The former Zack Ryder, Matt Cardona, was released by WWE in mid-April as part of a series of cost-cutting measures by WWE. Cardona has since focused on the future and even showed off new ring gear. He made an appearance on Busted Open and revealed the anxiety he felt deciding whether or not to re-sign with WWE or not.
"Well, we all got this mass text to watch this Vince McMahon video explaining that these cuts would be happening. So I can't say it's unexpected. I never re-signed my contract, so my deal was going to be up in August, and I had been dealing with contract negotiations for over a year," Cardona revealed. "The anxiety I had about like do I stay? Do I go? Do I stay? Do I go? It was really eating me up, so when that call was made, I was relieved the decision was made for me. Instantly, I was relieved because the anxiety I had for over a year, subconsciously or consciously, it was instantly gone, and I felt so excited. I want to work. I want to do something.
"I was with WWE for 14 years. I signed there when I was 20 years old. I grew up there. I grew up as a wrestler. I grew up as a man, but it's time to go out there and do it my way to fail on my own and succeed on my own. I feel like it's Christmas morning, and I see the presents. I just can't open them yet. I just can't wait to go out there and wrestler everybody and do my own thing. Even having a Pro Wrestling Tees store and thinking of ideas and putting them up, I just love the hustle. I love being creative, and I love wrestling, so I cannot wait for the future."
Bully Ray talked about the idea of "grabbing the brass ring" and Cardona's experience with that idea. Cardona talked about his rise to popularity through his YouTube show and admits that he was too young at the time to question what was going on around in.
The 'grab the brass ring', I think you have to do it not just in WWE but in life, and I was at a point in my career where I wasn't satisfied with what I was doing," Cardona admitted. "Long story short, I started a YouTube show. It took off, and I got over. I don't think the WWE expected it. I knew that was my plan. I didn't think it would happen as fast as it did and as organically as it did, but there's no denying that it worked. When I started that YouTube show, I wanted to get noticed or get fired because I wanted that buzz. Either the buzz in WWE or get fired and have the buzz elsewhere.
"Luckily, I didn't get fired. Luckily, I got noticed, and I got used on television more. And the term punished, I mean listen, at the time when everything was going down, I was getting pushed off the stage in a wheelchair and choke-slammed off the stage, I could have, in retrospect, went to Vince McMahon and said, 'hey, what's going on here?' At the time, I was so young, so naive. Oh, this is part of the plan. I'll just wrestle Kane at Backlash. I wasn't aware enough or mature enough to knock on the bosses door and say, 'hey, I'm one of the top merch seller. I've been busting my ass. Why is this happening?' So I blame no one but myself for what happened there."
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit Busted Open with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.