The Royal Rumble this past Sunday featured a few surprise appearances. One of these was sure-fire Hall of Famer Kurt Angle coming out at Number 4 in the match.
According to Wrestling Observer Radio this spot was originally planned for Zack Ryder. Angle was eliminated by the second entrant in the match Shinsuke Nakamura. Again this was meant to be Ryder initially eliminated this early. According to WON this decision was made as Kurt Angle would get a bigger pop from the live crowd.
Zack Ryder has seen a very stop-start ride in his WWE career. The Long Island Iced-Z found great success with his YouTube channel earlier this decade. ‘Z True Long Island Story’ was innovative and took Ryder all the way to the company’s United States Championship. Sadly for Ryder his own attempts at ‘getting over’ appeared to have backfired. WWE began to push Ryder down the card after a disastrous programme with John Cena. This was at a time where the company hoped that Ryder’s popularity would rub off on Cena, but it had the complete opposite effect.
Whilst being bumped for Kurt Angle was clearly the right decision, it’s yet another near-miss for Ryder in his WWE career.