Over the last couple of weeks, the WWE commentators have been making reference to the fact that Zack Ryder has yet to be given a match at WrestleMania 29 in East Rutherford, despite the fact that the event takes place in his "backyard."
Legitimately born Matthew Cardona of Merrick, N.Y. (less than 50 miles from MetLife Stadium), the character Zack Ryder is billed from Long Island, N.Y.
The fact that they're mentioning it on television at all is an indication to me that Ryder will, indeed, be booked in a match of some sort at WrestleMania 29.
But there is one former WWF/WWE Superstar that is more commonly associated with professional wrestling in the New York/New Jersey region: the Brooklyn Brawler.
On more than one occasion, my roommate (and fellow professional wrestling aficionado) Frank has mentioned the possibility of a Brooklyn Brawler return at the big April pay-per-view. The more he says it, the more it makes sense to me.
Steve Lombardi, legitimately born in Brooklyn as he was billed while appearing on regular WWF programming, is probably the one professional wrestler most associated with the greater New York City area.
Despite the fact that Ryder has already achieved greater heights in his career than the Brawler ever even came close to, everyone's favorite jobber will leave a legacy that Ryder could only dream of.
There are always surprise guests at WrestleMania. Whether it's a brief appearance by Sean "Puffy" Combs at WrestleMania 28, Pee-Wee Herman at WrestleMania 27 or Bobby Heenan and Gene Okerlund returning to the commentary booth for the gimmick battle royal at WrestleMania X-Seven, WWE likes to sprinkle WrestleMania with unannounced cameos from celebrities and former WWE talent.
Could there be a more appropriate "legend" to bring back for WrestleMania 29 than the Brooklyn Brawler? Considering he's still under contract with WWE as a road agent, it would take almost zero effort on the part of WWE to make it happen.
Some huge matches have already been announced for WrestleMania 29. The Rock vs. John Cena for the WWE Championship. Alberto Del Rio vs. Jack Swagger for the World Heavyweight Championship. Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar. CM Punk vs. The Undertaker. Presumably, The Shield vs. Sheamus, Orton and Big Show.
With a card that is already stacked, and four championships yet to have a match booked, would an appearance by the Brooklyn Brawler just feel forced? Could it actually take away from the event?
As long as they keep it short and sweet, I think a brief match with the Brooklyn Brawler would be a crowd-pleaser and a decent filler between two marquee matches.
Perhaps they could kill two birds with one stone. The Brooklyn Brawler comes out to the crowd's delight. Then, in classic heel tradition (and as a "true New Yorker"), he picks up the mic and starts expressing his love for Brooklyn and his disdain for New Jersey.
He issues an open challenge to anyone in the back. Ryder comes out, defends the residents of East Rutherford and pleases the crowd with a quick victory over one of the most recognizable figures from Hogan-era Saturday morning programming.
I'll be in attendance on April 7, and I'd be happy to see Lombardi do the job one more time. What do you think?