by Daniel Johnson
Interviewer’s Note: Ryan Reign is a young independent wrestler who debuted on his 18th birthday in 2009 for Far North Wrestling (FNW). Prior to debuting Reign began training at just 16 years-old with the family of then future WWE NXT star Corey Graves. The companies Reign works most often for currently are Pro Wrestling eXpress (PWX), Vicious Outcast Wrestling (VOW) and Pennsylvania’s Renegade Wrestling Alliance (RWA). Reign has held various titles throughout his career most notably so far having a 280 day reign holding the PWX Heavyweight Championship. Reign also made it to the finals at the PWX Futures Cup 2011 and briefly held the VOW Heavyweight Championship. In January Reign wrestled his first match for Ring of Honor (ROH). Reign has a YouTube page that can be found here. This interview was completed on November 23, 2014. In this interview Reign and I focus on the topic of his work for PWX.
Daniel Johnson: My first question is in a few words how would you describe yourself as a performer?
Ryan Reign: I would say somewhat old school. 1980’s wrestling is my favorite era to watch so I steal a lot of stuff from those guys. At the same time I incorporate a little bit of flash in there just because times change and you need to show you can do both. I just have fun out there man.
Daniel Johnson: Awesome, getting into your PWX career, was your first ever match for PWX? If not then what company was it for? Also, what are your thoughts on that match?
Ryan Reign: My first match was actually for a company called FNW that ran a lot in Butler, Pennsylvania. The family of Corey Graves ran the company and that was where I trained. My first match was in my hometown and we did a special tag match with a teacher from my high school that had also been training. We were main event and a lot of students and teachers were there and it was also my 18th birthday, just a really special night all around.
Daniel Johnson: Awesome, sounds like it was fun. How long was it then until you first came to PWX and what are your thoughts on your first match for that promotion?
Ryan Reign: It was probably about five or six months later that I came to PWX. They hyped up my debut a little bit which was cool. That company has been around for 20 years now and that was probably one of their lower times in that history. The building wasn’t good. The crowds weren’t good. The shows weren’t good. They have come a long way since then
Daniel Johnson: Although you mainly worked in tag team matches in 2009 you did get to wrestle Ashton Amherst for the NWA East Heavyweight Championship. What was it like wrestling for a singles title that early in your career? Also, was that your first match for a singles title?
Ryan Reign: It probably was the first. That match was special to me because Ashton Amherst is my best friend in wrestling. He trained at the same place I did before I got there. So the first time we got to wrestle was special. The match wasn’t the best but I was only a handful of matches in. It’s always cool to wrestle for a singles title.
Daniel Johnson: In 2010 you had your first full year at PWX and I believe that was also when Golden Reign first formed. How did you come to first team, with Robert Parker Williams?
Ryan Reign: That was what they wanted. It was good for me too because it’s easier to learn in tag matches. You have less to focus on so you can just focus on making your stuff as good as you can
Daniel Johnson: How did you come up with the name Golden Reign and if you didn’t come up with it then who did?
Ryan Reign: We kind of all put it together. The golden part kind of fit what he was doing it at the time and the obvious underlying joke is there too that crowds took and ran with which is what we wanted as bad guys.
Daniel Johnson: Haha, cool. What are your thoughts looking back at Golden Reign. What do you think worked about the team?
Ryan Reign: We just had fun. We were put in a lot of really bad matches. So we made the most of it and just tried to entertain each other and in turn entertained some fans along the way
Daniel Johnson: Going just a little outside of your PWX career you have also enjoyed tag team success elsewhere such as teaming with Jon Burton in the RWA where you won the RWA Tag Team Championship. How was it teaming with Burton and do you consider teaming with Williams and Burton at different times your two best experiences as a tag wrestler?
Ryan Reign: Teaming with JB was fun. He was a friend and we had some fun. The matches weren’t the best but the crowds enjoyed them and that’s all that matters. I would consider my later brief run with Ashton Amherst as my best experience as a tag wrestler.
Daniel Johnson: Getting back to PWX for years now you have wrestled as a singles competitor. What made you decide to go more into singles competition rather than remain a tag team wrestler?
Ryan Reign: I wanted to be the best. I didn’t want to be stuck in eight man tag matches and 4 four way tag matches and just bad, bad matches anymore. I wanted to be in control with singles matches.
Daniel Johnson: One accomplishment you made as a singles wrestler was going all the way to the finals of the PWX Future Cup. What are your thoughts on this tournament and what stands out from it for you?
Ryan Reign: The tournament is cool as it gives some guys a chance to do something with meaning. I do wish they would make it more of a big deal. It’s an easy way to make someone relevant quickly. Biggest thing that stands out for me is the first time I got to work with Jimmy Nutts one-on-one. He would become a friend and I always enjoyed working with him.
Daniel Johnson: Getting into your more recent career you won the PWX Heavyweight Championship for the first time in 2012. What was the experience like of winning the championship from Stryder?
Ryan Reign: It was a fun time for me. I had been working really hard to improve in the six to eight months leading up to that and felt like I had a lot to prove. I was having good matches with Brandon K going into that and then my matches with Stryder were also good. It was good to finally prove something and I felt like I was really trying to change the culture of PWX.
Daniel Johnson: You had a lengthy 280 day reign as champion. How was it being the top champion of a company for so long?
Ryan Reign: Not as good as you would think. During most of this time I was fighting really hard behind the scenes to do what was, “best for business” which is a phrase that has now been overused on TV but at the time it was the truth. PWX likes to revert back to old ways that in my opinion hold them back sometimes and I was trying to be progressive and move the company forward which ultimately is what happened but it was a struggle and a fight.
Daniel Johnson: Jack Pollock was pretty much your main rival throughout the feud facing you in various matches throughout your reign as well as being the person to defeat you for the title. What are your thoughts on Pollock and what do you think makes you guys click in the ring?
Ryan Reign: I think he’s incredible. We clicked because we both had the same attitude. He was the one I was fighting for so every time we got in the ring we both wanted to leave no doubt about the point we were trying to make. And it worked. I’ve had my best matches with Pollock.
Daniel Johnson: You also wrestled several gimmick matches as champion against Pollock as well as other opponents. Which of these matches stands out as being the best for you?
Ryan Reign: I think the best one we had was our fans bring the weapons match. It was a lot different than what our matches were like at the time and was a lot of painful fun.
Daniel Johnson: Reflecting on your PWX Championship reign is there anything you would have liked to have been different about it?
Ryan Reign: I would cut out the series of matches around the anniversary show that year. They weren’t good and were the victim of poor attitudes due to others not winning the belt and pouting about it.
Daniel Johnson: In 2014 you have continued to wrestle regularly for PWX including in many high profile matches for the company. What have you enjoyed most about wrestling for PWX in 2014?
Ryan Reign: I returned from a back injury last year and this time around I was pretty loved by the crowd. Which for me was the only time in my career I’ve been on that side of things. This time around was a little more about helping other guys. Even though I am only 23 I’ve still done a good bit of stuff in wrestling and got to work with some guys that valued my opinion and wanted to learn. I also got to relight the fire in Shirley Doe towards the end which was special to me because he’s a great mind and kind of got content with just doing whatever they gave him but was capable of so much more. Knowing how much it meant to him, meant a lot to me.
Daniel Johnson: I also wanted to ask you a few questions outside of your PWX career. In January you debuted for ROH in a dark match. How did this opportunity come about and what are your thoughts on that match?
Ryan Reign: It’s a long story. ROH has never really been a target for me or a goal just because I have a different style and philosophy on wrestling. However, it came about through my tremendous friendship with Roddy Piper. It was supposed to be a lot more than it was but in wrestling things change all the time. It was what it was and I enjoyed the night there and got to learn from some good people and appreciated the opportunity.
Daniel Johnson: You also debuted for VOW back in 2013 and this year very briefly won the VOW Heavyweight Championship. How did you first get involved with VOW?
Ryan Reign: They contacted me about coming in for a tournament and it just went from there.
Daniel Johnson: What do you think of less than one day title runs such as the one you had for VOW?
Ryan Reign: It serves it’s purpose and accomplished what we wanted. They aren’t ideal but when circumstances call for it you just have to make it work.
Daniel Johnson: Cool, I like to end interviews with a few non-wrestling questions followed by a few very brief wrestling questions. First, what is your favorite movie to come out in the last year?
Ryan Reign: The Expendables 3.
Daniel Johnson: What do you enjoy watching on TV?
Ryan Reign: Sports and wrestling.
Daniel Johnson: What is the last book you read and would you recommend it?
Ryan Reign: Lex Luger’s book [Wrestling with the Devil: The True Story of a World Champion Professional Wrestler-His Reign, Ruin and Redemption], awhile ago. It was decent, I would recommend it.
Daniel Johnson: Have you had any new foods for the first time this year? If so what have you enjoyed the most?
Ryan Reign: I don’t believe so.
Daniel Johnson: Getting back to wrestling who is one wrestler 25 or younger you think readers should know about?
Ryan Reign: Jimmy Nutts.
Daniel Johnson: What, if anything, do you think is the weirdest thing about being a wrestler?
Ryan Reign: That we voluntarily subject ourselves to pain and enjoy it
Daniel Johnson: Lastly, is there anything you would like to add?
Ryan Reign: Just for fans to enjoy the show. We unfortunately live in a time with the Internet where fans think they know everything about what it takes to be a wrestler so they shit on everything instead of just enjoying it and being entertained. Think about why you originally decided to watch wrestling and just have fun watching it.
Check out Ryan Reign in action! In this match from PWX In Harm’s Way 2014, Reign pulls it all out for an encounter with longtime rival, Jack Pollock:
Categories: Wrestling Interviews