The story of Zack Ryder is truly an inspirational one.
The man literally pushed himself through the ever-evolving Internet using social media and his infamous show, "Z True Long Island Story."
Part of the fun of cheering Zack Ryder was thanks to his underdog status. We chanted his name during the most random times. If you look it up on YouTube, there were "We want Ryder!" chants on TNA.
Whenever Ryder made an appearance (which wasn't very often), he would get a huge pop.
Eventually the WWE realized what we wanted, and that was Zack Ryder. So they not only promoted him, they built stories around him. Not filler-type stories—we're talking main events of Raw and the John Cena-Kane saga.
Now that Ryder was getting shoved down our throats, the pops got smaller and smaller. We weren't a fan of Ryder because of his incredible in-ring ability (which he doesn't have), we were fans because we love an underdog, especially in wrestling.
I'm not talking Rey Mysterio "underdog"—Zack Ryder was on the verge of getting future endeavored and he scratched and clawed his way to the top.
But now that he has finally won the United States Championship, where's the fun in cheering for him?
Zack Ryder segments used to get good ratings. But after multiple appearances, the ratings started to drop, eventually resulting in one of the lowest-rated segments in all time: when Ryder was trying to change a flat tire that took about 15 minutes...
Another factor in the downfall of Ryder is his friendship with John Cena.
What the WWE was trying to do was use Zack Ryder to rub some of the hate off Cena. People loved Ryder, and if they saw him associating with Cena, they might like him too.
That completely backfired: Everybody STILL hates Cena, and since Ryder is associated with Cena, people are starting to dislike Ryder as well.
Things had gotten so bad that WWE decided to completely write Ryder off of RAW with an injury at the hands of Kane.
I don't believe that he has to turn heel. It seems like when a superstar is starting to lose his pizazz, Internet fans automatically want a heel turn.
Ryder doesn't need to turn heel to be effective. Some tweaks to his gimmick and a new attitude would work wonders.
Hopefully when he comes back he'll be a bit more serious, but the days of the "We want Ryder!" chants are pretty much over.