Matt Cardona, who was known as Zack Ryder in WWE, has a short term deal with AEW.
Wrestling Inc. is reporting that they have learned that Cardona currently has a five appearance deal with AEW. This means that the deal he has come to with AEW is currently limited, but that may change.
Cardona, who held the U.S., Intercontinental, and Tag Team championships in WWE, was one of those employees who was let go in April due to COVID-19 cost-cutting measures. Like most of the released talent, he was under a 30-day non-compete clause that is now over.
He appeared on the recent episode of AEW Dynamite, coming out to save his friend Cody from an after match attack by the Dark Order. Cody had just won his match and retained his TNT Championship match against War Horse when the Dark Order Attacked.
Cardona is set to make his AEW in-ring debut on the upcoming episode of Dynamite in a tag match with Cody where they will take on The Dark Order’s Alex Reynolds and John Silver. This would be his second appearance in AEW, so if Wrestling Inc. is correct, he will only have three more appearances scheduled after next week.
While Cody, Tony Khan, and others in AEW have said that they aren’t looking to snap up every wrestler who got let go by WWE, Cody, who is also the Executive Vice President of AEW, told ESPN that Cardona is one who is really “on his radar”.
Cody told ESPN that Cardona and Miro (formerly Rusev in WWE) are the current free agents who are the ones he would sign if he had to sign anybody from the recent WWE releases. Miro recently announced his “retirement” from professional wrestling on social media, so it will be interesting to see how this would turn out.
“Those free agents should be on any radar,” said Cody. “They have literally drawn money. They have high-profile experience. They have locker room experience. The pros heavily outweigh the cons,” Cody told ESPN.