Joey Ryan Talks Getting His Start, Working For WWE, PWG, Daniel Bryan Getting Over, TNA, More
Ryan: At the time So Cal wrestling was on the cusp of booming. It was getting a lot of attention with other companies like Rev Pro around. UPW was here. Companies were coming in and they were like, "We're going to change, put So Cal on the map." All these promoters with big money and they would want a show or two and they would be taking advantage of. Or, you know, they would surround themselves with yes men. They'd fall apart. We got kind of tired of dealing with promoters, so we were just like, "We have a pretty good idea of how this wrestling thing works by now."
The six of us started it had all been wrestling from three to six years each. So we had a pretty good grasp of how to work it. We had good relationships with wrestlers already, so we just decided we were going to run the show ourselves. We really didn't have any aspirations past the one show. If it was going to make enough money for us to run a second show, we were going to do that, and then so on. We made enough money to do a third show. We'd keep going as long as there was support from the fans and the audience for it. There was, obviously. We kept going with it. So really, it was out of being tired of dealing with promoters with big ideas and pockets spending money frivolously. We just wanted to take it from our own angle.
Wrestling Inc.: It's been ten years now, right? You're still one of the owners?
Ryan: Yeah, a little over ten years. I don't do much of the office side of it anymore. I do from time to time, but it's mostly Excalibur and Super Dragon now. I've kind of branched out and done things in my own career, so much more so. They obviously don't, neither of them wrestle anymore, so they've taken the more business aspect of PWG. But yeah, Scott Lost and Top Gun Talwar and Disco Machine don't wrestle, aren't even part of the wrestling world anymore. So it's kind of the three of us, more so the two of them running it. Technically you could still say I'm office because although I don't do a lot of the hands on decision making, I'm still in there.
Wrestling Inc.: During that time, you worked a lot of different independents. You worked ROH. What were some of your favorite opponents and matches on the Indy circuit?
Ryan: I've had so many. I've been wrestling for almost 14 years now. My experience with Ring of Honor was really fun. I liked being part of The Embassy. I got to work, I got to team with Claudio Castagnolio, who's obviously Antonio Cesaro now. I got to work with Bison Smith before he passed away. I got to have some good matches with Colt Cabana and Roderick Strong over there. Just traveling and getting to see the different areas of the world and see how wrestling exists in different areas and what the local talent is like. It's hard to sum up and just name a couple people, or name a couple moments, when it's been a dozen a different countries on five different continents. The independent circuit is great because you really get to travel and see how actually big independent wrestling is. It is kind of an underground thing, but there's places everywhere in the world that have it. So it's bigger than people realize.
Wrestling Inc.: You had also worked with Daniel Bryan at times throughout your career on the independent circuit. Did you ever see him getting to be where he's at?
Ryan: Yeah. He was always outstanding in the ring and that's what gets over. Daniel Bryan, he can talk and now he's gotten a lot better at that, but I think what it comes down to is if you're not believable in the ring, you're not going to get over and he was always very believable in the ring. He was always so solid in the ring that even when I was training with him in 2004, you just knew that he could entertain anybody just by wrestling withoutů he could engage an audience emotionally just with his wrestling. I think there's a lot of different theories about what gets over, but I think when it comes down to it, if you can't do it in the ring you can't get over. You always knew he had it in the ring.
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