Lee Sanders of The RCWR Show recently interviewed Mason Ryan, who talked about how his WWE release came about, becoming FCW champion in WWE's old FCW developmental territory, being in New Nexus, working alongside CM Punk, Husky Harris and his evolution into Bryan Wyatt and more. You can watch the full interview above, here are some highlights:
Shortly after all that you got signed to WWE's then developmental territory FCW where in just a handful of months you became the FCW champion after beating Alex Riley and Johnny Curtis, aka Fandango, in a triple threat match. Thoughts on winning a major championship in a wrestling promotion for the very 1st time?
It was all quite a whirlwind to be honest with you. I was wrestling in the U.K, got signed and just flew over here. I'm just a small town boy from a very small town in Wells, grew up there most of my life... seen most of the world. Coming over here was a Big Experience for me, it was a complete change of life and everything. I just remember fondly those times in FCW when I first came over here that everything was just so new and exciting for me. Got to work with some great people with Dr. Tom, Norman Smiley, Steve Kern down there. A lot of great guys came from there and it happened so quickly. It really was a whirlwind. I remember the night clearly, we were in a three way... it was Alex Riley and the now Fandango. I can't remember the match too much, I just remember afterwards holding the the Florida heavyweight championship and looking at it—I was in awe of it because of the history and everything that went with that it as it meant a lot to me. It was an awesome experience.
On the January 17th, 2011 edition of WWE RAW you made your debut by interfering in a match between John Cena and CM Punk, who at this time was the leader of the New Nexus stable. After the beating Cena received from you all, Punk presented you with a Nexus arm sleeve to signify you were part of the stable. Can you go in-depth about that debut, the overall experience you had cause talk about a debut as you did it with two of the best guys in the company at that point?
To start off with that night was amazing. I only found out that day what was happening. I heard rumors and suggestions that I was going to join beforehand. When I was told that day I'd be doing what I was doing I was very excited as it just blew me away. To be interfering in CM Punk and John Cena's match on Monday Night Raw was massive. It was actually in January and I was in my first year with the company. That wasn't my first year with the company as I got here in January (the previous year before his Raw debut) and then the following year I made my debut. That was a phenomenal experience. I remember waiting beforehand cause I came in through the crowd just waiting and looking around, seeing the crowd cause the match was going on. Knowing I was going to be a part of this in a few seconds at that time was just fantastic. I was just kind of looking around thinking how great it was. It was an unbelievable experience, standing on that apron and having the eyes of the world on me and be a part of what those guys were doing and to go on to be in Nexus was awesome.
Now correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't recall any vignettes being done hyping up your arrival to the main roster. Looking back do you think it could've played an even more greater impact on your debut in that segment with Cena & Punk or do you think with the way things panned out at the end to do the vignettes would have been overkill?
There was no vignettes, I think it was pretty cool that they did what they did like that to just have me come from nowhere. It was kind of like no one really knew anything about me. I'd been down in FCW but no one really knew about Mason Ryan or anything about me. So just to come out like that and be the unknown and have that surprise aspect and kind of shock people was kind of a good way to it.
You spent time working with CM Punk, talk about what that was like as we always hear about how he strives for perfection while being a true professional at the same time.
Yeah, absolutely! There's not many guys like him around. To be under his wing and have him around lots of time as we traveled together, just to be around him was awesome. He's such a big star, just the way he carries himself and his matches. That was another huge thing as on the live events we got to be a ringside for a lot of these main events like with him and John Cena and stuff. We got to witness first hand as we had the best seats in the house watching, learning and seeing what these guys do and watching two people at the top of their of game. CM Punk is what what he puts out there, he is the best in the world, he's phenomenal in the ring and on the mic. To be around him and witness how he does stuff was—you don't get much of a better experience than that.
Being so young and new to the main roster did he offer you any career advice? Is so what?
Yeah, he was always great. A lot of times we'd drive together and stuff and he'd ask us if we had any questions like me, Joe, who's know Curtis Axel, Dave Otunga. We'd have other matches on the card and then he'd ask us how it went. Anytime we had any questions or sometimes he'd ask us if we had any questions for him, he always had time to answer questions and help us out which is great cause I'm sure he had a lot on his plate. Being a top guy in this business, there's a lot of demands and you're quite busy. So to have time for us all the time was really cool of him.
Fast forwarding a bit, what was the morale like from your stand point when CM Punk walked away from WWE earlier this year and do you genuinely feel Punk is done with the WWE for good or do you think he'll come back eventually. If not then do you seem him returning to the wrestling industry period?
Hard for me to say really because I was back with NXT at that point. I wasn't in the locker room so I can't really tell you the feeling or whatever. I don't know with this business it's impossible to work anything out because it's such an unpredictable business. I don't anyone would have thought he'd walk away to start off with if you asked two years ago. Who knows in two years time or two months time what can happen you know. I personally have no idea.
Now while being part of New Nexus you also had the opportunity to work alongside Husky Harris who would go on to become Bray Wyatt. Talk about what it was like working with him back then and the 180 he was able to make as Bray Wyatt. It's no secret that when Randy gave him that punt to the head a few years back to have him removed from TV he said to Vince he'd be back. Took him a hot minute but he came back and he came back in a big way.
I've known Bray a long time. He was there when I first got to FCW. I always got along great with him, he's a good guy. There was a group of us there that go out and have fun and he was one of those guys. I've known him a while and he's a really cool guy to be around. I remember when him and Curtis Axel debuted with New Nexus, that was quite crazy seeing what they were doing and then to put of it myself alongside him and that. That night when he got punted we really didn't know if that was the end for him or what ever. Turns out they didn't but he went away and reinvented himself like I don't think anyone has. To come back with the Bray Wyatt character that he has now which is phenomenal! To see the interviews he does, promos are unbelievable, they blow you away that there that good. Very cool to watch cause I came back down a little a bit after he was working on his character, just to see the development of it over months and months and what he put into it was really cool to see. He deserves all the success he gets.
Did you ever think in a million years he'd go from that (Husky Harris) to where he is right now? That's a serious 180!
Yeah that's quite a u-turn isn't it? I don't think he himself expected that. I don't think there's any chance that when he got kicked in the head by Randy Orton that night that he'd come back and be Bray Wyatt. Have this cult following and be this mega star that he's going to be...to see it from my viewpoint was just so cool because you get to see a little bit more. I was at WrestleMania this year and just to see him against John Cena — I can't remember who it was but I just turned to someone and said he's one of us and he's there. I was so happy to see him there.
It's no secret that when his contract was expiring back in 2011 WWE tried to do everything in it's power to keep him around but at the same time the New Nexus stable kind of took a bit of a backseat. You were injured right when it was starting to get good as eventually we saw New Nexus perish as Punk chased after the WWE championship. Looking back on your time with Nexus and looking at the Core stables do you feel WWE should've continued on with them or maybe unify the stables? Give both stables a proper sendoff?
I don't know. There was a few things going on at the time. Punk was our guy but he was involved in other angles. I guess it could have been a blow off but at the same time I always liked what we did. I always enjoyed the storylines and angles we were in. I can't really say too much because I always think that they (WWE creative) know what they are doing. I wouldn't say so to be honest.
From your time off due to injury to when you returned to in-ring action on Superstars and NXT, you've lost a lot of muscle mass in exchange for being more lean, and defined. How did you come about making that decision?
When I was on the main roster involved with Nexus I wasn't wrestling as much, it was a lot of bodyguard type stuff. I put quite a bit of size on, it was close to 300lbs or maybe a bit more at one point. I wasn't doing as much cardio and stuff like that. Then when I came back down I realized the size looked good but it wasn't that practical. I wanted to be more of an athlete and be able to move and be athletic rather than just a big, bulkie guy who couldn't move and just looked good. Still to this day I work on a lot on my athleticism, my agility, flexibility and all that stuff is important to me. It was a constant change in my part to improve myself. I kind of saw as well that times have changed these days. Obviously everything evolves and the product evolves, it's more of an athletic product these days. Just being big and immobile isn't suitable for today's product. I saw a need for change and I wanted to change myself for the better to make myself a better performer.
I'd be set of fire if I didn't ask you this question. I'm only asking this question to because we have some folks on social media, especially on YouTube that feel as though because they read the dirt sheets they know what happened with you and WWE parting ways and their making a quick buck off the situation as result of their speculation. If you could please, in your own words how and why did your release from WWE come about and most importantly was the door left opened for you to return down the road?
First and foremost I don't know if anyone follows me on Twitter but I released a statement saying I had four great years in the WWE. I'll be forever thankful for what they did to me. My experience in the last four years has been incredible. I'm just a small town boy from a little town in Wells, grew up there all my life. Just through luck got into wrestling and before I knew it I got a contract with the biggest wrestling company in the world and got to come over to America. I absolutely love it over it here. I'm very proud to be Welsh but this has become my second home and this is where I'll be living. I'm so thankful for that and to get the chance to entertain the audiences and be part of this great, great industry we love so much. To travel the world on top of that on their dime and get paid for it was just—sometimes when I think about how lucky I was it's just mind-blowing. I think it was just one of those things where I'd been there for four years and they didn't really have anything for me and couldn't see much for me at present. I left with the door wide open. I left with a lot of good relationships with everyone there as everyone was always so good to me. I have no reason not to leave that way. That was that and now I'm just concentrating on the future as all I can do is work hard and be me and try to be the best I can be and you know what? I'm looking forward to what the future holds and going down different avenues, trying different things, being part of the indie scene and hopefully traveling the world again and going to places I haven't been. Obviously I love the WWE dearly and I loved being part of it but now it's own to a new chapter.
We've seen The Wolves Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards, Ethan Carter III aka Derick Bateman, Bram aka Kenneth Cameron, all NXT guys either released by WWE or not signed by WWE come to TNA Wrestling and been having success so far, more so than in WWE some could argue. If the opportunity presented itself would you consider working for TNA Wrestling or any other any major promotions?
Yeah well obviously I'm now a free agent. I'm going to be in this business, it ruins in my blood. I love it and I love being part of it so yeah I'm absolutely open to any offers. I have no idea what the future holds for me but like I said I'm a free agent right now.