Was that Jim Hellwig 1996 reincarnated on AEW Dynamite? Nope! No baseball cap, not him. It was Matt Cardona.
Formerly known as Zack Ryder, Matt Cardona appeared on July 29's episode of Dynamite, making the save for his close friend Cody Rhodes. The deceptively large Cardona had just left WWE's "land of the giants," and his size was a hot topic online afterwards. He cleared the air when he spoke with Fightful.
"That’s another thing, too. Guys, I’m the same exact size," said Cardona. "From March ‘til July, I gained maybe ten-ish pounds and I think like a sloppy ten because I was in a bulking phase kind of thing and I mis-timed my meals the last couple days. So, I hated how I looked, and all these people making it seem like I gained a hundred pounds. One guy compared me to 1996 Ultimate Warrior. Listen, I wish I looked like the 1996 Ultimate Warrior. But, I think, Hawkins said it best, ‘cause we were talking about this on the Major Wrestling Figure podcast, I think because I was presented in a positive way, not just standing in the ring, “already in the ring, Zack Ryder,” you know what I’m saying? Compare pictures from February ‘til July. I look exactly the same."
1996 Warrior is a solid person to be compared to, as opposed to the 1992 edition that would have seen Cardona have to show up with a painted bodysuit. In a question submitted directly by AEW VP Cody Rhodes, Cardona was asked how he got on AEW's natural top-10 body list after one performance.
"Unbelievable. Listen, people have compared me to the ’96 Warrior. I do not agree with that. I heard I was on the top ten body list in AEW, which I’m very proud of. Thank you very much. But, the number one is Pepper Parks (The Blade). He has an incredible physique. I do believe that he shaves his abs, like into his abs with stomach hair. He does have abs, but I think he accentuates that by shaving them in. But, incredible physique on Pepper Parks," Cardona clarified.
During those three months, Cardona says that his size didn't change much, but pro wrestling fans don't seem to understand either way, Cardona is at UFC Heavyweight levels (above 206 pounds). How big is he --- for a shoot!? Not billed, fake wrestling weights.
"So, I have a lot of body dysmorphia issues, right? I know that. I’ll meal prep and then I’m like, “Nah, screw this meal prep company, I’m gonna cook it myself.” Then be like, “Nah, let me meal prep,” or I’ll have a trainer. “Nah, I just want to do my own thing.” “Oh, no, I need some structure.” So, I’m all over the place. I know that. Right now I’m around, it depends what time of day, 225 to 230. So, maybe wake up 225, go to sleep 230. I’d like to be around 230. I look clean at 230. I think sometimes a couple weeks ago I was a little over 230. I was a little sloppy in my opinion. I think I was announced on AEW as 232, so I don’t like to lie or anything like that," Cardona said.
Let's be real, that's like 250 pounds in pro wrestling weight.
You can see Fightful's full interview with Matt Cardona at the top of the page. Also make sure to check out Major Wrestling Figure Podcast to find their show, Youtube channel and Patreon.