Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Zack Ryder Vs. Convention... Convention Wins

Woo woo woo... where was he?
Photo Credit:
Vince McMahon is a Luddite, if you believe Bryan Alvarez, that is. While I've had some well-documented issues with Alvarez recently, I understand it's pretty difficult trying to break news in the wrestling industry. When he says that Vince McMahon "hates the Internet" according to a source within the company, I take him at face value. Why?

Because there's no other reason than that for Zack Ryder not appearing on RAW.

We all know the following Ryder has amassed amongst the Internet. We all want him to have a bigger role. That want has spread, at least in his home area of Long Island. While he hasn't latched on in other areas, he was popular on the Island. He got several chants. And what did he get? A broken promise to appear on RAW. Another rib. Great job. The last rib that McMahon pulled off pissed off only one wrestler and paying customers. It was a stupid gambit, and now, he went and pissed off his employees too. Dolph Ziggler came with the boldest of the backlash:
You didnt rib 'the kid' tonight, you ribbed the fans, Long Island & the boys in the back! AND kicked him in the nuts! #RyderOrRiot
Seriously, more than just Ryder are presumably pissed at this.

Again, it goes without saying that Alvarez could be getting worked here. The circumstantial evidence is there, but again, it's circumstantial, and it would be inadmissible in court if this were a trial by law. Still, it's baffling why Vince would refuse to put a star over who made himself. I mean, isn't this the mantra from every single "old-time" star? Didn't Warrior spend a good sidebar on his Randy Savage tribute talking about how in the old days, guys made their own way? Didn't Steve Austin spend a good amount of Tough Enough telling guys that they wouldn't have their hands held? Brandon Stroud actually had a rant from his latest Best and Worst of RAW column about that:
Raw on Long Island comes and goes for the second time without an appearance from Zack Ryder, more or less proving that WWE doesn’t give a ripe shit how hard you work to get yourself over, and all that stuff Austin says on Tough Enough about making your own chances is a horse’s anus. Hey Austin, you know how you keep telling people how when you first got to WWE you were the Ringmaster and how terrible that was? Guess what? You spent the five f**king years before that on television having awesome matches with Brian Pillman and Ricky Steamboat and Dustin Rhodes and being part of the Dangerous Alliance, which is unarguably the best thing in the history of wrestling. You were a multiple-time champion, and you got fired just in time to show up in ECW during that one time period when getting fired and showing up in ECW was the coolest thing you could do. Then they made you King of the Ring and put you in a feud with Bret Hart.

How many of those things happened to Big Andy? How many of them happened to Matt Cross? F**king none of them. Andy got put on a wrestling reality show. Matt Cross spent five years wrestling Josh f**king Abercrombie. You didn’t make your chances, Austin, WCW and the WWF did. You just happened to be extremely talented at pro wrestling. Funny how that turned out, right?
Yep. Co-sign all of that.

This isn't some pedantic plea to get a guy more airtime. Not at all. Ryder is legitimately talented and has legitimately connected with a significant portion of the fanbase. This isn't 1998 anymore. It's 2011. The Internet matters, or else the WWE wouldn't mandate its wrestlers, announcers and air personnel be on Twitter or create a bunch of Facebook like pages or pimp the Internet achievements in their bullshit fluff "Did You Know" segments. Now, are the stereotypical "Internet" fans a majority group now? No, but there's gotta be a higher percentage of the audience that is plugged in the way we've always been in the last ten years. Ryder has become an especial star in this era of Internet. Sixteen of seventeen of his Z! True Long Island Story videos have garnered over 100K views. He has 37K+ subscribers. He has 123K+ followers on Twitter. As a reference, he's only 20K behind the current United States Champion. He has more than the challenger to that US Championship. More than the guy challenging for the WWE Championship. More than Rey Mysterio, i.e., arguably the company's second biggest draw.

Despite that success with the new media, Ryder remains ignored. Why? Whether it's because Vince hates the Internet like Alvarez's nebulous source says or because he didn't get over because of the Vince hype machine or because Vince just doesn't understand the new media, I'm not sure. I'm not sure I care either. It's bad not to even explore whether Ryder can make some kind of dent. No matter what the reason is.

Admittedly, I did come off nonchalant about the whole thing after the show. I didn't need Ryder to enjoy the show, as it was a good RAW. Plus, he probably got more of a chance to shine, albeit on a smaller stage, in a more meaningful way. That being said, this was something that meant a lot to Ryder. It meant a lot to his colleagues. It meant a lot to his fans. And yeah, if he did appear on RAW, I probably would have marked out too. No, scratch that. I know I would have marked out.

So yeah, here we sit, for whatever reason, Vince McMahon wants to continue to ignore a guy who has made himself. So when Ezekiel Jackson, he of almost no heat, wins the Intercontinental Championship on Sunday to absolutely no crowd reaction (and I like Big Zeke, but let's not sugarcoat this, the crowd is dead for him), and he wonders why, well, I hope he at least starts to get it.

I doubt it though.

Remember you can contact TH and ask him questions about wrestling, life or anything else. Please refer to this post for contact information. He always takes questions!

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