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Matt Cardona On Lesson He Learned “Too Late” In WWE

Matt Cardona

Matt Cardona wishes he’d learned certain lesson much sooner during his time in WWE.

During his former life as Zack Ryder, Matt Cardona spent over a decade working for WWE, and along the way had the opportunity to pitch plenty of ideas for his character. From being one of the Edgeheads alongside his tag team partner Bryan Myers (then known as Curt Hawkins) to creating his own YouTube series Z! True Long Island Story, his career with WWE was full of twists and turns.

Appearing on the Headlocked Panel at C2E2, the former Intercontinental Champion divulged a lesson that he wished he learned much earlier in his WWE career, one that would’ve helped him get much more done when pitching storyline ideas for himself.

“I learned, and I learned it a little too late in my career, f**k these writers. If you want something done, you’ve got to go to Vince. Because a lot of these writers are too afraid to pitch an idea to Vince. So, I would just go and talk to Vince, and if he said no, at least I know the answer is no.”

However, not every storyline pitched directly to Vince McMahon was guaranteed to be approved, and Matt Cardona reflected on one of his ideas that ultimately didn’t come to pass.

“One thing I pitched was something where I would get fired and then start doing like indies and stuff like that, and then come back. There was more to it than that,” Matt added. “But, that’s something I actually pitched to Vince, and he seemed to like it. He just threw me off to some other writer. So, maybe he didn’t like it and he knew I was going to go in circles.

“But then it got to a point where it was actually got into a script where the GM would fire me. But I was like, ‘no, I don’t want to get fired by the GM, I want to get fired in real life.’ I got fired in real life, but it’s not part of the storyline.”

Matt Cardona originally signed a developmental contract with WWE in 2006 and worked for the company until his release in 2019, becoming a United States Champion, Intercontinental Champion, and WWE Tag Team Champion along the way. The former Zack Ryder was one of the first to develop YouTube content for WWE with his self-produced show Z! True Long Island Story and even crowned himself Internet Champion.

Matt Cardona says that working in WWE was his developmental program

Speaking on the Barstool Rasslin’ podcast late last year, Matt Cardona discussed using what he learned in WWE and putting it to good use on the indies:

“WWE was my developmental. I don’t mean that as a shot to the web. I’ve loved my time in WWE. I lived my dream. You know, I made a lot of money there. The Intercontinental, Tag Team Title, US Title. I had WrestleMania moments. It was a dream come true. But it ended. So what am I gonna do about it? Am I gonna cry? Am I gonna f*cking bitch on the internet?

“No, I use the tools that I learned from Vince and the whole company and I’m taking it to the independents. I’m f*cking thriving. So in that sense, WWE was my developmental. That’s not a shot at the company. It created me, not only the wrestler, but the man I am today. I grew up in WWE. I was signed when I was 20 years old.

“Even in this year, I have grown as a man as a performer. That’s why it’s been so fun. Because I’m like, you know, I’m a very creative person and it’s been so much fun just going out there. I’m a big toy guy, right? I’m wrestling these new toys. I’m getting new toys to play with, except I’m getting to wrestle these new people in front of different audiences. Sometimes they love me, sometimes they hate me. It’s just been a blast.”

h/t to WrestlingInc and Fightful for the transcriptions used in this article