During an extensive interview with the Miami Herald, Zack Ryder discussed how he started as one of the Edgeheads and how the use of social media helped him develop his persona. Here are some highlights:
His take on being one of the Edgeheads: “We were the tag team champions. We got to interfere at the main event of WrestleMania , but Edge got injured leaving [Curt] Hawkins and me together, alone by ourselves. We were just two guys who looked like Edge, and now we were just two guys who looked like each other with no personalities. There was nothing really different with us besides our ring gear.”
On his opportunities in WWE’s ECW brand: “I knew that was my shot to change things up and reinvent myself, but really to be myself. I was cool with the long hair and the rock ‘n’ roll, but deep down, it really wasn’t me. It really wasn’t Zack Ryder. I guess I was never 100 percent comfortable in my own skin before that.
“So I decided this was my chance to be me, to be the Long Island Iced Z. You always hear that the best characters in the WWE are someone’s real personalities with the volume turned up. It was kind of just me being me. That is why it worked. I cut my hair and tried to look as different from my old personality as possible.
“I was wearing one-legged tights to stand out because I knew I needed to get people’s attention. People may have not known my name, but they knew I was the guy with the one-legged tights. They knew I was the guy who would just say, ‘Woo, Woo, Woo’ over and over again. That is how it initially started.”
On using social media to develop his character: “Even before the draft, Hawkins and I were pitching to let us have some personality. Let us be us. We even filmed something that I think you can find on YouTube called ‘The Sweet Life of Zack and Curt’, where I was doing the ‘Woo Woo Woo You Know It’ there and being the goofy guy. We were pitching that to WWE where I would be the oddball, and Hawkins would be the straight man. That was our real personalities. I think it would have worked, but they never really gave us a shot, but when the draft came and they split us up, I was able to be me 100 percent.”
“This character, if you look at the Internet and the colanders, was way before ‘Jersey Shore’ hit TV. It was probably even before ‘Jersey Shore’ was auditioning or casting for their first season. This wasn’t a ‘Jersey Shore” rip-off. This was Long Island, where I grew up. I thought it would make me different and stand out. Everyone needs to be different. Maybe I was a little goofy behind the scenes or backstage, but once that bell rang, it was no joke.”