Matt Cardona, Formerly Zack Ryder, Admits He Was Considering Leaving WWE Before His Sudden Release

Zack Ryder, now known as Matt Cardona, was one of the 30+ active wrestlers WWE released back in April, ending his 14-year career with the company. Though he had rebuilt and reimagined his persona multiple times over the years, the former Intercontinental and United States Champion had been given very little to do in recent years with the exception of a quick run as Raw Tag Team Champion with Curt Hawkins back in April 2019. As a result, Cardona was on the verge of leaving when his contract was set to expire this coming August.

He explained the situation during a new interview with Busted Open Radio on Monday.

"I never re-signed my contract, so my deal was going to be up in August and I had been dealing with contract negotiations for over a year," Cardona said. "The anxiety I had about it, like 'Do I stay, do I go.' It was really eating me up. When the call was made and I was released, the decision was made for me. Instantly, I was relieved. Because the anxiety that I had for over a year, consciously or subconsciously, it was instantly gone. I felt so excited."

Cardona stated on social media days after his release that he was excited for the next chapter or his career, but it won't start until the coronavirus pandemic is over.

In the first episode of The Major Wrestling Figure Podcast after both men had been released, Cardona and Curt Hawkins thanked WWE fans for all of their support.


“The support you guys have given us is overwhelming and we love you, so thank you,” Cardona said. “I’m very excited. It feels like it’s Christmas morning to me and I can see all the gifts, but I can’t go open ’em yet. I’m just so excited to get out there. I’m just so pumped.”

Here's a full list of every wrestler who has been released by the WWE since April 15:

  • Rusev
  • Drake Maverick
  • Karl Anderson
  • Luke Gallows
  • EC3
  • Curt Hawkins
  • Heath Slater
  • Eric Young
  • Lio Rush
  • Aiden English
  • Sarah Logan
  • Erick Rowan
  • Primo
  • Epico
  • Mike Kanellis
  • Maria Kanellis
  • Zack Ryder
  • No Way Jose
  • Deonna Purrazzo
  • Aleksandar Jaksic
  • MJ Jenkins
  • Dan Matha
  • Alyssa Marino
  • Taynara Conti
  • Nick Comoroto
  • Cezar Bononi
  • Tino Sabbatelli
  • Kassius Ohno (Reportedly)
  • Mohamed Fahim
  • Marcos Gomes
  • Faisal Kurdi
  • Hussain Aldagal
  • Yifeng (Rocky)
  • Cain Velasquez
  • Curtis Axel

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