Matt Cardona reveals that during his first reign as WWE Tag Team Champion, he and Brian Myers were literally paper champions.
The story of Zack Ryder in WWE is a unique one. Even though a lot of his tenure is remembered for being underutilized by WWE, Zack Ryder's early days and association with Edge, also saw him participate in the main event of WrestleMania, and spend a lot of time in the ring with legends such as The Undertaker, Batista, Kane, and more.
However, despite the fact that they were working with legends, the early days of Hawkins and Ryder were marred by their interchangeable personalities and the only standout quality of their gimmick being “we are Edge’s lackeys.”
On the March 10, 2008, Shawn Michaels solidified this when he told Ric Flair, “I see that over on SmackDown you are having problems with Edge and his two… Edge guys.”
Speaking on the debut episode of the MC! True Long Island Story podcast, Matt Cardona discussed the original plans for the gimmick and how frustrating it was to be forgettable while also being in the middle of main event programs.
“We were literally the Edge guys. Shawn Michaels on TV, called us ‘The Edge Guys’ because he forgets our names, and I don’t blame him. We were just literally dressing in Edge’s gear when the original plan was to do that Edge thing that one night and then have her own gear made.
“We had the gear made but then they decided to keep us in the Edge stuff and by the time they decided to let us be our own guys, it was too late. We were just the jabroni Edgehead guys, the guy that looked like Edge. We're Hawkins and Ryder, but which one is Hawkins, which one is Ryder.”
Cardona would reveal that upon debuting on SmackDown off of a run on ECW as The Major Brothers, Vince McMahon was unaware that they were actually not brothers and immediately wanted them to change their names to have their own identity.
Ultimately, this would lead to the team winning the WWE Tag Team Championship at the Great American Bash in 2008 in their hometown of Long Island, New York. This was not the crowning moment they wanted it to be, however. Cardona further revealed that their nameplates were made out of paper, literally making them paper champions.
“I am Brett Major, he's Brian Major we do the Edgehead thing and I guess in the meeting on SmackDown two days later, Vince McMahon finds out that we're not really brothers. So he wants us to tell the world our real names but not our real real names, our fake real names.”
He added, I knew I wanted to be Zack from Zack Morris, originally I was going to be Zack McKay, from Dylan McKay.
Regarding the Tag Team Championship win, Cardona says the setting was as good as it could be but the plans were never there.
“We were literally paper champions. We were still technically with Edge when we win them. Hometown, Long Island, New York, we win them. Awesome, but the nameplate that they gave us was paper and they never switch it out, so when we lose them, it's still paper.”
Eventually, the pairing would be split in the 2009 WWE Draft, where Zack Ryder would go to ECW and begin his Broski gimmick.
Now, Cardona and Myers are in IMPACT Wrestling engaged in a rivalry with one another. Fightful will have live coverage of IMPACT on AXS TV beginning Tuesday at 8 p.m. eastern.
If you use any of the above quotes, please link back to this article and credit Fightful for the transcription