Are Darren Young And Zack Ryder The Exact Same Person?
As a long time and dedicated professional wrestling fan, not much gets by me. When a Superstar debuts, I know who they are. There’s generally only 3 ways to enter WWE in this day and age. You’ve either come up through the ranks of NXT, made a name for yourself on the independent circuit and been signed up, or are redebuting. I watch NXT avidly, am always on top of the independent scene and along with 98% of WWE’s audience can always recognise a newly repackaged wrestler. Primo and Epico aren’t fooling anyone for a second. No pet bulls in Puerto Rico huh? However, it has only recently come to my attention that something has in fact, escaped me. For years it’s been right there under all of our noses and we haven’t even noticed. So let me be the one to deliver this monumental breaking news. Darren Young and Zack Ryder are the exact same person.
Think about it. They have the exact same face. The exact same eyes. The exact same smile. The exact same build. A similar in ring style. The haircuts and facial hair styles have morphed, but now, presumably thanks to this singular renegade becoming complacent, the hair and beard have finally matched up. And that’s when I noticed it. Final, conclusive proof that these men are one and the same. Now there may be some of you that question this notion based on the disparate skin colour between the two Superstars. This is merely a cunning rouse to baffle and confuse, to divert focused attention away from what, without the tonal difference, is entirely obvious.
So let’s dissect the evidence. Ryder made his debut in WWE in 2007 alongside Curt Hawkins, and aligned himself with World Heavyweight Champion, Edge. Soon after, Hawkins and Ryder became the youngest ever WWE Tag Team Champions. The Darren Young character didn’t appear until 2010, which is the exact time that Zack Ryder was in the midst of his declension – perfect timing to entirely reinvent the Ryder character as a rookie on the first season of NXT under the pseudonym of Darren Young. After being kicked out of Nexus, Young disappeared, so Ryder returned for the second season of NXT as a mentor. Guess who he mentored…? Titus O’Frickin Neil. It’s all clicking suspiciously into place.
After NXT, Ryder again hit obscurity, and therefore brought Young back as an entrant for NXT Redemption. As Young, he was then suspended for a violation of the Wellness Policy, so understandably switched back to Ryder in a move so timely it couldn’t be coincidence. After forming a surprising friendship with John Cena, Ryder won the US Title to complete an eventful year. However, in 2012 the Ryder gimmick was relegated to the sidelines, and even briefly a wheelchair, in favour of the Young union with Titus O’Neil in a clear move to return to his tag team roots after Curt Hawkins’ dismissal. The Prime Time Players received title shots for the tag championships and later turned face in 2013 after Young came out – the first ever active professional wrestler to reveal their homosexuality. A brave thing to do, and interesting considering that Ryder is straight. This must leave Emma in a current state of hideous confusion. Young was then apparently injured in 2014… as was Ryder. Again, coincidence? Of course not. Just more indisputable proof.
Darren Young came back from injury and won the Tag Team Titles as a Prime Time Player in 2015, and after losing the belts, immediately reverted back to the Zack Ryder gimmick on NXT. Forming a partnership with incessant lunatic Mojo Rawley, the Hype Bros fought teams in the burgeoning tag scene of NXT, receiving multiple title shots and most importantly being booed out of the building at NXT Takeover London. Then came the big one for Long Island Iced-Z. A shocking Intercontinental Title win at the biggest Wrestlemania of all time, in a match he reportedly wasn’t even supposed to be in. After dropping the title the very next night, it was time to give the Darren Young character another try in a bizarre but oddly compelling amalgam with the legendary Bob Backlund. Young wants to be made “great again”, which, after the Intercontinental Championship loss, sits all too flawlessly with the state of mind Ryder is in. Added to this, all of the Young / Backlund segments so far have been pre-records, allowing for Ryder to appear in backstage shenanigans with Sheamus. Just. Too. Perfect.
Now, according to reports, Young and Ryder have apparently had matches against each other on Smackdown, on Superstars and at WWE Live events. With both Smackdown and Superstars being pre-taped, it’s entirely plausible that these matches were heavily doctored, edited and even the subject to huge injections of CGI. As for the live events, these are all unsubstantiated claims from eye witnesses at said events, and as we all know, wrestling obsessed locals are not to be trusted or believed regarding anything, ever.
Granted, over the years it’s been tough to spot, and it’s not a thought you’d naturally conjure during your weekly viewing. This plays brilliantly into to Ryder and Young’s hands, the ideal veil with which to conceal their, or rather HIS, duplicity. This theory, now obviously proven true by the flawless logic above, raises some questions. Do the WWE brass know this is going on? Is it genius writing on their part? Is Young, or Ryder, or whoever he is, collecting a double pay check? Is it a Mankind / Cactus Jack / Dude Love situation? Does Emma know about it? Or is she involved in a Andy Kaufman / Tony Clifton-esque sex debacle? Questions abound, but the answer to whether or not Darren Young and Zack Ryder are the exact same person is an unequivocal, absolute and definitive “YES”.
Tags: Bob Backlund, Break The Walls Down, curt hawkins, Darren Young, Hype Bros, NXT, Prime Time Players, titus o'neil, zack ryder