WWE WrestleMania 32: Why Fans Should Cheer for Zack Ryder


Ryder could very well be the biggest feel-good story of Wrestlemania 32.

In a year full of them, of course, it would be an injury that leads to Zack Ryder getting his shot.

A lot of people know about Zack Ryder and the work he put in to try and make it as a WWE Superstar. After his initial run in the WWE as a member of La Familia (the stable based around Edge and Vicki Guerrero) he was lost in the shuffle.

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Ryder went from being one of the “Major Brothers” with Curt Hawkins and a WWE tag team champion to a walking guid0 caricature. He “woo woo woo’d” a lot, had ridiculous sunglasses, ridiculous hair, and the most ridiculous tights.

Ryder became frustrated with his position on the card. He rarely competed on RAW or SmackDown, instead competing on Superstars. He took to YouTube to change his fortunes by launching his own show, Z! True Long Island Story. The channel made Ryder insanely over with internet fans. Watch episode one and see how hard it is not to laugh at this guy.

Fans kept cheering for Ryder, even if he didn’t appear on the shows. It eventually lead to his only singles title win, when he captured the U.S. Title off of Dolph Ziggler at TLC in Dec. 2011. From that high, Ryder went tumbling down to another low.

He was relegated to playing John Cena’s buddy in his feud with Kane. He was tossed off a stage in a wheelchair and lost his girlfriend to his “best friend” Cena. At least he was still on TV, right?

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By the end of 2012, he was barely used, and if he was it was simply to put others over. He was a reliable, strong performer who had a good sense of character, but WWE simply didn’t see dollars in him. That was something that disheartened the locker room, which his former tag partner Curt Hawkins mentioned in an interview with Live Audio Wrestling in 2014:

"“It really kind of broke the spirit of the locker room. For years, we were told… that there’s a brass ring… and it’s there for the taking if you work hard enough and get yourself over. And [Ryder]… defied the odds and actually does it, and all the boys are rooting for him… He got over without the [WWE] office, without TV time… And then they did just crush it and take it all away from him… It’s like, you’re not going to get pushed unless they pick you to get pushed, and that’s kind of it”."

In 2015, Ryder teamed up with the human embodiment of a sugar high, Mojo Rawley, to form the Hype Bros. It gave Ryder steady tv time on the WWE Network, but still was not the level he should be at. Ryder deserves more.

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Like Hawkins mentioned, Ryder grabbed that mythical “brass ring” that the higher-ups in WWE always say is there for the taking. He took it, got fans invested in him, tweaked his character and kept getting smoother and smoother in the ring. Still, there was no love for the Broski.

It took a rash of injuries to shape the Wrestlemania card, and it took an unfortunate one to up-and-comer Neville to get Ryder a spot on the biggest show of them all as a participant in the Intercontinental Championship Ladder match. Ryder is a guy who deserves to be used more and has now had one of the best months of his life.

He’s been on TV more now than he has been in 4 years. He was left standing tall after a brawl between him and the other ladder match participants. He defeated Chris Jericho on Monday (with a little help from AJ Styles).

Zack Ryder, the lovable loser who has been up and down the card harder than maybe any performer in history, now has a chance to walk out of Dallas as the Intercontinental Champion. While his chances may be slim, it should be him that we cheer for. He’s earned it. He deserves it.

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And you know it. Woo woo woo.