Matt Cardona has landed on his feet inside another promotion’s squared circle.
The wrestler formerly known as Zack Ryder burst onto the set of “AEW Dynamite” on Wednesday night, running in and cleaning house while Cody Rhodes was getting roughed up.
Cardona, wrestling under his given name, was last seen in WWE, where he earned tag team, U.S. and intercontinental belts. He was one of about 20 performers cut from the WWE roster in April, with a 90-day no-compete clause.
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Rhodes initially sounded hesitant to add his friend, but this week he was teasing signing not only Cardona but also Rusev, another Superstar jettisoned in the WWE cutdown.
“They have literally drawn money. They have TV experience. They have high-profile experience. They have locker room experience. The pros heavily outweigh the cons,” Rhodes told ESPN in a Q&A.
“Those are two great free agents. I’m not going to go as far to say that if I had to sign anybody, those would be the two that I would sign. But I think they’re great free agents. I think if they have the passion for pro wrestling, they’re going to continue to succeed.”
Rhodes said that he was weighing adding a “hot free agent” against pushing aside an existing performer, but he also liked the idea of increasing competition.
“The best wrestlers, no matter where they came from, you’re going to want on your show,” he told ESPN.
Viewers will get another look at Cardona next week when he and Rhodes take on Dark Order in tag-team action: