Newsday interview with Zack Ryder



By Alfonso Castillo from Newsday


On wrestling in his hometown tonight on Raw:

“Wrestling in front of my hometown crowd on Long Island is unbelievable. I’ve been too so many shows there. As a kid, I slept outside the Nassau Coliseum trying to get tickets to Raw once. And going back Monday is going to be incredible. I’ve got my friends, my family, my girlfriend. It’s going to be awesome. And hopefully the Zack Pack is going to be cheering me on… I mean, it’s set up. I don’t really believe in fate or anything of that stuff, but I’ve been doing this show for like three months and my popularity is as high as it’s ever been. And now we’re at the Nassau Coliseum. Something’s got to happen. If it doesn't, it’s just a missed opportunity. So I’m hoping this is my big chance, my big break.”

On the genesis of his “Z! True Long Island Story.”

"What happened was that about three months ago I was sick of just not being on TV, sick of just sitting in the background on the sidelines. So I created my opportunity. I created my own Youtube account. My parents got me a Flipcam for Christmas. And I started to make my own shows. And 16 episodes later, more than a million views, it’s starting to pick up… All my days off is basically doing that show. It’s thinking of things and messing around with my friends. They’ll help me film stuff, like the Superstars General Manager—just things to create controversy in a funny, light hearted way… I think I had no creative output before, so they really didn't know who I was. I had a couple matches here and there, but I never really had a chance to show who I really was, my personality and show how charismatic I was. Now this show has taken off. Guys like John Cena, The Miz, 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin, Chris Jericho are all praising me on Twitter and stuff like that. I wrote the bonus forward to Chris Jericho’s book. It’s just unbelievable. I think everyone is starting to notice."

On whether he’s gotten any heat with WWE over his web show:

“At first, I was afraid too. I thought, ‘Am I going to get in trouble?’ But I’m not trying to cause any problems. I just want to get my name out there and create my own opportunity, and make some money for the company and for myself. Now they’re really getting behind it. Like you said, there are signs every single week. My T-Shirts are selling out, and I’m not even on television. It’s unheard of. So, I think they have to get behind it.… As far as I know, I haven’t been punished. But before I started the Youtube show, I was at the bottom of the card—the bottom. How much worse of a position could I have dropped to, you know? So it had to go up. That was my mind set. I was just sick of being at the bottom, knowing I could be so much more. It was all or nothing, basically.”

On creating the “Long Island Iced Z” character:

“It was way before The Jersey Shore. I was with Curt Hawkins as the Edge Heads—a long haired blonde kid. And I needed a change. I needed something different. So I just took my real personality, turned the volume way up, cut the hair, went to all the clubs on Long Island, like GLO, and fist pumped with all my broskies until I finally found who I really was, and portrayed it to the world, throwing up the ‘LI’ hand signal. And ‘Woo-woo-woo’ is taking over… I’m definitely not mocking Long Island in any way, shape or form. I love where I’m from. I love Long Island. It’s supposed to be showing the world about Long Island. I’m walking out there throwing up the ‘LI’ hand signal. Everything’s Long Island. It’s showing it off. It’s not mocking it in any way. So I hope no one feels that way. If they do--Oh well. I’ll send them a T-Shirt.’

On his frustrations with trying to move up in WWE:

“I guess I am grateful that I have a job in WWE, but that my plan my whole life. So, it’s kind of expected for me. So I’m not satisfied with my spot on the card. I definitely want to move up. And that’s what I’m going to do. Or at least I’m going to try my best and go out swinging. I’m not going to just sit back and say, ‘Oh, I should have done that,’ or ‘I should have done this.’ When my time comes to an end, I know I’ll have no regrets… I’ve been under contract for five years. I’ve been on television for four. So that’s a pretty long time. So many people come and go in four years. But I have all the time in the world. I’m only 26. I’m one of the youngest guys on the roster. I’m not going to stop until everyone in this world knows who Zack Ryder is.”

On moving ahead of his friend and former partner Curt Hawkins:

“I hope there’s no hard feelings. I don’t think there is. We knew our time as a team was over, and we knew we were going to split up. And it’s unfortunate that the WWE doesn’t realize his potential either, because he’s one of the youngest up and coming guys in the company, too. I hope that one day we’ll both get the chance to make it to the top together or separately, and maybe cross paths again in a different way.”

On being trained by Mikey Whipreck at Long Island’s New York Wrestling Connection school:

“I wanted to be a wrestler my entire life, so right out of high school I found NYWC, which is in Deer Park. And, Mikey Whipreck, from the original ECW, was the trainer. And I just learned all the basics, learned everything I needed to know. Myself, Curt Hawkins, Trent Baretta—We’re all the WWE and we all came out of that school. So it’s definitely a good place to learn the ropes, so to speak… (Whipreck) taught us everything from headlocks to paying your taxes. He knew everything. And he was the perfect teacher because he actually experienced it, as opposed to other people who don’t know anything and are training people and are basically stealing people’s money.”

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