Back in Semester 1 of university, which was a few months ago, I was tasked with producing a short interview with someone who had an interesting story. Being a pro wrestling fan, I contacted one of my favourite independent wrestlers, Joey Ryan, for an interview. Joey graciously accepted and I produced this piece for my assessment. I was restricted by a short word limit but the full interview piece will be posted on Thursday (1st March).
With the recent Dragon Gate and WWE shows taking place in Nottingham over this past month, and the wrestling buzz around the city seemingly at an all-time high, I spoke to independent superstar and regular WWE worker Joey Ryan on his idols, his training and his character.
Joey Ryan, like many current wrestlers of today, was inspired by the legend and icon that is Hulk Hogan. Joey told me that he ‘definitely grew up a Hulkamaniac’ alongside inspiration from favourite wrestlers of his such as Ricky Steamboat and The British Bulldogs. What actually inspired him to pursue a career inside the ring though was ‘Paul Heyman and the entire original ECW brand. That era re-established my love for wrestling that had fallen by the wayside once I got into my teens’.
So that started Joey Ryan (real name Joey Meehan) on the road to becoming a professional wrestler. But it wasn’t all plain sailing- ‘It’s painful. It’s not as “fake” as everyone seems to think it is. It’s not natural for a human body to take that kind of punishment so it’s a tough process to get your body to build up a tolerance to the pain. There’s a lot of bumps and bruises along the way.’
Once Joey Ryan had overcome this particular obstacle though, he created his character. A character for a professional wrestler is vital. It allows them to be loved or despised by the crowd- the same crowd that ultimately pays their bills. Joey’s character is a little unusual though, as you may have gathered from the slight taste in the headline. Joey told me that the inspiration from his gimmick was ‘Magnum PI mostly. Magnum PI in the 80’s was the coolest guy around but if you took the same exact look and style and brought it to today, it would be very sleazy and creepy.’ So that’s exactly what Joey did, he became the modern day Magnum PI; an ultra sleazy and ultra creepy guy.
Being a sleaze ball doesn’t stop Joey from tearing it up in the ring though. He says his best match for him was an ironman match that went 70 minutes against the legendary Super Dragon. ‘It was just a test of endurance and a feeling of accomplishment when it was finished.’
As well as great memories, wrestling has taken Joey Ryan around the world to many countries, meeting celebrities along the way and has even allowed him to make a living doing solely what he loves to do. Despite all this though, his mother refuses to watch him wrestle. Joey told me ‘she doesn’t want to see her baby get hurt.’
Follow me and Joey on Twitter! Me: @DeadmanDRB. Joey: @JoeyRyanOnline