His name is Joey Ryan, his in-ring psychology is built around getting a wrestler, male or female, to grab him by the dick so he can flip him or her. Some will find it funny, some will find it stupid. But detractors create attention. And Joey Ryan is making every head turn. In This is Wrestling: The Joey Ryan Documentary, Director James Agiesta could have built a kind of “best-of” Joey Ryan famous moments. But Joey has his own YouTube channel for that. Agiesta decided to show us who’s the man behind the character and the sultry reputation.
In the first minute of the documentary, Agiesta focused on making people, who have never been wrestling fans or heard of Joey Ryan before, watch a video of one of his matches. People are laughing, they suddenly fall in love with wrestling. In fact, this is nothing more than a great reminder of 1980s wrestling, a time where characters were prevailing. Think Ravishing Rick Rude or Rick Martel, even if Joey is not relating them as influences.
The Joey Ryan character was born of an absolute desire to please the fans, by pleasing himself first. After difficult times in TNA and WWE, Joey was about to leave the business, until he understood he could become his own creation. The Magnum, P.I. moustache and hairy torso, the Kojak lollipop and, I would add, the Miami Vice attitude, found an echo in what he was seeing in the locker rooms, guys spreading baby oil on their bodies and the oral fixation they could have. But some elements were still missing.
Teaming up with Candice Le Rae reignited his passion. They became The World’s Cutest Tag Team and proved to the world that not only man and woman could be a team, but they could also incredible opponents. They cemented their legacy in PWG, until making a name for themselves in the indies.
The subject of intergender and sex in wrestling, in a PG era, is a difficult one. But wrestling is still a world of make-believe, even in 2019. And the more people were hating this team of incredible talents, the more attention they were gaining.
Then Joey flew to Japan in 2015 and made his dick a subject of even more attention. His match against Danshoku Dieno became legendary, simply because the fact of making his opponent grab him by the penis was making Joey Ryan the strongest man in a ring. This “test of strength” has become Joey’s signature, and the reason why people have been coming to see him compete.
Joey may defend himself to be anti-tradition but, in many ways, he respects more traditions of the business than most of the wrestlers today, which makes him and his character even more genuine and respected by his peers. In the documentary, legends like X-Pac, Tommy Dreamer or Mick Foley and some of the best wrestlers today are praising Joey’s incredible respect for this art that wrestling is, including Cody who teamed up with Joey and feuded with him at the legendary Cow Palace in California.
James Agiesta followed Joey Ryan from 2017 to 2019. He focused on the emotions of a man. Nervous to open his own wrestling promotion, Bar Wrestling. Emotional to receive Mick Foley’s acknowledgement when Mick tried the “Test of Strength” at an OTT show in Dublin. Happy to see Candice Le Rae going to WWE, despite meaning their team would split. Feeling unreal to see ECW legend Tommy Dreamer competing in his own promotion or doing this legendary entrance with a dozen of men wearing phallus costumes at All In.
Agiesta’s camera makes you feel how Joey Ryan is sincerely amazed by all the things that are happening to him. The wrestlers and the fans praising him, the pleasure of travelling the world, being a part of very important wrestling events or moments. Joey Ryan is real, he was and still is a true wrestling fan.
Agiesta didn’t want to do another wrestling documentary, but a real, true and in-depth exploration of indie wrestling. Joey Ryan was the perfect choice for it because there’s only one like him. If you don’t push the limits, the way he has done, you can’t know what’s possible, what’s next.
This is Wrestling: The Joey Ryan Documentary is more than a portrait of a character or a man. It’s an ode to wrestling, its traditions and history, the respect he creates between competitors and fans, and an ode to equality between genders in this art wrestling is.
James Agiesta is offering a respectful and human view of a character like no other, and an absolute gentleman and generous human being. If you think you really know Joey Ryan, then take a look at the documentary because, obviously, Joey is someone you have a lot to learn from.
Dir: James Agiesta & Katy Dierks
Run time: 65 minutes
This is Wrestling: The Joey Ryan Documentary will exclusively premiere at Starrcast II on May 23 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Find out more about the documentary in our interview with Joey Ryan and James Agiesta.
All pics, screencaps and videos courtesy of James Agiesta, Katy Dierks, and Joey Ryan.