Professional wrestling is making a comeback. Sure, it’s not at the levels when “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin or Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson were in the ring, but for the first time in decades, WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) has TV competition — independent wrestling promotions are gaining ground and Netflix has a show about women’s professional wrestling in the 1980s.
Eugene no longer has to wait for the next time WWE has a show at Matt Knight Arena. POW! Pro Wrestling’s “Feats of Unusual Strength” features one of the hardest working indie wrestlers and the industry’s “King of Dong Style.”
“Wrestling is healthy everywhere,” Joey Ryan tells Eugene Weekly in an email. “It’s a cool time to be a part of it. A lot of opportunity is popping up for new and fresh faces to make an impact.”
Ryan says the wrestlers he admired in the 1980s inspired his look. And, it’s not hard to see some resemblance to Rick Martel and “Ravishing” Rick Rude.
Ryan is a polarizing figure in professional wrestling, mostly for his signature move, the “YouPorn Plex” (also known as a dong flip). To pull the move off, the opponent’s hand finds Ryan’s crotch. Unable to escape Ryan’s, uh, member, the opponent gets flipped.
“The original dong flip was pitched to me by a wrestler named Danshouku Dieno for the DDT [Dramatic Dream Team] Pro Wrestling promotion in Japan,” he says. “When the clip went viral on social media, I just ran with it.”
In 2017, Mick Foley, the man who survived death matches, became a casualty of Ryan’s dong style. At a show in Ireland, Ryan says Foley approached him and pitched the idea to put him in the annals of dong history.
“It is always fun when my opponents pitch ideas to me,” he adds. “I’m a unique wrestler so my opponents tend to want to make the most of it.”
Despite Ryan’s success on the indie professional wrestling scene, he says he’s not interested in signing with the two major promotions — WWE and All Elite Wrestling.
“It makes the most sense creatively, financially and geographically for me to remain independent,” he says.
When Ryan comes to Eugene, he’ll team up with Jeremy Blanchard, accompanied by Mister Ooh-La-La, to take on 4 Minutes of Heat (Ricky Gibson and Eddie Pearl). Other matches on the card include Alexander Hammerstone vs. “Grizzly” Kal Jack, Izzy McQueen vs. Rebel Kel and Guillermo Rosas vs. Malcolm Phlex. ν
POW! Pro Wrestling’s “Feats of Unusual Strength” starts 4 pm Sunday, Oct. 13, at Gerlinger 220, University of Oregon. Tickets start at $15.