The IWC was very behind Zack Ryder for a long time. As time has gone on, though, he has lost as much support as he had. WWE gave him a short push, but it wasn’t what people were hoping for. On social media Ryder has been very vocal about his displeasure of his position in the company. It’s hard to blame him, for two reasons. One, he has the support of the fans, obvious, considering John Cena and CM Punk have backed him. It’s hard to fathom that if the number 1 guy and the “1B” (as Richard frequently calls him) that you can’t get the support of Vince and the writing staff. Two, how can we blame him for complaining online, when that’s why we got behind him in the first place. The IWC isn’t exactly known for it’s consistency with wrestlers, but it’s still hard to place the blame entirely on Ryder for being so vocal. So the question is: How does Zack Ryder rise above the plateau he has hit? The answer, if you look back at some of the most successful superstars in the business. He has to evolve his character. It’s funny because Vince likes to act like the fans don’t remember anything, while that’s not always true, we do have a strong capacity for forgetting.
Think back to some of the better superstars in the last decade or two. Look at Zack Ryder’s mentor, Edge. He started off as a quiet loner, who entered the arena through the crowd. He then evolved into a darker, edgier (pardon the pun) character when he aligned with Gangrel. After that he switched into a cheesy, funny, “dude” like character when he and Christian formed a tag team. When he moved into singles competition he became a bit more serious again. Later he entered into a feud with Matt Hardy and Edge became the angry, Rated R superstar by picking up Lita as a girlfriend and manager. He then picked up the “ultimate opportunist” theme. This is one of the most successful wrestlers in the last decade and he evolved over and over again. The same can be said about Stone Cold, he was the Ringmaster. Triple H was the Connecticut Blue Blood, then a degenerate, then the Game. The Rock, John Cena, Mark Henry, Shawn Michaels, and countless others have had to re-invent themselves time and time again. If Ryder is going to succeed he needs to evolve.
Ryder himself has even has been through several evolutions. He started out being one of Edge’s “boys” when he did the La Familia gimmick. He had long hair and actually had a fair bit of intensity to him. Then he went to ECW and cut his hair, switched into the strange one-legged pants ring attire, and added the Woo Woo Woo gimmick. He then took that into the full on Jersey Shore gimmick that he’s going with now. All of those things were necessary, I don’t think a single thing he’s done to date has been bad. His past gimmicks have raised him up each time, moving him forward. But like his past, it’s time to put his gimmick in the past and evolve once again.
If the past has been any indicator of what Ryder needs to do to succeed than he is going to need to drop the “theme” gimmick and be more of himself. He needs to put some intensity into his character, both inside the ring and out. He has a chip on his shoulder from not being pushed? Good! Use it! Go out, re-package yourself and come with the same intensity that we’ve seen from your past in La Familia and more recently via your social media accounts. I don’t think it’s a leap to say that if Zack went out there and change himself a bit, really put all of himself, and by himself I mean Matthew Cardona, into his character then the IWC and the “WWE Universe” would get behind him again 100%.