Zack Ryder sure has had a rough few months, hasn’t he? The internet darling caught the WWE by storm late last year en route to winning his first major singles title.
Ryder’s success has been discussed ad nauseam within the “friendly” confines of the IWC, and most know Ryder basically took himself from the unemployment line to the top of the midcard in less than a calendar year.
Impressive no doubt, but it seems the S.S. Ryder has sprung a leak since the start of 2012, as fans have been jumping off the bandwagon quicker than you can "Woo Woo Woo."
I refuse to jump ship just yet, as I feel we have reason to believe that Ryder will recover from this short stumble.
The first and most important step in the “Ryder Rehab” has already been established, in that it seems Ryder has no association with John Cena anymore. WWE will like you to believe that Ryder was placed in the Kane/Cena program to get a rub from Cena, but make no mistake about it, Ryder was there to give Cena a rub.
This was the height of Ryder’s initial surge, and with the pops he was getting towards the end of 2011, creative wanted to capitalize and help Cena gain momentum in his immediate feud with Kane (as well as his inevitable showdown with the Rock).
It backfired. The feud between Cena and Kane was lackluster at best, and Ryder and Eve Torres’ involvement mirrored that of a cheesy C-list Horror movie. Getting Ryder away from this disaster was a crucial first step.
The next issue is Ryder’s relationship with Eve. Eve’s sudden (yet impressive) heel turn and her manipulation of Ryder definitely made Ryder look like a clueless buffoon.
However, for as clueless as Ryder may have been, he also painted a more realistic interpretation of blind love. We’ve all had a crush we yearned for and wanted the opportunity to impress, only to be strung along or blown off entirely.
For as goofy a character as Ryder has been, this added some powerful layers to his character. We could relate to him, because like it or not, we have been that blind doofus at one point or another. And this is where we see the fruits of this pursuit pay off.
Folks in the IWC say that Ryder looked weak in the 12-man tag match at WrestleMania, and the fact he took the pin solidifies that he will be sent back to the lower midcard.
I must disagree.
Ryder took part (along with R-Truth and Kofi Kingston) in the most impressive spot of the match, and he got arguably the most offense in of any man in the match. The only reason The Miz was able to pin him was due to a distraction from Eve.
After the match, Ryder looked visibly frustrated as Eve was pleading her case and apologizing. Ryder was not beckoning to her whims, as he looked genuinely annoyed at what had transpired.
Of course, Eve’s low blow provided the icing on a very unfortunate cake for the Long Island Iced Z.
Lost in all of the hoopla of Brock Lesnar’s return and Daniel Bryan’s loyal fans (YES!), two
under-the-radar moments occurred during Monday Night Raw. First, Eve came out on stage and said she willingly manipulated Ryder, finally ending the charade of her “interest” in him.
Secondly, Ryder faced off against the man who pinned him, The Miz, in the de facto main event of Raw. Though the match was short, Ryder was shown to be much more aggressive against the antagonistic Miz, going so far as to throw him against the padded railing.
Although he came out on the short end of the match, there were some positives to take away from those two segments. Miz provides the perfect foil to Ryder, and the more he mocked Ryder, the more intense he got during the match.
For someone who was supposedly at the end of his rope, Ryder could be a busy man over the next few months. He appears to be entering his first significant feud in months with The Miz, and may be finally resolving his "hoeski" issues with Eve.
Whether dealing with each individually, or with the inclusion of certain returning diva (cough, Layla) in some sort of tag team encounter, don’t expect Zack Ryder to fade away just yet.
Remember, he still moves merchandise!
Let the Ryder Rehabilitation begin!