Thank you, Joey, for taking the time to answer some questions for Wrestling-Informer.de . Let’s start right away.
Wrestling-Informer.de: Joey, what first made you want to get into professional wrestling? Who were you a fan of growing up?
Wrestling-Informer.de: You were first trained by Jesse Hernandez and Tom Howard who also trained B-Boy, John Cena, Victoria and John Heidenreich. But there are many fans who don’t actually know the wrestler Joey Ryan but then again know the fact that you were also trained by none other than former WWE Tag Team Champion Brian “Spanky” Kendrick. How did you get to know him and when did he decide to train you? Also, which one of you trainers had the most influence on you and your career?
Joey Ryan: Brian was under a developmental deal with WWE at Memphis when WWE closed it and thus was released from his deal and he decided to move to California and train at UPW. Well as it turned out, WWE was also cleaning up it’s developmental system with UPW and so with a broken connection to the big time, UPW’s trainees severely dropped. Brian was made head trainer of the weekday classes while Tom Howard still did the weekend ones, but attendance was so low that often times it was just Brian, Sylvester Terkay and I at class. So for about 6 months I got some pretty detailed one on one training with Brian. I will always appreciate what I learned with Jesse and Tom as they taught the basics better than anyone I’ve seen, but with class sizes bigger for them, it was a slower process to advance. The direct attention and knowledge that I received from Brian influenced most of who I am today. He was passing along training that was given to him by Shawn Michaels and William Regal and many others that had influenced him, so I was more than happy to get it myself.
Wrestling-Informer.de: For the past couple of years the character “Joey Ryan” has made a significant change from the “Technical Wizard” to the “Mustache Ridin’”. How did you come up with the “Mustache Ride” persona and what led you to change your character? Also, what impact did the “new” Joey Ryan have on your career?
Joey Ryan: Actually, Brian helped me come up with the Technical Wizard thing and the idea of it was only temporary to begin with. When I first started wrestling, I was painfully shy and was even put into a gothic gimmick with Jesse Hernandez’s EWF because I would have trouble showing emotion and that gimmick would mask it. As I was training with Brian, he noticed that I could hold my own in the technical department, but did far better getting “out wrestled” because one of my better qualities as a wrestler was making my opponent look good. It also allowed me to be frustrated and embarassed and thus working on my emotion in the ring. We thought of The Technical Wizard as a heel persona who thought he was the best technical wrestler in the world, but would constantly get outclassed. This is another point I’d like to praise Brian’s training for was his attention to detail and character development. You don’t always have to put your best foot forward to tell a good story. Anyways, The Mustache thing just came about as I was getting more comfortable in the ring with my emotions and just being more of a showman. This character is much more an extension of myself than those of the past. I was always a fan of the Magnum PI TV show and thought he was the epitome of cool in the 80′s with a look that would come off as a little creepy in today’s world. It was perfect. And because I play more of a character who stands out, my career has taken a turn for the better with things such as WSX and NWA.
Wrestling-Informer.de: You are one of the six wrestlers (“The PWG Six”) who founded, own and run Pro Wrestling Guerrilla. How did this project develop and who actually had the idea for what is now known as the possibly biggest wrestling company on the west coast?
Joey Ryan: I don’t think it was any one persons idea. Scott Lost had been pushing for awhile to start something up because we all had far less bookings back then, so a new place to work sounded fun, and I think The RevPro guys might have seen that company winding down as the owner had a lot going on in his life outside wrestling, so everyone just came together. It was Super Dragon’s idea to turn it into a super fed with fly-ins and DVD sales and all that jazz because he was the only one of us at that point who had seen how East Coast feds run. It was pretty unheard of at the time on the West.
Wrestling-Informer.de: Where do you see yourself and Pro Wrestling Guerrilla in 5 and in 10 years?
Joey Ryan: That’s hard to say. I have ambitions further than PWG, but some of the other guys don’t. I think the fed could survive a long time as long as there is interest from the fans for it. I don’t really like to set time frame goals for myself because I find it better to ride things out. 5 years ago I would have said that I wanted to be in WWE in 5 years, but to be honest, as awesome as that could be, I am one half of the NWA World Tag Team Champions right now. I am holding a title that Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard, The Road Warriors, The Steiner Brothers, Steve Austin & Brian Pillman all held.
Wrestling-Informer.de: In February of 2006, Pro Wrestling Guerrilla jumped over the “big pond” and organized two events in Europe (both titled “European Vacation”) – night one in Essen, Germany and night two in Kent, England. Now, over one year later: how do you look back on the tour and, most notably, does PWG intend to come back once again? How did the “European Vacation” tour affect both, PWG and wrestling in Europe?
Joey Ryan: I believe it had a big influence in wrestling. I think that once ROH saw how PWG could do it successfully, they knew they could do it. And they are now doing shows all over the world. As much as PWG has been influenced by ROH, it was nice to return the favor in a small way. I think the tour gave a little more credibility to PWG and also made the championships World Titles for the first time. Now El Generico is defending the PWG Championship all over the world. As far as a new tour goes, just keep yourselves posted.
Wrestling-Informer.de: At the time Total Nonstop Action Wrestling is battling Ring Of Honor over numerous wrestlers. While people like Bryan Danielson, Chris Hero, Jimmy Rave or the Briscoe Brothers signed with ROH right away, the future of ROH wrestlers like Matt Sydal is uncertain. What is your opinion on this “battle” and the fact that it also had its impact on Pro Wrestling Guerrilla by making (former) Guerrilla wrestlers Alex Shelley, Chris Sabin, Frankie Kazarian and many more unable to compete for PWG?
Joey Ryan: It’s a double edged sword. I understand that TNA wants to have the market cornered on DVD sales featuring guys like Shelley, Sabin and Frankie since they are investing a lot of money themselves into those guys, but then again, those guys aren’t over because of what they do in 3 to 4 minute matches in TNA. I personally believe that TNA gains more by having their guys on PWG and ROH and the like, because people will see them have these great matches and not care that they might only be in 6-Man tags in TNA because the fans will already be emotionally invested in the wrestlers and will want to watch them as much as possible. But again, I understand with the investment that TNA is making on these guys that they may want the TNA brand to be what people think of when they see these guys. I guess there is no right or wrong. As far as the wrestlers choosing between ROH and TNA, it’s going to come down to personal preference. Some guys just want to perform longer matches and some guys want storylines and TV and national exposure. It’s hard to say because todays crop of wrestlers aren’t the traditional ones that grew up watching wrestlers always wrestling in stadiums and arenas with the glitz and glamour. I think the circulation of tapes of Japanese wrestling and ECW changed a lot of that. I think a lot of guys today got into wrestling to perform rather than to become celebrities. Again, it all comes down to personal preference.
Wrestling-Informer.de: Speaking of TNA – imagine this: Vince McMahon and the Carters, both, would send you contracts for the same amount of money and the same period of time to compete for WWE or TNA. What would you do?
Joey Ryan: That’s tough. On the one hand with TNA, there isn’t as much travelling and more home time, which can lead to less injury and a longer career, but on the other hand, there is a lot less TV programming to get exposure from to make that career as financial secure. I’d have to weigh the options and talk to friends in both companies before I could make my decision.
Wrestling-Informer.de: You and Disco Machine were part of MTV’s Wrestling Society X where you teamed as “That 70s team”. What do you think of the project itself, its advantages and its disadvantages and of course, why do you think MTV stopped airing the show?
Joey Ryan: We filmed everything in about 10 days and each day was about 12 hours, so you can imagine how tiring but at the same time how gratifying it all was. It was loads of fun though because each day was like hanging out with your friends. That includes the producers and staff and backstage hands, who were all great. You get to know so many people that were just your acquaintances before by spending so much time with them. As a show, I think it could have used an hour. Some of the fast paced cuts were a bit much, but I don’t see any alternative other than cutting back on the roster, but I can’t think of anybody off the top of my head that didn’t fit the shows programming. I think all in all, Big Vision did a great job with it. I hear that it’s doing pretty well in overseas and hispanic markets, so who knows? Maybe MTV wouldn’t have been so quick to drop the axe had they seen that coming.
- Word Associations –
Super Dragon: Good rival in the ring, good friend out.
Davey Richards: A natural. Very talented guy.
Most Dangerous Move in Wrestling: This may sound weird, but I’ve only been hurt twice in the ring and both were from clotheslines.
SoCal Wrestling: There is a certain mystique to it. It’s underrated at times, but I find that’s true for a lot of places that I travel to.
Germany: I love it. Everybody speaks English there!
Hilary Duff: She got too skinny for awhile, but now she’s hot again!
BOLA: PWG’s “Wrestlemania”
Wrestling-Informer.de: More original questions than most interviews that I do.
One last statement to your German fans?
Joey Ryan: When I was there last time, I compared my mustache to Hitler’s mustache and the people cheered me. The man is a monster and you people should boo him no matter what.
Wrestling-Informer.de: Thanks for taking the time, Joey, we really appreciate it and wish you all the very best for your career.