Since being released by WWE in April 2020 after fifteen years with the company, Matt Cardona, formerly known Zack Ryder, has been reinventing himself on the independent scene.

The former WWE Intercontinental Champion has been doing the rounds working for a number of promotions as a “sports entertainer” heel. He recently had a notable run as GCW World Champion with Game Changer Wrestling and was the reigning NWA World Heavyweight Champion until last night.

Capitalizing on his success outside WWE, Cardona found a window of opportunity to send a photo of himself holding multiple championships to his former boss, Vince McMahon, earlier this year. The one-time IMPACT Digital Media Champion expressed why he felt in a position to send the photo.

“I always had a good relationship with Vince, especially the last couple of years,” Cardona told Bleacher Report. “I’d go into his office, not necessarily to get things done but I was sick of pitching ideas to the writers and all that B.S. If it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen because Vince wants it to happen. Listen, not everything I pitched happened. A majority didn’t, but at least I found out from Vince and not some writer.

“I never had Vince’s number and I never texted with him, but then last year, I got a happy birthday text. I wondered who the 203 number was and someone said it was Vince McMahon. I was like, ‘Oh, sh*t.’ So, I text him every once in a while for the hell of it.”

At present, Cardona is currently sidelined with a torn bicep. In an interview with Wrestling Inc., the former WWE United States Champion revealed that he is due to undergo surgery and is slated to be out of action for anywhere up to five months. Cardona himself stated that he is “hoping for three”. The injury occurred at GCW’s “Downward Spiral” event last month in a match against Blake Christian.

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