In a surprising revelation, Matt Cardona, formerly known as Zack Ryder in WWE, has openly declared he has no intention of sharing a wrestling ring with Shane Mercer, a former WWE talent who had a few runs with the company in 2017 and 2019.
Mercer has made a name for himself on the independent circuit, where he recently showcased a Tombstone Moonsault, catching Cardona's eye. While Cardona admitted his admiration for Mercer's abilities, he was unequivocal in stating he would never wrestle him.
"I love watching him perform, and he's one of the few who actually hits the gym, so yes, I do respect him," Cardona said. Notably, this is the second time Cardona has expressed this sentiment; he made a similar comment two years ago but has never elaborated on why he would avoid a match-up with Mercer.
Indy God Thrives
Cardona was released from WWE in 2020 but has since been thriving in the independent wrestling scene, where he's earned the nickname 'The Indy God.' His prowess in the ring continues to impress, as he appears to be in the prime of his career.
Adding another layer of intrigue to this story is Cardona's close friendship with Cody Rhodes, an executive in All Elite Wrestling (AEW) and a wrestling superstar in his own right. Rhodes recently expressed his desire for Cardona to make a return to WWE during an interview with the Good Karma Wrestling podcast.
"Matt's truly been the king of the indies, and he's the best he's ever been. Although he's annoyed me lately, I can't deny that he's a huge get as a free agent. If he chooses AEW, great, but I'd personally love to see him back in WWE," said Rhodes.
Despite the high praise from Rhodes and the consistent success Cardona has found outside WWE, it remains a mystery why he has ruled out a potentially electrifying match with Shane Mercer. Both wrestlers have exhibited stellar performances, and a showdown between the two could be a spectacle that wrestling fans would relish.
For now, all we can do is wonder what specifically keeps Cardona from wanting to lock horns with Mercer as he continues to carve out his legacy in professional wrestling.