Since being released from WWE in early 2020, Matt Cardona has made seismic splashes across the professional wrestling scene. The Internet Champion has made headlines in Impact Wrestling and GCW, and has plans to go after Trevor Murdoch in the NWA in 2022.

With such a highlight year coming in 2021, Cardona has a unique perspective on what his time in WWE meant to his pro wrestling career.

“WWE was my developmental, and I don’t mean that as a shot at WWE,” Cardona told Barstool Sports’ Rasslin’. “I loved my time at WWE. I lived my dream, I made a lot of money there. Intercontinental title, tag team title, US title. I had WrestleMania moments. It was a dream come true, but it ended. What am I going to do about it? Am I going to sit and cry? Am I going to b—h about it on the internet? No. I used the tools that I learned from Vince and the whole company, and I’m taking them to the independents and I’m f–king thriving. In that sense, WWE was my developmental.”

Cardona is currently signed to Impact Wrestling, but is free to make appearances in other promotions across the world. While he’s not opposed to being exclusive to one company in the future, Cardona says he’s content with where he’s at now.

“Never say never, but I’m having the time of my life right now, the time of my career,” Cardona said. “Before this, when I was doing my YouTube show back in the day, that was my favorite year of my career, but f–k. This year is number one by far. I’m having the time of my life, making some money, and being my own boss. I love it.

“And it’s not just the creative freedom but the freedom to just make my own schedule, do whatever I want to do, and it’s working,” Cardona continued. “This wasn’t some master plan. Of course, I always want to bust my a– and be at the top, but I didn’t wake up on January 1, 2021 and say, ‘Okay, in July I’ll do this death match.’ It’s always ready. It’s not just a hashtag or a gimmick. It’s the way I live my life and career. Some people, not just in wrestling but in life, get handed opportunity after opportunity. I’m not one of them, and I’m not complaining about that. My opportunities come few and far between, and when I get one, I better capitalize.”

The former Zack Ryder has been with Impact Wrestling for nearly a year now. Cardona first debuted for the promotion at Hard to Kill in January 2021, defeating Ace Austin by disqualification. In quite the full circle moment, Cardona will get the chance to capture Impact’s top prize at 2022’s Hard to Kill, when he challenges champion Moose and fellow challenger W. Morrissey in a triple threat match for the Impact World Title.

While this world title opportunity comes with weeks of preparation, Cardona’s initial Impact debut was the polar opposite.

“It was last year at Hard to Kill where I made my debut, and I wasn’t scheduled to be on the show,” Cardona said. “The day before someone from [Impact] talent relations texted me and said, ‘Hey, can you be at the pay-per-view tomorrow?’ and I responded, ‘Always ready.'”

Cardona’s 2022 is front-loaded with major moments lying in wait. Beyond his Impact World Title shot, Cardona is expected to be competing in one of the headlining matches at The Wrld on GCW, Game Changer Wrestling’s biggest event yet, despite seemingly quitting the promotion recently. On top of that, Cardona has heavily teased a NWA World’s Championship match with Trevor Murdoch at the National Wrestling Alliance.

Despite all the opportunity now coming his way, Cardona has had to scratch and claw to get to where he is now.

“I mean this, and I’ve been saying this a lot, and some people might think it’s a gimmick, but I mean this one hundred percent. If you disagree, go f–k yourself, because you’re wrong. There is no one in the history of this business who’s been counted out, whether it be by management, fans, whatever, counted out and has come back more times than me,” Cardona said. “I will not f–king die. I am the cockroach of this business. You cannot kill me. I love this business too much to just quit. It ain’t going to happen.”

Matt Cardona competes for the Impact World Title at Impact Wrestling Hard to Kill on January 8, 2022.

If you use any quotes from this article, please credit Barstool Rasslin’ with an h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.

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