The former Impact Wrestling star Joey Ryan is suing several people for defamation after multiple people made sexual misconduct allegations against him during the #SpeakingOut movement.
Ryan is also suing Impact and its parent company due to breach of contract. Wrestling For Women’s Charity was promoting an event this month in Knoxville. The official poster featured Joey Ryan and several other talents, including AEW Superstars Brian Cage and Sonny Kiss. However, the event has since been canceled.
“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.