Joey Ryan. The name is synonymous with Southern California Independent Wrestling. Ryan who has wrestled in every single prominent wrestling promotion in SoCal has earned the reputation of being the Technical Wizard of Professional Wrestling. Whether he’s winning championships on the independents, dispatching his opponents in Pro Wrestling Guerrilla or completing his Pro-America Campaign across the globe for the NWA, Joey Ryan is solidifying his mark in professional wrestling and creating a legacy that begs the question… who wants a mustache ride?
JOEY RYAN: Here we go. This question. Always this question. Every single interview I’ve ever done has started with this question. What’s with it? Perhaps people can read the other 800 interviews I’ve done and know the answer to this question already. If I have to sit here and be creative with my answers, the least you journalists can do is be creative with your questions.
I started training at Jesse Hernandez’s school in San Bernardino, CA under Jesse, Bobby Bradley, Mikey Henderson, Frankie Kazarian and a whole list of others who helped out there. I really got a great foundation to build off of. After I started competing in matches, I decided to get a different kind of training to become more well rounded, and thus I traveled to UPW in the Huntington Beach, CA and moving to El Segundo, CA during my time there. UPW is where I met Brian Kendrick who took over as trainer there. UPW was at a down time then as they had just lost their developmental deal and attendance for classes was down and so often times it would be just Brian, Lil Nate, Sylvester Terkay and me there. During this time is where I felt I grew the most as a wrestler because I got a lot of one on one training from a guy who was trained by Shawn Michaels and got further training from guys like William Regal while he was in Memphis. This was about 2002 and I was already a very active wrestler in SoCal. Then in 2004, and I realize this is no longer “roots” but I decided to train again, also to become more well rounded, this time at the Inoki Dojo in Santa Monica, CA under Bryan Danielson.
JAY CAL: When you started your career, you kept a very clean cut whole-some look. You never took any short-cuts, you always worked hard for the fans appreciation. What inspired the sleazy “Magnum” look you’ve adopted in the past years? And does it bother you that you’ve lost some of your older fan-base?
JOEY RYAN: Money inspired it. And I make lots more now than I did then. I’m also a lot more famous now than I was then. You wouldn’t believe the places that I get recognized. I also like to reinvent myself from time to time to keep everyone on their toes. You have to do that when you’re in the spotlight all the time like I am. As far as my fan-base goes, I don’t see much of a drop from “clean cut” as you put it to “Magnum.” Sure maybe a few casual fans aren’t down with “Magnum” but the die hards are with me. As a whole I think “Magnum” has far eclipsed what “clean cut” got as far as fans go.
JAY CAL: Of your career accomplishments, I know you are proud of your appearances in the World Wrestling Entertainment. How was it that you were asked to compete for the WWE? And who helped you get their?
JOEY RYAN: I’ve had six total matches for WWE and seven appearances. Bonus points to those who know the non-wrestling appearance. Any how, my initial WWE outing is all thanks to Rick Bassman. Say what you will about the guy, but he made a dream come true for me and I will always be grateful to him for that. I should also give thanks to Nova who booked me in my first WWE match because, in his words, not mine, he “knew I could work” and got the ball rolling because Ricky Steamboat was the agent, liked me, and got me my next WWE booking and so on.
JAY CAL: I could only guess that national recognition must be a great feeling, as per your appearances in the WWE. But let’s talk a little about your appearances for Wrestling Society X. You teamed with Disco Machine as That 70’s Team, how did this team come to fruition and why did the union end with WSX?
JOEY RYAN: This was the brainchild of Kevin Klienrock, so I think it’s more than fitting that it’s a WSX exclusive. Actually you should give him a lot of credit because he put just about the only two guys that weren’t either going to flip around a lot or beat the snot out of people together and created the most entertaining duo on that show. Why do I say it’s the most entertaining duo? Because I defy you to find a casual wrestling fan that watched WSX and doesn’t remember “the 70’s guys.” That show was moving a million miles a minute, and at times could be hard to follow, but we stood out and made an impact. Sure we did it with schtick, but that’s because we knew it would be hard to keep up with everyone’s athleticism, so in essence, we worked smarter, not harder.
JAY CAL: In your early years, you formed a union with Scott Lost as the X-Foundation and won tag team titles all over So Cal. You still team with Lost today in the PWG Super-Stable, the Dynasty. You received much acclaim in the short-lived WSX as That 70’s Team. And you formed a dynamic tag team with Karl Anderson as the Real American Heroes, holding the NWA World Tag Titles for 7 months. Do you consider yourself a tag team specialist or is it just coincidental of all the tag team glory you’ve received?
JOEY RYAN: I’ve been fortunate to have the best partners in the world. Each one works well with me in the environments we’re placed in. You see, Scott is great at the all out, who gives a crap, leave it all in the ring style that PWG is accustom to. Far better at it than I am. When I’m competing side by side with him, it brings me to that level. Disco Machine is great because he knows what his strengths are and isn’t afraid of how he looks in the process. He brings in me the ability to be more carefree with what others may think. Karl Anderson is probably the most like me in that we have an old school attitude complete with not taking crap from anyone, free to speak our minds and are beyond not afraid of the consequences of our actions. I don’t know if I’d call myself a tag team specialist, but I certainly have a talent in adapting to my surroundings. It’s a gift, and a curse.
JAY CAL: The Real American heroes gained a ton of notoriety during the Copa De Lucha, by destroying Los Luchas which led to your long standing feud. Did you know at that time, that this feud would later become the talk of the Alliance and later grant you entry into the World Tag Team Gauntlet?
JOEY RYAN: Machine Gun and I just followed our hearts and did what we thought was right. Nobody fights for this country on the home front anymore. We were in Las Vegas, Nevada which is a city in America, in theory with proud Americans living in it and WE were getting booed by waving an American flag while the team waving the Mexican flag was being cheered. Unbelievable. Where’s the justice? I’ll tell you where it is, we took matters into our own hands and brought justice to Las Vegas. As far as The NWA World Tag Team Titles are concerned, we are the best tag team in the world, so it was only a matter of time.
JAY CAL: Speaking of your tag team partner, I spoke to Karl Anderson a few months ago about what it meant to his career to become a World Tag Team Champion. Anderson is now on his way to New Japan. What did winning the NWA World Tag Team titles mean to your career and what is your next career move now that your partner is leaving the continent?
JOEY RYAN: I’ve had a lot of success in professional wrestling and a lot of people knew of me before winning those belts, but being one half of The NWA World Tag Team Champions was the first time that I was being compared to greats like Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard and that brought a whole new fame and notoriety to me. It also gave me a lot of opportunities to travel the country and the globe. None more important than the trip to Australia last November which I was apart of because of those belts. I do however wish the Alliance could have done more with us during our reign. I feel like there are a lot of teams out there across the country worthy of Title shots, but the NWA is still in a rebuilding process and there isn’t a lot of money to go around and Machine Gun and I don’t come cheap. You get what you pay for and if you want the best, you gotta pay for it.
I’m not too worried about myself right now with Machine Gun taking off in Japan and neither should you. We should just watch his career blossom. I’m sure I’ll be alright. After all, I am still one of half of the PWG World Tag Team Champions, not to mention still on the active roster for NWA Pro, so I’m sure Vanderpyle, Pearce and I will find a way to get by with Machine Gun overseas.
JAY CAL: My follow up is does this end the Anti-Mexican and Anti-Australian campaigns or are you going to find a partner to replace Anderson?
JOEY RYAN: Machine Gun can never be replaced.
JAY CAL: What is next for the “Sleazy Movement,” what do you want to do next?
JOEY RYAN: Like I said, I’m still one half of the PWG World Tag Team Champions, so I guess I’ll have to go on defending that. PWG is pretty famous and well known too.
JAY CAL: Joey, I again want to thank you for taking the time to do this interview. Is there anything else you’d like to say to the fans?
JOEY RYAN: Buy my merch. It’s on my myspace page which can be found at myspace.com/joeyeatworld.