Zack Ryder Would Be Better Suited in a Tag Team Role
Zack Ryder is too talented for WWE to just release him, but he's not well-rounded enough to stand on his own.
The self-proclaimed "Internet Champion" is on a losing streak that would make the Houston Astros blush. Ryder has since taken to Twitter to complain about his position with the company several times over.
While some may not feel that playing the squeaky wheel is the best route for Ryder to get a push, his frustrations are understandable. He feels that he's better than a jobber, and he's right.
Ryder, though, is no future world champion either. His skills would be best used alongside a partner in the tag team division.
If this were 1988, Ryder would have already been paired with a partner, their team given a catchy name and they would go to battle against The Killer Bees, The Rockers or The Hart Foundation. Ryder likely wishes he could be transported to a time when the tag team division was deeper and more utilized.
Back then, solid but non-elite workers were often put to use in tag teams. What would have Marty Jannetty, Jim Powers or Jose Luis Rivera (one half of Los Conquistadors) have done without a robust tag team division?
Those guys all lacked something to be world title competitors, but the tag team division offered them a place to showcase their talents.
Ryder is one of the many victims of today's WWE, a version of the company that focuses far less on its tag teams than it has in the past.
When you employ Randy Orton, CM Punk, John Cena, Daniel Bryan, Mark Henry, Sheamus and a litany of other top guys, it's tough for a guy like Ryder to make headway.
Ryder is not the technician that Punk or Bryan is. He doesn't have the physical presence of Henry or Sheamus. His strengths are charisma and athleticism, but neither of those skills are phenomenal enough to allow him to leapfrog his competition.
If WWE wants a guy with speed and agility, it can turn to Kofi Kingston or Seth Rollins. That makes Ryder a good artist in a field of Picassos.
Why then hasn't WWE just cut him?
Ryder, even if he's not a top-level guy, is skilled, hungry and dedicated to the craft. There's got to be a better use for a wrestler like that than taking a handful of moves and losing without a real fight.
Looking back at his match against Christian in 2009, Ryder looked excellent.
He mixed his aggression with theatrics like shouting in Christian's face. He sold well, had great energy and moved fluidly in the ring. He hasn't lost those skills in the time since that match, there's just little place to use them in singles competition.
Without a brand extension, every WWE weekly show is crowded with the same talent.
That means all the singles champions have all the challengers they need. The tag team division, however, has just a handful of teams right now. Why not find a place for Ryder here with other guys who struggle to get on TV like Alex Riley, Yoshi Tatsu and Justin Gabriel? What about reuniting Ryder with Curt Hawkins?
Tag teams need less mic work and eschewing promos for in-ring action. Primo and Epico don't need to be great mic workers, and neither do The Usos. One-on-one feuds are deeper and more psychological, while tag feuds are often simpler and less explored.
Ryder is funny and charming, but how far can his character really go in an extended feud on his own?
It's hard to imagine him dredging up feelings of inferiority as well as Bryan, spouting off about the chip on his shoulder as well as Punk or threatening his opposition as convincingly as Henry.
That's fine. There's no need to try and make Ryder into something he's not.
Let him be an athlete. Let him be fun. Let him shine in a tag team and not a comedic one with Santino Marella.
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