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Posted in: Wrestling Rainbow
Wrestling Rainbow ~ Enslaved by the Bell (Zack Ryder's Passion is a Prison)
By SkitZ
Jan 7, 2018 - 2:42:44 PM

Enslaved by the Bell
(Zack Ryder's Passion is a Prison)

Welcome back to the column with stones cold enough to be considered cryogenically frozen - Wrestling Rainbow.

So hey, how about that Wrestle Kingdom?

No seriously, how was it? I wouldn't know. NJPW has the wrestling world abuzz with stuff lightyears ahead of its time and yet here I am wasting space on someone who's not even a star in his own universe. It seems this WWE bubble is suffocating the both of us, bro. Only difference is I can change the channel when things get shitty whereas you're just taken off television altogether. Despite it being painful to sit thru though, I find myself more drawn to Zack Ryder than my tattoo artist. Being a painter allows me more stroke at my job sure, but I also know what it feels like to be brushed aside. Take the ongoing United States Title tournament for example. Zack realizes he's on the verge of being wiped off the bracket board in the first round and tweeted a promo regarding his growing restlessness.

Props to Ryder for promoting himself since the company clearly doesn't plan to do so. It's the type of thing his career could've used a couple years ago. Hopefully somebody backstage sees it as Zack making a play to get in the game and off the sidelines but as I watched that video, the only emotion that struck me was pity. I imagined Ryder sitting at home realizing his window of opportunity's shutting rapidly and leaping off the couch before it's too late. Slowly coming to grips with the fact that all the action figures in the world can't fill the void of an actual fanbase. I'm reminded of the quiet that occupies my apartment as I use this column as an excuse to connect with likeminded people. Surrounded by collectibles that belong to some guy half my age but not knowing where to draw the line between mark and manchild. Ryder might have me beat in airline miles but I've spent just as much time with my head in the clouds.

Granted the guy's done alright for himself relationship-wise (his current girlfriend's no Emma but she's still a knockout). How much sympathy does a dude truly deserve when he's dating Chelsea Green and has Walt Disney World in his backyard, right? Well unfortunately, all it takes is a trip over to the Performance Center to remind Zack how many aspiring wrestlers are being groomed to knock him further down the main roster depth chart. Ryder's put in the reps but has squat to show for it. Perhaps the bar's been raised so high in recent years that Zack's credentials no longer carry any weight? Is he destined to ride the bench forever? Has Ryder already become the fanboy equivalent of Bayley? For someone so enamored with his employer, I can't confidently say they've ever returned the favor (unless we're counting one night stands).

As nuts as it seems now though, Zack had the world by the balls...

...Until reality delivered a knee buckling low blow.

Ryder's run had legs before Creative cut them off and strapped him to a wheelchair. Hardly a rocket but that didn't stop Kane from launching Zack off the entrance ramp and torching whatever fuel he had left in the tank. Ryder's been relevant all of 24 hours since the spring of 2012. What could've been a turning point after Mania two years ago ended up being one for The Miz instead. Zack's victory in Big D proved nothing but a misdirection to swerve fans and kick start Miz's Intercontinental Title tour. Aside from that brief moment in the spotlight, Ryder's usually stuck standing in someone's shadow and that's if he's even booked to begin with. Zack could be part of the production staff with the amount of time he spends behind the scenes. Ryder's not a jobber to the stars. He's not even a jobber to the newcomers (Dolph duty in other words). He's that veteran who has to ration his TV minutes with a dozen younger, hungrier wrestlers.

When Zack started using social media to expand his brand in 2011, I thought he'd eventually evolve into a face version of what The Miz is nowadays; some dork who WWE didn't really have plans for but carved out a spot in the product anyhow. Between his web show's popularity and the ringing endorsements of various wrestlers, Ryder definitely made some noise. Vince just wasn't listening. And while it's no secret that the old man's hard at hearing, you couldn't have at least given Zack a gig on the Network? That sounds pretty reasonable considering you stripped the dude of everything that made him remotely marketable. Ryder lost the United States Title, his girl, control of Z! True Long Island Story and ultimately a purpose. Sadly, I assume Zack's partnership with Rawley is the only reason he resurfaced on SmackDown in '16.

The fact that management split up the Hype Bros and went with Mojo means Ryder's officially hit rock bottom. I enjoyed his heel work on ECW back in the day and wish it'd been him who betrayed Rawley rather than the other way around. What does the company honestly expect to gain out of Mojo besides miserable matches and a bunch of mumbo jumbo on the mic? That pre-recorded promo he cut on SmackDown should've been snipped right off the show (shit was like taking garden shears to the eardrums). Not only is Rawley tone deaf and slightly retarded but he's being rewarded simply for being friends with another notable meathead. Even though Muscles Marinara has proven that the taller, beefier teammate isn't always the bread winner (and I hate casseroles btw).

Zack's been on the chopping block forever and yet he remains under contract. Why is that? Because WWE knows it'll reflect poorly upon them if they release Ryder. Here's a guy whose lifelong wrestling fandom is well documented. The company's shown childhood photos of Zack posing with HOFers like Randy Savage and Razor Ramon. He's put over everyone from Jack Thwagger to The Usos since day one-ish. He's eaten more pins than a bowling alley. Ryder's done everything demanded of him; including shit that nobody deserves to be dragged through. That's the price Zack pays though for selling his soul to the devil.

Ala the living embodiment of Lucifer

Even if Ryder did leave and return later, would the result be any different? His buddy Hawkins already tried that and look where it's landed him... on a woefully long losing streak. It might've been a winning move for Cody Rhodes but Zack can't take his talents elsewhere because he's never been given the chance to improve as a performer. How does one become a household name when they can barely hold down work on house shows? WWE stunted Ryder's growth by neglecting his character during its infancy stage. He's nothing but a dated reference now. A wrestler the system mishandled and let slip through the cracks. Ryder isn't a worthy contender for the United States Championship; he's first round filler. Anyone with half a mind knows we're heading for a Roode/Mahal finale at the Royal Rumble. An event sure to be stacked with star power (so don't expect there to be any room for Ryder on the card).

Perhaps Zack is exactly where he belongs in this day and age. Maybe the guy should just be grateful that his role hasn't been reduced to running the gym at the PC. Ryder's rubbed shoulders with every celebrity from Snooki to Hugh Jackman. He's won a singles title at WrestleMania in front of his friends and family. He's shared screen time with Cena (albeit while John was tonguing down his hoski but nevertheless). He pops up sporadically in other people's selfies. He's a survivor plain and simple but when is simply existing not enough? That's the pride-obliterating point Ryder's reached in WWE. He's grown impatient and that promo he uploaded recently was just what the doctor ordered. Too bad the company's immune to his charms. They have their finger on so many pulses that Zack's career could flatline and go undetected for decades.

So why dwell on something so depressing when I could be concentrating on much happier thoughts? Because Ryder's plea for a push spoke to me despite it being a complete waste of his breath. That's not to say Zack was wrong for sounding off and trying to alter his fate. It's an admirable attempt no doubt. I just know he's doomed to fail and find it tragic how a man can be so committed to a business that doesn't love him back. Heartbreaking in the sense that WWE fans are far too familiar with sa(i)d feeling. Hence why I can't fault a diehard like Chad Matthews for suffering writer's block when there's no payoff in sight. We do this for free and yet somehow it's still more rewarding than Ryder's line of duty. If I were Zack, I'd put all that spare time towards writing a book and title it Cool Story Bro. I dunno about it becoming a bestseller but at least his work would be properly displayed for a change.

SkittleZ Riddles

You might be surprised to discover that Umaga was the mystery man behind my latest riddle. That first hint seemed to throw a lot of readers off the Samoan Bulldozer's scent. Timing is everything was actually a nod to Three Minute Warning. As for the Count upwards to 36 and I couldn't be fixed clues, they reference Umaga's refusal to seek rehabilitation and the age in which he died of a drug overdose. My deceitful rhymes resulted in a 14% Correct Guess Ratio which means either you're no good at this or my riddles are mind-numbingly vague.


Bounced around like a cue ball but never ran the table,

A beast in my own right although I'm certainly no Mable,

It's true about keeping one's enemies closer (if you're able),

A fraction of some factions? Depends what you call a stable.


Is it challenging or laughably childish? Send me your guess via email (skitztmrlop@gmail.com) or post it in the comments section below. I’ll reveal the answer in my next column which promises to be a doozy about some floozies.


  • Wrestling Rainbow ~ Your Fandom & Online Dating Aren't All That Different (The Finger Swipe of Shame)

  • Wrestling Rainbow ~ Enslaved by the Bell (Zack Ryder's Passion is a Prison)

  • Wrestling Rainbow ~ 30ish Tips to Winning the Royal Rumble

  • Our Two Cents ~ SkitZ & Spin Just Made His List (Ranking the Runs of Jericho)

  • Messy Business ~ The Performance Fart Review (When WrestleCrap Rears its Ugly Stench)

  • Wrestling Rainbow's Gone PG ~ Christmas Carols & Heartwarming Wishes [The Neutered List]

  • SKITZO & CO. STRIKE BACK ~ Corrupting Christmas with Our Keyboards [The Naughty List]

  • Schoolhouse Mock ~ A Lesson in Ice Cream Psychology

  • SOUND OF THE UNDERGROWTH ~ The Day The Busick Died

  • The Eternal Pessimist Contradicts Himself ~ 6 Things I've (Dis)liked in WWE Lately