Zack Ryder was one of the more surprising names released by WWE on April 15. The former Intercontinental Champion signed a developmental deal with the company in 2006 and was a main roster staple since 2007.
But WWE's decision to release him might have been influenced by Ryder's current contract coming to an end in August with Ryder yet to sign an extension.
"We all got a mass text to watch this Vince McMahon video explaining that these cuts would be happening, so I can't say it was unexpected," Ryder told Busted Open Radio. "I never re-signed my contract, so my deal was going to be up in August and I had been dealing with contract negotiations for over a year. The anxiety I had about it, 'Do I stay, do I go.' It was really eating me up. When the call was made and I was released, the decision was made for me. Instantly, I was relieved. The anxiety that I had for over a year, it was instantly gone. I felt so excited. I want to work and be creative. Now, to do whatever I want -- I was fortunate to be with WWE for 14 years. I grew up there -- but it's time for me to do it my way and do my thing. To fail or succeed on my own. I feel like it's Christmas morning and I see the presents, I just can't open them yet. I can't wait to get out there and wrestle everybody."
Ryder does have a non-compete clause that doesn't expire until July. And Ryder has said he won't accept any bookings until the coronavirus pandemic clears as he doesn't want to disappoint fans by being announced, only for the event to be canceled.
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