Picture Credit: 4FW
Eddie Ryan is a name you’ll be familiar with if you’ve been to a 4FW event; he’s currently a mainstay there as well as being a part of The Lionhearts tag team with Jason Larusso. With tours of the US and dates in Japan, Eddie Ryan is a name to keep an eye on.
For the people who don’t know who you are, could you please introduce yourself?
Of course! The basics – Eddie Ryan, I’m 29 and from Plymouth but currently based out of Swindon.
Could you tell us when you started in the business, where you trained and who trained you?
I was in my last year at University when I decided to try my hand at a career in wrestling and I was very fortunate to meet Joel Redman at a local show. He pointed me in the direction of 4 Front Wrestling and I will always be thankful for the advice he gave. So as soon as I finished my degree, I got in touch with David Sharp, and before I knew it, in October 2008, I relocated to Swindon for my training. I have always trained at 4 Front Wrestling and credit my trainers as being David Sharp and JD Knight.
Do you remember your first pro match, if so who was it against?
It was 4FW New Year’s Wrestlution 2009. Amazingly, I am not sure exactly how this happened but my first match was a 5-way Money In The Bank Ladder match and it was against Mark Sloan, Mark Haskins, Wade Fitzgerald and David Sharp. Safe to say, as hard as I had worked and prepared, I was a little bit out of my depth here!
A big part of your career has been spent with 4FW, what’s the attraction of working for them?
I am a fiercely loyal person and i believe you should never forget where you came from. If it wasn’t for David Sharp and the 4 Front Wrestling promotion, I wouldn’t be here to do what I am doing with my career. The main attractions are that, in my opinion, 4FW is one of the top promotions in the country, if not a little underrated and I have been there to see it grow and develop with all our hard work. Anyone who has worked for the promotion, will tell you how hard everyone works together to push this forward, it’s almost like a family. We all want to individually succeed but we also want 4FW to grow into something truly special.
On top of that, David sees potential and wants to see us all grow as performers and has given me so many fantastic opportunities. It is a great quality of a promotion and its owner to have trust and faith in you and the ideas to push and test you.
In your time with 4FW, you’ve won the Heavyweight Championship (twice) and the Tag Team Championship (as The Lionhearts) with Jason Larusso. On top of that, you’ve also held the AWW British Tag Team Championship. Out of them all, which means the most to you?
Wow that’s a tough one! Each championship is an accomplishment and reward of different stages of hard work throughout your career. Each one means a lot in its own way and it is always an honour to be trusted within a company by the promoter with a prominent spot as a champion.
If I really had to pick though, it would be when I won the 4FW Heavyweight Championship for the first time in 2012. I had just come back from 6 weeks in Japan and it was my first championship with any promotion. I had worked so hard for those first 3 years and so it was great to finally gain from the fruits of my labour, as well as completing a goal I had set for myself when I first started my wrestling training.
Thus far in your career, you’ve faced the likes of Wade Fitzgerald (Lion Kid), Mark Haskins, Joel Redman, Doug Williams, Sha Samuels and many more. Out of all the matches you’ve had over here, is there one that sticks out in your mind?
Again, tough! Each match and each opponent has its own learning points and sometimes you will work with someone one week and everything clicks and then another week and nothing seems to go right!
In terms of one that stands out, I had a series of matches with Dave Mastiff, who is a phenomenal talent and who taught me so much by pushing me further than I had been before. We had a match in Bristol that just seemed to click, and the crowd was so in to it. It’s hard to explain but I just knew it was a good match as it was happening. I am usually my own worst critic but that was one of the few times I got that feeling. Those matches did wonders for my work and confidence and I’m very thankful to work with someone as talented as Big Dave is.
You’ve spent time in the States, competing for the likes of NECW and 2CW. How was that experience and do you think it improved you overall as a talent?
Absolutely it did! I was still quite young and new when I went to the US, so it helped me to experience a different style and different outlook on wrestling in general and incorporate it in to my own style. The British style is generally a lot more technical, whereas the US style is a lot more entertainment based, with more focus on crowd interaction and characters/gimmicks. I had the opportunity to pick the brains of some legends and hall of famers within our sport and so the trip was worth it for that alone.
Add to that you spent time in Japan competing for ZERO 1, how was that experience for you?
I loved Japan and again I learnt so much but it was much different than to my trip to the US, purely due to the complete culture clash. It was a lot harder being somewhere on my own where there was such a language barrier, as well as vast differences in lifestyle and food.
The positives were that the training was so hard that I was in the best shape of my life, and getting to travel around Japan and see such an amazing place. Having a match filmed at the prestigious Korukuen Hall and being included in press releases was also a great new experience, one which I am honoured to have been a part of.
World class talents are no strangers to you, you faced the Japanese legend Ultimo Dragon, Hiromu Takahashi, Yuki Sato and many more. In your opinion, has that made you a better grappler, working with masters of the squared circle?
Yes, definitely. The old adage is, ‘you are only as good as your opponent’, so to get better, you have to work with better people, to push you, to make you work harder and learn on the job. Every match should be a learning experience and so the more world class talents you can grace the ring with, the better you are going to get.
The UK scene is currently experiencing a boom period, what do you credit that to and what’s it like being a part of it?
I think companies such as WWE and TNA have realized there are some extraordinary talents here in the UK and so the spotlight has really allowed them to excel. Better training schools and facilities have helped, more workers in the twilight of their careers to help give back to the next generation. I also think the decline wrestling took has helped motivate people to push it back into the spotlight, to innovate and experiment and to help bring it back to prominence.
What do you have planned for the rest of this year?
This year has to be a break out year for myself, so just looking to expand the promotions I work for and parts of the country to work in. A big push for the Lionhearts tag-team has been a priority, so hoping to bring this to new promotions too. Anything extra is a bonus!
Is there anything else you’d like to say, add or plug?
Keep an eye out for the Lionhearts at a promotion near you! Like us on Facebook www.facebook.com/RealLionhearts and follow us on Twitter @RealLionhearts! If you have been living under a rock, I implore you to check out 4FW, it’s the place to be!
Thanks to Eddie for taking the time to participate in this interview.