Zack Ryder has built his WWE fanbase from the outside in. His Youtube show “Long Island Iced Z” wasn’t quite an instant success but it’s safe to say he rose to web-stardom pretty quickly. His ability to appeal to the fans comes naturally to him. Just like Nickelodeon knew exactly what everyone wanted in the 90’s, Zack Ryder knows what sports entertainment enthusiasts want today.
Wrestling fans yearn for new content. They also love the classic Good vs. Evil storyline with a dash of tribute dedicated to their favorite superstars of the past. Plain and simple, many fans (122,600+ youtube subscribers) see Zack Ryder as the underdog wrestling fan that hit the predetermined acrobatic brawler’s lottery and made it to the roster.
Long Island Iced Z fans everywhere are fiercely loyal to their favorite Superstar and constantly make their voices heard via social media. Their presence is made known during almost every episode of Monday Night Raw.
Zack was suited with a lame-duck gimmick and he has made the best of it.
Ryder began to make a more non-internet presence felt on Raw for several Mondays in late 2011 and early 2012. He shared a storyline with his former broski John Cena. He had a run with the United States title (which could have further legitimized the defamed U.S. title if WWE hadn’t squandered that one). He even got to be Hugh Jackman’s tag team partner! Anyone remember that match? You know…the one where Wolverine broke Dolph Ziggler’s jaw?
Ryder’s core fan base stood stronger than Beliebers behind their hero . They bought t-shirts, toys, sunglasses and headbands but most importantly, they bought tickets to WWE live events when Z was on the bill. Zack Ryder was cool. Old-school-kayfabe-cool.
The WWE thinks he’s just talent enhancement.
Is some of Zack’s fanfare ironic at times? Possibly. Is it fun? Definitely. Is it selling? Woo Woo Woo You Know It! #WWWYKI
One would think that WWE would take their homegrown youtube Superstar to new heights. Over seven years with the company and he hasn’t even been given the dignity of an Intercontinental title run. WWE thinks for some reason thinks that they’re better off showing live lame-duck fan messages via Tout…or fake hashtag voting via Twitter just to trend every other minute. #Lame
Sure, Zack Ryder doesn’t have as many likes as John Cena on Facebook. He may never have as many followers as The Rock on Twitter. But he’s still the Internet champion.
The Zack Ryder character is summed up in one term: Bro. He’s a hair-spiking, tan-spraying, Jersey Shore reject.
The WWE’s history is filled with years and years of equally goofy characters that were popular in their own right. Sergeant Slaughter. Hacksaw Jim Duggan. Razor Ramon. Were well-known Pros with odd gimmicks awesome when we watched them? You bet your ass they were. The fact is, we were able to watch them. If pro-wrestlers are hidden in the first match of house shows in Tallahassee, Florida, those guys generally go the way of The Berserker.
The WWE can still keep the Ryder character cool and relevant. Let him have his voice on social media. Let him use his youtube channel to get over. Put him on Monday Night Raw. Let his gimmick evolve. Hell, the Undertaker started in purple gloves.
Is it that the brass doesn’t think Ryder is a main eventer? Hello? He doesn’t have to be shot straight to the top! Just let him perform on Raw in something other than a dark match. Give him another storyline with John Cena. He’ll easily be the babyface. Come on, WWE creative. You have something here. If you must, give him a new gimmick! Anyone ever heard of Issac Yankem D.D.S.? I rest my case.