Matt Cardona – “If I Signed With AEW I’d Be On F’N Dark”

Matt Cardona

Matt Cardona doesn’t think that he’d be treated well if he worked for AEW.

After leaving WWE, Matt Cardona – the former Zack Ryder – has balanced his time between wrestling for the NWA, GCW, and various other independent promotions.

At one point, though, he did wrestle for AEW under a limit deal in 2020. His initial deal only saw him wrestle two televised matches, both of which were tag team matches. He has not appeared on AEW programming since then.

Some fans have wondered why Cardona hasn’t returned to AEW. As it turns out, the man doesn’t think that he’d have any upward mobility in the company and that he’d be relegated to shows like Dark if he were signed.

Speaking on Casual Conversations with The Wrestling Classic, Matt Cardona explains why he sees his refusal to sign a deal with AEW as a blessing in disguise.

“I mean that AEW cup of coffee run, I’m grateful for, that didn’t work out at the time. I’ll admit, I was bummed out. Looking back, blessing in disguise. If I would have signed with AEW, then I’d be on f**king Dark, right?

No offense to those guys. That’s not what I want. I was already that guy in WWE, you know? Yeah. I want to be in control of my own destiny, control of my own fate, and I’m busting my fucking ass. Yeah, is the ‘Indie God’ a gimmick? Yeah, but it’s also not.”

Despite not being signed to AEW, Matt Cardona has wrestled under the AEW banner more recently. In February 2023, he was part of this year’s Chris Jericho’s cruise ship experience.

Included in this year’s edition was something called the Oceanic Championship Tournament to crown the inaugural Jericho Cruise Oceanic Champion. Matt Cardona won the tournament and the championship, beating Flip Gordon in the final.

h/t Fightful for the transcription