Ever since being released, Matt Cardona, the former Zack Ryder, is “Alwayz Ready” to make a name for himself.
Impact Wrestling fans were treated at Hard To Kill when Matt Cardona made his shocking debut. After a short run in All Elite Wrestling, Cardona has arrived and pun intended, he is ready to make an impact. Fans already know that Matt Cardona has the potential to be a top draw in any company he joins.
During his time in WWE, he found his own way to earn fans and a spot on the card. Before YouTube was the thing to do in pro-wrestling, Cardona used it to push himself as Zack Ryder. He created the show “Z! True Long Island Story.” The show generated enough fanfare to have fans bringing signs to shows and chanting for him.
Despite winning his fair share of championships, WWE dropped the ball with Matt Cardona. He could have been a star in the company and can be wherever he goes. Hopefully, he can have a long run in Impact Wrestling and prove himself as a top star. However, he is just getting started and there are many opportunities for him.
He is back in the same company as long-time partner Brian Myers and the two could become a threat in the tag team division. However, Cardona may be ready to have the singles run of his career, and here are five possible first challengers.
5. Sami Callihan
After picking up a tough loss at Hard To Kill, it looks like the feud between Sami Callihan and Eddie Edwards may finally be over. Now, Sami is going to be more pissed off than ever and looking for somebody to take it out on. Enter the new guy Matt Cardona, who may be taking some of the spotlight off of the former Impact World Champion.
Cardona may not even have the opportunity to pick his own first fight if Sami decides to take insult to Cardona showing up in his company. Sami is a dangerous threat to anyone he fights and has “the world’s most dangerous man” Ken Shamrock in his corner. Cardona would have a huge task in facing Sami Callihan.
However, a victory over Callihan would set up Matt Cardona to be a major player in the company. In order to face Callihan and Shamrock, this could even be an opportunity to align Cardona and Brian Myers for the first time in the company. While I don’t like to see Sami loss, he has reached a place in the company his losses mean something. For Cardona, it would mean cementing his place.
4. Madman Fulton
In his first match with the company, Matt Cardona picked up a DQ victory over Ace Austin. Just a week after Ace won the Super X Cup, this is a huge loss for him. This goes to show how the company may book Cardona moving forward. If he picked up a victory over a former top world champion contender, you can expect more big victories in the future.
One of the first men that may step in his way is the large friend of Austin, Madman Fulton. It would make sense for Ace Austin to look to get a bit of revenge for Cardona stealing his moment. While he would likely not put himself into the match, he would send the big man instead. Eventually, there needs to be another match between Cardona and Austin.
Although, I believe that it would be best to save the rematch for a month or so down the line. Ace Austin could be his first major feud in the company, but he needs to make a name in the company first. This is where Madman Fulton comes into play. Fighting against Fulton helps keep a story with Austin and keeps him strong despite Madman take a loss.
3. Eric Young
It is hard to argue that Eric Young isn’t the gatekeeper of Impact Wrestling. He made his way to the top of the mountain in his first run in the company. He left for WWE and found disappointment there despite his potential. Now that he has returned home to Impact, he has returned to being the star we know he can be.
He has already won the Impact World Championship once and is now leading a dangerous stable named Violent By Design. For a group consisting of Young, Joe Doering, and Deaner, a name has never fit better. They have been making an impact and picked up a huge victory at Hard To Kill. It would be huge if Matt Cardona could beat Eric Young.
They have only crossed paths a number of times in WWE but they haven’t had a singles match. Now they have a chance to battle for the first time in a company that will treat the two men with the respect they deserve. Eric Young is one of the biggest stars in the company and a win for Cardona will quickly put him in the main event picture.
2. Chris Bey
This match could go either way deciding on who the company needs the bigger push. Chris Bey has been a workhorse of the company since arriving last year. Only turning 25 in less than a month, Chris Bey looks like he can have a tremendous career in front of him. He has won the X-Division championship and competed in NJPW’s Super J Cup.
He was voted as the one to watch in 2021 and that may be an understatement. He has already competed for the world championship and is bound to have more opportunities. However, he would be a great choice for Matt Cardona’s opening program in the company. Bey has made his name as an impact player, pun intended.
For Matt Cardona to properly be introduced to the company, Chris Bey would be a major victory. Cardona had a huge victory over Ace Austin in his debut despite being a DQ. He looked like a threat and the star we knew he could be. If this match would go the other way, it would mean as much for Bey by defeating a former multi-time champion in WWE.
1. Brian Myers
Some would say this is the last guy they want to see Cardona feud with. However. there are just as many that would think this would be the right move. There is no arguing that Cardona has the most history with former tag team partner Brian Myers. They have spent years off and on teaming together and winning tag gold in WWE.
However, they are one of the rare teams to not have battled each other. For the majority of their careers, they have been working together or going in opposite directions. This is the first time that they have both been in a company that wasn’t the WWE since their early independent days. If Impact decides not to go with the two as a team, being rivals is the next best bet.
Personally, I would like to see them reunite and go for tag team gold. Despite that, there is a part of me that wants to see Myers and Cardona collide. When it is done correctly, a feud between two disgruntled partners can be great. You can look back at wrestling history and see that for yourself. I wouldn’t expect a Ciampa/Gargano level feud, but it would be interesting at the least.
This could also be a way to lead to them reuniting as a team. Allow them to air out any issues between the two over the years. I am sure Brian Myers may have something to say about the “breakout star” that was Zack Ryder. However, this is a match that Cardona would need to win and prove himself a star. Then we can see Cardona and Myers win tag team gold.