Exclusive: IMPACT’s Matt Cardona talks revisiting Zack Ryder YouTube series 10 years on

Stephanie Chase
·3 min read
Photo credit: Impact Wrestling
Photo credit: Impact Wrestling

From Digital Spy

Matt Cardona made his surprise debut for IMPACT Wrestling at Hard to Kill earlier this month, taking on Ace Austin.

Cardona, who was previously known as Zack Ryder, was among the slew of talent released by WWE last April. He's since appeared on AEW Dynamite and continued to work on The Major Wrestling Figure Podcast with fellow IMPACT talent Brian Myers.

Earlier this week, Cardona also announced he was launching a new podcast series called The MC True Long Island Story, where he’ll be going back and watching every episode of his old YouTube show Z! True Long Island Story.

Photo credit: Impact Wrestling
Photo credit: Impact Wrestling

Cardona’s YouTube series is remembered by fans for being groundbreaking but also as an example of a WWE Superstar getting themselves over without the company’s support.

Speaking exclusively to Digital Spy, Cardona explained why he’s decided to go back and watch the series a decade on from the first episode.

"I thought it was a really interesting concept," Cardona said. "I went back and I watched the first episode and I was like, 'wow, there's a lot to talk about here'.

Photo credit: Impact Wrestling
Photo credit: Impact Wrestling

"So each week we're going to do that, just dissect the episodes and what was going on, backstage, in wrestling, in my life and then maybe do a reunion episode down the line but right now we're going to focus on the podcast."

While much has been written about the Zack Ryder series and WWE’s handling of its success and Ryder himself, Cardona says he has no bitter feelings.

"This show, if people are expecting bitterness and negativity, don't tune in," he said.

Photo credit: WWE
Photo credit: WWE

"You will get some gossip but that's just if it comes up and I will tell my version of it but I'm not here for negativity, or gossip, or anything like that.

"I'm here to tell my story 10 years later and it's going to be interesting for me watching it exactly 10 years later.

"It’s going to be very cringe-worthy because I've grown up as a wrestler, as a man, and 10 years is a long time but it kind of flew."

Now there's plenty of wrestlers who have made the jump to YouTube, including the Young Bucks whose Being The Elite series led in part to the creation of AEW. But when Cardona started his series, he was very much out on his own.

"I wasn't the first person to have a web show or an internet show," Cardona said. "WWE was doing... John Morrison and The Miz had a show and they had creative liberties in the show but at the end of the day, they would go home and live their life and WWE would edit it and produce it.

"But I did this all by myself and I just wanted to get noticed. Listen, I wasn't the first person on social media either but I think I was the first person to take my wrestling character and my real life and mesh it together and now that's common but back then it really wasn't.

Photo credit: Impact Wrestling
Photo credit: Impact Wrestling

"I was bringing in my real life friends and my dad and I think the fans really connected to me on that level and they still stuck with me even now coming to IMPACT."

Cardona also hopes the story of his YouTube series can inspire others to be creative. "It's a great story of somebody who just wants an opportunity and creates it for themselves," he said.

"So if this new podcast can inspire just one person out there to take a chance on themselves, then it's all worth it."

IMPACT! airs Wednesday nights at 10pm on FreeSports.

Digital Spy has launched its first-ever digital magazine with exclusive features, interviews, and videos. Check it out with a 1-month free trial, only on Apple News+.

Interested in Digital Spy's weekly newsletter? Sign up to get it sent straight to your inbox – and don't forget to join our Watch This Facebook Group for daily TV recommendations and discussions with other readers.

You Might Also Like