Thursday, July 21, 2011

Have You Seen This Bro?

Photo from True Long Island Story on YouTube
By Chad Smart
@ChadSmart on Twitter

Now that CM Punk is gone, it’s time to turn attention back to another favorite of the my123cents crew, Zack Ryder. In case you’ve been watching Raw this year, you have probably only seen Zack twice. Once in a match where he didn’t get an on air introduction and then a few weeks ago when he came out after New Nexus defended the tag titles. Zack came out, said, “woo woo woo” and left. It looked the start of a storyline where Zack would find a partner and challenge for the tag straps. That was a month ago and there hasn’t been any mention of it ever happening so it looks like Zack should go hang out with the driver of the white hummer and DDP’s benefactor in the land of unfinished angles.

Kevin & Zack at Wrestlemania 26
While Zack hasn’t been on TV, he has built up a following with his weekly YouTube show True Long Island Story. Kevin and I have written about the show before, and Kevin was the episode 22 Broski of the Week. Based on the success of the show (allegedly*) sold out of the Zack Ryder shirt. WWE is releasing a new Zack t-shirt featuring a caricature of Zack’s head that slightly resembles a troll doll on the front and Zack’s catchphrase on the back. Obviously WWE sees the potential to make money off of Zack Ryder, so the question is why doesn’t he get any TV time?

For the better part of the last 15 years those working inside the wrestling industry have said the Internet wrestling fans should not be listened to because they make up a small percentage of the overall fan base. This may have been true in the early days of the Internet, but now with the saturation of homes with Internet access and even with the number of smartphones in the market, I think it’s safe to say at least 75% of wrestling fans most likely have some kind of online interaction involving wrestling on a weekly if not daily basis. Doesn’t WWE make a big deal about how many fans they have on Facebook and how many hits the WWE website gets compared to other companies? So wouldn’t it make some sense to take the opinions of the Internet Wrestling Community into consideration every so often?

The Ultimate Broksi (from True Long Island Story) 
If Zack Ryder is averaging 100,000 views per episode of True Long Island Story, and his T-shirt is selling out even though it’s not available at arenas, isn’t the potential there for his popularity to explode if he was presented to the mainstream audience? So then why hasn’t WWE management gotten him onto TV? The old excuse, “creative has nothing for you” can’t really be used because Zack has a built in gimmick and could easily be inserted anywhere on the show. He could be paired up with Curt Hawkins again to challenge for the tag titles. How many people even remember he and Hawkins are former champions? He could be thrown into the mix with Dolph Ziggler, Kofi Kingston and Evan Bourne to make the U.S. Title scene more interesting. Or, based on the history of TLIS, have John Cena take him under his wing as a new protégé. This would keep Cena out of the title hunt and give Zack the rub needed to help him overcome mid-card hell. Seeing how WWE is in need of new main event talent, it surprises me how they still seemingly refuse to try and create new stars.

Could Zack Ryder be the next big thing? Maybe, maybe not. How many people would have predicted Rocky Miavia or The Ringmaster would have become the biggest stars of the past twenty years? You never know how things will work out until you try. I think it’s time WWE tries with Zack Ryder. If it fails so what? There are another 50 guys on the roster who are waiting for their chance. Maybe one of them will be the guy to lead the next wrestling revolution. 

*I’m taking Zack’s word for it. I never tried to order one.

Lots of daily questions and ponderings on the my123cents Facebook page. Thinking of doing a Twitter meet up. And there’s always someone new on the YouTube channel. So much to see, so little time. 

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