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Curt Hawkins says that WWE treatment of Zack Ryder 'broke the spirit of the locker room'

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by MShake3 via Wikimedia Commons

Brian Myers, who most of us knew as Curt Hawkins in WWE, was a guest on John Pollock on Live Audio Wrestling earlier this week.

In only a few weeks since his release from WWE, Hawkins has gotten a lot more ink than he got in his years with the sports entertainment giant.  From immediately beefing with Mark Henry on Twitter to expressing his relief at getting the news of being let go, his outspoken nature on social media and in interviews has made for a lot of good pro wrestling conversation.

His talk with Pollock is no exception.  He restates that he expected to be released, and talked candidly about his history as a performer in WWE.  Particularly interesting is what he had to say about the company's treatment of his former tag team partner, Zack Ryder.  The pair worked together as The Major Brothers and held tag team gold as Edge's lackeys in his La Familia stable with Vickie Guerrero.

Myers was asked about the storyline with John Cena, Kane and Eve that Ryder was placed in in early 2012, after fan response to his YouTube show over the previous year forced Creative to use the Long Islander more prominently, and his descent back to undercard status:

The worst part of that whole thing is that it really kind of broke the spirit of the locker room.

For years, we were told in all these pep talks that there's a brass ring, you've gotta reach for it and it's there for the taking if you work hard enough and get yourself over. And he did it; he defied the odds and actually does it, and all the boys are rooting for him, like 'Oh wow, this is cool as sh*t. This has never been done before.' He got over without the office, without TV time. It was pretty mind-blowing.

And then they did just crush it and take it all away from him. To me, I felt the example that set for the rest of the boys was pretty brutal, because then it's like it almost feels hopeless. It's like, you're not going to get pushed unless they pick you to get pushed, and that's kind of it. I thought, above all, that message they sent to the boys was the worst part. They crushed the spirits of a lot of people, like 'Okay, so my hard work here isn't going to pay off, huh?'

Whether you're a fan of The Long Island Iced Z or not, most fans consider what happened to him disappointing at best and a "burial" at worst.  This is one of the first times I've heard of someone backstage talk openly about how it felt at the time, though.

Was Ryder "buried" for getting over outside of the WWE machine?  And did it demoralize the locker room?  Are we still seeing effects of that two years later?

What do you think about Hawkins comments?