Zack Ryder is too talented, too over, too original to not be successful with WWE.
More than a year removed from winning the United States Championship, Ryder sits on WWE's bench while he should be dropping the Rough Ryder across many a man's neck.
WWE can never satisfy every fan. Not everyone’s favorite can be placed in the limelight. There’s just not enough of it to go around.
Long Island Iced Z isn't just another guy in tights, though. He's an in-demand wrestler with potential in surplus.
Unfortunately for him, Ryder is currently more active venting on Twitter than he is performing in the ring.
No reason for me to watch the ball drop tonight…I lived through the ball being dropped with me all year.— Zack Ryder (@ZackRyder) January 1, 2013
During the entire WWE 2012 pay-per-view calendar, not counting pre-shows, Ryder had only two matches. He took on Antonio Cesaro at Night of Champions and competed in the Team Teddy vs. Team Johnny match at WrestleMania.
Why keep a star with as much momentum as Ryder once had out of the picture so often?
Ryder’s natural goofy charm, his fanbase and his skills at working social media to his advantage should be earning him a far better position than the one he currently occupies.
The Internet Champion
WWE's obsession with social media and Ryder's prolificness on Twitter, Tout and YouTube seem as obvious a pairing as you can get.
My New Year's Resolution...TOUT! tout.com/m/yi77li?ref=t…— Zack Ryder (@ZackRyder) December 31, 2012
Watching an episode of Raw often feels like an ad for Twitter or Tout.
Michael Cole is constantly referring to what WWE-related material is trending on Twitter. Returns from commercial breaks are stuffed with self-promotional statistics on how WWE is doing in the social media world.
Who better to serve as ambassador and captain of that journey into the digital realm than a man who has nearly a million Twitter followers?
Ryder earned a cult following in large part because of his YouTube series, Z! True Long Island Story and his inclusion of fans in his Broski of the Week audition gimmick.
Having someone as irrelevant to the product as The Muppets serve as Social Media Ambassadors is a waste of time, especially when one of WWE's own wrestlers essentially serves that role on a daily basis already.
It's as a constant uploader and Tweeter that fans got to experience Ryder's personality, to revel in his charm.
Zack Ryder isn't Eddie Murphy in the '80s funny, but it's hard not to chuckle at his antics.
His personality is as loud as his purple and orange attire. He exudes fun and energy. Judging by the 90-plus episodes of his web series he's done, he's plenty comfortable on camera.
Ryder's show, especially before the WWE channel took it over, buzzed with a creative energy and showcased an endearing goof. He felt like a buddy we were riding along with.
There has to be a way to funnel that onto WWE programming.
Ryder is someone people can connect with, someone who can make fans care about whether he wins a match or not.
Much the way John Cena has built his empire on likability, Ryder can do the same.
Someone like Hunico is a talented wrestler, but isn't especially magnetic. Ryder on the other hand, has drawn fans in despite being so underused.
The Desired One
If an NFL fanbase starts chanting for the backup quarterback, it's not a good enough reason to stick the guy in.
In the world of WWE, that's exactly when you pluck someone from the bench. Regardless of a wrestler's talent, if the fans dig someone, he needs to be utilized.
Fans chant for Ryder during matches he’s not involved in.
It isn't a throng of people shouting Ryder's name here, but it's a big enough section of the crowd to take notice.
This is a common scene. His is the name chanted in arenas across the country. It happens too often to be ignored.
There haven't exactly been a ton of "We want Tatsu!" or "Di-Bi-ase!" chants.
Maybe Ryder isn't what WWE has in mind for its ideal superstar. Maybe Vince McMahon resents Ryder for building his brand independently. Regardless, fans react for Ryder.
If the customer wants a tanned, smiley dude with overly spiked hair, then that's what you give them.
Ryder has a number of tools for WWE to work with. Find him a role, Internet-centered or otherwise. Appease his fans and reward Ryder by making him a vital component to some WWE stories.
Not allowing him more success and more opportunities, to have him just sit so often in the locker room watching other guys do their thing is a mistake.