Unless you’ve been living under a rock the 12 months, you’d be hard pressed to find any wrestling fans who haven’t heard of Joey Ryan. Whether it was his marriage proposal to his real-life girlfriend during a match in San Diego in February, debuting in Season Two of Lucha Underground, or witnessing the birth of the “YouPorn Plex,” also known as the penis flip move, in an Osaka, Japan match late last year against Danshoku Dino, Ryan’s stock has certainly been on the, ahem, rise.
Ryan brings all that and more to southern Ontario, as a part of a two-day stop with Smash Wrestling tour.
As a master of drumming up his own publicity, Ryan has certainly benefited from the aforementioned moments, but those are far from the only examples of what you can find online when you search for the self-proclaimed “King of Dong Style.”
“I’ve been posting videos and pictures and things like that on my social media for a long time,” Ryan told SLAM! Wrestling. “It just so happened a few I posted went viral.”
Business began to pick up, as they say.
“It’s changed in the sense that I’m doing more interviews and I’m being asked to do TV appearances,” he said. “Now I can get more bookings and raise my rates. I’ve also got the YouPorn sponsorship. From a business standpoint there’s more opportunities.”
The atypical sponsorship from the adult website came as a result of his match against Dino, but don’t try adding Ryan’s name into a search from that site, because he won’t be “performing,” just making people more aware of the brand.
“The deal is I’m a brand ambassador,” Ryan said. “Last year YouPorn got into e-gaming. They were looking into sponsoring athletes but they hadn’t done it because they were looking for crossover media. They thought this was perfect that I’d be the first sponsored athlete.”
At the moment, Ryan’s obligations aren’t much more than wearing the company name on T-shirts and hats when he comes to the ring, but Ryan does expect to incorporate more product placements as he continues.
“I promote the product. They bought the rights to the dick flip move and dubbed it the ‘YouPorn Plex,'” Ryan said. “I now represent the product and wear the shirt and hat at events and meet-and-greets when it’s appropriate. They understand that I sometimes do family shows and it’s not appropriate. We’re getting ring gear commissioned with their logo on it and I’ll wear it, again when it’s appropriate. But I’m now on their payroll.”
Ryan appears to have lucked out and stuck a great balance between personal and professional fame.
“My personal life hasn’t changed a whole lot,” Ryan said. “I won’t be working out and people bombard me. But if I’m in a situation where someone says, ‘Did you see the dick flip video? This is the guy.’ People will say, ‘Oh my God! I saw that video.’ But it’s not instant recognition.”
For an independent wrestler, this new-found fame has certainly helped Ryan out with more work related chances. Case in point, one of Ryan’s two matches in Canada this week will be for a title opportunity on March 10 in London, Ontario, at Fanshawe College.
“I’m wrestling Johnny Gargano for the Smash title,” Ryan said. “He’s one of the top guys on the independent scene. I’m also wrestling Scotty O’Shea. I’ve never faced him before but I always like wrestling guys for the first time because of the new experience and to see how the chemistry between us is.”
The O’Shea match will take place on Friday in St. Catharines, at Brock University. Then it’s back to the United States, for a show in Miami on Saturday.