Today's issue of Newsday, the main newspaper for all of Long Island, New York, has piece about Zack Ryder and his recent surge in popularity thanks to his "Z! True Long Island Story" video series on YouTube. Newsday's website has the full interview by Alfonso Castillo but the site is behind a paywall if you don't subscribe to Newsday or parent company Cablevision's Optimum Online internet service. Here are some of the highlights:
AC: I wanted to talk to you about the web show (Z True Long Island Story), which has become a real phenomenon. It gets more than 100,000 hits. And even though, on TV, you're not the most prominent characters, every time you're out there, there are signs, there are T-Shirts. There's this whole ground swell of a Zack Ryder following. What do you think about all that?
ZR: That's what I call the "Ryder Revolution." 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.
AC: There's been some thought that maybe you could get in some trouble with that, because it's not WWE-sanctioned. Can you tell me anything about how it's been received? Are they happy that you took the initiative and put that together, or has there been any heat?
ZR: 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.
AC: What's your relationship with John Cena? I've heard some talk that he's a big booster of yours, a fan of yours. He's interacted with you on TV over the last couple of weeks.
ZR: John Cena's been great. He's definitely one of my supporters. He's a broski. He's trying to get me on Raw as possible. We just pass each other by and do a little fist pump or something like that. He's done a couple appearances on my show and made the hits go up a little bit. So I thank him for that. I think we have a pretty good relationship.
AC: I know you kind of poke fun on the show at your relatively low place on the card. But what are your thoughts about it? On one hand, I'm sure you'd like to be WWE champion and headlining WrestleMania and all that. But on the other hand, when you think of how many guys pursue this for a living, you've got to be happy to just have a job and be on TV and be part of the biggest company in the world. How do you see your role? Are you grateful for it?
ZR: I guess I am grateful that I have a job in WWE, but that was 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.
AC: Again, just to revisit this-I remember reading something on the Wrestling Observer where either Dave Meltzer or Brian Alvarez wrote that the worst thing a fan could do is get behind this campaign that you have going on, because you're going to get punished. Is any of that happening? There was talk of WWE confiscating signs. Is there any truth to that, or has WWE been letting your pretty much do what you want and happy with the results you've been getting?
ZR: 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.