Matt Cardona, fka Zack Ryder, has made a good name in the business since his stint with WWE ended. During his post-WWE run, Cardona made a few appearances for AEW as well, but it didn’t work out, according to him.
Although he loved it, Cardona felt there wasn’t anything for him in the company but kept the door open for a future run with Tony Khan’s promotion.
“I loved it. It was super cool. Do I wish it was with people? Sure, but it is what it is. But everyone was super welcoming. It’s something I definitely needed. Sometimes perception is reality. So when people are like, ‘Oh my god, he got so big! He got in great shape.’ If you want to believe that, sure, but I was in the same shape that I was in for years,” Matt Cardona said.
“At AEW, it just didn’t work out at the time. There’s so many people there, and there just wasn’t anything for me at the time. No hard feelings, not to say I’ll never be there again because I would love to be. Obviously, there’s no doubt AEW is the place to be. It’s the talk of the wrestling business every single week. Timing’s everything, and it wasn’t the right time.”
Matt Cardona has had a great run since his WWE release
Matt Cardona’s deal with AEW was limited to a few appearances as he teamed up with real-life friend Cody Rhodes for a brief feud against the Dark Order.
He made appearances for IMPACT Wrestling in January 2021. He wrestled there in feuds against Brian Myers while also participating in a number one contender’s match for the IMPACT Wrestling world title. Matt Cardona and his fiancee, Chelsea Green, were a big part of the Slammiversary card.
However, Cardona’s most talked-about moment came against Nick Gage when he challenged Gage to a death match for the GCW World Championship. Much to everyone’s surprise, the former WWE Intercontinental Champion defeated the death-match legend in a hellacious and bloody affair that led fans to develop a newfound respect for him.