Lillian Garcia welcomes Zack Ryder to the show.
Ryder informs that he had a great upbringing with very supportive parents and terrific brothers. He and his brothers actually had a trampoline wrestling league in their back yard, unbeknownst to their parents. He points out that wrestling became somewhat of an addiction for him in high school, and he’d often attend wrestling events in the front row by himself in order to get the collectible PPV chairs.
Growing up he was highly motivated by Hulk Hogan and Shawn Michaels, but as he got older he began to cheer for performers such as Edge, Christian and Chris Jericho. He points out that it was surreal for him to work with those guys in WWE years later, and he has actually become good friends with them now.
Ryder informs that collecting action figures is a huge hobby of his. He has a toy room at his house with thousands of action figures, and it was really cool for him to get his own action figure in WWE. He guesses that he’s had 20 of his own action figures made since he debuted in WWE.
Ryder notes that it was always his dream to be a professional wrestler and nobody was going to tell him that he couldn’t do it. His parents have always been supportive, but they also wanted him to get a legitimate education. He struck a deal with them where he’d get an education, but they’d have to pay for his wrestling school in return.
Garcia informs that it was really cool to see Ryder win the Intercontinental Title at WrestleMania a couple of years ago. Ryder says that a lot of people in the back said the same when he went backstage, and that was cool for him. Garcia points out that Ryder is so positive and that’s why everyone likes him. He says he doesn’t see the purpose in being bitter, although he did get bitter once.
Several years ago Ryder started to film a Youtube show and built it from the ground up on his own. It became very popular and fans were even chanting his name at shows. When the show reached its peak popularity he was forced to hand it over to WWE and then it “went to shit”. He felt like he was being punished for some reason even though he took it on himself to make something happen and got popular all on his own.
He continues to make the show under WWE’s umbrella for another year, but it became a job and it wasn’t fun anymore. He thinks the fans could see through that, and they didn’t respond to the second season like they did to the first.
Looking back now, he wishes he would have went and knocked on Vince McMahon’s door at that time and asked what was going on. He was probably intimidated and didn’t want to ruffle feathers, but he was a top 3 merchandise seller in the company at that time and definitely could have approached McMahon to have a conversation.
He notes that he has grown up in WWE as a performer and as a person, so now he can go to McMahon’s office and have a conversation. He’s still nervous, but he can do it. While he won’t go as far as saying he’s best friends with McMahon, he’s able to discuss things with him now.
Ryder informs that he knew all along that he was going to drop the Intercontinental Title the night after WrestleMania 32. He points out that he wasn’t even supposed to be in that ladder match, but after Neville got hurt he went to Road Dogg and made a case as to why he should take Neville’s place. He told Road Dogg that he’d never heard his music play at WrestleMania, and apparently that line stuck with Road Dogg.
He’s not sure when the decision was made for him to win the Title, but he couldn’t believe it when they told him he was going to win. It was a few days before WrestleMania and he was sure the finish would change before the show, but it didn’t. He notes that it was the best night of his life.
Ryder informs that he thought the Hype Bros would end when he won the Title but he was told shortly after that Mojo Rawley was getting called up and they were going to move forward with that tag team. He wasn’t really happy about that, but he knew that they both had to make it work. There’s no hard feelings between them and they tried their best but it just didn’t work, and they were both quite relieved when they finally broke up.
Garcia asks Ryder if he’d ever be interested in tagging back up with Curt Hawkins. Ryder say that he probably wouldn’t have been interested in that a couple of years ago, but he wouldn’t be entirely against that now. He thinks it might be cool to team back up with Curt Hawkins since they came into WWE together.
Ryder informs that his nearly 2-year battle with cancer was a real eye-opener for him. It taught him to never give up, and his dreams of becoming a professional wrestler was something that really kept him going at that time. He thinks the future is still bright for him as he’s still in his prime, and he hopes to have more amazing moments in WWE in the coming years.
That sums up this week’s episode of Chasing Glory. You can listen to the show yourself anytime here, and I’ll catch ya next week for another recap!