Matt Cardona Says WWE Exit Was At Right Time, Targets IMPACT Gold

Matt Cardona

Matt Cardona has recently stated that IMPACT Wrestling is a great spot for him to be in at this point in his career, citing Ace Austin as a key performer he wishes to work more with in the company.

Cardona, who was formerly known as Zack Ryder, was released from WWE in 2020 amidst the coronavirus pandemic. During his 15-year stint with the company, Cardona achieved United States, Intercontinental and Tag Team gold. Following his release, internet speculation began to manifest regarding the next step for Matt.

Recently speaking with Denise Salcedo of Instinct Culture, Matt admitted that, although last year may have seemed like a terrible time for the former WWE star, 2020 was a notably positive year:

“On paper, 2020 for me was a horrible year. I got released from my dream job. This global pandemic, I had to cancel my wedding. But, in reality it was one of the best years of my life. It was awesome to have this freedom. And listen, I am so grateful for my time in WWE […] but it was time to go.”

Following his release, Cardona made sporadic appearances for AEW, before making his IMPACT Wrestling debut shortly after. Most recently, Cardona appeared as a surprise competitor at IMPACT’s Hard To Kill. Though reports confirm that Matt is not working with a full time contract, he told Salcedo that IMPACT is a great place for him to be:

“I think IMPACT is a great spot for me right now, a great opportunity… I am gonna take this opportunity and run with it and see what happens. Would I love to be the IMPACT World Champion? 100%. Would I love to be the face IMPACT? 100%. We’ll see what happens.”

Matt Cardona would face Ace Austin in his surprise appearance. The ‘Alwayz Ready’ superstar made light of Austin during the interview, stating the pair may have some unfinished business in the future:

“In IMPACT, I had my eye on Ace Austin before I even got there… This kid has it, like everyone says, the it factor, he definitely has it. We had like a five-minute sprint of a match. But I’d like to work with him in a nice long competitive hard-hitting match…

When I am in the ring with somebody, I can tell, like, this guy is good. You can just tell if you have chemistry or not and it takes time for somebody to build chemistry with each other. But I just felt like we’re on the same page, he’s somebody I would definitely like to work with again because I think our styles mesh well, he’s a good guy.”

Following his victory via disqualification at Hard To Kill, Cardona took to Twitter to thank Impact for the opportunity, also stating that he was not done with Ace Austin:

“I needed tonight. Thanks @ScottDAmore for the opportunity. Thanks @IMPACTWRESTLING. Thanks to all my fans! I’m #AlwayzReady…I’m #HardToKill…and I’m NOT DONE with @The_Ace_Austin & @FultonWorld!”

Despite being only 23 years old, Ace Austin is fast becoming a major player in the world of professional wrestling. Inside The Ropes‘ Lead Writer Gary Cassidy sat down with the X-Division Star of the Year for 2020 to chat all about his career thus far, and whether Ace Austin could become the youngest ever IMPACT World Champion. You can read the full interview here.