Let me first begin this article by saying that I am a Zack Ryder fan. I am a Broski. I enjoy watching him on television. I subscribe to his YouTube Channel and his show, "Z! True Long Island Story," and I enjoy seeing what he says on Twitter.
I admire the fact that he took what was an otherwise-undercard/jobber role, and turned it into something more. He could have merely accepted that role and just went about his business, getting brief appearances and being squashed each time, provided he even gets on television in the first place.
However, because of his passion to become a success in the wrestling industry, and with some persistence by casual and hardcore WWE fans alike, Ryder has been able to achieve that success as a result.
His YouTube channel has over 120,000 subscribers. His Twitter account has more than 400,000 followers, and was named one of Sports Illustrated's Top 100 most influential social media users in sports.
He's been on RAW almost every week for the past several months. His merchandise sells out, even we he's not appearing at events. He beat Dolph Ziggler, who by the way, is in a WWE title match against CM Punk at the Royal Rumble, at the TLC PPV just a month ago.
Heck, if you watched Survivor Series, one of the PPVs Ryder was not featured in, fans were chanting "We Want Ryder!," during both and after the Rock/Cena vs. Miz/Truth match.
When your character is able to overshadow the return of The Rock wrestling once more, you know you have achieved success in this business.
This past Monday, Zack Ryder fought in a Falls Count Anywhere Match against Kane and was brutalized throughout the matchup.
At the end of the match, he received a chokeslam on the RAW stage, and was diagnosed with injuries to both his back and ribs. By the way he was suffering, it appears that he will be off television for awhile.
And you know what? I think that's a smart idea.
First of all, while Ryder lost the U.S. title to Swagger and was pulverized by Kane, he did it going down swinging. Ryder could have easily been booked by the company to act cowardly towards both superstars, or even have him forfeit the title last week.
However, by having him go down fighting, he is looked upon more as an underdog babyface, and as a result, will continue to get more support from the WWE Universe, rather than take a step backwards with his progression as an upper-card/main-event talent.
The other thing is that when you think about it, both RAW and Smackdown are filled to the brim with main-event talent, matches, and storylines, as we begin on the Road to WrestleMania.
As we go through the rest of January and into February and March, Ryder could have easily been lost in the shuffle with all of the storylines going on and the potential feuds we could see heading towards the big event.
On RAW, CM Punk is WWE Champion. Dolph Ziggler is proving his worth as a main-event talent. Punk vs. Laurinaitis has become the modern equivalent of Austin vs. McMahon (though they are nowhere near that level... yet).
Cena may finally turn heel, as his match against the Rock in Miami draws closer and closer. Kane has been reinvented and has been, for the most part, a superstar to watch.
Jericho has returned and no one really knows what's happening with him. Brodus Clay has his "Funkasaurus" gimmick and has been the subject of much debate since his reappearance a few weeks back.
If taken off television, what will happen to Zack Ryder when he returns?
Meanwhile, on Smackdown, Daniel Bryan, whose technical abilities are loved by the IWC (including myself) is World Heavyweight Champion. Both Big Show and Mark Henry have been surprisingly entertaining, something that neither has been in years.
Barrett/Orton, which has been a very good rivalry so far, looks to reach at a boiling point at the Rumble, as Orton returns to the ring. Sheamus has been a beloved babyface over the past several months on Smackdown.
Not to mention the swirling rumors that have been discussed over the past several weeks. Mick Foley to wrestle one more time at WrestleMania? Guys like Christian and Rey Mysterio to return? Brock Lesnar to possibly make an appearance and/or sign a contract?
With all of this going on, Zack Ryder could be easily lost in the shuffle. But by temporarily taking him out of action, as an underdog babyface that won't give up despite the odds, his return (whenever that may be) will certainly make an immediate impact when it happens.
And remember, it's not like when he returns, he'll be considered irrelevant by the WWE Universe. His combined following on both Twitter and YouTube is what helped make him a star in the first place.
Provided he continues to write and make videos on a consistent basis, his status on the roster should remain relatively intact.