Matt Cardona isn’t in IMPACT Wrestling to pass the torch to anybody, he’s ready to light it and carry it himself.
Cardona recently spoke with WrestleZone Managing Editor Bill Pritchard ahead of his tag team match on this week’s episode of IMPACT Wrestling. Cardona will team with Josh Alexander against Madman Fulton and Ace Austin, who Cardona also defeated when he debuted at Hard To Kill earlier this month.
Cardona started 2020 as Zack Ryder in WWE, but his nearly-14 year career there ended when he was released in April as a result of the pandemic. This was followed by a stint with All Elite Wrestling over the summer, and now Cardona arrives in IMPACT looking to prove something to his fans—and himself. He says it seems bad on paper but he actually had a good year overall, citing the growth of his podcast brand and newly-attained creative freedom as some of the ways he’s been able to prosper leading into the new year.
“You know, on paper, 2020 was a pretty shitty year. You look and [I] say, ‘Oh, I got fired, I had to cancel my wedding’ but in reality, it was one of the best years ever. The Major Wrestling Figure Podcast is something that Brian Meyers and I started two years ago and it really took off, and a lot of my attention went there. And of course, I wanted to grow up being a wrestler, it’s the only thing I wanted to do,” Cardona explained, “but to really have this freedom and do whatever I want to, just with the podcast in trying anything, there are no handcuffs now. We made the brand super successful and we just launched our own network, the Major Pod Network, with all of these other spinoff shows.”
“I’ve been talking to IMPACT since [my WWE] release and it never quite made sense but we were always in contact. When the text came through ‘Do you want to come work?’ I wrote ‘Alwayz Ready’ because it just made sense. I don’t know if it was by coincidence or fate,” Cardona said, “but I shaved my body the night before and I got a tan, so I was ready to go! I wanted to wrestle and it was live on pay-per-view, so why not?”
Many other wrestlers have signed with IMPACT because of the creative freedom the company has allowed their talent to have, and Cardona says it’s just one of many reasons the company was an attractive destination.
“I said it last week on IMPACT backstage, the reason I’m here with IMPACT is for an opportunity and I feel like I will get one here. The locker room, I think it’s one of the most underrated in the history of the business, there’s guys hungry and craving their first opportunity, guys craving another opportunity, and guys that have been in the business so long that they never really got a true opportunity. It’s this whole mish-mosh of people and I feel like I will fit in perfectly, and IMPACT is the spot where I will get an opportunity. And you know what? If I fail, at least I got the opportunity, and opportunity is all I’ve ever wanted,” Cardona said, “but I don’t think I’m going to fail and my track record shows that I capitalize on opportunity. They might not come every day, they might not come every year, but when I get it, you better believe I’m ‘Alwayz Ready’ and I’ll knock it out of the park.”
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) January 26, 2021
As far as actually ‘signing’ goes, Fightful previously reported Cardona had been under an agreement to work last week’s tapings, but no other dates were scheduled at that point. Cardona confirmed to WrestleZone that he’s still not under a full-time talent contract but he’s enjoying the experience so far. He added that he enjoyed the rush from being back in the ring and IMPACT seems like his future for now.
“So, I am not under a contract right now. We’re just seeing what happens, but so far, so good. I had a really good time this week. Whether it’s being in the locker room or being in the ring, I just really needed it. I needed to be in the ring—the Major Pod is awesome and it’s a creative outlet for sure—but I need to be designing gear or thinking about things for my matches. Wrestling is my first love and it’s something that I always grew up loving and being obsessed with. I had a pay-per-view debut and I wrestle on IMPACT this week, OK, so now I need more gear because I don’t like wearing the same gear over and over again. I’m already thinking for the future,” Cardona said, “and IMPACT definitely seems like my future for now.”
Cardona says he got some Mikey Whipwreck-inspired gear made a few years ago but still hasn’t been able to wear it due to circumstances. He says he still has it and hoped IMPACT can provide him the special moment, and thinks an IMPACT pay-per-view or app special could possibly provide that moment.
After speaking about how much IMPACT could help his career, Cardona was asked about how can he can help them in return. Cardona brings a large fanbase, talent and creativity to IMPACT, and he says he’s ready to help lead the charge and take his career further, not just be another piece of the puzzle.
“Well, there’s so many guys—look at a guy like Ace Austin. I was watching the product and I knew this guy was going to be something. He’s got talent, and I knew if I could get in there—we’ve already wrestled on pay-per-view, this little kick-ass, five-minute match—but if we could have some time, if we could go? I said this when I got released by WWE, but it feels like it’s Christmas morning and I see all of these new toys, right? I see Ace Austin, Sami Callihan, Eddie Edwards, Moose, guys I’ve never wrestled before,” Cardona said, “and I just can’t wait to get in there and yes, I want to have some fun, but I want to win and extend my career. I’m not here to pass the torch to anybody, I’m here to light the torch and carry it myself.”