These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Badass Decay: In late 2011, he started to get a single's push, even having an arc of him trying to win the United States Championship. 2012? He's lost the title and becoming The Chew Toy and Butt Monkey in the Cena/Kane feud.
Sure he hasn't been fighting as much, but he's been able to absorb a whole lot of damage. To put it in perspective, that time he was The Chew Toy? Kane had to attack him for a single month before Ryder was put on a stretcher. That's right a whole month.
Base Breaker: It seems that either you love Zack Ryder and want to see him on television in a prominent spot, or you wonder what the heck the big deal is with him, and whether everyone who likes him has lost their minds. There is no middle ground.
On the 9/19/11 edition of RAW, Ryder (accompanied by freaking Hugh Jackman, no less) gets an awesome win against Dolph Ziggler.
Being the General Manager of Friday Night Smackdown - or, rather, Friday Night ZackDown. For the entire show, ZackDown got his own custom logo (with his name in his font and the "Long Island Iced-Z" logo as a backdrop.)
Fridge Brilliance: For his various title wins, why does it usually take him multiple wins (especially on a character that's suppose to be rising quickly up the ranks)? It's to show off/reinforce his newfound Determinator/Took a Level in Badass nature and how Zack's success is not the result of the company but him simply doing his hardest to succeed as the Plucky Underdog!
Hilarious in Hindsight: The entire time Zack Ryder was the "Assistant To The General Manager" of Smackdown, he branded himself (much to Teddy Long's annoyance) as the "Assistant General Manager" (i.e. Teddy's number two and presumptive successor). On 7-13-2012, he actually was the General Manager of Smackdown for a day.
Older Than They Think: Most people think that his current gimmick started when he first appeared on ECW in 2009. However, the first time he portrayed this character was on John Morrison and The Miz's online show The Dirt Sheet months before the 2009 draft, with Curt Hawkins acting as a Straight Man.
Justified in that the gimmick wasn't fully developed during those Dirt Sheet segments. He didn't have the new theme or the spiked short hair yet.
Tearjerker: Watching the No-Holds-Barred Beatdown from Kane on the 1/23/12 Raw is just painful, and seeing him stretchered off after being chokeslammed right through the stage is what makes it qualify as this.
His career following his late 2011 push. For all the momentum he had going, he ended up being used to give John Cena something to do before his eventually match with The Rock and propel Eve as a super heel. Save for a few Throw the Dog a Bone moments, he's been relegated to jobber status.