Sunday, December 18, 2011

How Zack Ryder Beat the WWE's Version of the Kobayashi Maru

by Brian Phelps

What Zack Ryder's done is the equivalent of Captain Kirk beating the kobayashi maru. What I mean by that is Zack Ryder is the very first wrestler to ever get over without the system. Zack Ryder is the first and only wrestler to ever get over without ever stepping foot in the ring, the first to ever get over without even being featured on TV. In early 2011, Zack Ryder was on the verge of being released by the WWE. He was saddled with a goofy jobber's gimmick. He hadn't been on TV in months, and the death of WWE's ECW show seemed like the last hurrah for Zack Ryder. WWE had ZERO faith in him, and thus refused to even try to find any time to come up with anything for his character. Ryder was at a dead end.

However, instead of lying around and moping... Zack Ryder took matters into his own hands. He took to Youtube and began filming videos while still in-character. He dubbed these videos "Z! True Long Island Story" and a star was born. The "Z! True Long Island Story" web series gave the world a back story for the Zack Ryder character. It gave people a personal look inside Ryder's world, life, and wrestling character. Despite not being on tv in months, Zack Ryder's character was being developed outside of the WWE. We got to see Ryder's dad, his friends, and what his character likes to do. Over time, these videos picked up steam and over night Zack Ryder became a Youtube sensation. All of a sudden, signs started popping up in wrestling arenas around the country with Ryder's catch phrases despite the fact that if you never saw his web show you wouldn't even know who Ryder was because WWE wasn't even using him. Ryder chants began to spontaneously break out during WWE matches that didn't even feature him. How can a guy that is not even on the show have a GROWING fan base? 

As time passed, and he gained hundreds of thousands of followers from his web series top WWE wrestlers like John Cena and CM Punk went to bat for Zack Ryder. CM Punk defended Zack Ryder to Triple H at Comic Con this past year. Then Cena jumped on the band wagon. Suddenly, Vince McMahon and the WWE were FORCED to look and see this talented young man whose fans refuse to be ignored. A man whose fans refuse to let the WWE continue to pass over him. Now, all of sudden after ignoring Zack Ryder for years WWE has done a complete 180 and are trying to cash in on Zack Ryder's SELF-MADE success. Now you are seeing Ryder merchandise right and left on and now they are featuring Ryder on RAW and Smackdown pretty much every week. Now, Zack Ryder is tagging with Cena on RAW and Orton on Smackdown while teasing a possible US title run. I think it really dawned on them that maybe they have something special on their hands. Zack Ryder is the ultimate underdog story about a down on his luck wrestler that turned things around and beat the WWE's insensitive corporate machine. 

Zack Ryder has no doubt already made history as the first wrestler to get over without the system, without a promotion, without Vince or Turner or anyone backing him. No one believed in him, and he proved all the fat cats at WWE headquarters wrong. Zack Ryder like James T. Kirk beat the Kobayashi Maru.

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