Matt Cardona has shared his thoughts on his WWE release, admitting that ultimately, the exit was the best thing to happen to his career.
Cardona was the latest guest on Renee Paquette’s ‘Oral Sessions,’ as real life girlfriend Chelsea Green acted as a special guest host. Matt Cardona, known in WWE as Zack Ryder, was one of several performers released by the company in April 2020, following cutbacks due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Speaking with Green, Cardona recalled the day he was let go from WWE. With his contact nearing its end, Matt admitted that by April 2020, he was ready to leave:
“I knew the releases were coming that day, and my biggest fear was that they weren’t going to release me. My contract was up in August and this is April, and I did not resign. I didn’t know if I wanted to stay or go. So I was like oh my God I hope they don’t not release me and just let me rot until August. Once I saw people going I was like oh please! Please fire me! I already had my Pro-Wrestling Tees store set up.”
Cardona first signed with WWE all the way back in 2006. After initially appearing in Deep South Wrestling, Matt would make his main roster debut, alongside long time partner Brian Myers (FKA Curt Hawkins) in May 2007.
As Zack Ryder, Cardona would capture the WWE Intercontinental, United States and Tag Team Championships. He wold be widely credited for being the first Superstar to use YouTube and social media to their advantage and would proclaim himself the first and only WWE Internet Champion in 2011.
Though achieving many accolades in WWE, Cardona would ultimately slip down the card, rarely being used on Raw, Smackdown and pay-per-views. Matt would share with Chelsea Green that losing his WWE contract was tough, but having the decision to walk away from the company made for him made it easier:
“Listen, losing your dream job sucks, the pay-check coming in every week and then not coming in, that sucked. But it was time to go. Ultimately the decision was made for me. [Chelsea asks was that a good thing] Yeah because I was living with anxiety for over a year negotiating this new deal. When the decision was made it was like OK this is it for me. Once there was a weight lifted off my shoulder, I was very excited to go out there and wrestle. The thing is we were living in this pandemic. Yes there were a couple of indies but it wasn’t the safest. But right now, every weekend in the summer I am booked for something. [The release] it was the best thing that happened for me, 100%.”
Since his release, Cardona has made several appearances on the independent scene, as well as with AEW and IMPACT Wrestling.
Most recently, Cardona shocked the world in a surprise victory against Nick Gage, capturing the GCW World Championship. The victory would mark Matt Cardona’s first ever World Championship win.
Credit for Interview: Oral Sessions