Matthew Brett Cardona, also known as Zack Ryder, is an American wrestler currently signed to WWE. He is also a YouTube Personality. Interested in wrestling from a young age, he received training under coach Mikey Whipwreck before embarking on a professional career. He joined WWE in 2007 and has since won the Intercontinental Championship, United States Championship, and the WWE Tag Team Championship, once each. Besides being a wrestler, he is also a social media personality. He started a YouTube web series called ‘Z! True Long Island Story,’ which featured a collection of short comments from him, with specific comedic allusions to wrestling as well as pop culture. In one of the episodes of the series, he proclaimed himself WWE’s ‘Internet Champion’ though the championship has not been sanctioned by WWE. He has also been featured in ‘Sports Illustrated Magazine’s list of the 100 Most Influential Twitter users in Sports. A multi-talented personality, he released a music video ‘Hoeski’ which gained more than 100,000 views in just four days. It was posted on the official WWE channel as well. He had also appeared in the documentary series ‘Toy Hunter’ which airs on the Travel channel. He has appeared in eight WWE video games as well.
Childhood & Early Life
Matthew Brett Cardona was born on 14th May 1985 in Merrick, New York, in the United States. Not much is known about his early life and parents. He became interested in wrestling as a young boy and was trained under Mikey Whipwreck.
He had revealed in an interview with WWE magazine that he suffered from cancer in his foot, which had spread to his lungs, while he was in high school. Though he managed to fight and overcome the disease, he had to lose one year of school while undergoing treatment. He also added that it was his battle with cancer that inspired him to become a professional wrestler.
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Cardona made his debut with New York Wrestling Connection in 2004, with the ring name Brett Matthews. He teamed up with Bryan Myers and the duo went on to defeat the NYWC Tag Team Champions Dickie Rodz and Mason Raige through disqualification. After a rematch, the duo eventually became the NYWC Champions.
Brett Matthews and Myers then lost their titles after being beaten by The Dead Presidents, which consisted of Lo Lincoln and Boog Washington. After some struggles, they managed to win back their championship, but eventually lost it to the BS Express, which consisted of Tony Burma and Mike Spinelli.
His first appearance with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) was in 2005, when he was seen on the SmackDown! against Matt Morgan. He signed a development contract with WWE in Deep South Wrestling.
Brett Matthews took on the name Brett Majors while Myers took on the name Bryan Majors. By October 2005, they had won the DSW Tag Team Championship after beating the Untouchables, which consisted of Dice Domino, and Deuce Shade. They eventually lost the titles to Urban Assault which consisted of Eric Perez and Sonny Siaki.
In 2007, they moved to Ohio Valley Wrestling and won the OVW Southern Tag Team Championship. As their career progressed, the duo also earned a chance to fight for the WWE Tag Team Championship. At the Great American Bash, they eventually managed to win the championship, which made them the youngest team to do so. The team had to eventually separate, after the 2009 supplemental draft.
In 2009, he made his return to the ECW, where he lost his first singles match. Months later, he was given a WWE Championship Match against the champion Sheamus which lasted only 11 seconds.
He later fought John Cena to earn another attempt at the WWE Championship, which he lost. However, John Cena surrendered his WWE Championship match and allowed him to have a second chance.
The second chance was a no disqualification match against Mark Henry, the then World Heavyweight Champion, which Ryder won after being aided by John Cena. However, the next year, 2012, turned out to be very unfortunate for Ryder. He was named by the magazine ‘Pro Wrestling Torch’ as one of the ‘Top 10 Crashing Stars of 2012.’
Zack Ryder lost all his singles matches on Raw as well as Smackdown in 2013. He entered the 2013 Royal Rumble match, only to be eliminated within two minutes. He was also unsuccessful the next year in winning the Andre the Giant Memorial Royal Battle at WrestleMania, a battle royal for the US Championship, as well as a battle royal for the Intercontinental Championship at Battleground.
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In the 2015 Royal Rumble, he was quickly eliminated by Bray Watt. He also took part in the 2nd annual Andre the Giant Memorial battle royal at WrestleMania 31, which he again lost.
From June 2015, he started appearing in WWE’s developmental system NXT, where he formed a tag team with Mojo Rawley. He also continued wrestling on Superstars and main events until March 2016.
At WrestleMania 34 on April 8, 2018, Ryder took part in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. However, he was eliminated soon by Rawley. The following week, as a part of the 2018 WWE Superstar Shake-up, he was drafted to Raw. Since the draft, he has been seen very rarely.
YouTube Career & Other Works
In 2011, Zack Ryder started his YouTube web series called ‘Z! True Long Island Story’. It featured a collection of short comments from Ryder, which contained comedic allusions to wrestling and pop culture. He proclaimed himself the internet champion of WWE, though it was unsanctioned by WWE. He also defended his internet championship at a house show in Australia, against Primo.
In 2011, he was named by ‘Sports Illustrated’ magazine as one of the most influential Twitter users in sports.
In 2013, he released a music video named ‘Hoeski’ which gained 100,000 views in just four days. In 2014, he started another web series ‘Zack Ryder’s Last Rezort’.
He has appeared in the documentary ‘Toy Hunter’ which airs on Travel Channel. He has also appeared in a total of eight WWE video games. He was first seen in WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2009 and later was seen in WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2011.
The other games he has appeared in include ‘WWE 12’, ‘WWE 13’, ‘WWE 2K14’, ‘WWE 2K16’ ‘WWE 2K16’ and ‘WWE 2K17’.
In March 2017, it was announced that he would launch another YouTube series named ‘Z! True Comeback Story’, which would be about his return to the ring after a knee injury.
In 2015, he was confirmed to be in a relationship with Tenille Dashwood aka Emma. It is unclear when they began dating, but their relationship was publicly revealed on 31st December 2015. Following this, the couple often shared their pictures on social media platforms. Later on they broke up.
In April 2017, Zack Ryder was revealed to be dating Laurel Van Ness, a Canadian professional wrestler and stunt woman. He is currently dating Chelsea Green.
He is a huge fan of the series ‘Ghostbusters’. He has also donned ring gear with ‘Ghostbusters’ themes several times.