Matt Cardona was known as Zack Ryder during his time in WWE, where he was never given the room to really grow on television. He was eventually released by WWE in 2020 and honed his craft elsewhere. Cardona recently discussed that he had a completely different plan for one of his major WWE moments.
The former Zack Ryder reflected on winning the Raw Tag Team Titles from The Revival at WrestleMania 35, which broke his tag partner and best buddy Curt Hawkins’ 269-match losing streak. Cardona exclusively told Metro.co.uk how his ‘whole mindset changed’ after his one-day Intercontinental Championship run following WrestleMania 32.
That’s when I really started going into Vince – I wouldn’t say a lot, but when I thought I had a good idea. He was always very – he always listened, he gave me respect back.
Cardona noted that ‘a lot of those ideas’ didn’t happen. He however acknowledged that Vince gave him the time and listened to them. One particular pitch called for Hawkins, now known as Brian Myers, to stop his losing run in a completely unusual method.
WrestleMania was about to be in New York and New Jersey, one hometown. We had pitched that we would be the two final guys in the Andre The Giant Battle Royal and I would sacrifice myself. Brian would clothesline me out, and he would get his big moment at WrestleMania, break the streak, win the trophy. Vince – he didn’t like it, which is fine.
Two weeks later, we win the tag team titles at WrestleMania! I believe because we went into his office and he’s like, “Oh these guys, they live here!” I don’t know that for a fact, because we were just getting the Andre The Giant Battle Royale, and all of a sudden we’re in this tag team title match. We had no programme with The Revival at the time, they were doing something for months with Bobby Roode and Chad Gable. Then all of a sudden, we’re in this match and we win the belts! I think that’s because we went and talked to Vince. You never know what’s gonna happen.
Cardona was let go in April 2020 as the company began a long period of roster layoffs, and while he’s excelled as a freelancer, he’d like to return to pursue his aspirations once more. Keep an eye on Ringside News for more.
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