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RECAP AND REVIEW: The Steve Austin show with Joey Ryan on what acting classes have taught him, pitching his signature spot to Mick Foley and Billy Gunn, getting teary eyed at All In, why he doesn’t work with PWG anymore

The Steve Austin Show

Running time: 1:20:08

Recap By: Joe Aguinaldo

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The Ford Focus

  • Austin has a 2003 Ford Focus and decided to start driving it. He hadn’t driven it in a long time and wouldn’t start because the battery had drained. He tried to use a car battery charger but that didn’t work so he jumped it using his Yukon XL (and suggests that everyone should have 30 feet heavy duty jumper cables).
  • He drove the car to the gym but when he got there was scared to turn it off because he was afraid it wouldn’t start again. He had two sets of keys so he decided to keep the car running, lock the door and do his workout.
  • After his workout he came out and the car was still there so he took it to get a smog test. The car failed the smog test due to battery problems. That said, he’s going to get it fixed up and have a bad a** Ford Focus on the mean streets of Los Angeles.

Joey Ryan

  • Joey Ryan shows up wearing a shirt and tie. No one has ever shown up to The Austin Show and Joey is the first ever.
  • Joey dressed up out of respect for Austin. Also, people see what Joey does in the ring and think he’s a goof. He wants to show people he takes his job seriously.
  • Joey says the line is blurred between sports entertainment or pro wrestler. Even people who do technical wrestling are a gimmick. Joey admits to doing a shtick so he leans towards the sports entertainer side.
  • Joey will call himself a pro wrestler if the person who’s asking him is interested otherwise, he’ll tell people he’s an entertainer (which he has used on work Visas)

Early Career

  • Joey has been in the business for 18 years. It’s taken a while to figure out what works for him and how to market it. He’s found his niche and has been able to make relatively good money. He is doing better than a lot of guys in the independents.
  • Austin says he’s getting back on his diet and they joke about wrestling a match together at WM 35. Austin says he has to be careful about that because Vince gets ‘hotter than hell’ at him whenever he teases a match
  • Joey started at EWF. Bobby Bradley, Frankie Kazarian and Rocky Romero were trainers. He learned bump training there and stayed for a year. He also trained at UPW and he had Tom Howard, Samoa Joe and Brian Kendrick training him. He says he learned how to work after training with Brian Kendrick who he bonded with. He also started going to the NJPW dojo in LA. Daniel Bryan and Samoa Joe were there as well.
  • Bottom line, he tried to learn as much as he could.
  • Training with Brian improved his intensity,. His matches were fine but felt like he was going through the motions. Working with Brian taught Joey when to go to that next gear, when to show emotion or capitalize on a moment. He was learning how to tell a complete story. Not just the visual part but also the emotional part.

Character Development

  • Ryan says a lot of times, people want to be the best at wrestling (technical) but he turned a corner when he came up with a gimmick.
  • He is a naturally shy person and introverted. When he started wrestling it was hard for him to emote or show any spark.
  • 5 to 6 years into wrestling, Ryan thought he needed to do something because he was blending in with everyone. He took some acting classes that helped him separate his personality with a character
  • He started working on different aspects of his character. The character he does now started in 2006. It’s been an experiment since. He’ll throw stuff away that doesn’t work, fix aspects that kind of works and keep stuff that does work. This way you develop a personality and character that you own.
  • Joey can still go in and do a technical match but his success has been from being a character.
  • Ryan says the acting class taught him that you have to get out of your head. You have to be unafraid to show of yourself or different sides of your mind
  • His acting coach got Ryan to stop thinking about other people’s reaction and being committed to a character. People can see through that and can see through you when you’re pretending.

  • When Ryan has to get into character he has to focus some days or other days it’s second nature.
  • When he hears the music or puts the gear on or puts baby oil on, he becomes a different person. It’s fun because it let’s out a part of him he doesn’t get to do in his everyday life. He becomes this character and because it’s so over the top, it gives him artistic freedom to do things other wrestlers may not be able to do.
  • It gives him a lot of freedom to do things in a match. He can break the fourth wall but get back into the match.
  • Joey was trying something in a match that went completely went awry. The crowd was getting antsy because they could see something wasn’t going right. Joey looked at the audience and said ‘I promise this went much better in rehearsals’ which made the audience laugh and brought the tension down. His character allowed him to get away with that.

Joey Ryan’s naysayers

  • Joey has some naysayers in the business from wrestling purists. If has achieved success in wrestling but still gets called a piece of sh*t every day. It’s tough because he works hard which is not just the physical aspect but the business side as well.
  • The naysayers will say casual fans will be turned off of wrestling by watching Ryan. Joey argues his fan base is casual fans who just want to be entertained. He tries to balance this out by taking into consideration that people who go on twitter and talk about wrestling are already emotionally involved in wrestling and that negative people tend to be more vocal.
  • General speaking, based on feedback and merch sales, his positives outweighs the negatives
  • Joey did a show and Kevin Sullivan was there so he introduced himself before the match. After he wrestled he avoided Kevin because he thought Kevin would have the old school mentality but when they met up at the end of the event, Kevin shook his hand, started laughing and said his stuff was great.
  • Ryan was in Ireland and Mick Foley was on the show. Foley wanted to talk to Ryan and pitched the penis move to Ryan. It was cool that he didn’t have the awkward conversation of trying to explain the penis move especially someone who is established.
  • The first time he pitched the penis spot to Billy Gunn was awkward. But Gunn was also cool with doing the spot.
  • Guys like Mick, Austin and Gunn know how hard it is to get something over and how to maintain it and make it successful. People who have struggled with that are more sympathetic to his shtick
  • Austin tells a story about filming the hospital spot for Raw where Austin hit Vince in the head with a bedpan. Austin and Mick were in a small bathroom, and Mic pulled out Mr Socko and told Austin this was going to be his finishing move. Austin was laughing so much that the crew had to tell them to be quiet because they couldn’t film the Vince spot.
  • Billy Gunn has become friends with Joey and is one of his favourite opponents. Billy loves the penis spot because it is easy and over. Plus Gunn loves working the gaga stuff.

Working the Indies

  • Sometimes Ryan overbooks himself because if it’s possible to make all his bookings, he’ll do it
  • His next loop is Austin Texas, Chicago, New Jersey and London.
  • His challenge is packing enough merch and likes coming home with no luggage.
  • Ryan is at a point in his careers when he can get a deposit from a promoter.
  • For a long time he had good status on a bunch of airlines but not great status. Now he has incredible status on American and it makes travel easier
  • His merch does so well that he doesn’t have to charge as much for his rate because he knows he’ll make it up in merch sales. It also helps him not get into bidding wars with other talent
  • He’ll also offer to wrestle before intermission so his intermission merch sales are higher.
  • Austin, Texas is a good city for independent arts. Fans take to anything that’s not mainstream. The audience respects his wrestling and is hot for his gimmick.
  • Independent wrestling is hot right now and people are making money which helps with the camaraderie. If there was more struggle there might be more animosity
  • Most of today’s wrestlers understand wrestling is a circus. You need your lion tamers, clowns and jugglers. You can’t all be the same act
  • The fact that Joey does what he does makes a technical wrestler stand out more and vice versa which helps build camaraderie.
  • Joey has been in the business for 18 years he doesn’t want to be the grizzled vet and complain about the younger generation. He’s happy with his time in the business because it’s helped build him to become the person he is now. He doesn’t hold the opportunities the guys have now against them
  • Sometimes Joey feels he’s bragging when talking about his success but he knows how hard it was to struggle and toot his own horn from time to time.
  • Joey wrestled 172 shows in 2017 but that doesn’t take into account travelling or talking to promoters or pushing his brand and merch on social media. The job is non-stop.

All-In

  • His storyline was built on Being the Elite. Adam Page used to be called the ‘Hungman’. At one point The Bucks are watching Ryan and commenting on Ryan’s penis which makes Hangman jealous.
  • Hangman found security footage where Ryan paid someone to take the penis flip. They do a storyline where Ryan is depressed and can’t find his mojo.
  • Hangman comes to a show and berates him but Ryan ends up doing the penis flip on Hangman.
  • Next part of the story is that Hangman ‘kills’ Ryan and it becomes an investigation.
  • The storyline was a year long and the payoff was at All In.
  • Tommy Dreamer couldn’t believe the reaction from All-In was due to a YouTube show.
  • He says Russo took a shot at the penis angle but Ryan says Vince would never have invested in a year storyline. He would have just penis druids for the sake of penises
  • He felt like a rock star when he got the pop at All-In
  • During the match it didn’t sink in because he was too concerned with the match. When he won the match a ‘Rest In Penis’ chant started which gave him goosebumps and made him teary eyed.
  • There were nerves backstage at All-In because it was the first time they had been on this type of event. When the Briscos and Kazarian/Skye hit a home run in the opener, it helped ease the nerves backstage and helped settle everyone. It helped moral which was a key in a successful show

Getting Over

  • Ryan says it doesn’t matter what he does in the ring…it’s about the entrance and the presence. He tweeted that he doesn’t like doing seminars because he can go up and preach what you’re supposed to do but when he’s in the ring, he’ll take every shortcut. He’ll break all the rules. When you’re over you can do whatever you want. As long as he’s telling a story and not insulting anyone’s intelligence.
  • Austin talks about how he got over which is different than how Ryan got over. There may be some basics you can teach someone but how wrestlers get over can be done in different ways specific to the individual.
  • Aspects of Ryan’s character on paper is heelish but he is endearing to the audience so he mostly wrestles babyface. He has a carefree nonchalant attitude and builds differently to the baby face fire.
  • When he started wrestling he looked at who was on top and wanted to emulate those people. It’s only after wrestling for a while that he realized wrestling was a blank canvas and he could be whatever he wanted. That’s when he started developing his own character and realized he didn’t have to wrestle like John Cena to have success. People have to find what works for them.

Proposals and Relationships

  • Ryan got married two years ago. It isn’t easy and they’re making it work. He proposed to his wife in the ring during an intergender match. The match was a work but the proposal was a shoot, although he still got the pin in true heel form.
  • Austin talks about how he proposed to his wife. He did it in his favorite deer stand called Johnny Cash. He made a ring because the jewelry store couldn’t provide one and he had to bend it with pliers.
  • Ryan’s wife is a wrestler but it’s not really her passion so she only does it locally although she will travel occasionally with Ryan in Japan and Australia.

Being a promoter

  • Ryan was one of the original PWG wrestlers. In 2003 he and a bunch of wrestlers had been wrestling a few years and there were a lot of promoters doing big shows but losing a lot of money. The 6 of them decided to run a show because they knew the business and didn’t need a promoter. They could do it themselves, use their friends and make it a fun deal. The first show was a success and it kept building and is still going.
  • Ryan doesn’t work PWG anymore because his style didn’t translate there. He started a new promotion called Bar wrestling which is more of a party atmosphere. They also use women wrestlers which PWG doesn’t. They do intergender and comedy stuff as well..
  • He started Bar Wrestling in Baldwin Park and was drawing 400 people at a Thursday shows. He was sustaining the bar who thought they might have to shut down.
  • Other bars started seeing the success and asked Joey to stage shows in their bars.
  • He has a show on October 17th called Breastlemania for breast cancer awareness month which is a mostly women show. All proceeds go towards breast cancer research. He has 3 shows in November in different venues one called Testlemania for Movember and men’s health.
  • He sees this as another way to challenge himself in the industry. In PWG, he never did the financial side of things, more talent relations. Now he’s doing the business side of his promotion and building a brand that could maybe be part of his out plan
  • How long Ryan is in the industry depends on how healthy and relevant he can keep himself. He tends to use a ‘less is more’ style these days.

Show Wrap

  • Joey went to Junior College for two years but dropped out to do wrestling. He was an average student.
  • Ryan was a fan growing up. One of his earliest memories is watching WM 2 at 6. He was captivated by a Jake the Snake match and that’s when he knew he was hooked. He was also a big fan of the Attitude Era. He checked out an indie show and had a ton of fun and got hooked. One of his friends found the school that this promotion did so three of them signed up and took real classes. Joey is the only one that stuck with it.
  • Joey loves baseball (Angels fan). He likes movies and goes to Disneyland a lot as well.
  • Catch Joey Ryan on twitter (@joeyranonline), IG (@joeyryan) and www.prowrestlingtees.com/joeyryan. He also has a documentary coming out about him.

Rating: 8.5/10

I really dug this interview. Ryan comes across as a smart guy who knows what he’s doing and where he wants to go. My personal highlights were how he developed the character and hearing about All In (which I still can’t get enough of). Also, both Ryan’s and Austin’s marriage proposal stories were fun. Lastly, I was a little surprised at Joey’s demeanor. His character is way over the top so it was a bit of a juxtapose to hear him be soft spoken and admit to being an introvert. Definite thumbs up recommend.

About Joe:

Joe is a long time wrestling fan from Toronto. He is a co-host on the Pull Apart Podcast with Jeff Rush and Caitlin Lavelle as well as a contributor to www.pwpodcasts.com. One of his life goals is to be a guest host on one of Wade Keller’s post show podcasts.  He doesn’t consider himself any sort of expert, he just likes wrestling. Check him out on twitter and instagram @ja113.

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