WWE is a funny environment. It’s the only major company I can think of that an employee got a promotion because he nailed the boss’s daughter. And it’s one where hard workers can suddenly lose any upward momentum for no real reason. Men have gone from champ to chump in the time it’s taken you to read this sentence, and unless the talent in question has done something naughty like been arrested for a DUI or yawned in front of Vince McMahon, then it’s hard to fathom why.
Which brings us to the Zack Ryder.
Ryder rose to prominence on the back of his hugely successful web series, Long Island Iced Z. It showcased perfectly his humour, his gimmick and his love of the business. He was using social media in such a way that had never been done before in pro wrestling and not even he was sure if it would get him fired. Quite the opposite, in fact Ryder won the US Title 9 months later, and WWE had signed social media deals with Twitter and Tout. He was the new internet darling, indeed the self titled Internet Champion, who had bought about change in this old company.
And then like two drunk children playing Jenga, it all came crashing down.
He lost the title a few weeks later, and after an ill-judged angle involving Kane and John Cena he faded once again into obscurity. But this week Ryder released a video teasing the return of Long Island Iced Z, then after introducing the show, he takes off his merchandise and simply says “I can’t do this anymore” and the screen cuts out. The IWC has been wondering if this is pointing to a Zack Ryder heel turn, and if it is, I can’t help but feel it just won’t work.
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This article was first posted on April 23, 2013