With Floyd Mayweather’s “retirement,” Ryan Reeves may be the most popular active athlete to call Las Vegas home. As Ryback, the muscular monster of the WWE, he boasts a flock of 1.3 million Twitter followers, more than baseball MVP Bryce Harper, NASCAR driver Kurt Busch and football rushing champ Demarco Murray combined.
Since his debut as Ryback in 2012, Reeves has quickly become one of the biggest names in the world of wrestling, headlining some of the WWE’s most prestigious events and enjoying multiple reigns as Intercontinental Champion. The 6-foot-3, 291-pound physical marvel has gone toe-to-toe with wrestling superstars such as John Cena, Sheamus and Seth Rollins, and his impressive catalog of power moves has made him a fan favorite.
Reeves played varsity baseball at Western and Palo Verde high schools, and he thought that’s where his athletic future was headed. But after an ankle injury during his freshman year forced him to abandon that career path, he left CSN to pursue his true passion—the squared circle.
His first move was to audition for a WWE reality show in 2004, a plan that he understandably kept to himself. “I didn’t tell anybody,” he says. “I had a deadline to drop my classes and still get a refund for that semester, and I was so confident I was going to get chosen that I sent in the tape. At the time my dad wasn’t exactly thrilled, but I knew this was what I wanted to be doing.”
Because of his popularity and the WWE’s extensive travel schedule, Reeves is typically only able to spend two days per week at his home in North Las Vegas.
“That’s the worst part of our business,” he says. “The demand for travel and how often we’re asked to perform. I love wrestling and the WWE, but it takes a lot of work to balance it out.”
Frequent Flier Tip
Reeves has to eat nonstop to maintain his size, so he’s an expert when it comes to airport cuisine. His McCarran faves? “Baja Fresh,” he says. “I can eat that all day long. Also, Pei Wei in the Southwest terminal. Their Mongolian steak and brown rice—that’s where you’ll find me.”