Matt Cardona first got here to the eye of professional wrestling followers in 2007 beneath the ring identify “Zack Ryder” in World Wrestling Leisure (WWE). The 2-decade veteran of the squared circle’s potential to self-promote on social media is famous. Alongside along with his early catchphrases — “woo woo woo” and “you realize it” — Cardona commanded the group’s consideration even when he wasn’t used as a daily performer on WWE’s tv reveals.
Nonetheless, after greater than a decade with the corporate and a highlight-reel second at WrestleMania 32, the place he gained the Intercontinental Championship along with his father in attendance, WWE launched Cardona from his contract in 2020. Ever enthusiastic about forging his personal future, Cardona continues wrestling on the unbiased scene and is now one of the vital celebrated performers within the trade.
In September 2022, Cardona stretched his wings past the squared circle by showing within the musical The Final Match: A Professional Wrestling Rock Musical. He even lent his vocals to one of many present’s songs, “I’m Superior” by Sylvana Joyce & The Second, proving there’s extra to this gifted performer than many followers are conscious of.
BarBend caught up with Cardona through e mail to speak concerning the difficult life of a professional wrestler and how he’s maintained a persistently nice physique all through his profession. Test it out beneath.
Life Past WWE
As a free agent, Cardona has been busier than ever, filling his calendar with match bookings throughout the globe. In between appearances for high-profile retailers like Influence Wrestling, the Nationwide Wrestling Alliance (NWA), and All Elite Wrestling (AEW), Cardona additionally wrestles for upstart firms like Recreation Changer Wrestling (GCW), the place he grew to become a world champion in 2021.
Cardona’s penchant for electrifying the group earned him the #13 spot on Professional Wrestling Illustrated‘s (PWI) prime 500 record for 2022. Touchdown that prime on the vaunted PWI 500 is a hefty accolade for any wrestler in any firm to have a good time, however Cardona doesn’t relaxation on his laurels.
“I used to be not stunned one bit. I ought to have been within the prime 10!” Cardona says. “I’ve labored my ass off since getting launched from WWE in 2020 to reinvent myself. I don’t have a chip on my shoulder, although. I’m not making an attempt to show anybody flawed — I’m making an attempt to show myself and my followers proper.”
Sustaining a Famous person Physique
The relentless life of a professional wrestler includes near-daily journey, late nights, and a continuing seek for a new gymnasium on the highway. Regardless of the challenges, Cardona has managed to remain in nice form since he first burst onto the scene.
“Professional wrestling is year-round. There isn’t any low season,” he says. “It’s important to look good in your underwear twelve months a yr. It’s crucial to discover a way of life that you could keep. I by no means need to look higher for a sure present after which see my outcomes disappear.”
Cardona trains within the gymnasium 5 or 6 days per week, however his unpredictable schedule means his exercise philosophy revolves round adjusting to his circumstances.
“I’m presently not following a particular program,” he says. “It actually relies upon how my physique is feeling and what sort of gymnasium I’m in. Am I in a ‘actual’ gymnasium, or am I speeding a fast exercise in a lodge gymnasium? My schedule is so hectic that I’m pressured to make the most effective of any state of affairs.”
As for vitamin, Cardona has a easy technique for coping with the pitfalls of discovering meals on such a packed schedule: “If I need McDonald’s, I’ll get McDonald’s. However I’ll punish myself within the gymnasium the following day.”
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Struggling for His Artwork
In the event you comply with professional wrestling, you realize it comes with loads of dangers. And in June 2022, Cardona bumped into some unhealthy luck when he tore his biceps throughout a match, requiring surgical procedure.
“I used to be wrestling Blake Christian at a GCW present in Las Vegas, and earlier within the day, I had already labored a match in opposition to Wealthy Swann,” he remembers. “I hate wrestling a number of occasions in a day. Your physique can by no means get correctly warmed up once more after cooling down after already having a match. Blake flipped out of the ring, onto me, and I felt my biceps tear immediately.”
Cardona continued— and gained — the match and was again within the ring after three months of rehab. And whereas he nonetheless needs to be cautious about his biceps, he is aware of his physique properly sufficient to not push too laborious.
“Fortunately for me, I grew up in gyms,” he says. “My dad owned gyms and taught me the basics of bodybuilding from a really younger age. I’ve been wrestling for 19 years [and] my physique is beat up [so] I’m not making an attempt to interrupt any data with the weights I’m lifting. I additionally take warm-ups and stretching much more severely now than I did once I was youthful.”
Health club Bag Necessities
In fact, professional wrestlers should journey as gentle as attainable as they’re consistently on the go, however some gadgets are non-negotiable with regards to Cardona’s gymnasium bag.
Matt Cardona’s Chest Exercise
Under is a pattern of a chest exercise Cardona commonly makes use of. He additionally throws in some ab work and 20 minutes of cardio, together with strolling on a treadmill at an incline set to fifteen and pace set at three.
Be taught extra about Cardona’s upcoming endeavors at TheLastMatchMusical.com and by following his social media.
Featured Picture: @themattcardona on Instagram