A few weeks ago I spoke about starting up a new series where I took a look at talent who many of us fans believe to have untapped potential. I developed the idea for this series after the most recent string of WWE releases or as some people call it the most recent case of spring cleaning. If you have been living under rock then let explain as over the course of two weeks around 10 or 11 names were released from their WWE contracts. This number is probably on the higher end then it has been in recent years. In this first edition of the series we will take a look at one man who at one point got himself over just by being different and working hard to “get over” without the office.
This WWE wrestlers name is the “Long Iced Z” and the only Internet Champion in history Zack Ryder. I know what you are going to say “Oh no not another Zack Ryder fan boy” well before you jump to a conclusion just hear me out. Back in 2011 Zack Ryder was the CM Punk of yesteryear as anytime the crowd got bored they’d chant “We Want Ryder” and eventually WWE did actually take notice. During the year we saw WWE take the feud that developed on Z True Long Island Story and between Dolph Ziggler and Zack Ryder and moved it to TV for the United States Title. These guys had chemistry together in the ring the likes of which we rarely see in the modern era; no they weren’t on the levels of a Flair vs Steamboat match but still they were really good.
After months of trying and getting knocked down Zack would finally capture the United States Title from Dolph Ziggler at TLC 2011 and the crowd went bananas. Sadly in less than 6 months not only did Zack lose the US title but he was made into nothing more than a joke. Hindsight being what it is I would have to say that at the time Zack’s in-ring skill left a lot to be desired as far as fluidity and just the idea of him being a top guy.
Though many people both backstage and in the audience were disappointed by how WWE pulled the rug out from Zack too soon and I was one of them. However, I can understand why they did I just don’t know why they had to do it over such a short period of time and make him into such a joke without getting any shred of revenge or anything of that nature. Overall I do believe if Zack was booked a little smarter during this time he wouldn’t be so hard to take seriously if he was given a bigger role, but because of the crummy booking he had to deal with now it is a lot harder to take him seriously.
I do realize they gave Zack the Intercontinental title at WrestleMania this past April, but I would guess the only reason why was in my book to through the fans off and shock them with the winner. Everyone knows that WWE is normally very predictable so why wouldn’t they want to do something that we aren’t expecting to surprise us on the biggest show of the year. I also believe that it is possible that The Miz was supposed to capture the IC Title at WrestleMania but instead they gave it to him the next night on Raw to give Zack Ryder is moment. In many ways even though it was a short reign it still somewhat made up for the crappy booking that Zack had to deal with 5 years ago when the Long Iced Z first started to heat up.