Since being released by WWE the former Zack Ryder, Matt Cardona, has teased what he might do post-WWE from showing a picture of himself with the Internet title and showing off new ring gear. On Busted Open, Cardona looked back on the big push he received after gaining fans support from his YouTube show. He discussed how things started to take a turn and how he felt watching WrestleMania in a press box in his hometown.
"I'm not gonna lie. When I was doing the YouTube show in 2011, I saw my hard work getting rewarded, and I was rewarded by the fans," Cardona said. "They would bring my signs or chant my name to shows I wasn't even at or buy my merch, and it kind of forced WWE to use me. So I loved getting my hard work rewarded by the fans.
"Then I was continuing the YouTube show. Instead of everything going up, it was going down and down fast. Like I said, I should have knocked at the door and asked Vince McMahon straight up, 'what's going on? What can I do to change what's going on?' And I didn't. So I can only blame myself for that because I don't know what was said behind those doors. If I presented myself and asked, maybe I would know. I'd be lying if I said I didn't know what was going on like my career was going downhill fast. 2011, I worked my way up, and then two years later, WrestleMania in New Jersey, I was literally watching the show from Miz's friends and family press box. I was a total loser. It sucked."
Cardona noted how his top moment in WWE was winning the Intercontinental Championship at WrestleMania 32. He talked about how he was not originally booked for the match and the appeal he made to replace Pac, formerly Neville.
"It was WrestleMania 32 winning the Intercontinental Title, it was cool to win the title, sure," Cardona recalled. "The ups and downs going into that night. I wasn't even supposed to be in that match. Someone got injured. It was Neville, Pac, that got injured, and I went right up to Road Dogg, who was head of creative. I don't remember exactly what I said. I think it was an out-of-body experience. I just rattled off why I think I deserve to be in that match. I think he could just feel that passion just coming out of my body.
"I guess one of the things I said was, 'I never heard my music play at Mania,' and later he said that was the comment that stuck with him and got him to vouch for me to get me in there."
Cardona talked more about the moment and how he got to share it with his father in the ring. He admits that winning the title was the biggest moment of his career that has not been topped yet, but he says he's excited to try to top that moment now that he has been released by WWE.
"So just coming down that aisle after so many years in WWE and hearing my music for the first time at WrestleMania, that was a win right there, but to actually win the championship then my dad slid in the ring," Ryder said. "That was not part of the show. That was not storyline. That was not written. [Dolph] Ziggler waved him over, and my dad was like OK and just hopped over the guardrail and slides in the ring.
"Hugging my dad at WrestleMania with the Intercontinental Championship was a storybook moment that for now is not topped. What I'm excited about is that it will be topped because I've been in the business for a long time, but I'm only 34. I got a long time left and a long time to create more memories."
Cardona had described his situation as a kid who can't open their Christmas presents and the anticipation to go out and do what he wants to do. Cardona expresses that feeling more and how he was not feeling fulfilled sitting in catering.
"I don't have a family. I don't have kids to feed," Cardona noted. "If I was in that situation, maybe I would be thinking differently. My dream, my goal was to always be a professional wrestler and not just be any professional wrestler but be one of the top ones. To go to work and to just sit in catering and eat that s--tty salt and pepper chicken, I was not fulfilled. That was not cool. I want to work. I want to wrestle. I want to be creative. I want to do something. Now I can.
"I'm so excited about it. It really does feel like Christmas because I have the 90 days, and the world is so messed up there's nowhere to work right now. That's why I see those Christmas gifts. You just turn the corner, and you're dad's setting up the camera. You can't go get them yet, and I see those Christmas gifts and I want to rip them open and wrestle and just have fun."
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit Busted Open with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.