During WrestleMania 32’s opening contest (on the main card that is), Zack Ryder captured the Intercontinental Championship for the first time in his career. It was a 7-Man Ladder Match which featured Ryder, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Dolph Ziggler, The Miz, Sin Cara and Stardust. Ryder’s win came as a surprise to most people as he hasn’t been utilized on WWE television in an important way for years. He’s seen some success in the NXT tag team division as of late, with his Hype Bros partner Mojo Rawley, but that’s pretty much it.
As The Wrestling Observer previously reported, Ryder was Neville’s replacement in the IC Title match due to Neville suffering an ankle injury on Raw a few weeks ago. Since Ryder was not initially scheduled to be in the match, the intended outcome was set to be different. The original plan was to have Kevin Owens retain his Intercontinental Title. This is according to The Wrestling Observer.
There still is not any word as to why WWE decided to put the championship on Ryder, but one can only assume that it was done to swerve the audience in a way that wouldn’t upset them (since Ryder is a babyface and most people don’t have a hatred for him). If Miz were to end up winning for example, the crowd likely would not have been as accepting.
Mark’s reaction: It’s interesting to read that Owens was initially supposed to retain the IC Title. He was my prediction to win the match. However, I don’t think Owens is hurt at all by this loss due to the stipulation and circumstances behind the match.
The more interesting story to me will be if we ever hear the reasoning behind the decision to put the belt on Ryder. As I previously states, he hasn’t been pushed in a singles role in years and if Neville never got hurt, he may never have been pushed as a singles star again. I was happy for him when he won the title last night. He had the crap end of a deal when he was involved in that Cena/Kane storyline and I always thought he was underutilized as a performer. He has also been giving some great promos on WWE.com and WWE’s YouTube channel leading up to WrestleMania that made me want to get behind him in this match.
Will Ryder’s IC Title reign last long, or does he drop it tonight on Raw? Were you happy with the result of the IC Title Ladder Match last night? If not, who would you have liked to see win? Leave any of your thoughts in the comment section below.
Picture used above is courtesy of WWE.com.