NOTE: I originally wrote this article for The Website of DOOM.com
I noticed Zack Ryder's web show almost purely by accident. In the same way that most people are found online, it was through a series of "related videos" clicks on youtube. I enjoyed it instantly. Not only was the wrestler not taking himself too seriously and seemed to be genuinely having fun with his flip cam but it was a genius way to try and push himself and find an audience.
The WWE creative team obviously thought very little of Ryder. He was being buried and Zack hadn't been on TV in months. But numbers talk and when one of your roster is regularly getting 150,000 hits on youtube for something he makes in his apartment... you get attention. The thing is, he wasn't getting attention from the WWE big wigs, but actually from his fellow wrestlers.
When CM Punk was causing ructions with his very vocal contract antics in the ring, one thing he mentioned regularly was "when is Zack Ryder going to be put on TV?". CM Punk, who was airing all his grievances with the company, felt it was such an obvious move to push his fellow wrestler that he made it part of his protest.
And since then, to the company's credit, they've started to push him slowly but surely to the point where he's actually getting some big matches. This week on RAW, he was in the headline event.
WWE were in Liverpool and I was happy about this for a few reasons. I had spoken in my last report about how the crowds of the current WWE are a lot quieter than previous generations. While European crowds are even quieter than their American counterparts, they are however great gauges of talent. They tend not to root just for the baby-face but for the guy who is actually doing a great job, whether they be heel or not.
For example, Dolph Ziggler has been working some great matches and getting over guys for quite some time now. Especially our man Zack. Zack's mini-feud with Ziggler has been great to not only give him some momentum but also to give Ryder the in-ring time he sorely needed (dude was looking pretty rusty once he stepped through those ropes). Has Ziggler been getting any love from the crowd in the states? Hell no. But Liverpool started it's own "Let's go Ziggler" chant during his match with Morrison. The slow death of Morrison in the WWE may be another day's discussion.
So Liverpool, you know who is worth chanting for. I like that. The "who are you?" chant for Alberto del Rio was also a highlight of the night. While del Rio is great in the ring, he's absolutely horrible on the mic. CM Punk seems to back me up on that point. I may be old school in my thought process, but if you're going to be followed around by a non-wrestling flunky, they should be able to cover your bad mic skills, not just stand in the background and introduce you to the crowd.
I seem to be rambling off the point. Anyway, what I was tyring to get to is that the fact that Zack Ryder was getting louder chants than John Cena during their tag-team match in the main event... our little broski has come along way.
John Cena, by the way, has also been a big supporter for Ryder. And while we all love to hate the guy, he at least had the smarts to tag Zack into the match early when the "we want Ryder" chants started. You could clearly see it changed the game-plan and I appreciate any wrestler who is willing to give the crowd want it wants even if it means you do a little less on the night.
While this is all great stuff for Ryder the wrestler... his YouTube show is suffering. I wonder how long before he gives it up? When you're on TV regularly, the web show is going to get pushed to the background. But, I think he can live with that.