WWE: The IWC's crush on Zack Ryder
by, 04-20-2011 at 03:01 AM (7441 Views)
I saw a question asked in the forum recently (paraphrased): "I've been away for awhile, what's the deal with everyone loving Zack Ryder? I don't get it." and then someone replied with a link to his channel on YouTube. However, I thought it did bring up a quandary. How did Zack Ryder go from "Who?" to "US/IC Title, NOW!" in as little as 9 weeks in the eyes of the IWC's majority? (9 episodes of Z!)
1. Embracing the Internet
The IWC being the biased people that we are can appreciate someone who is actively interested in making a web presence and improving on it. We've seen dozens of superstars, referees, celebrities etc. make Twitters, websites, Facebooks etc. but it's not hard to tell where it seems forced, like the person really had no interest in doing it, and is only having an online presence to not feel left behind or because they we're told to. Ryder on the other hand embraced it, and actually put forth real effort into it. His videos weren't just blogs like the majority of Matt Hardy's, but we're skits that take time and effort and web viewers appreciate effort.
Humor is always a plus when it comes to an individual, it makes a person in general more likeable and making someone laugh on a regular basis is considered a major social talent. Zack has accomplished this in self-parody, his YouTube Videos and like Santino, goes all out in an over the top segment. (Friday, WM 27)
3. Seems like a Nice Guy
As an extension of his humor, he comes off not as a whiny superstar who feels neglected, but a nice guy who is just trying to entertain and be himself. The best personas and gimmicks in wrestling are those that a person can act like themselves or in a gimmick that truly enjoy, and his personality doesn't seemed forced or faked in his promos, videos or tweets, which goes a long way.
4. He has reasonably acceptable in-ring ability
He's no Daniel Bryan or Kurt Angle, but he's also no Alex Riley, he has decent in-ring abilities and chemistry that viewers can respect, and seems to put forth a real effort when he's in the ring (and allowed). Honest attempts combined with average to above-average skill comes off in a positive atmosphere as someone who has room for improvement. The IWC loves seeing people with higher ceilings.
5. People can relate to him
Yes he's in a "entertainment" job that many of us would dream of, but at the end of the day many people (consciously or not) see him as an employee of the WWE who is trying to 1) Keep his job, 2) Move up the "corporate" ladder, 3) Deals with internal politics, and yet perhaps because he can hide under self-parody and mockery doesn't come across as whiny. Many people can embrace the feeling of a lack of job security.
6. He's not overrated or past his prime
This is crucial because he's never been a big time superstar nor heavily hyped. One of the reasons (many many reasons) Matt Hardy gets such high scrutiny is because he is a guy who had his shot to move into main event status and failed to capitalize. He is quite similar to many old veterans who are well beyond their time whining about "how they're not respected" (see: Larry Zbyszko on Last Call with Scott Hall). Simply Zack doesn't come across as a spoiled whiny brat.
7. Fan Involvement
Watch pretty much any episode of Z! True Long Island Story and Zack will do a few different things: Embrace Wrestling Terminology so IWC's Smart Marks can feel like they're special. Show off people with "Broski" signs, ask people to interact with him on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, shamelessly plug his T-shirt and reward people who buy them. (Gutsy, which people tend to like), and finally he'll talk about Backstage Politics (indirectly). Since you're reading this blog on ewrestlingnews.com, it's no secret that you yourself love reading about backstage news, politics and what goes on. Guess what, Ryder just exploited that.
8. People remember Ryder vs. Christian
OK, Captain Obvious time, possibly the best televised match Zack Ryder has ever had was his ECW Championship match against (IWC's equivalent of a pin-up girl) Christian. I'll admit I thought the man's potential was high after that match, and I would say it might have been one of the best matches I had seen all year that wasn't at a PPV. Combine a great match against a veteran and add a sprinkle of Christian and people remember gold. Not that its a bad thing though.
Ryder is in an odd spot though....
Mainstay of Superstars
Loved by Cena, Miz and a whole slew of mid and upper mid cards
Hated by HHH and it appears Talent Relations
His T-Shirt was brand New
Sold out within 6-7 weeks
Superstars Canceled on US TV
Signs everywhere at Raw and Wrestlemania
Appeared at Wrestlemania in a well accepted humor promo
Self-Created his own Push (WWE hates being told they're wrong)
Superstars not popular as webshow (see: Joey Styles' twitter)
Signs get confiscated at MNR in London.
Despite his very odd rise in the past 2 1/2 months, he could very well be on the release list in the next 1-3 weeks, the question is, what's next? TNA would be obvious, but I have this gut feeling he wouldn't be a great fit there. Given his home is in the North East, I could see ROH in his future if he still decides to keep the career path alive.
It's sad that Zack Ryder really may be like a study abroad relationship, 12 weeks of absolute fun and excitement, and gone in an instant. =\
Woo Woo Woo, I wish I didn't know it.