Zack Ryder's career continued what has been a slow, systematic downturn in the WWE this past Monday via Twitter.
The former United States champion was the victim of a drive-by snub. WWE's "Did You Know" factoid failed to include him as one of the most followed superstars. Instead, the petty graphic opted to include Miz (878k) in a top five slot that should have been Ryder's (989k).
It's sad, really, the matters that occupy the concerns of today's wrestler when he's barely working.
Since Ryder's fall from grace prohibited him from reacting on television, a barrage of angry, purple tweets followed:
Hey @wwe. Whose decision was it to leave me off the “The World Follows WWE On Twitter” list? You can just DM me the answer. I won’t tell.— Zack Ryder (@ZackRyder) January 8, 2013
Long Island Iced Z is coming off a forgettable 2012. Considering his Cinderella year in 2011—where Ryder flirted with the upper mid-card and palled around with John Cena—Zack Ryder's attempt to recreate his 2011 magic in 2012 played out like the Hillary Duff version of Cinderella.
Ryder's original success came as part of a grassroots campaign that made light of his failures. Ryder was at the bottom of the card in 2010 with no end in sight. With a nothing-to-lose attitude, Ryder reinvented self-promotion in an industry saturated with it. He sought counsel from social media. Dusted off his catch phrase. Worked in a few fist pumps. Even his dad got in on the fun.
A show was born. A star, reinvigorated.
Z! True Long Island Story on YouTube served as the harbinger for Zack Ryder's coming out party, and an eventual copycat movement powered by the WWE.
Once upon a time on that very show, Zack Ryder embraced his lot in life with lighthearted self-deprecation. There was a tongue-in-cheek flavor to the attention his admitted "jobber" status. His mock public service announcements showed his ability to laugh at himself. They also playfully suggested that WWE take a longer look at his talents.
This led to a Rocky-like character being booked as a lovable underdog. At WWE TLC in 2011, in front of his home crowd, Ryder defeated Dolph Ziggler for his first singles championship. The kid had reached the top of his mountain. Sadly, he had also peaked.
Ryder would lose his United States championship to Jack Swagger as a result of storyline injuries suffered from Kane. It wasn't before long Ryder's public disgruntlement would soon lose its playful charm, going from self-deprecating to self-loathing.
Few people can explain why Ryder fell out of favor with office higher ups who previously seemed to take a liking to his self-starter mentality.
Recent tweets fired off by Ryder have a take-this-job-and-shove-it tone to them. Ryder's snub appears to be the straw that broke the camel's back, not just for Zack Ryder, but for the WWE as well.