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File:Sc-zack-ryder1 3413.jpg

The Broski from the LI.


Matthew Brett Cardona is a Professional Wrestler, who is best known for his time in WWE as Zack Ryder. He is currently signed to Impact Wrestling and had made appearances in the independent circuit, especially in Game Changer Wrestling where he is currently the GCW World Champion in his first reign.


Tropes associated with Zack Ryder include, Bro:

  • Aborted Arc: Dolph Ziggler didn't invoke his rematch clause due to becoming the #1 contender for the WWE Championship.
    • Didn't invoke his rematch clause for the US title after returning from his injury.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Just watch Zack's dad for a few minutes. It's all done intentionally and Played for Laughs, but it's still there. His dad also recently got Twitter; Zack's standard operating procedure is to retweet whatever he just said with an "UGH" attached.
  • Ascended Fanboy: Let's see, big WWE fan growing up in Long Island, and he and Curt Hawkins were huge Edge fans. Not only do they make it to the WWE and become Tag Team champions, but they were in a Power Stable with their favorite WWE Superstar.
    • It gets better. The two of them actually got to double for Edge to fool Batista and Undertaker during the Triple Threat title match at 2007's Armageddon.
  • Arch Enemy: Evan Bourne, 2009-2011, until face turn. Yoshi Tatsu. They have had dozens of matches from ECW to RAW to Superstars, even down to being the last two left in the dark match battle royal at Wrestlemania 26.
    • They have began referring to each other as "Japanese Broski" and "American Broski" since Ryder's face turn. Curt Hawkins, who pretty much Trolls the ground Yoshi Tatsu walks on on Twitter, has stated their newfound bromance makes him sick.
    • Dolph Ziggler was this in late 2011, much to Ziggler's own chagrin. By hook or crook, Zack has pinned him at least 3 times in the last month, and it's driven Ziggler to the point where he's hijacked Ryder's Z True Long Island Story broadcast, lectured about how him being "for real" overshadows Ryder's "fake" Net popularity, and assaulted Ryder's friend Chiappetta.
      • Revealed in Episode 37 that was Chiappetta was jumped by Scott Stanford. Only to be revealed in episode 38 to be Scott Stanford's Evil Twin who teamed up with Dolph Ziggler.
  • Battle Couple: This was how his relationship with Eve started.
  • Becoming the Mask: Has embraced the old-school style of living his gimmick.

  Zack Ryder: Ninety-nine percent of that character is me. It is me — I’m a big kid living the dream, listening to boy band music, fist pumpin’ in the club, spiking my hair.

  • Big Applesauce: More specifically, Long Island.
  • Brass Balls: It took a pretty big set for Ryder to slap Cena in the condition he was in.
    • It's actually even more daring when you consider that Cena was slowly being corrupted by hate due to Kane's psychological warfare on him. If John didn't hold any restraint, Ryder would've be beaten within an inch of his life.
  • Break the Cutie: Oh, dear god. Kane went through great lengths with this in his feud with Cena. From trying to drag him into Hell, stalking him everywhere he went and even confinedhim to a wheelchair, the poor kid couldn't catch a break during all of this.
    • And pushing said wheelchair off the Raw stage.
  • Breakup Breakout: With his former tag partner, Curt Hawkins. Ryder's gone from jobber to Ensemble Darkhorse to US Champion and top fan favorite in less than a year, while Curt Hawkins hasn't been seen on either of the two flagship shows since his angle with Edge ended.
    • Except for being (figuratively and literally) squashed by Brodus Clay in the latter's return match.
  • Butt Monkey: 2012 hasn't exactly been Zack Ryder's best year.
  • Call Back: In a September of 2011 photoshoot with his customized Internet Championship, Ryder is facing the camera, head tilted slightly down while he's pulled down his glasses to look directly at the camera. A pose that is very similar to another promotional image taken during the early part of his run in WWE.
  • The Casanova: In his mind, at least.
  • Catch Phrase: WOO WOO WOO... YOU KNOW IT. This actually won him a 2010 Slammy... for WORST Catchphrase. See also Verbal Tic.
  • Continuity Nod: Cena called him "The Tenth Wonder of the World". This is a reference to Andre the Giant and Chyna, who were called "The Eighth and Ninth Wonders of the World" respectively in the WWE.
  • Cool Shades: Admit it...
  • Curb Stomp Battle:
    • His first WWE title shot had him losing to Sheamus in eleven seconds.
    • In the 2010 Royal Rumble Match, Ryder was quickly eliminated after CM Punk (who was a heel at the time) tried to persuade him to join the Straight Edge Society before hitting him in the skull with a microphone.
  • Darker and Edgier: His appearance in GCW serves as this, along with the Dark Reprise of his Long Island Iced Z gimmick involves him Flipping the Bird on his right hand.
  • Demoted to Extra: During the last 12 months of the ECW brand, Zack Ryder was a perennial contender to the ECW title, having several standout matches with then ECW champ Christian. He also was given the honor of retiring the last ECW original Tommy Dreamer. He even interfered in the final ECW championship match. Upon arriving to RAW, he has not displayed any of that in-ring competence at all.
    • Lampshaded by CM Punk during his invasion of WWE Comic-Con

 CM Punk: "When's Zack Ryder gonna be on televison?"

  • Didn't Think This Through: Really? A dance battle between a guy whose big move is fist pumping and a pelvic thrust against a master of parkour for the US Title shot at Survivor Series? Scott Stanford, Are you serious, bro?
    • To be fair, Zack did well with his limited moveset. The real failure was picking Zack's dad, a known Jomo Sapien, to be the judge.
  • Distressed Dude: Unfortunately ended up in the middle of Kane's quest to make John Cena give in to the hate. He was nearly dragged to hell, chokeslammed on to a pallet outside the arena, chokeslammed through the stage as well as given a Tombstone Piledriver...all in the matter of about a month.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: He defeated the US champ twice and then didn't appear on Raw at all for weeks on end.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Zack Ryder went from being a leading candidate in the "future endeavors" club to United States Champion all in the course of a year, and he did it all on his own, by making himself relevant through social media to the point that WWE had no choice but to take notice.
  • Executive Meddling: He encouraged his fans to make signs that said things such as "Broski of the Week" and "Zack Ryder=Ratings" and bring them to events. It worked, but the signs were confiscated by WWE at an event in London.
    • He offered an explanation to the "Ratings" sign's confiscation on the Z!TLIS following the incident; he can't equal ratings, because he's never on TV.
    • An in-universe example: A week after being choke-slammed onto a pallet by Kane and suffering damage to his midsection, Zack's advertised US Title defense against Jack Swagger depended on a doctor's note saying whether he could compete or not. Laurinaitis did receive the note, and the match went on as scheduled, so we assume Zack was cleared. However, he ended up on the wrong end of a squash and lost the US Championship to Swagger. It's only just after this that we find out Laurinaitis never actually read the note until after the match, which said Zack in fact had not been cleared by doctors. "My bad".
  • Fighting Your Friend: This is what Johnny Ace's "social experiment" attempted to do between Ryder and John Cena, the guy who's been promoting him practically nearly from the get-go. Ace pits the two friends against each other in a match where if Ryder wins, he finally gets his US Title match against Dolph Ziggler, and if Cena wins, he's in the WWE Title match at the TLC pay-per-view. Neither man is happy about it, and it seemingly plays out when Cena pins Zack, and Ryder's absolutely despondent about losing his "one shot", but the Divided We Fall moment is averted when Cena goes backstage to Johnny Ace and is willing to forfeit his title opportunity via Johnny's Sadistic Choice to give Ryder another chance at a US Title shot. See Nice Job Fixing It, Villain below for details on what happened then...
    • Oh, and the worst part? It's actually working since it sounds like he's mad at Cena for simply having his back in the Kane match with Falls Count Anywhere. I actually like Cena; I don't mind that he's loyal to his friends and that close. Zack seems to be turning on John, which I don't like.
      • He only told Cena to stay out of it because thanks to Laurinaitis's stipulation, Cena interfering in the Kane-Ryder match would cost Zack his one and only US Title rematch against Jack Swagger. It also makes sense, in a twisted way: Kane sending Ryder to the hospital has put him out of commission, but also out of further harm's way since Kane is now completely fixated on Cena.
      • And Eve.
      • After seeing Eve and Cena kissing....let's just say this is gonna turn real.
      • Subverted: Due to Eve attempt to be a Manipulative Bitch backfiring.
  • Finishing Move: The Zack Attack (Inverted overdrive neckbreaker) and the Rough Ryder (Jumping leg lariat). Zack's late 2011 push and increased ring time saw the Rough Ryder see more use, while the Zack Attack was dropped because it's Awesome but Impractical.
  • Follow the Leader
    • First, a subversion: Tyler Reks and Curt Hawkins (Ryder's former tag team partner) started their own YouTube show in an effort to gain more of a fan following, but caught backstage heat from WWE and were forced to shut it down.
    • Santino Marella's first quarter of 2012 has transpired almost exactly like the way the second half of Ryder's 2011 went — his screen time saw a sudden spike as an Ensemble Darkhorse, then he was placed into a storyline role as Teddy Long's assistant...then he won the United States championship. Given that Santino replaced Ryder as Long's assistant right after the latter won his title, it almost looks like WWE was going for a bit of Self-Plagiarism.
  • Forced Level Grinding/Dare to Be Badass: How Ryder stepped up in 2011, as he noted in a recent article:

  Zack Ryder: Earlier this year, probably January or so, I looked myself in the mirror and said this career is not where I want it to be. I had nothing to lose; I was on a path to get released. What were they going to do? Fire me? Not put me on TV? I wasn’t on TV anyway. My life was going to change one way or the other. I knew I was either going to get fired or get noticed. I got noticed.

  • Fragile Speedster: He's a high flier with a ridiculously weak chin.
  • Hachimaki
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: Manages to get off a couple on his Youtube show, riffing on wrestling lingo; first, he promises to "shoot", then shows up dressed as Han Solo firing a toy blaster, and then he says that the reason the economy's so bad is because he's doing all the "jobs", then demonstrates how he's a wrestler, a cook, a plumber, and an underwear model.
    • Replies to The Big O pushing him on his show with "NOBODY PUSHES ZACK RYDER."
    • And as he's trying to climb a fence, someone asked him what he's doing: "Trying to get over."
    • Of course, both of these examples are now Hilarious in Hindsight and very ironic as the show where he took jabs at his situation got him massively over, which has resulted in a push as well as a short run as the US Champ. It's also gotten him roped into the storyline with Kane and gotten him Kayfabe injured to the point where he lost his title. Then again, when he finally did show up on TV again, he was still over.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Since he's a funny Heel Jobber.
    • "Was" now hes a Face
  • Insane Troll Logic: After getting a new shirt, identical to the "Broski" t-shirt but with "Are you serious, Bro?" instead of "Take Care, Spike Your Hair." The reported reason for this is Vince McMahon didn't want anything with "spike" on merchandise, because it obviously promotes Spike TV and in turn, TNA. What?
    • Even more insane? Michael Cole saying that despite the thousands of signature on Ryder's public petition and the fact that he's pinned Ziggler almost every freakin' time they face each other, he says Ryder doesn't get one because "none of those matches were for the title." Are you SERIOUS, Bro?
  • Joisey: A major element of his gimmick since 2009 (though he's actually from Long Island, which has a similar "wiseguy" subculture).
  • Keet: See below
  • Large Ham: Only Santino Marella can keep up with him in that department. One of the reasons he's endeared himself to the fanbase is his lack of inhibitions; how many other wrestlers would show themselves singing the tunes of Miley Cyrus, Christina Aguilera, New Kids on the Block, and Rebecca Black with the enthusiasm of a kid on Christmas?
  • Love Makes You Dumb: He still had feelings for Eve, despite her turning heel and admitting using him to get to Cena. Hopefully he's gotten more wise about it, after she cost his team the victory and giving him a low blow.
  • Made of Iron/Determinator: Ever since he got roped into the Cena/Kane angle, you could make a case for this just based on how many brutal beatdowns it's taken to get him off TV.
    • First he got chokeslammed off a near-ten-foot drop.
    • Then, the following week, he came back only to lose his United States championship to Jack Swagger, who had to use his Gutwrench Powerbomb three times to get Ryder to stay down. Keep in mind, Ryder had cracked ribs (which the gutwrench specifically targets) and wasn't cleared to compete.
    • Then, the following week, Ryder ends up in a match with Kane, who predictably destroys him (although nowhere near as easily as one would think) and rounds it off by chokeslamming Ryder through the stage. Ryder ends up getting driven off in an ambulance.
    • That Sunday for the Royal Rumble, he's back again (albeit in a wheelchair), and gets a Tombstone Piledriver that finally appears to have finished him off. Let's put that in perspective. Once Kane singled out Ryder as a secondary target, it took him a full month to get rid of the guy. If that's not Made of Iron, I don't know what is.
    • Then this happened. Lets just say that for all of his grit and determination, Zack Ryder will forever remember Kane as the worst thing that ever happened to him.
  • Meal Ticket: Sadly turned out to be this for Eve Torres when she revealed on the 2/20/12 Raw that she was using him as a means to gain notoriety and work her way up to hooking the "big fish". What a ho-ski.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Thanks to Cena giving up his title shot at TLC, Ryder gets another chance at a US Title shot, but the opponent he ends having to try to beat is the Ax Crazy World Champion Mark Henry. Johnny Ace even made the match No-DQ and No Countout so that there would be no easy victory by Ryder or any dispute if he lost. Cena, however, is Genre Savvy in that he knows he can come down and get involved without Zack being DQ'ed. He gives Mark an AA, and puts a dazed Ryder on top of him for the three. BROSKIS, REJOICE!
  • One of Us: Zack is an action figure junkie, and even adorned his Christmas Tree with a custom Zack Ryder Figure. He also seems to love Star Wars, having dressed as "Han Solbro" and "Darth Ryder" on his Youtube show, as well as a skit where he declares Princess Leia to be the only woman hot enough for him.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: He's basically Santino if he was slightly less ridiculous, slightly less competent, and from Long Island instead of Italy.
  • Power Stable: Was part of La Familia on Smack Down!
  • Purple Is Powerful
  • Red Baron: The Long Island Loudmouth, The Long Island Iced-Z. He and Curt Hawkins were sometimes called the Rated-R Entourage and recently the Major Broskis.
  • Redemption Promotion: Since his face turn, Ryder's been winning more matches on both RAW and Smackdown. This includes defeating US Champ Dolph Ziggler (thrice, the first with fucking Hugh Jackman managing him, no less and finally winning the US Championship) and being on the good end of a Curb Stomp Battle against Michael Cole and other heel jobbers (funny since he used to be one).
  • Shameless Self Promotion: His YouTube channel, where he airs episodes of his series "Z True Long Island Story." Though it's not all that shameless anymore. He's doing whatever he can to get the attention of WWE creative and stand out in a midcard full of other guys WWE creative has no idea what to do with. Even with two guys in main event for Wrestlemania XXVII (and Triple H, kinda-sorta) going to bat for him, he's having a difficult time catching up.
    • With Triple H's recent move into the position of director of creative development, Zack might start seeing more attention.
  • Ship Tease: Most recently with Eve Torres.
    • Ship Sinking: After Zack saw Eve and Cena kissing, along with Eve dropping the "f-bomb" on him right after as part of her explanation, it's all but sunk.
  • Shout-Out: As the first WWE Superstar to build his fanbase almost solely from the internet, it's almost appropriate that Ryder would riff off one of WWE's many memes. He took to Twitter to discuss his injuries at the hands of Kane, alluded to getting some revenge when he came back, and rounded off his tweet with, "Kane, we coming for you Broski!!
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Seems to be a victim of this, as he's gotten entangled into John Cena's storyline with Kane and severely injured as a result.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: His breakout persona — which has evolved into a Plucky Underdog as he has started to become as popular as he thought he was.
    • Granted, he's still a bit of an incompetent tool. It's just that now it's presented as endearing rather than annoying.
  • Spiky Hair: Part of his character, along with the slogan "take care, spike your hair".
  • Start My Own: At one point, Ryder started referring to himself as the "champion of the Internet." A few weeks later, he actually had a WWE Internet Title belt that he defends at WWE live events.
  • Stuffed Into the Fridge: A rare male example, as he was being injured and beaten down solely to improve John Cena and his rivalry with Kane. By the story, he might never wrestle again, which is apparently as good as death in the WWE. No better example of destroying one person's life to extend and involve another person's plot.
  • Take That: A pretty deadpan one that was quite out of character towards WWE management on his Twitter feed, see it.
    • Recently started adding one to the "do all this social media stuff" exit message he gives on his YouTube show after moving future entries to WWE's YouTube channel instead of his own:

  "But because of WWE, you can't leave a comment."

      • Although this one has seen been averted, since WWE now allows fans to leave comments on his show (this is something of a big deal, since WWE is so notoriously tight-fisted about things like that, the fact that he and his fans had the pull to get that changed is saying something.)
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: Ever since Triple H became COO he had multiple bones thrown his way.
  • Took a Level In Badass: December 2010? Seldom-used Jobber lucky to get even token TV time. December 2011? The United States Champion.
    • Also take note that he's actually able to take most of the blows that are coming this way, whereas before he'd be pummeled pretty easily.
    • It took Three gutwrench powerbombs to his injured ribs to put him down in a recent match against Jack Swagger.
    • That's to say nothing of the beating he endured at the hands of Kane.
  • Verbal Tic: Sometimes he WOOs during his entrances... and doesn't seem to notice.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With Triple H. Subverted on Ryder's end because he's absolutely grateful Trips gave him the opportunity to prove himself on TV and gave "The Game" his vote of support despite the issue surrounding Triple H's stint as COO which were affecting all of the roster. Played straight with Triple H, who does support Zack Ryder getting more air time and making something out of himself, but cringes when saying the kid's "Woo Woo Woo" and can't resist the urge to give him a Pedigree whenever they're in the ring together.
  • Unrelated Brothers: Started his WWE career as one half of the "Major Brothers" with himself as Brett and Curt Hawkins as Bryan.
  • Vocal Dissonance: Despite his California "surfer-dude" appearance when he debuted as Brett Major, Zack is actually an Italian-American (okay, Spanish-American, but close enough) from New York, and that comes through pretty well in his accent and gimmick. Many people were probably surprised when they first heard him speak.
  • We Used to Be Friends: In a interview, he pretty much says he could care less about Cena after the guy kissed Eve, and hopes he and Kane destroy one another in their Ambulance Match at the "Elimination Chamber" PPV.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Likely the only reason Eve didn't get any comeuppance from low blowing him at WrestleMania.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Happened during the 10/24/11 Raw when Ryder was announced as Cena's tag team partner going up against Awesome Truth in the main event. Zack's so excited about being in the main event for the first time, he takes the time to do a backstage promo right before the match, during which R-Truth and Miz promptly jump and beat him down to take him out of the match. Broski got denied big time.
    • Subverted on the Nov. 7, 2011 Raw when he got to tag with Cena for real, even getting to hit a stereo Broski Boot and Five-Knuckle Shuffle with the man.
    • And in the 2011 European tour, Ryder got the chance to team up with Cena once again. They even give him a part in the US promos for the tour (usually reserved to top talent/big names) and mentions that part. Cut to Cena flatly saying "Don't air that part. On to the next part."