Matt Cardona on why his AEW run was so short: “I had a little agreement with them to do a couple shows, and they never offered me anything long term. I’m not gonna sit there and beg.”


Matt Cardona on why his AEW run was so short: “I had a little agreement with them to do a couple shows, and they never offered me anything long term. I’m not gonna sit there and beg.”


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37 thoughts on “Matt Cardona on why his AEW run was so short: “I had a little agreement with them to do a couple shows, and they never offered me anything long term. I’m not gonna sit there and beg.””

  1. It was the best for both sides. He needed something like his GCW run right now to find a new character/tone.

  2. It makes sense, and his appearance was better than I expected. His current stuff with GCW is interesting enough that I keep checking out clips and stuff, so good for him for working hard to stay in the business he loves.

  3. The way he was presented was very WCW/TNA in a bad way. A long-time WWE job-guy shows up not long after getting released and gets treated as a big deal just because he was on WWE TV.

    The only way it would’ve worked was if Myers came with him because they were at least WWE Tag Team Champions relatively recently and they would’ve stood out with their size.

    Otherwise, an indie rebuild as Matt Cardona is necessary for him to have a singles run. People need to forget about Zack Ryder, the guy who WWE never let get too over and cut off at the knees, and instead become interested in Matt Cardona

  4. Good on him. He wasn’t really a great fit for AEW anyways, and now he’s finding himself with the Gage feud.

  5. I think long term it was best for him. His character wasn’t interesting enough to be a top guy, but he was too physically imposing compared to the rest of the roster to not be a significant player. I think now he is finding his footing as Matt Cardona, and could come back down the line with a bit more interest from hardcores (Which is a large part of AEW’s audience.)

  6. Well, showing up a three shades darker of spray tan and more jacked version of lovable loser zack Ryder was never going to get him anything more then his tryout deal. Now he seems to understand he needs to go in a different direction. Hopefully it launches him.

  7. Like Shawn Spears, he needs to have an indie run, so that he can build character and credibility with fans.

  8. It was a little funny to see how when people show up and everyone is going “I wonder what the plans are ?” And the response is always “well just tune in to find out 🤭” but when Matt showed up everyone was going “three appearances and that’s it” straight up.

    Happy to see him having success though. I honestly thought he might have struggled in a non-wwe position but hey he’s doing well.

  9. lmao


    Matt: “Man, I love AEW! It’s so much more relaxed, it feels like no one is in charge, I can finally become a star here!”


    The EVP’s: “Do not step foot here again”

  10. I can see him getting an offer if he’s able to stick the landing on this Gage feud. It’s really engaged me more than anything he’s done (even the peak Ryder stuff)

    I could see an angry, cynical ‘superstar’ Ryder doing really well in AEW (or even IMPACT tbh)

  11. Honestly, it was the best move for both sides to part ways. Now Matt is on fire in GCW.

  12. His new gimmick of WWE mark/GCW deathmatch legend will be far more palatable if they want to give him another AEW run.

    His first short run there it was painfully obvious he was brought in as a favour from Cody because they are boys, his feud with Nick Gage has been great thus far and if he shows he’s capable of adapting I can see them bringing him back at least for an angle and a match and I bet it’d be great.

  13. Others have said it, but he really seems to have found his footing with the Gage feud. I don’t think it’s a fluke, I liked the Myers feud in IMPACT even if the blow off wasn’t great, and the stuff he’s done with his FWF was very very silly fun.

  14. Frankly he wasn’t ready yet in my opinion. What Cardona is doing now is exactly what he needed to rebuild/rebrand his character.

  15. That sucks. The IWC is so against him for whatever reason, but I thought he really stood out in AEW, in a good way. Had one of the best physiques in the company and wrestles a different style than 95% of the guys there.

  16. I honestly don’t think AEW were interested in him, and it felt like it was a favour done for Cody, seen as they were best mates. Maybe “Give him a chance to impress” short run. He was fine, none of his in ring work was great and he was never the stand out in the matches. I think that’s Cardona to a tee, a good solid talent but never the stand out. I think Impact suits him better, he might have a chance there to be a top star. He probably would have ended up working mostly on Dark in AEW.

  17. They didn’t want Zack Ryder 2.0.

    He would have been exactly the kind of hire that creates a stigma of bringing on people who have been overexposed in WWE just to have them do the same thing. Particularly when that character is so intrinsically tied to WWE. Zack Ryder is a WWE guy, so who is Matt Cardona?

    Ryder was around for a decade doing the same schtick. Considering the Jersey Shore part of his gimmick gradually got de-emphasized in favour of a generic smiling babyface, it basically just left him with a look and not much character. When he showed up in AEW/Impact with the same look, just with the initials changed the sound of the “NOPE!” I made would have rattled windows.

    If he re-invents himself, I’m happy to give him another chance, because I think he was legit done dirty in that Kane/Cena angle as punishment for getting over without permission. As it stands though, I have no interest in seeing the same phoning it in Zack Ryder we had seen the last few years in WWE doing the same schtick under a different name. The Jersey Shore thing was tired a long time ago, it’s time to move on.

    I guess the big question is: does he have more than one character in him? Seems promising with the GCW angle, but delusional ex-WWE guy who thinks he’s a big star is an overdone indy gimmick so hopefully he finds something else.

  18. I like Ryder but he is just a poor fit in AEW. I think he’s what better off in Impact like he is now or even NWA.

  19. It’s kinda good his run was short and that he could go to Impact and GCW. Dude really need the opportunity to re-invent himself and ngl, it wasn’t going this way. During his AEW and Impact run, all I could see from his work in the ring and feuding with Bryan Myers is that… He’s still just Zack Ryder.


    Part of the issue is that he kind of relies to what made him popular in the first place, and it’s not working well in 2021. He’s a little too mechanic in the ring as well and that’s a huge disservice. Now, with how he debutted against Nick Gage that’s the kind of stuffs people wanted to see from him, so far he didn’t do a single miss step and I hope it’ll lead to a new Matt Cardona.

  20. He’s one of those guys where if AEW signed him the whole ‘AEW is just for WWE rejects’ band would come out of the woodworks. I’ve been a fan of his since Z True Long Island Story, but AEW can only take so many people who have been established in other promotions, and the focus needs to be on guys who they believe are in their prime and can be taken to greater heights – Moxley, PAC, Andrade, hopefully Tommy End. Otherwise you need to be putting that focus on your young guys that fans will recognise as ‘AEW wrestlers’. I think they did the right thing just doing a short run with him. You get that moment of ‘Oh cool it’s Matt Cardona!’ without it getting stale

  21. He came into AEW With literally nothing different, but his GCW stuff he’s doing is fantastic…

  22. I’ve been a Zack Ryder mark for near a decade now. Can’t describe how elated I am to see him finally blossom. Always knew he had untapped potential.

    Woo, woo, woo. You know it.


  23. With so many of the non talented friends of the EVP’s getting jobs its surprising that one who is actually a professional wrestler didnt get one

  24. I still can’t believe no one thought of such a gimmick before…I honestly thought when Sandiw first went to Impact instead of cutting the typical I was held back promo he should have been a snob and delusional that he was a big star in WWE looking down on Impact

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