Long Island’s very own WWE Superstar is leading his fanbase on a very wild ride that apparently is signaling a character change.
On Sunday, Zack Ryder posted an all-new episode of his once-popular Z! True Long Island Story web series on YouTube. But instead of the usual happy-go-lucky character he has been, Ryder agitatedly ripped off his headband and glasses, dropped his Internet Championship belt and stormed off the set.
Monday, Ryder continued the bizarre behavior with a post on his Twitter account where he showed a photo of his sunshades and headband on the floor with the message, “#RAW tonight...leaving these behind in the locker room.”
Ryder and the rest of the WWE roster are on a European tour right now. Monday night’s Raw episode—shown on tape delay because of the time difference—and Friday night’s SmackDown episode are being broadcast from London.
These recent actions appear to indicate that a storyline change may be in the works for Ryder, and that could mean a move from mid-card mediocrity to another shot in the WWE spotlight. Maybe he is shifting his focus from being a fan favorite back to a heel.
But is it too little too late?
If, in fact, Ryder is turning heel, then he is doing so in the shadow of Ryback. Two weeks ago, the former fan fave Ryback attacked John Cena on Raw, and last week, he talked about beating Cena and becoming the WWE’s top dog. To punctuate his new-found heel turn, Ryback stood by and watched as The Shield attacked Cena at the end of last week’s Raw.
Ryder also would be in the shadow of another great heel action from Fandango. Even though Fandango came in as a villain, he has been generating massive heel heat from the crowd for his recent battle with Chris Jericho and his recent attempt to bust a move on Lillian Garcia.
If Ryder is going rogue, then he will have to do so in an even bigger way than Ryback or Fandango has done.
Maybe he will interrupt Cena and try to administer his own version of a beatdown. Then again, he will really look like he is following in Ryback’s footsteps then, won’t he?
He could always turn on his former tag-team partner, Santino Marella. But that would be akin to kicking a teddy bear and would not generate the heat he would need to go over as a heel.
If a heel turn is in the mix for Ryder, it still would not have the impact that it could have if done several months earlier. He could come out and beat down everyone in sight, but he still would be playing third fiddle to Ryback and Fandango.
Or perhaps…just perhaps…we are reading too much into these recent developments. Ryder may be staying face, but just turning the page on his “Woo! Woo! Woo!” days and getting a new face storyline. We all know how WWE likes to tease one thing and swerve the other way.
Whatever happens with Zack Ryder, it certainly will make watching him on Raw or SmackDown a little more intriguing just to see what he is going to do. Even though he may not be the star he once was, Ryder still is over enough with the fans to have a following, face or heel.
You know it!
Follow Bill Atkinson on Twitter at @BAtkinson1963.