Zack Ryder Loses US Title: Why It Was the Best Thing for His Career

Matthew HemphillCorrespondent IIJanuary 22, 2012

picture courtesy of
picture courtesy of

Last Monday, Zack Ryder lost the US championship to Jack Swagger because of a storyline back injury. He wasn't able to compete, but bravely set out to try and prove that he could retain his title.

It was something that enraged some fans, and it was a brilliant move.

Ryder exploded on the scene by making his YouTube channel and gaining more fans and merchandise sales through the months. After a while, the WWE took notice and decided to push him to see what could happen with him.

The fans responded to the push and by the end of the year, Ryder had won a championship, was in an on-air romance with Eve and was getting plenty of TV time.

He was headed for a burn out.

Fans may have loved him as an underdog, but if he had been established too quickly they would have grown sick of him and deserted him quickly.

It takes time for someone to develop in the eyes of the audience from a plucky kid to a serious main-event talent. Ryder can get there one day, but it needs to have an organic growth.

His YouTube show is the best example. It got a lot of views all at once, but it didn't explode into the phenomenon it is now overnight. He needed to offer autographs for people wearing his shirt and buy a bunch of materials for the product to be entertaining.

It took almost a year of making shows for it to benefit his career.

It wasn't that fans didn't immediately respond to Ryder. They did.

It was that he needed to stay around for them to grow attached.

That is what it takes in life no matter what job or opportunity anyone tries to work for. It isn't the effort itself that is difficult.

It's sustaining the effort and never letting it slip no matter what happens. Many times it even means ramping it up so that the person can keep evolving and staying on the cutting edge.

The WWE realizes that they have something special in Ryder. They have someone who was clever enough to make something of himself on his own and really does love the business.

They just needed to protect him from rising too far too fast. He hasn't matured as a character yet and still has the awkward stages of persona puberty that he is going through.

It may seem like the WWE hates Ryder, or that they removed the belt from him because he didn't bring them ratings, but they are just making sure he doesn't become a fad and that his character grows.

It may not be what fans want today, but it is what they will appreciate tomorrow.

Matthew Hemphill writes for the MMA and professional wrestling portion of Bleacher Report.  He also hosts a blog which focuses on books, music, comic books, video games, film, and generally anything that could be related to the realms of nerdom.