Zack Ryder winning the Intercontinental Championship was probably WrestleMania 32‘s most unexpected moment, in a night of fairly big returns and results. Ryder losing it the very next night on Raw was a little more expected, but still, Long Island Iced Z has been thrust back into the conversation on the main roster once again. While it’s still unknown where exactly he fits into the IC title picture, he gave a fairly frank interview with WWE.com this week where he shed some light on that, as well as revealed some of his early motivations for becoming a pro-wrestler, more specifically his teenage battle with cancer.
I never wanted it to be my “story” and the reason I’m here, but when I was in high school, I had cancer. I had a tumor in my foot and it spread to both my lungs. Surgeries, chemotherapy, all that. I mean, it sucked, it did. But the thing that kept me going and why I knew I had to beat it was to get here. It was like my destiny… In high school, everyone was going away to college to be in frats and party, and I stayed home. I went to community college and I found a wrestling school in Long Island. It didn’t take me 10 years in the indies to get me here, but it did take me 10 years in WWE to get to WrestleMania. So when I got that shot, I made the most of it.
It’s easy to conflate a lot of these guys’ characters with the people who they actually are. Ryder always seems like the goofy, carefree type, but maybe after watching this clip, it’s a little easier to understand that adversity can find anyone. Good for the Broski for pushing through it to get where he is today.