Joey Ryan drops most lawsuits, releases statement on canceled charity wrestling event

On Tuesday March 2, 2021, a wrestling event called Wrestling 4 Women’s Charity happening in Knoxville, TN was announced. The event instantly received backlash as Joey Ryan, who had filed lawsuits against a number of women who accused him of sexual misconduct during last summer’s Speaking Out movement, was featured on the event’s flyer. That same day, it came out that Ryan dismissed one of his lawsuits, one that he had already received a default judgement on. We reached out to Ryan for a statement on his involvement with the charity and the lawsuit dismissal.

Ryan issued a full statement where he states that he is dropping the majority of the lawsuits he filed in wake of the Speaking Out movement, including the lawsuit that he was granted a default judgment in when the defendant never responded to the suit. In his statement he says that he is still undecided on if he will drop his lawsuit against former Ring of Honor wrestler Pelle Primeau, and that he is not dropping his lawsuit against IMPACT Wrestling.

In regards to the IMPACT Wrestling suit, Ryan stated “Breach of contract is an entirely different issue. I know wrestling doesn’t have a union or really anybody to look out for us in contract negotiations but they have forced wrestlers to sit at home after disputes and wait out contracts with threats of breach.  It would set a bad precedent to not hold them accountable to their side of these same contracts.”

As for his involvement in the Wrestling 4 Women’s Charity event scheduled for March 20, 2021, Ryan disputes that he is trying to return to wrestling and that none of the narratives going around about the event are true. He claims that he agreed to the show only for closure and on the condition he was announced and not a surprise participant.  As for Ryan’s Bar Wrestling promotion handling the ticket sales, Ryan states that the account was only used for convenience as it has preferred status for quicker event approvals.

Here is the full statement Joey Ryan provided to

There have been a lot of narratives going around concerning the event announced on Tuesday and none of them are true.  I’m not trying to “come back to wrestling.”  When it was presented to me and the idea that I could wrestle a good friend as a way to go out and gain some closure, it sounded great.  I agreed to help because of the delicacy of my involvement on two conditions.  One, I couldn’t be used as a surprise on the day of the event.  We needed to be transparent to fans and other wrestlers about my participation.  And two, that 100% of the proceeds go to charity.  We used Bar Wrestling’s Brown Paper Tickets account for convenience  since the account already existed and has preferred status for quicker event approvals.  It’s obvious now that wrestling twitter wasn’t ready for that.  I know that wrestling is full of carnies who think that wrestling is full of carnies but I assure you there was nothing more to it.

The blessing in disguise as it turns out, that is to say in the reaction to the announcement, was the closure I needed. I felt… I don’t know, indifferent about the reception.  I was actually a little jazzed that I’m still over enough to trend on Twitter, which shows exactly where my priorities were.  However, indifferent is honestly how I’ve felt about performing since the day after All In. 

I’ve also spent the past week or so reflecting on my defamation lawsuits and have decided to drop them, for the most part, including the ones that I’ve already won by default. There’s a misconception that I’m “suing everyone.”  I’m not.  I filed lawsuits against the four women who accused me of an actual crime, one person who misreported information and later admitted it and one person who made up stories about me.  The only reason I filed any lawsuits was for some semblance of due process that I believe is due to persons accused of what I was accused of, instead of getting tried in the court of public opinion.  I wanted to have all of the defendants in the lawsuits respond to the complaints so that they could explain why they made the false statements and explain the evidence that exists against their claims. A default judgment does not allow for the due process that I was seeking because the defendants did not want to participate so I am seeking to dismiss those cases.  I was also hoping the lawsuits would permit an investigation through what is called the “discovery” phase in a lawsuit, which I wasn’t afforded because none of the accusers went to the police and IMPACT Wrestling decided to terminate our contract without so much as consulting me or conducting any investigation as mutually agreed upon in the terms before they terminated it.

For full transparency, I am leaving the IMPACT Wrestling lawsuit open.  Breach of contract is an entirely different issue. I know wrestling doesn’t have a union or really anybody to look out for us in contract negotiations but they have forced wrestlers to sit at home after disputes and wait out contracts with threats of breach.  It would set a bad precedent to not hold them accountable to their side of these same contracts.

As to the out of state defendants, I lost jurisdiction to have one of the cases litigated in California and it was moved to Pennsylvania.  Based on the judge’s decision to have that case continue in the state where the defendant lives, it was a better decision to let the cases against the other out of state defendants be litigated in the areas where those defendants live. Those dismissals are all without prejudice so I have the option to refile them in their home areas.  However, refiling them is no longer the plan.

The one I’m still on the fence about dismissing is the case in Pennsylvania as he has displayed the most egregious conduct and dishonesty with his attempts to hijack the speaking out movement to settle a personal vendetta.  The other cases were misrepresentations of actual encounters with those women but his are based on fiction.  Whether it was his Tinder story about me or the messages he claims to have, none of it can be authenticated.  I’ve never been on Tinder in my life and I have never been a friend or even knew of his ex’s personal Facebook page and she completely hid him and their relationship from her professional page.  Those are things that I can authenticate.  I didn’t even know she had a fiancé until recently and it’s been eight years since any sexual encounter with her and she has never accused me of any wrongdoing.  I’ll make a final decision about this case in the coming week.

I’d be lying if I said losing that Anti-SLAPP last week in one of the California State Court cases didn’t take the wind out of my sails and alter my thinking process. That was the one with the most evidence in my favor. There was a witness wiling to testify that what the witness walked in on was a consensual act.  But ultimately, I kinda got what I wanted in the judgement. It said that she wasn’t stating a fact but rather just her opinion and that the evidence may show no sexual assault. I just can’t prove that she knowingly made a false statement which is required for defamation. That got me thinking that if I “win” these cases, what do I win?  Would it be vindication or just validation?  And if it’s validation then for who?  Even if I “win,” I’ve still been a womanizer, been unfaithful, been selfish and self-seeking in my broken life. That doesn’t make me feel like a winner.  But none of those things are criminal acts and those are the things I can and am working on.  Oddly enough, I have to thank this person for filing the Anti-SLAPP motion because it helped to offer me more clarity in all this.

There’s a silver lining to the allegations against me.  I don’t have to live in secret anymore. I don’t have to hide my character defects or shame of cheating or lurk around in the shadows trying to pursue women. It’s all out in the open now and I can confront it and it’s been liberating.  I’ve never known a freedom like this before.  Breaking is healing and the scars are proof that we’ve healed.

For the past eight months, I’ve been attending weekly Sex & Love Addicts Anonymous meetings both in-person and on Zoom.  My addictions are most prevalent in intrigue and validation.  It’s an emotional high and the women have been my fix.  SLAA is a 12-step program and I’ve been stalled out a bit in the middle of it.  I can’t fully give my resentments to God and expect to move forward and past them if I’m bound to these cases.  I just want to get better and give my power and energy to the solution.  I want to become the best version of myself that I can be.  Carrying around hate doesn’t punish the people we think it does.

I know my actions on social media as of late have not helped public perception of me.  No matter how many times I’ve been criticized or the context of it, it can still hurt.  And I do feel the weight of constant death wishes.  If I don’t keep my ego in check when I perceive someone wants to attack me, my instincts can regress those of a child, taking it personally and lashing out and getting resentful.  However, I ask that you put yourself in my shoes and think about how you may react to reframed allegations. Then people started throwing words around like “rape” and “pedophile” even when they weren’t in the accusations.  It’s a natural reaction to defend yourself.  This is something that I don’t wish on my worst enemies but it has pushed me towards seeking more forms of therapy to address deeper issues.

I know there will responses to this statement.  Opinions about the statement.  Opinions about me.  Opinions about what people believe I have done and what I have failed to do.  Opinions about my past, present and future.   My statement can be changed to fit the narratives of the opinionators.  What cannot be changed is that this is my statement.

About the Author

Steve Bryant
Fan of Godzilla.