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Zack Ryder is a WWE superstar who could only exist in the 21st century. Also known as Long Island Iced Z, Ryder rose to prominence when his self-produced YouTube reality show went viral within the WWE Universe and he rode a tidal wave of public support into the upper echelon of the sports entertainment business. Sporting outrageous orange headbands, spiked hair, and purple sunglasses, the self-described Long Island “bro” gets the crowd fired up with a fist-bumping chant of “Woo! Woo! Woo!” before delivering a “Broski Boot” to an opponent’s face.
Ryder is currently in the middle of a run on the WWE’s Saturday Morning Slam, the company’s new program that airs Saturdays at 10:30 a.m. on the Vortexx on the CW. He recently spoke to muscleandfitness.com about what to expect from his run on the new Saturday morning show. (For the rest of this interview, including Zack Ryder’s leg workout, check out the May issue of Muscle & Fitness, on newsstands April 15.)
Muscle & Fitness: You’re on the WWE’s new show, Saturday Morning Slam. What’s your involvement?
Zach Ryder: Saturday Morning Slam is our new, more kid-friendly show that will air at 10:30 on the Vortexx on the CW. Zack Ryder is kind of this over-the-top cartoon character who the kids love. I come out with bright colors on my headbands and sunglasses and my spiked hair—the even sell a headband that has a big wig with my spiked hair—and the kids love it. Hopefully the kids will cheer me on and get me to the top of the WWE.
And over the next couple of weeks, there’s a competition to find a new General Manager for Saturday Morning Slam. So you might actually become the GM at the end of this run?
I would love to be. I would be the boss. I’d make all the divas date me or put all my opponents in matches they don’t want to have. Everyone wants to the GM of Saturday Morning Slam. Everyone wants the power. I guess we’ll see what happens.
GMs always seem to take on the role of puppet master. Specifically, what would your first act as GM be?
The first thing I would do is to get a tanning bed right in my office. I always want to have a tan and look nice. And all the hottest divas—I’d force them to date me or else I’ll fire them. That’s allowed, right?
I can’t see how that would possibly run afoul of any sexual harassment laws. You should be good to go.
Yeah, just a nice friendly date on Friday night. Nothing serious.
It’s not just Long Island guys that seem to love Long Island Iced Z. Why do you think you have such broad appeal?
I think because probably from my YouTube show – I really let the WWE Universe into my life. I vented my frustration with the company. I joked around. People saw it and realized, “Hey, he’s one of us. He wants to be at the top, so let’s get him there.” Me and my dad were best friends in the show—it was kind of a little five-minute reality show every week. When my girlfriend broke up with me, I cried on the show. It was very much, what you see is what you get. I just did it in my living room with a little camera. There was no green screen, no high-end production. And people loved it.
The first time I saw the fist pumping and the “Woo! Woo! Woo!” chant, I could only think that you must be a big club guy. Is that your scene? Do you go out to the Hamptons and stuff like that?
I wasn’t a Hamptons guy, but I do go out with my friends every once in a while. I’m not going to lie about that.
Have you copyrighted the name “Long Island Iced Z”? Are we going to see your cocktail mix in the grocery stores?
I’m sure WWE has copyrighted it. (Laughs)
I did try to make my own Long Island Iced Z a couple of years ago—a protein-alcohol thing for guys who go to the gym and then go to the club later. They’re going to drink, so they might as well get a couple grams of protein, you know? A little Bro-tein. But it did not taste good. I’m still working on it.