Zack Ryder has discussed his battle with cancer as a teenager in the past, but rarely in as much detail as he did earlier this week.
There are a few Superstars in WWE who are just sort of, there. They are sparingly used in bigger angles and sometimes don't appear on television for months at a time. Wrestlers such as Heath Slater, Tye Dillinger, and even Dolph Ziggler from time to time. However, the ultimate example of that type of Superstar for the past decade or more has been Zack Ryder.
Ryder has been under contract with WWE for more than 12 years. That's a pretty amazing run by anyone's standards. He has also had his high points during that time. Long Island Iced Z has been United States Champion and famously won the Intercontinental Title at WrestleMania 32. For the most part, though, he has been a mid-card player or simply absent altogether.
What many fans might not know is the battle Ryder went through long before he was ever a WWE Superstar. As a teenager, the former US Champion was diagnosed with cancer. It's not something he often talks about publically, but this week on Primetime with Sean Mooney he opened up about that period of his life. He also explained what exactly kept him going while he underwent treatment.
"I had all the surgeries, the chemo, losing the hair, all the horror stories, I went through them," Ryder revealed to Mooney. When it comes to what kept him going, shockingly it's exactly what he has been doing for the past 12 years. "It sounds so cliche; but, the only light at the end of the tunnel was I gotta survive this, I gotta make it through this, I gotta get to WWE."
Ryder's cancer started in his foot and a year after having the tumor removed, doctors discovered three more in his lungs. It's a pretty incredible story, but one that is not often told. When discussing it in the past, Ryder has said that he never wanted to be that wrestler with the sad backstory. The guy who is only on the card because he beat cancer. Now that he is more than a decade into his WWE career, he is obviously more comfortable telling fans his story since his place in the business has already been established.