Matt Cardona, once widely recognized as Zack Ryder during his tenure with WWE, recently took full responsibility for the trajectory of his career in the company. Speaking on AEW star Swerve Strickland's "Swerve City Podcast," Cardona reflected on his WWE stint, expressing that he should have been more assertive in seeking a push from the management.
Cardona candidly admitted, "All the blame of that situation is on myself." He elaborated, emphasizing his desire not to be perceived as someone who blames others for his challenges. Despite his significant merchandise sales and undeniable popularity, especially following his 2011 YouTube series that skyrocketed his fan base, Cardona acknowledges he never directly approached Vince McMahon to discuss his positioning in the company.
His career post-WWE release in 2020 has been nothing short of remarkable. Cardona has made a name for himself in the indie wrestling circuit and appeared in several other promotions, including AEW, Impact Wrestling, NWA, and MLW.
His achievements include capturing the WWE Intercontinental Championship, showcasing his undeniable talent and fan appeal.
Interestingly, Cardona's perspective on his WWE experience contrasts with popular opinion.
Many fans and analysts believed he was underutilized or "buried" within the promotion. However, Cardona suggests that he had more control over his situation than he exercised at the time, a reflection that highlights the complexities of navigating a professional wrestling career.
Looking forward, Cardona hasn't closed the door on a WWE return but stipulates his conditions. He insists on having a more impactful role rather than just being another name on the roster. Furthermore, he seems to be distancing himself from his "Zack Ryder" persona, hinting at a fresh character and approach should he re-enter WWE's domain.
Cardona's journey from a rising YouTube sensation to a major name in indie wrestling and beyond demonstrates the dynamic nature of a professional wrestling career. His story offers insights into the industry's inner workings and the role of self-advocacy in shaping one’s path.
As his career continues to evolve, fans and wrestling enthusiasts alike will undoubtedly follow his trajectory with keen interest.