At WrestleMania 32, Zack Ryder got his WrestleMania moment when he captured the Intercontinental Championship.
It was a surprise to some, especially given that Ryder was never intended to be in the match in the first place but was inserted after Pac, formerly known as Neville in WWE, was injured. After years of immense popularity with the fans, Ryder believed that the Intercontinental Championship win was the start of a major title push or at least a main event run. That major push never came for Ryder.
“I did think after the IC title thing that now we’re cooking. I think people were taking me a little more seriously. At any job, when you start, people look at how you started then, so people were starting to look at me as this 20-year-old kid and at the time, I was a 30-year-old man. They were starting to finally realize, ‘Okay, this guy can still go. He’s still popular. After all these years we haven’t done anything with him, he’s still popular.’ If they put me in a situation where the fans can believe in me, they do. I even went to Kevin Dunn to get my music changed and updated, make it a rock version. I really thought this was gonna be it. It wasn’t,” Ryder told Chris Van Vliet in an interview.
Ryder, who also held the United States and Tag Team Champion, was ultimately released by WWE on April 15 after being with the company for more than a dozen years. Ryder spoke more on his release at this link.
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.