Matt Cardona Wants To Return To WWE Under His Real Name, Not Zack Ryder

Matt Cardona

Matt Cardona is open to a WWE return, but with specific conditions.

Matt Cardona spent a total of fifteen years in WWE between his time in WWE developmental territories (before NXT existed) and the main roster. During that time he wrestled under two names: first as Brett Major and then as Zack Ryder. He spent over a decade as the latter and became most famous for that gimmick/persona.

Zack Ryder’s biggest ‘push’ came when he used his ‘Z True Long Island Story’ video series to gain a fan following by himself and without promotional support. His success was limit and short-lived, with his career peak coming at WrestleMania 32 when he won an Intercontinental Championship latter match.

Matt Cardona was released from WWE in 2020 and has since become a high-profile figure on the American independent scene, especially in GCW and NWA. In fact, he has won the world title in both of those companies.

But Matt Cardona was released when Vince McMahon ran WWE. Now, with the regime change and Triple H being in control instead, many wrestlers have expressed interest in returning to WWE. And some, like Bray Wyatt and Braun Strowman, have acted on those interests and returned after being released.

Speaking on Insights with Chris Van Vliet, Cardona explained that he wouldn’t return to WWE if that meant having to resurrect gimmick that he himself considers “dead”:

“I mean, if it was up to me, if I would ever go back it would be as me, Always Ready Matt Cardona. Now if there was going to be a surprise run in or Royal Rumble something, if the Always Ready music hit or the Woo Woo, hit which one would get a bigger pop? I understand Zack Ryder, but I don’t want to. I don’t want to live in the past.

You know, I’m saying like, I’m 37 years old, I’m in the prime of my career. I mean, listen, I always say like the PWI 500 Doesn’t matter unless you’re number one or number 13, and I was number 13. Which, you know what? I’m very very proud of that.

The only unsigned guy in the top 20, I think it’s pretty damn cool, that you know that I’m being able to do GCW, IMPACT, NWA, all these random indies of all over the world and doing it on my terms. It’s so much fun.”

All that being said, Matt Cardona is still open to Zack Ryder appearing in WWE…as one of Cardona’s opponents.