Ex-WWE Star Released After Turning Down “Significantly More Money”
Former WWE Intercontinental and US Champion Matt Cardona says he was released by the company after turning down a five-year deal for “significantly more money.”
Cardona competed for several years in WWE as Zack Ryder where he made a huge impact through his work on YouTube that eventually translated to – albeit brief – in-ring success when he captured the US Championship in 2011. Five years later, he had another big win when he shockingly captured the Intercontinental Championship at WrestleMania 32. However, by the time the spring of 2020 came around, Cardona found himself released from his deal.
Speaking on Good Journeys, Matt Cardona explained that a video message from Vince McMahon let the cat out of the bag that cuts were coming:
“Well, I did not see it coming leading up to that. But that morning, at the time worked for WWE, all the talent got a video message from Vince McMahon basically saying that there would be some cuts. And once we got that message I knew, ‘Okay, I’m probably gonna be one of the guys on that list.’ I didn’t know for sure. A year prior, WWE had offered I’d say pretty much everybody a new five-year contract with significantly more money. But I did not sign that contract because I wasn’t sure if I wanted to stay or go.”
Cardona elaborated by saying if he hadn’t been released, his contract would have been up just a few months later but as his friends were getting the call, he ended up hoping that he’d also be in line to lose his job:
“At that time I wasn’t sure like, ‘do I wanna stick around here? Do I wanna stay here for another five years?’ I wasn’t sure. And for an entire year I’d be back and forth negotiating the anxiety was weighing on me. Do I stay? Do I go? What do I do? Ultimately the decision was made for me.
“If I wasn’t released in April, my contract would’ve been up in August. So, that morning when Brian Myers gets the call, guys like Heath [Slater], Gallows, Anderson, I still had not gotten the call yet, and I was thinking to myself, ‘Oh my God! Are they just gonna let me rot until August?’ At that point, I was like, ‘Please, call me and fire me. Please, so at least I can get my life started.’ So, the call eventually came and I needed it. The weight was lifted off my shoulder.”
Since leaving WWE, Cardona has appeared in AEW and spent a significant amount of time in IMPACT Wrestling, however, he is probably more notable for his work in GCW and winning the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship.