WWE veteran superstar Zack Ryder hasn't appeared much on company programming over the past year. Most recently, old tag team partner Mojo Rawley backstabbed Ryder and defeated him at the Clash of Champions pay-per-view. Rawley won a rematch on this week's episode of SmackDown Live, too.
Ryder has had a nice run with the WWE, winning the Intercontinental, Tag Team and United States Championships once each. But in a WWE.com exclusive interview, Ryder revealed that he's been on the cusp of getting released by the company, but has managed to survive "the chopping block" each time:
"I've been on the chopping block..I've been told I'm on a list to get future endeavored. I've seen my buddies lose their dream jobs. I'm still here.
I don't know why, except I don't give up. I don't quit, I just try to better myself each and every day. I always find a way, what's next for Zack Ryder? I'm not sure."
Near the end of 2017, a handful of mid-card wrestlers were released. This included James Ellsworth, Austin Aries, Emma, Summer Rae, Darren Young, Sawyer Fulton and trainer Leo Gao. Ryder has worked a limited schedule as of late, and has expected his own release. It is somewhat surprising that WWE has chosen to keep him around each time.
In 2017, Ryder took part in a handful of mid-card tag team matches with Rawley. With the duo breaking up, it could be a hint that Ryder is nearing the end of his time with the company - which could come at any time now.
The SmackDown brand has plenty of top talent in Jinder Mahal, AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. The Bludgeon Brothers and The Usos form a strong tag team division.
And with the female division gaining more momentum, superstars like Ryder are becoming lost in the shuffle. At this point, nobody should be surprised if Ryder is released in the coming months.