In a recent interview with Denise Salcedo of Instinct Culture, Matt Cardona (fka Zack Ryder), who has made appearances for both All Elite Wrestling and IMPACT Wrestling over the past year discussed why he is exploring his options, testing free agency and has not signed with any promotion right now.

“On paper, 2020 for me was a horrible year, I got released from my dream job, this global pandemic, I had to cancel my wedding, but in reality, it was one of, if not the best years of my life, it was awesome to have this freedom and listen, I am so grateful for my time in the WWE, I mean, I am not ignorant, without the WWE, the Major Wrestling Figure Podcast wouldn’t be successful, nobody would want to listen to it, so I get it right and I am very grateful for everything that I got in WWE, but it was time to go and they made that decision for me.

I was so happy, I was already on Pro Wrestling Tees making my own page with new merch and I am like, this is what I need, I need to be creative and not that I had handcuffs on me in the WWE, but like, you can’t go on to WWE Shop and make your own shirt, if they don’t want to make you a shirt, you can’t make a shirt, but now, I could do whatever I wanted and you know what, if it sells one, or a hundred, or a thousand, who cares. It’s the coolest thing ever, just to be able to try. Of course, I want to be successful in everything I do, but that’s not life, that’s not reality, you’re going to fail, but that’s how you learn, that’s how you grow, so it’s just been so fun, because I signed with WWE when I was 20 years old, 2006, and got released in 2020, that’s a long time of working at the same place, doing the same thing, so now, no I don’t want to just jump and sign this three-year-deal with somebody, I don’t, I want to explore my options, I want to have fun.

I am still a fan of everything, I still watch everything WWE, AEW, IMPACT, ROH, New Japan, I love what MJF is doing, this guy who Brian Myers trained and in just a couple of years, he’s already one of the top guys in the business and he’s super young. He’s going to be a huge star, he’s already a huge star. In IMPACT, I had my eye on Ace Austin before I even got there, this kid has it like everyone says, the it factor, he definitely has it. We had like a 5 minute sprint of a match, but I’d like to work with him in a nice long competitive hard-hitting match. When I am in the ring with somebody I can tell like this guy is good, you can just tell if you have chemistry or not and it takes time for somebody to build chemistry with each other, but I just felt like we’re on the same page, he’s somebody I would definitely like to work with again, because I think our styles mesh well, he’s a good guy.”

The interview is available in full at this link.