matt cardona
Photo Credit: IMPACT Wrestling

Matt Cardona: It’s Not My Time To Go Back To WWE Yet, But I’d Have A Conversation

Matt Cardona discusses potentially returning to WWE.

Cardona previously worked for WWE for many years; he signed a developmental deal in 2006 and moved to the main roster in 2007. During his WWE run as Zack Ryder, he won the Intercontinental Championship, the United States Championship, and the Tag Team Championship. WWE released Cardona in a wave of cuts in April 2020.

Since then, he has reinvented himself and enjoyed plenty of success elsewhere in the wrestling world. Cardona has won the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship, and the GCW World Championship. He has also worked with AEW and IMPACT Wrestling at different points.

In an interview with Justin Dhillon of The Wrestling Classic, Cardona was asked whether he would be open to returning to WWE. He made it clear that he doesn’t approach his career now with the mindset of actively trying to get back to WWE or AEW. However, he noted that he would be lying if he said he never wanted to compete at WrestleMania again or see his action figure at Walmart.

“When I got fired from WWE, even now, what’s the date? It’s Wednesday, March 22, as we record this. Even today, I don’t do what I do with the mindset of, ‘Oh, what can I do to get back to WWE?’ Or ‘What can I do to have AEW notice me?’ No, that’s not what I’m trying to do,” Cardona said. “But I would be lying if I said I never wanted to wrestle at Madison Square Garden again, or I never wanted to have a WrestleMania moment again, or I never wanted to walk into Walmart and see my f—— Mattel Elite on the shelf. Of course I do. But I’m gonna find my path back there.”

Chelsea Green, Cardona’s wife, returned to WWE at WWE Royal Rumble 2023, and Matt noted that her decision to go back to WWE wasn’t even a discussion, given the way her previous run with the company went. Green was released in April 2021 a few months after she broke her wrist the night of her SmackDown debut. Cardona emphasized that he’s proud of her success, and while it’s not his time yet, he would have a conversation if he got a call.

“Chelsea Green’s back there now, and when she got that offer, it wasn’t even a discussion,” Cardona said. “She’s a crucial part of my act on the indies [but] she had to go back. She did not have a cup of coffee there. She had the little Keurig pod, put into the machine, you didn’t press brew. She had to go back, and she’s absolutely killing it now. I’m so proud of her, to see her on Monday Night RAW. They bring her to SmackDown. Maybe she’ll have a WrestleMania match. I am so, so proud of her. But it’s not my time to go back yet. Now, if a 203 number called me right now, of course I’d have a discussion. Of course I would have a conversation. Anyone who says otherwise is f—— lying.”

Cardona then it clear that Zack Ryder is “dead”, and it was him to him, his WWE return would have to be as Matt Cardona.

“Zack Ryder is dead,” Cardona said. “He’s dead. I am so grateful, forever grateful for my time at WWE, and if I never go back, I am proud of what I accomplished there as Zack Ryder, the moments I had there. The highs, the lows, I wouldn’t change anything. But he’s dead. That’s it. Matt Cardona is bigger than Zack Ryder. If I were to go back, listen, I don’t think it’s my choice either way. But if it were, it would have to be as Matt Cardona.”

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