Monday, April 16, 2012

The Ryder Revolution

Zack Ryder, (Matthew Joseph Cardona, Jr. born May 14, 1985) began his wrestling career as an Edge look-a-like as a part of team Edge. Basically, Edge was World Champion on Smackdown, and in WWE fashion, they thought it would be a good idea to put a team around Edge, to help him win his matches and cash in on his popularity. They do this all the time. I think the best example would be team Angle back when Kurt Angle was the Undisputed Champion on Smackdown feuding with Brock Lesnar. Angle was given Charlie Haas and Sheldon Benjamin, who were very talented, particularly Benjamin, who should be a main event star in the WWE today. 

Anyways, Zack Ryder was brought in with Curt Hawkins, both had long hair and looked just like Edge. They were his lackeys, they helped him cheat to win his matches and retain his World Championship. In return, they were given the Tag-Team Championships. Obviously, this storyline did not last too long... thankfully lol. And I think we all assumed that would be the last we would ever see of Ryder and Hawkins. That is until a repackaged Ryder showed up on Raw with short spiked hair and ridiculous one-legged tights lol. I believe he was dating Rosa Mendez and she was his manager. He was pretty much a joke and nothing more than a jobber. Then he was dropped from TV and I assumed that was the last we would see of Zack Ryder. 

Well I guess Ryder figured this out too and rather than accept his run coming to an end, he decided to come up with his own way of building his character. Since the WWE would not put him on TV, Zack decided to put himself on the internet. Ryder started making YouTube videos of his own reality show called Z True Long Island Story. They were basically funny videos of him working out and hanging out with his Dad. John Morrision was featured as a character on the show because he was the favourite wrestler of Zack's Dad. Anyways, these videos became insanely popular online and suddenly crowds at Raw and Smackdown would start chanting "We Want Ryder" during any boring matches or segments, trying to let the WWE management know that we would rather see Zack Ryder than the crap in the ring lol. And its true, what Zack Ryder was doing on his own on the internet was more popular than what the entire WWE was producing on TV. 

Just stop and think about that for a minute... what one wrestler was doing on YouTube was becoming more popular than what the entire WWE was producing on TV.

It wasn't until CM Punk infamously broke character and turned on the WWE and threatened to win the WWE Championship and quit the WWE that WWE television became interesting again. And after CM Punk won the WWE Championship and invaded Comic Con with the WWE Championship, he stood up at the podium where John Cena and Triple H were answering questions, and CM Punk simply asked... "When are you going to put Zack Ryder on TV?" The crowd went crazy, clearly the Ryder Revolution had begun! 

After that moment there was no way the WWE could ignore the Ryder Revolution anymore! 

Should Have Been
The Cover Of WWE12
Unfortunately, they had no understanding of what he had been doing or why it was so popular. And they definitely had no idea what to do with him. By now Triple H had fired Vince and taken over the WWE again. So for one of his first orders of business he named Zack Ryder the assistant to Teddy Long, who was the general manager of Smackdown. Of course, Ryder got confused and thought he was the assistant general manager lol. Anyways, that was a pretty dumb gimmick and luckily it didn't last very long. After that was over, Ryder was moved to Raw and made a competing wrestler. He began campaigning for a shot at the United States Championship which was held by Dolph Ziggler. Ryder started a petition on Twitter and set the record for the most signatures on an online petition ever in the history of Twitter. So of course the WWE had to give him his title shot. And he got it in his home town of Long Island, and with his Dad in the front row cheering him on, Zack Ryder defeated Dolph Ziggler to become the new United States Champion!

I assumed this was the beginning of Ryder's huge push to the top. But I was so wrong...

Ryder lost the title to Jack Swagger on Raw, not long after he won it. He was then attacked by Kane and injured. He had a back brace, a neck brace, he was in a wheel chair... he was becoming a joke. On top of that, they had him in a storyline with Eve where he was in love with her, but she was only using him. Basically he got played by the biggest Hoeski in the WWE lol. Only, after he found out, he still took her back and kept trying to win her over. It looked like that was finally going to happen the night after Wrestlemania. But that was all a set up. Eve used Zack to cost Team Teddy from winning at Wrestlemania. Then she kicked Ryder to the curb lol. 

The story heard is that WWE took the title off Ryder and had him "injured" because they wanted him to take time off from TV to help produce videos for the new WWE YouTube channel. On episode 50 of Z! True Long Island Story, Ryder announced the show will be part of WWE's YouTube funded channel. Now he is back in action and apparently according to his recent Tweets, is looking for his next Diva lol. I said he should go for Kelly Kelly so they could make the Saved By The Bell jokes haha. 

Mike Tyson
Well I think its safe to say that Zack Ryder has arrived. He was in a main event at Wrestlemania. He won the United States Championship in his hometown. He defeated Dolph Ziggler, who is probably the top prospect and next future champion in my opinion. I think he should be put in a more serious role and be back in the title hunt. I think he should be going for the Intercontinental Championship, and the Tag-Team Championships. I think if you look back over the past year in the WWE there are basically two matches worth remembering... CM Punk vs John Cena at Money In The Bank in Chicago (when CM Punk won the WWE Championship and left the WWE right after the match, costing John Cena and then Vince their jobs in the WWE), and Zack Ryder vs Dolph Ziggler for the United States Championship in Long Island. When Wrestlemania came around I think they should have tried to go back to those two matches for the main events. They should have been built up for huge rematches. I would have rather seen those matches than what they had at Wrestlemania. 

Dolph Ziggler
I also think the WWE should incorporate the Internet Championship that Zack Ryder created on his YouTube show. In April 2011, Ryder proclaimed himself WWE Internet Champion complete with a children's replica belt covered in stickers, as it was unsanctioned by WWE. In July 2011, Ryder would appear to defend his Internet Championship at a non-televised show in Australia against Primo, but later commented that it was a non-title match, and that he would never defend his Internet Championship. Ryder soon replaced the toy belt with a $1,500 custom-made belt by Wildcat Championship Belts in July 2011. It is very popular right now and the WWE is trying to get connected with all the social media forms now because of Ryder's popularity. (I think most fans, like me, want to see our favourite Championships brought back, particularly, the European Championship, and the Million Dollar Championship. But most of all I think fans want to see Zack's Internet Championship!)

Ryder & Ziggler
Regardless of what belt he has or what the WWE decides to do with him, Ryder's online popularity is a revolution all on its own. He has over 600,000 followers on Twitter, over 200,000 Facebook "likes",  and over 120,000 YouTube subscribers. This led him to be featured in Sports Illustrated's list of the 100 most influential social media users in sports. What other wrestler has that kind of following? Does the WWE even have that kind of following? Face it, the bottom line is, the WWE couldn't figure out what to do with Ryder, so he went out and did it himself, and he became bigger than the WWE itself. How impressive is that? Now they have no choice but to give him whatever he wants because they can't risk losing him to another promotion! I think its only a matter of time before Zack Ryder is WWE Champion! 

Just wait and see... 

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