Exclusive: Joey Ryan speaks about working with Mia Khalifa, Jim Cornette's criticism & more

Joey Ryan spoke about a variety of topics with us
Joey Ryan spoke about a variety of topics with us

United We Stand is a special Impact Wrestling event that takes place at the Rahway Recreation Center in Rahway, New Jersey featuring a variety of amazing matches. One of the most anticipated contests in the card pits Joey Ryan against Tessa Blanchard in an intergender match.

Joey Ryan addressed international media during the latest Impact Wrestling Press Pass, and I was lucky enough to be invited on the call. Nothing was off the table, as he discussed everything including his nether regions.

How did you come up with your gimmick?

Ryan: Well, when you first start wrestling you feel like you have to mimic what's popular. in order to get popular yourself. But once I realised that wrestling is a blank canvas and you can paint any picture you want, I decided to be a wrestler like the wrestling I grew up watching.

I got into wrestling very young, in the 80s, so I wanted to be an 80s wrestler. So I grew the chest hair and the moustache and I wanted to present myself with that look. And this made wrestling all the more fun for me. I became almost a parody of 80s looking wrestling.


And I took an 80s Icon like Magnum PI, and as cool as he was in the 80s, if someone like that walked down the street nowadays you'd think he was kinda creepy or kinda sleazy. So, the idea was to look like a top 80s babyface, but the reaction of the fans to that look is more of a heelish reaction.

So, that's where the heel kinda came involved because that's what the audience was responding to anyway so I went with it. But yeah, I just wanted to be an 80s wrestler, and emulate the style of wrestling I grew up watching. I even changed the way I threw punches to be more 80s and the way I move to be more 80s. So I was like I'm just going to roll this out and see how it works, and it worked well for me.

You've worked with a lot of the current Impact Wrestling roster in Lucha Underground already, but who are some of the talents you want to mix it up in Impact Wrestling with?

Ryan: You know I've been wrestling for 19 years now so a lot of the guys I've faced at one point or another in my career. So, once you get to a certain point in your career you see the same faces time and time again. In Impact, the stakes might be different so it may be more of a challenge to face them in an Impact setting.

I've always liked working with Brian Cage. Obviously, I worked with him in Lucha Underground a bit. Eli Drake is another longtime friend of mine. I got to wrestle him last year on an Impact Twitch stream which was really fun out in Tennessee. So, there are a lot of people on the roster that I enjoy being around and have enjoyed wrestling in the past but in an Impact setting, it would be different.

What was it like working with Mia Khalifa?

Ryan: She's really nice. She's really sweet. She made those comments about professional wrestling and she didn't expect the backlash that she got because a lot of people don't realise how big the professional wrestling fanbase is and how it's not really an underground thing.

It's pretty mainstream. Once she saw the reaction to it, she took responsibility for her own comments. She actually went to a wrestling school and learned a little bit of wrestling from Thunder Rosa, who's Kobra Moon on Lucha Underground. She got in the ring a little bit and Sabotage Wrestling was in contact with her and wanted her to do a bit interrupting me in the ring.

It was really fun. She's a sweetheart and she owned up to her comments about professional wrestling. She learned about it herself which is great because some people just get stubborn with their ideas. But she was open to learning about it once she saw the backlash she got for making those comments.

What do you think of Jim Cornette picking on you all the time?

Ryan: He's one. There are quite a few traditionalists. They don't really care about what I do. But I've always noticed that the negatives are always more vocal. If you like something then you're more likely to talk about it than if you hate something to get your outrage out.

I did a show with Hacksaw Jim Duggan and he saw my stuff for the first time, and so, when I came to the locker room he said - 'Man, I love it.' He held up his two by four and he said I needed something stupid to get me over too. And so, there are traditionalists who understand that.

Getting something over is difficult. So, they get where I'm coming from. I was a fan of Cornette growing up. We still see eye to eye in wrestling. Wrestling is subjective. I don't need everyone to be my fan.

That's not what I'm after. I can name a hundred wrestlers right now that get buried by other wrestlers and other personalities from the past. Young Bucks and Kenny Omega get it. Sami Callihan gets it. They all get the same kind of heat that I get.

It's a cliche to say but there's wrestling for everybody out there. I found a fanbase that supports what I do and I'd rather focus on the positive than the negative.

Catch Impact Wrestling every week only on SONY ESPN and SONY ESPN HD. Shoutout to Kishan Prasad and Karanjeet S. Bedi for the questions above.

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Edited by Nishant Jayaram
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