like Axel, Dallas and Slater get treated poorly in WWE despite the work they put in getting themselves and others over.
"Him and Bo, they're just victims of, no matter what they do, if it's supposed to be a low midcard act and they get it over you'd see that they pulled them off TV again, and they'd leave them off TV," he said. "They did that all the time, and I don't understand. They do it to Bo and to him, and it's just crazy that whole system, and like even Bo and Bray (Wyatt) being brothers, how different it's been for both of them. Bo was actually the one used better in developmental.
"I can't figure it out, but Curtis Axel there's always been something, and I don't believe it's with Curtis. I honestly believe there's something, and I've said it before, with his dad, Mr. Perfect, with either Hunter (Hearst Helmsley) or Vince (McMahon) and something not sitting well with them, and Curtis is always, and not to say they hate Curtis or anything, but we've seen it with Vince where they will just toy with people for their whole life with that over something that had nothing to personally do with them."
Ryback said WWE management holding a grudge with his father is the only explanation for Axel's treatment in the company.
Velasquez didn't spend much time in WWE, his only match with the company coming against Brock Lesnar at Crown Jewel in 2019. Ryback said Velasquez's release was understandable and that Velazquez would do better wrestling elsewhere.
"I think they got what they wanted out of him," he said. "I think they were going to be, if they got two out of him and Brock, that probably would have been there ideal circumstance or ideal thing that they would have wanted with that. They had Brock avenge the UFC loss with that. With his injuries, and he's one of the greatest MMA heavyweights of all time. In his prime the guy was an absolute beast, he still is, it's just so hard to start something new at this stage of the game, and not to say that he can't because he already has had some success with, it's just that schedule too.
"You know, maybe a place like AEW would be the more fitting place for him, or IMPACT Wrestling. Maybe IMPACT is the way to go for a bit to see if he can stay healthy, how his body is. I don't know, it's just that wrestling is so physically hard on the body that once your body is already in a state where you've had some, you know, significant injuries like that, unless, dude, like with surgeries. Like he's had back surgery, where as I've done stem cells and regrown my disc. My back is all better. I haven't had fusions or anything like that, if I had I wouldn't be the same and I know that and that's why I avoided that."
Ryback said Velasquez can add value anywhere and that putting people around Velasquez used to the character portion of wrestling would help the former MMA fighter's transition.
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Shooting Blanks Wrestling Report with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.