Craig Wilson, Jamie Lithgow and Brian Damage
The WWE roster is filled with “superstars” at every level. There are the main roster guys who regularly appear on Raw and SmackDown, those who are used as glorified jobbers and those who are barely used at all. In this series of pieces, we will take an individual wrestler barely or poorly used and decide if they are worth keeping or should they be let go. Today we decide if we Book or Cook Zack Ryder.
Craig: Who would have thought we’d have this Book or Cook when this year’s WrestleMania finished, huh?
After all, from seemingly out of nowhere, Ryder had climbed back from relative obscurity to grab the Intercontinental title. It seemed for the first time in a while, the only way was up for him.
Yet just 24 hours later he dropped the gold to The Miz and has barely been seen since.
So, what are Ryder’s chances? Has he finally ran out of lives? Would you book or cook Zack Ryder?
Jamie: I’m baffled by Zack Ryder, or rather WWE’s use of him. He has the WWE ‘look’ and size, he’s far from a mat technician but still better than quite a few performers on the active roster and he works the crowd really well. What’s the problem? He’s better than The Miz! There has always been a rumour that he has been held down because he got himself over a few years ago, without the aid of the ‘WWE machine’. Surely that cannot be it, how childish is this company if that is true?! Here’s a guy with a great idea that could make us a bunch of money….. but fuck him, it’s not our idea!
Personally I’d want to use Ryder, but realistically I would not know what to do with him. His reputation for being a ‘jobber’ or a ‘making up the numbers’ guy precedes him these days. Let’s face it, whenever we see Ryder on Raw or Smackdown we expect him to get squashed by someone like Rusev. Within the WWE he’s damaged goods. However, he has demonstrated that he is able to get himself over on his own before, so I’m sure he could do it again… away from WWE.
Brian: I think when it pertains to Zack Ryder….while I am sure he would love to be utilized a lot more….I think he is happy just where he is. Ryder is a guy that wasn’t meant to go very far in the WWE and by his own doing…made a nice little career for himself. He made himself into the singles star that he would become.
Should the WWE have done a better job with him? Absolutely! In the grand scheme of things though, Ryder seems happy just to be there. That is certainly not a knock on him whatsoever. I just feel that he is willing to be a wrestler, trainer, background talent, sweep the floors, put together the ring…whatever it is to be a WWE employee. A true company guy.
Craig: I totally take your point with perceptions, Jamie. But when he grabbed the IC title at WrestleMania it shocked fans, the company could have built on that and kept going creating a sort of ‘underdog’ vibe with him and having him exceed expectations along the way. Constantly winning when we thought the end of his reign had come. Instead, they had him drop it the next night. That’s a huge missed opportunity.
I also agree with the company guy remarks but the WWE could, and should, do more. It’s a huge book from me. He has got the WWE look and is charismatic. The success of his YouTube show also suggests there is a significant part of the fanbase that want to get behind him. It’s staggering, then, that the WWE don’t utilise him better.
Brian: I say book as well simply because where else can he go from here? Japan? Mexico? TNA? He is what he is at this point in his career.
Jamie: I’m a reluctant book too. He should have achieved more, but he does still bring something to the party when called upon. He may be swimming in the shark tank that is WWE, but he seems to have a knack for not only staying alive but staying relevant and over with fans – just about anyway. Fair play to him for that. Playing a minor role in WWE is probably better financially than playing a major role in most other promotions, and if he enjoys it then more power to him.
Quite the consensus in terms of being puzzled as to how the WWE have used Ryder to date. But what do you think? Would you book or cook him? As always, leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
You can read all previous ‘Book or Cook?’ pieces here.