Zack Ryder now known as Matt Cardona, made an appearance on Busted Open Radio this week. In his first interview since his release from WWE, he spoke about a range of topics from his time with the company to where he wants to wrestle next.
“Well, let me start by saying about ‘grab the brass ring,’ Matt began. “I was at a point in my career where I wasn’t satisfied with what I was doing. And I’m not gonna give you the whole story, but long story short? I started a YouTube show, it took off and I got over.”
The YouTube show in question, Z! True Long Island story, was started in early 2011 as a way for Ryder to stay relevant in the eyes of fans. Even though he wasn’t being used on WWE TV. The short, funny videos helped him gain a rabid following online, leading to chants of “We want Ryder!” at WWE events, even when he wasn’t booked. It has long been speculated that getting over on the internet played as much a part in his rise in the company as his downfall.
Zack Ryder (Matt Cardona) discusses WWE Career & What’s Next
“I don’t think WWE accepted it,” Cardona said. “I didn’t think it was gonna happen as fast as it did and as organically as it did and wanted to either get noticed or get fired. Because I wanted that buzz.”
When asked if his fall down the card was seen as a punishment, he responded. “The term punished? I mean, listen, at the time when everything was going down? I could have in retrospect gone to Vince [McMahon] and said ‘what’s going on here!?’ At the time I was so young, so naive.I wasn’t aware enough or mature enough to knock on the boss’s door and say, ‘I’m one of the top merch sellers, I’ve been busting my ass. Why is this happening?’ So I blame nobody but myself for what went down there.”
Reflecting on his overall tenure, he remarked that he was grateful to have lasted 14 years with the company. He quickly turned to where he wants to go next. “I never had the chance to wrestle in the ECW Arena. I wrestled in Japan for WWE but never really got to go there and experience the culture for like weeks at a time. There’s so many things I want to do, of course there’s AEW, Ring of Honor, IMPACT there’s so many options now.”
The 90-day non-compete clause in Cardona’s WWE contract expires on July 14th. We here at Pro Wrestling Post are excited to see what comes next for the former Zack Ryder.
Listen to the interview in full here