WWE: Does Zack Ryder Represent a New Social Media Era of Wrestling?

StarblaydeContributor IIJuly 12, 2011

Zack Ryder, WWE 'Internet Champion'
Zack Ryder, WWE 'Internet Champion'

Self-proclaimed WWE Internet Champion Zack Ryder has more followers on Twitter than Ted DiBiase, Jr.

Why is this important?

Michael Cole recently announced with glee that DiBiase had 150,000 followers on Twitter. The actual number is more like 129,000, while Ryder has a good deal more, with 142,000.

One of them is on Smackdown every week, was in a successful stable with Randy Orton and Cody Rhodes—who was his tag team partner—and is the son of a WWE Legend.

The other recently had 15 seconds of airtime on RAW, is barely a regular on Superstars or NXT and once dressed up like Edge.

Ryder's following comes from the viral nature of his Z! True Long Island Story shows on YouTube. They're never longer than 10 minutes, are usually funny and also give us an insight into the world of an underused pro wrestler.

His jokes involve the wrestling slang that we smarks love so much, how "Nobody pushes Zack Ryder," how he's used his crayons to sketch a dollar bill in an effort to show that he can "draw money," and how he's attempting to climb a fence, "trying to get over."

He's showing his personality and we like it. When was the last time Randy Orton, for instance, showed any personality?

He's over with the Internet Wrestling Community. He's over despite his awful Guido gimmick, his pathetic music (which at least is recognisable in the first few seconds), his silly catchphrases and his lack of merchandising.

He's over because of the power of social media, the new form of the age-old "word of mouth."

There's no advertising better, if you've got the right product.

His detractors say he's overrated, how there's never a big pop when he comes out—even on shows like NXT where he's a comparatively big star. On the June 21 episode of NXT, where he wrestled his former rookie Titus O'Neil, Zack got at least as big a pop as when Matt Striker came out to say "Hershey, Pennsylvania!" If a crowd doesn't cheer their own town, they're hardly going to cheer for your average WWE superstar.

They also say he's not a great in-ring performer, but that doesn't stop the likes of Hulk Hogan walking out, delivering two punches and a big boot for a victory to a huge chorus of cheers.

Zack Ryder is finally getting himself a push, seemingly by a team-up with Tag Team Champions Michael McGillicutty and David Otunga. Even Vince McMahon has pointed to one of the many, many Zack Ryder signs that are held up on every single RAW and PPV whether he's there or not.

A lot of the WWE Roster tweet and have Facebook pages, this is nothing new. No one, however, has connected quite like Zack Ryder. Even CM Punk once tweeted an answer that yes, he was getting out of the WWE because he was jealous of Zack Ryder...but only because Ryder doesn't have to work on Mondays.

That looks like it's about to change, and the IWC rejoices.

Give the guy his chance, he's earned it with us. WWWYKI.