To some, Zack Ryder’s release from WWE back in April was a surprise, but he was expecting to be one of the many that got the call that they were being let go.
On April 15, Ryder, along with the likes of Heath Slater, Luke Gallows, Karl Anderson, Sarah Logan and others, were released from WWE. Even before he got word that he was being let go, he told Chris Van Vliet that he actually figured he would be released and so was already making plans for his post-WWE run.
Despite his tenure with WWE ending, Ryder said there are no hard feelings with the company and understands that it is business.
“That morning, we got this group text message saying, ‘Check the talent app.’ It was a video of Vince McMahon talking about the state of the company and the world, basically saying that layoffs would be coming. I’m a smart guy [I know what this means for me]. Pro Wrestling Tees, let’s set up. I already had it set up. I knew it was coming. I mean, I didn’t know, but I had a pretty good idea. The thing is, my contract would have been up in August. I had never re-signed and I guess for over a year, we had been talking and the anxiety that I had been living with, ‘Do I stay or do I go?’ I grew up wanting to become a WWE superstar, but my career has been up and down, up and down, up and down. With all these new opportunities, do I really want to stay when I could go somewhere else? When the decision was made for me, I was like, ‘Oh my god thank you! Thank you so much!’ Instant relief,” Ryder said.
For a short while, Ryder actually thought he was not going to be released as he was seeing other wrestlers get that call, but he did not. With Ryder’s contract expiring in August, he thought WWE would not let him go and so he called the company just to make sure he was released.
“It was weird because Hawkins got the call, Heath, Gallows and Anderson, I was thinking, ‘Are they going to let me sit home until my contract runs out and just rot?’ Please call me! I had to call to get released. I knew something was going down. A couple of texts had been ignored for the last couple of days. It is what it is. Business is business. No hard feelings. I’m so grateful for my time in WWE. I was signed when I was 20, now I’m 34. My entire adult life has been literally living my dream, being a WWE superstar. My only jobs were working at deli, working at a pizzeria, Gold’s Gym as a personal trainer with no clients and WWE superstar. I have nothing to complain about. I guess some people see it as a negative, but I see it as, ‘Now it’s time to do some stuff I want to do.’ Not saying that they had handcuffs on me, but the handcuffs are off. I can do whatever I want,” Ryder said.
During his time with WWE, Ryder won a number of championships, including the United States and Intercontinental titles.
You can check out the interview in the video at the top of the page. If you use any of the quotes above, please give a h/t and link back to Fightful for the transcription.