Former WWE Superstar Matt Cardona says WWE was his developmental as he is using what he learned to “thrive” on the independent wrestling scene.
Cardona was known for over a decade as Zack Ryder in WWE, riding a rollercoaster like no other in terms of success in the company and lack of it at times. Ryder gained notoriety when he created Z True Long Island Story, a forerunner to YouTube shows of today as he looked to make a name for himself at a time he where he was languishing down the card.
That ultimately led to a WWE United States Championship run and involvement in an infamous angle with John Cena and Kane. Years later Ryder gained more success in a surprising twist at WrestleMania 32 when he captured the Intercontinental Championship – albeit for one night.
Matt Cardona was released from his WWE contract in April 2020 as the company started making budget cuts to their roster that have lasted well into 2021, and that’s where the fun has really begun.
Cardona is a part of the IMPACT Wrestling roster and made appearances for AEW but it’s on the independent scene and as part of Game Changer Wrestling that the former Long Island Iced Z has really made a name for himself in 2021.
Speaking on the Barstool Rasslin’ podcast, 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.”