Superstar Spotlight: We (Still) Want Ryder

Bill Pritchard

Superstar Spotlight

Zack RyderZack Ryder was one of the hottest things going last year. Think back to last year’s Survivor Series, which was in New York, but Zack was left off of the card. Fans were chanting ‘We Want Ryder’ all night, and he even got to run in during a segment, but he should have had a match. John Cena, The Rock, and CM Punk have all been supporters of him but WWE pulled the rug out from under him and stopped his push before it truly took off. I really don’t understand what the hell is wrong with WWE anymore; people complain there are no stars yet when someone gets themselves over WWE puts a stop to it. Is ego that big of a problem? Seriously, think about the pops he was getting last year compared to now. He still gets cheered, but it’s nowhere near as loud as it was last year.

Zack Ryder got over by creating a YouTube show when his employer barely used him. Ken Anderson, Elijah Burke and Christian went to TNA and reinvented themselves, and CM Punk even said in his documentary that he almost left because of his role. WWE may be in charge and Vince McMahon may make the final decisions, but it doesn’t mean they are right. Look at what happened to Brian Jossie, also known as AW or Abraham Washington, when he went on a Twitter tirade after being fired. He went about it the wrong way because he was brutally honest and was attacking the company. Zack was making light of the situation and made fun of himself. Zack showed how much he really cares and how much he wanted to succeed. Put it another way: I can make a good argument that Zack influenced WWE's use of social media because of his Twitter and YouTube accounts. They didn't seem to care about it, then all the sudden his show starting taking off and they became more aware of how good of a creative tool social apps could be.

How many people, like me, remember how good he was as the Long Island Loudmouth when he was featured on ECW? They obviously chose him as the guy to ‘retire’ Tommy Dreamer for a reason, and he had a really good program with Christian towards the end. (I hope he was chosen as Dreamer’s opponent for the right reason, but people’s opinion of hardcore wrestling differs) If they gave him time to develop here, like they did a bit with the Major Brothers and as an Edgehead, then why constantly stop the guy in his tracks?

Zack Ryder has already gotten noticed, so what does he do to get back to a more prominent role? Besides going back to one-legged tights (which were siiick, btw) there’s plenty he could do, or could have done. He could have turned heel during the Eve and Cena debacle, or he can still do it now. I constantly hear complaints about CM Punk and how stale he is, so why can’t Zack be a guy who says he is sick of making people happy and getting no results? Have him go back to being a loudmouth, or in a perfect world, have him act closer to the inspiration for his character. (My New Haircut – google it.) Do anything with him, but this could give him a bit of an edge. At least give him more of a chance than he gets now, which is win occasionally, and job to title contenders most of the time.

Do I need him on television constantly? No, but give him a spot in the midcard division and see how he does over time. People loved him because he was in the chase for the United States title, and they sympathized with him when Eve pulled at his heart’s strings. The tag team division is getting rebuilt, and Team Cobro is fine, but I don’t see them being a long term team. WWE should also rebuild the midcard and give the titles importance, which they seem to want to do with Antonio Cesaro and Kofi Kingston. Zack doesn’t need to immediately win a title, but seeing him contend with Cesaro was a good experience. On the other hand, if they want to keep him in the tag division, pair him back up with Curt Hawkins, who never should have split in the first place. Just do something more, or better.

Zack Ryder is talented. You may not agree with him or absolutely like his show, but you need to give credit where it’s due. He made himself and that may piss someone off backstage, but that’s how the landscape has changed. Fans dictate some of what they want to see, and fans want to see Zack Ryder. WWE listened to the fans for a bit, but now they post occasional polls and articles asking fans what they would like to see. WWE should’ve listened last year, and they should listen now because people still want Ryder. Stop shooting yourself in the foot because of pride, you should want a better product, no matter where it comes from. If anything, guys like Zack make it better because they have the passion and want to succeed. 

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