Zack Ryder Sold His Soul to the WWE, Then Went Bankrupt

Alfred KonuwaFeatured ColumnistMarch 2, 2013


For those who are into tragedies, a depressing and poignant interview with Zack Ryder was conducted by the Busted Open radio show this past week. 

Ryder comments on his cult-like success in the WWE, which was seemingly manufactured overnight.  Also included is an extended discussion of the subsequent crumbling of a strong push that coincided with WWE acquiring the rights to Z! True Long Island Story.  

The saddest aspect of the interview is the focus on Ryder's likely exclusion from WrestleMania 29.  The event will be held in his home market of New Jersey. Ryder calls it "heartbreaking" if he is left off the show.

Ryder noticed the value of social media in the WWE before anybody else.  The meteoric rise of Z! True Long Island Story created a copycat domino effect of the WWE finally agreeing to embrace social media.  In addition to scrolling in-show tweets that have become commonplace on WWE TV, WWE recently featured its first ever "Social Media SmackDown." 

The WWE also reported a healthy uptick in revenue during its fourth-quarter 2012 earnings call this past Thursday.  Much of the increase was attributable to post-Ryder partnerships with video-sharing/subscription websites Hulu and YouTube. 

Of course, none of that revenue increase was shelled out to Zack Ryder as a long overdue royalty.  Forget being sad, that caveat alone should just make Zack Ryder mad.

Reflecting on his show peaking during the second half of its run, Ryder said:

The fans just assumed I sold out, when I was still doing all the work and putting it on their channel and they instantly turned on it. Then WWE was editing it and taking things out, even though they said they weren't going to touch it. Then it just became a job and not fun. For the most part the last 50 were horrible, but the first 50 changed the business.

In addition to his show being bastardized, Ryder's career molestation by the machine included a 2012 when his character was mortgaged in favor of another one of Kane's temporary heel runs. 

In fact, Ryder's treatment leading up to WrestleMania XXVIII was metaphorical of his well-documented career downturn.  One minute, he was being strangled by a larger-than-life monster.  The next, getting kicked in the shorts by an elusive beauty who he thought he had already won over. 

2013 has been less cruel to Zack Ryder only because his inactivity limits opportunities for public castration.  Still, the WWE kicked off the year with a graphic that blatantly snubbed Ryder as one of their most followed Superstars on Twitter (as of this writing, Ryder has gone over one million followers).  

Maybe Zack Ryder didn't stay underground long enough.  Ryder succeeded in getting noticed through self-starting efforts on YouTube.  But perhaps he was a bit overzealous in handing his show over to the WWE and in turn conforming with the WWE's constricting standards before the battle was actually won.