Joey Ryan Explains Why WWE Tryouts Did Not Pan Out

Jul 25, 2019 - by James Walsh

Joey Ryan appeared on Chris Jericho’s Talk is Jericho and talked about his WWE tryouts and getting let go from TNA. Ryan noted that his TNA release was due to the financial situation in the company at the time, and how close he came to joining WWE immediately after being released from TNA. Highlights from the conversation, and the full podcast, are below:

On his WWE tryouts not getting him signed: “So, I guess when I was doing extra stuff back then, I just never really came close. Jamie Noble told me once that like, he said, ‘When you’re our size, you have to be perfect.’ Meaning that if you’re a giant, 6’5″ football player, you get a little leeway. But one of my favorite dark matches, or I guess it was a Velocity match I had with Sylvain Grenier. Because it was in L.A., and people in L.A. know me. So I’m doing this match and he’s putting heat on me. He’s got me in a chinlock, and the crowd starts chanting, ‘Joey.’ And I’m just like, this unsigned extra guy. And in my head I’m like, ‘Oh, this is amazing! How can they — this is awesome, this crowd knows me! Josh Matthews puts it over on commentary, ‘This crowd is behind Joey Ryan!’ And you know, I’m so pumped and then I walk to the back through gorilla position. And I don’t know if they did this on purpose to screw with me, but literally nobody watched it. There was literally nobody at gorilla watching this match. Not even Ricky Steamboat, the who agented it. Nobody was watching this match. And I was like, ‘Okay, ugh.’”

On getting let go from TNA: “I guess the closest I ever came [to signing with WWE] was probably after I left TNA. After I got fired. I guess they let me go … no, I didn’t get in trouble. I was told it was budget cuts, ’cause, so they were filming, they were doing Orlando every week. And Bischoff decided they wanted to take the show on the road and run different arenas, and the arenas weren’t drawing well at all. And they were just bleeding money, and at that time they didn’t re-sign RVD, they didn’t re-sign Matt Morgan, they let me and like Taeler Hendrix, and Christian York, a bunch of us go because they were bleeding money. To this day, I’m always like — so like, TNA wasn’t doing great, and Sting is an amazing guy, and so cool, and watched my matches and gave me input when he didn’t have to. And I wanna put over how much I love Sting. But when I think about what they were paying Sting to not draw. Nigel McGuiness once said it was like a starving family deciding to cut baked beans out of the diet, but keep eating filet mignon. You know?”

On nearly signing with WWE after that: “I literally was let go in July of 2013, that month I was invited to be an extra in WWE. And Regal liked me, and Road Dogg liked me. And Regal called me — I think he had somebody call me. And they said, ‘We have a tryout in August,’ because at this time in 2013, everybody’s going to the Performance Center for these tryouts, it’s the only way to getting signed. ‘We have this tryout in August, or we have one in December. And youc an go to either one, but Mr. Regal would like you to go to the August one.’ So I thought I was on this expedited, ‘They really want me’ fast track. And then I go and do the tryout, and for whatever reason — and I’ve heard some things since then, but for whatever reason, Bill DeMott doesn’t like me at this tryout, and he kind of puts the kibosh on them signing me. Which actually got me pretty depressed and wanting to quit wrestling for a little while. I came so close and I thought, ‘Here’s my opportunity,’ and Regal likes me, Road Dogg likes me, but then [DeMott doesn’t].”

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