Zack Ryder returned to the once-rewarding world of online videos with his first YouTube video in two months. Ryder's show came to an end in January 2013. He has since been inactive on YouTube with the exception of his largely unseen "Hoeski" music video.
But on April 20, 2013, Ryder caused a stir online with a teaser video. It was a double-teaser if there ever were such a thing.
First he teased the return of his popular YouTube show. Then he teased a heel turn.
Frustratingly tossing his wig into the camera, any hope of Ryder returning to his YouTube roots had extinguished. Thank goodness. Ryder seems to have learned his lesson about relying on YouTube videos for success in the WWE.
Fans reacted accordingly, speculating a possible heel turn. John Cena? Eat your heart out.
YouTube commenter GCTV123 replied:
"FINALLY!! New gimmick coming maybe? Heel turn? YES YES YES"
Jared Morris said:
"Heel turn and he's done...being a member of the shield could push him but with the Ambrose and reigns already as the real leaders, I feel he would just get lost and overshadowed. A heel turn wouldn't help him much, if at all."
Jamal Winters echoed:
"Heel Turn.....Gimmick Change??????"
Zack Ryder has all the reason in the world to turn heel. The pet project that came so close to launching him into superstardom was abducted by the WWE and rendered unrecognizable. Ryder was vocal about the direction of his show once it was switched to WWE's YouTube channel:
"That was the end of the Z! True Long Island Story in my opinion right there when I made that switch to the WWE YouTube channel at around episode 51. The fans just assumed I sold out, when I was still doing all the work and putting it on their channel and they instantly turned on it."
One minute Ryder was beating Dolph Ziggler for the WWE United States Championship on pay-per-view. The other minute, he's getting chokeslammed into oblivion by Kane. All the while his meal ticket—Z! True Long Island Story—caused him to go starving.
Unfortunately, a Zack Ryder heel turn would be irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. Dolph Ziggler, Ryback, Jack Swagger, Antonio Cesaro, Wade Barrett and The Shield are all top-tier to midcard heels who would continue to be booked in favor of Ryder.
Ryder has enough trouble earning significant TV time while competing amongst a weak babyface roster. He'd be a lion fighting for a strip of bacon as a villain.
A heel Zack Ryder would virtually be the same discarded talent he is now. His facial expressions would be all that would change.