Rise of Ryder

Hey Scott,

I was wondering what you thought about the ascent of Zack Ryder over the last several months. This story is pretty amazing to me, that he basically rescued himself from the bottom of the totem pole where guys like Primo reside and launched himself to the point where he has a sizable fanbase (that was some chant on Monday), merch that moves, and more important, job stability to the point where I think it’s a question of not if, but when he becomes US/IC/whatever Champion. When he thanked his fans two days before Vengeance on his web series (via making them his collective Broski of the Week), saying that 36 weeks prior, he was just some kid with a Flip cam wanting to make a name for himself because it was either “get noticed or get fired”, and now here he was in a PPV title match solely on the wave of that fan support, there was a sense of genuine pride in the fanbase (or at least in myself) because that appreciation wasn’t some scripted WWE line, but a true, Honest-to-God emotion from worker to fans, that we the fans made this happen and not just because the powers that be forced him down our throats.

I’ve read on some of the news sites that he has a backer in Triple H and it reminded me of when Aitch did an interview a couple of years ago lamenting that the younger guys didn’t put in the full effort to get better, that they didn’t work with guys like Steamboat or Arn Anderson who offered tutelage, that they basically showed up, did their TV work, and expected to be handed elevation to the top of the card. I think the cynic would chalk it up to HHH spinning the reasoning on why certain guys were held back, but off of those comments, it would make sense why he would support Ryder, who could’ve just languished in the lower card until his inevitable release, but went out and got himself noticed his own way. And when Vince ribbed Ryder by telling him he’d be a vital part of a RAW in Long Island, then pulled the rug from under him right before the show was to go live (in one of many, many things that was only funny to Vince), to see big names in the locker room go to bat for him afterward showed that his effort was also admired by his peers. It’s just really cool to see a guy rise in the ranks on his own accord.

What do you think about the Long Island Iced Z?

I like him!  He’s a fun midcard character who is the rare guy that hung in through getting ignored by management, and got himself over in the process.  He probably would have benefited from working indies to actually refine his in-ring stuff, but that’s sadly the least important of the package these days.  I think it really goes to show, however, that wrestling is truly the snake that consumes its own tail.  Who would have thought that a nothing half of a nothing team would reinvent himself, using the same name no less, as a totally new character and get over?

Woo woo woo indeed.