Is Joey Ryan’s Dick Flip Brilliant
or a Business Killer?
– Chris O’Mealy 9/1/17 – 7:50Pm
If you’re a fan of pro wrestling in 2017 who watches more than just WWE, you’ve heard of California based wrestler Joey Ryan. If you haven’t, he’s a hairy sleazy mustached man who wrestles covered in baby oil, sucking on a lollipop he sometimes stuffs down his trunks into his crotch. He’s basically a wrestling porn star. Unlike Val Venis from the Attitude Era, Joey Ryan ups the ante by going past simple sexual innuendo and hip swivels. He goes for the full on 1970’s macho man who gets by with smooth talk and a smoother walk. So naturally, with a gimmick this over the top, he was bound to catch the attention of many wrestling fans.
Joey Ryan has been all over and performed in front of tons of different audiences. His main home was the SoCal based Pro Wrestling Guerilla (PWG) but he’s also appeared in the NWA, Ring of Honor, Wrestling Society X, TNA, and Lucha Underground. He’s even worked a few WWE TV spots and dark matches. Joey Ryan even played the evil Mr. Monopoly in season one of GLOW on Netflix! His character has gotten over among wrestling fans, and his star on the American independents has grown as a result.
With all of these pornographic shenanigans going on, it was only natural that Joey Ryan would adopt a signature move, one that got him attention even outside of the wrestling community. He even has a sponsorship by YouPorn! Its official name is the YouPorn Plex, but it’s become commonly referred to as the Dick Flip from critics and pundits. It’s exactly what you think it is. Joey Ryan’s opponent latches onto his private area, his trouser snake proves to be too powerful for them, and he takes them out with his own one eyed monster. It’s silly comedy wrestling, but it’s a spot that’s gotten Joey Ryan over with many wrestling fans, and even wrestling legends. Other fans, and wrestling legends, think it’s a garbage move that is literally killing the psychology of the wrestling business.
This begs the question. Is Joey Ryan’s dick flip actually killing the business, or are his crowd-pleasing antics working to his advantage?
To answer the question, you have to look at both sides of the argument. It’s no secret that former wrestling manager Jim Cornette is one of my all-time favorite personalities in the entire wrestling business. I love being part of the Cult of Cornette, and I always go out of my way to listen to his podcast Talking Sense. Cornette is a fan of ring psychology, and in ring storytelling and athleticism. He doesn’t like anything that makes wrestling look, well, fake. Jim and his co-host Brian both call Joey Ryan a cancer on the wrestling business, feeling this spot as so fake and so ridiculous that it is killing the entire aura of the wrestling business. Many fans and other wrestlers feel the same way.
On the flip side, you have Mick Foley, another person I have uber respect for. Foley believes wrestling should be fun, and sees Joey Ryan’s spot as a match highlight that the fans enjoy watching. In the photo of Foley battling Ryan’s penis with his own Mr. Socko, every fan in the photo is smiling wide and having fun. According to Mick, that is a good sign. Fans having fun will walk away with positive memories, and buy more tickets to see Joey Ryan. In essence, Joey Ryan’s signature move has made him a draw.
So who is right? In a lot of ways, they both are.
Joey Ryan found something that people want to see. Wrestling fans these days understand the show is a work and they don’t care. They want to have fun and see something that will entertain them. If the name Joey Ryan is on the card, then those fans paying to see him want to see the dick flip. They have a certain expectation for their money’s worth, and they’re getting it. Of course, this is a move that clearly does expose the business and come off as – dare I say it – indy and fake. Jim Cornette isn’t wrong to want young wrestlers to take their craft seriously if they want to make it big, because a spot like that simply won’t fly in WWE. PG or not, the spot itself makes no sense for a wrestling match, and wouldn’t be allowed to happen.
Then you also have the worker argument which falls two ways. On the one hand, a wrestler will want to protect their character and match integrity by refusing to do such a spot. Another wrestler will want to get over by any means necessary, and will gladly sell of the dong of Joey Ryan. Both wrestlers are right in their respective points of view, because getting noticed IS important, but so is protecting yourself and your legacy. That’s why many (smart) wrestlers won’t allow someone to kick out of their finishing move. You want to protect the maneuver that should put a wrestler down for good, because that’s your match ender.
It’s a complex situation, but I personally think it boils down to this.
If you are a promoter booking Joey Ryan, you know the dick flip comes with it. So if you don’t think that spot should be presented, don’t put Joey Ryan on your card. If you do book Joey Ryan, you should expect his crowd pleasing dick flip to take place at some point during his match. You know exactly what you’re getting when you book him. He has name value for that very reason. You either want him or you don’t, simple as that.
If you’re working Joey Ryan in a match, you should try chatting with him about the match beforehand. You have every right to speak up against doing a spot you don’t want to work with. But, be prepared for backlash. While I don’t know Joey personally, I’d imagine he may not take kindly to someone refusing to participate in the move that helped bring fans to the arena that night. And if the promoter is expecting it, it is your duty as a worker to follow-through and do what is asked of you. Maybe try to turn it into something you can use to your advantage?
Me personally, I would book Joey Ryan AND I’d take the move if asked to do so. If I was given the choice, I’d probably say no, since I’d prefer to work a match that made total sense. Still, if it was asked of me (or I felt it was in everyone’s best interest) I’d suck up my pride and do it for the greater good. As a supporter of good wrestling, I would make that match the one and only comedy spot match and make sure to stack serious wrestling around it. That way everybody gets what they want.
Jim Cornette and Mick Foley aren’t wrong with their respective points of view. You simply can’t take one side in the argument. Wrestling psychology should always be present, but you can’t fault a guy for finding an act that got him over as a legitimate draw on the independent pro wrestling scene.
Your mileage will vary on this one, and that is okay.
If you want to see Joey Ryan wrestle, buy a ticket to show he’s on. If you don’t, don’t support him. That is your choice and freedom as a pro wrestling fan. Watch what makes you happy, support the wrestlers you want to support, and watch the wrestling that you want to watch. Just don’t be salty or sour towards someone who is doing what they feel is the best for their own personal interests.
I can’t believe I just wrote an article about a man’s penis for a pro wrestling column, but this is the wacky world I’ve fallen in love with.
Question & Answer
Every week I happily answer my reader’s questions. Let’s take a gaze into the mailbag and see what kind of gems (or turds) you guys and gals have come up with.
Only two letters? That’s okay, I’ll still answer what I got!
Q: With all the rumors of Connor possibly coming to WWE and Floyd appearing in a Mania match already, is there any athlete you really want to step into the squared circle? (Matt H. of pollinracingpodcast.podomatic.com)
A: Interesting question. While no one comes to mind immediately, I believe that any athlete who comes into pro wrestling with the proper mindset of wanting to put in the work and respect the business should be given a fair shake. I personally want to see Ronda Rousey do very well in pro wrestling. I think McGregor has the right charisma since he’s a big character, but his attitude could work against him. That type of ego won’t fly for very long in a WWE locker room. But if he wants to put in the work, humble himself, and respect pro wrestling, I wish him all the best.
Q: What is your opinion of Southpaw Regional Wrestling, and should it become a show on the Network or stick with being an occasional thing on YouTube? (Chett Chetterfield, Southpaw Color Commentator)
A: Great question, Chett! Southpaw Regional Wrestling is proof positive that without someone changing their mind constantly, WWE creative can be clever and witty and the wrestlers can have a really good time. They should all be on the Network, but they should stick with what they have. Too much of a good thing can ruin it.
Chris O’Mealy is a former indy wrestling promoter, ring announcer, manager and referee. Clearly, he is a big pro wrestling fan. He is the founder and moderator of the Club Kayfabe Creative Community, which you can like on Facebook and follow on Twitter. He hosts three podcasts (Club Kayfabe WrestleTalk, Talkin’ Talkies, and The Jersey Rain Hour) which can all be found on Facebook and Podomatic. He also writes for his own blog which you can read at http://comealy17.wordpress.com. He can be reached on Twitter @chrisomealy or emailed directly at email@example.com. You may also contact him on Facebook (facebook.com/chrisomealy), but he will only accept a friend request if you introduce yourself to him first.