Wrestling is full of dicks. Perhaps now, more than ever before.
Dick culture is running wild. I mean, even on this very site, we're sponsored by male enhancement pills (use that code FIGHTFUL at BlueChew.com). Even the 73-year old man running wrestling's largest empire has long had an affinity for penile humor. To be a pro wrestling fan requires a level of suspension of disbelief and even a degree of innocent immaturity.
Both of those were explored last Saturday night at All In.
The show saw the climax of a months-long feud between Famous Dick Wrestler Joey Ryan and Bullet Club member Adam "Hangman" Page. The latter's penis envy led to him attempting to murder the former on an episode of the Being the Elite web series. However, Wrestling Easter was upon us, and the res-erection of Famous Dick Wrestler Joey Ryan took place. But, he wasn't alone. His apostles came with. As Famous Dick Wrestler Joey Ryan tells it, they had to go this route to properly pay off the months and months of build.
"We started the story close to a year ago and it wasn’t supposed to last until All In, but the fans invested in it," Ryan said. "We were even able to add drama to the Christopher Daniels/Stephen Amell match through it. When we realized that it had the legs to go to All In, we knew we had to do it big. That’s when Matt came up with the “dick druid” entrance and I thought it was perfect."
Akin to the Undertaker's Druids that have accompanied him for years, Famous Dick Wrestler Joey Ryan was flanked by a series of phalluses in a chilling scene. After Famous Dick Wrestler Joey Ryan disposed of his foe, the druids carried Hangman off, penis hubris and all.
Alberto Lara has feelings. He exists. He's a man. He isn't just a penis, even though he plays one on TV.
But hey, eyes up here, what about the man behind the dick? He matters, too. You can catch him on the daily at One Hour Tees in Chicago, which had a successful weekend of their own for All In.
"For all intents and purposes, I'm the assistant manager of the backstage warehouse. Whenever orders come in, I unbox them, make sure things get shipped and printed out. Me and Frank help run Pro Wrestling Crate. I sort of run around and whatever Frank and Ryan (Barkan) need -- I'm not sure what my official title is," said Lara.
With All In taking place in Hoffman Estates, which essentially serves as the suburbs of Chicago, Pro Wrestling Tees and One Hour Tees were heavily involved in the show. After all, they help produce Young Bucks' and Cody's (as well as Fightful's) line of t-shirts. Lara was informed in late August that he'd have a chance to appear on All-In, but was given a special opportunity to rise to the occasion.
"About a week before the show my boss told me and one of the managers we'd be helping out with something involving the shows," Lara told Fightful. "At some point t-shirt guns showed up at the offices, and we figured that's what we were doing. We were in rehearsals day of, and we were backstage where Cody, Nick Jackson and Matt Jackson were going over things. I overheard Matt saying they had a bit and they needed ten people to do it. I said 'No, you need nine people.' Any chance to be on this show, I'd take it."
The res-erection was upon us. Nobody hesitated. The situation that was erected in front of 10,000 screaming fans would give many performance anxiety, but the dick druids rose to the occasion and delivered a satisfying result. For Lara, it was game on. He had to shoot his shot.
"Once they told me what it was, I was still in on it," Lara recalls. "Matt Jackson made it clear our faces were going to be shown and that if we weren't okay with it, that's fine. Everyone was game for it. I was going to work the CM Punk signing, and I ended up being a penis on TV."
To draw this comparison may seem very odd, but stick with me. Many beg for football to be the way it used to be "when men were men," and the game looked much different. The same goes with how the physical nature of basketball has been decreased over the last two decades. Many of the same exists in pro wrestling.
Some fans accuse Famous Dick Wrestler Joey Ryan of contributing to the perceived decay of pro wrestling. It just ain't like it used to be! The thing is, neither he nor his trolley of jolly ol' dongs could be stopped. As it turns out, they gained a lot of support in doing so when the final product was unveiled at All In.
"I popped huge," said wrestler Shane Helms of seeing the numerous penises parade to ringside. "I was hosting the official viewing party and the room popped huge too. Hell, I made a meme about it. It was the ultimate example of 'defying convention.' Wrestling is art and not all art is for everyone."
Wrestling is ultimately subjective entertainment, and the variety aspect wasn't lost on experienced viewers. Former WCW Champion Jeff Jarrett saw the good in that light, with the heavy contrast of the segment serving as a sports entertainment backdrop to the more sport-heavy aspects of the rest of the show.
"It was a great example of the diversity of our business! That show had everything; and that’s a recipe for success... from the NWA title match to Joey Ryan....it had it ALL! And, we got knocked in the early years of TNA for booking The Johnsons!," said Jarrett, co-founder of TNA Wrestling, speaking of far less Famous Dick Wrestlers, The Johnsons.
"I was at Hurricane Helms’ Viewing Party at Starrcast watching it, and I was loving it. Not to compare Joey to a religious figure and spiritual icon IN OUR BUSINESS, but the symbolism with the Bodily Fluid Druids as someone called them that night made sense and was an homage through parody performance art tribute," Gertner told Fightful. "It was the resurrection of the King of Sleaze - and you can’t pronounce resurrect without ERECT; so it would have been blasphemy and sacrilege to do his gimmick dirty and besmirch his seedy character with anything less. If you want to be ALL IN and live up to all the lofty expectations, you have to go ALL OUT - including Balls to the Wall and BALLS OUT!"
When reached for comment about co-starring on All In with penis druids, MJF simply stated "Duh." I'm not sure what that explains, or how it answered the question I posed to him originally, but he refused to say literally anything else.
Famous Dick Wrestler Joey Ryan himself was touched (completely platonically) be the positive reaction that the segment experienced.
"The fan reaction live and afterwards to it has been unreal." (Famous Dick Wrestler Joey) Ryan told me this week. "And not just the fans but to have the support of the industry. Not just the tweet like the one from Tommy Dreamer but all the messages I got and the people who have taken the move and even legit WWE Hall of Famers complimenting the act and the entrance."
Famous Dick Wrestler Joey Ryan's return and rising was a closely guarded secret, although many expected that he'd end up showing up. Lara admitted that they didn't even run through the plans until right before fans were let in the venue.
"It was probably right before the pre-show, because as far as I knew, nobody knew what was going on with (Famous Dick Wrestler) Joey (Ryan). I'm not sure how many people knew Joey was back there. Cody brought us out on stage and went over the gist of what happens," said Lara.
Being called a dick is one thing. It happens to some more often than others. Donning a dick outfit in front of 10,000 fans and a worldwide pay-per-view audience may take a little more informational relay to your loved ones. That closely guarded secret? It was out, with a giant number of people watching.
"I had to explain to my parents the context of what it was," Lara said, "I purposely kept it hidden from all my friends at the show. I ran into Marty DeRosa. Him and Colt Cabana, I give credit/blame for them introducing me to Ryan (Barkan, of Pro Wrestling Tees). He was was one person I saw before the show that I wanted (to tell), but I think I made the right call by not saying anything. To my wrestling friends, they get it, they think it's awesome. To friends who have no idea what Being The Elite is, it's probably better. Explaining that one wrestler famous for his penis killed another wrestler famous for his penis and coming back from the dead -- it's awesome to see their facial expressions. 'This is what you're into? Cool.'" The best part was none of my co-workers knew. My boss and my manager, they knew. There were maybe 30 of us there. Part of that was walking to the ring and looking at where they were sitting and seeing them go crazy. As far as they were concerned, I got up to go use the bathroom."
There was one Twitter troll in particular who went above and beyond to get hard about the penis performance. Lara was even accused of possibly ruining his sex life by being the biggest dick he could be.
The aforementioned Gertner has experienced the best and worst of trolls throughout his 20-plus years around wrestling, and had stiff words for them to choke on.
"I’ve seen a few outlier naysayers; I can only think they must be trying to outdo the hippest hipsters with irony when they complain: After all, All In, all seriousness (and some sexually suggestive shenanigans), Ryan’s strongest muscle and most well-honed limb is his Dick. He’s returning from the Dead. There are over 10,000 fans watching live, and they need to do it justice: To the trolls, widely spaced and scattered, few and far between: It wasn’t just appropriate, it was superlatively AUTHENTIC," Gertner exclaimed.
Psychology is a hot-button topic in pro wrestling as well. Famous Dick Wrestler Joey Ryan's "dick flip" maneuver has been subject of criticism in recent years, as many says it's a harm to wrestling, and the psychology that goes with it...as you can see above. If you thought there was no psychology to serving as a penis druid, however, you'd be mistaken.
"For Hangman Page to trust us to come out in those costumes and not drop him -- that's awesome of him. Those costumes weren't the easiest to walk in. They were a little weird around the knees, so thankfully none of us dropped him. It was basically done with no rehearsal. For it to go as smooth as it did, that's awesome. We got lucky. People would assume we went over that a few times. We didn't have time. We all had him pretty tight. We figured if one person can't hold him up and they dropped him a little bit, we'd all put him down a little bit all in unison, not like one penis is stronger than the others, " Lara said, breaking down the ins and outs of what does in and out.
To the rare naysayer, Lara defended his portrayal a circumcised wiener as just another bit of fun -- something he says pro wrestling needs. You know, the variety aspect.
"Wrestling's supposed to be fun. I get it if you're into straight up, New Japan style matches, 20 minutes of dudes wrestling. I love that, too, but I love the fun of pro wrestling. One of the first independent wrestlers I started watching was Colt Cabana. He's a great technical wrestler and a an awesome comedy wrestler," Alberto said.
When fishing around with WWE sources, one told me that Vince McMahon himself would likely echo that sentiment, despite the All In event largely being successful because of the counter culture that has been created due to WWE.
"This is right up Vince's alley," one WWE employee said on the condition of anonymity. "I think if there's anything on that show that would get a reaction out of him, it would be that, and that's saying something. There was a lot of good on that show. Vince doesn't always want the good, though. Sometimes he just wants what stands out. Or stands up, in this case."
For Lara, his job at All In is one he'll never forget, and provided moments and memories that will last a lifetime before he even hit the stage. Stars of the wrestling world were all too happy to schmooze with oversized (well, hopefully) dong, and Alberto spoke highly of the friendly atmosphere.
"Every legendary that was back there would come up to this congregation of dicks and would say some corny dad joke. I'd have Jeff Jarrett or DDP come by and say 'you look like a real dick.' I saw Rey Mysterio, Kota Ibushi back there and as much as I want to go up and say 'hey, I'm Alberto, I'm a huge fan,' I'm also dressed as a giant dick. I've met Joey before here and there. At the show, I went up to him and thanked him for letting me be a part of that. For Cody, The Bucks, Dana (Massie), it's amazing," said Lara.
With several celebrities facing career ruining controversies due to inappropriate behavior, none of that will emerge from All In, at least as it relates to the penis druids. Lara said that they were treated with nothing but respect, outside of some grabby fans at ringside.
"As we were talking down the stage, a lot of people were grabbing the suits... just like, overexcited fans. Staff backstage were asking to take pictures with us. That was great. Other than that, no issues! No one unnecessarily groped us," Lara said.
I'll leave you with a ringing, ding donging endorsement from Gertner, who helped pave the way for Famous Dick Wrestler Joey Ryan and his memorable Dick Druids.
"He and many of those in the All In Family have a mastery of performance art, and through outside the box celebrations of creative cerebration and implementing the sublimely ridiculous —- you’re enjoying what he and his talented contemporaries, members of the next generation of our calling, excel at," said Gertner.
The next time you're in Chicago, stay on your toes. The man you exchange a stiff handshake with on a chance encounter just may happen to be a wrestling icon. Some embrace the dick life, others don't (if Starrcast stories about the Hogfather James Ellsworth are to be believed). Don't let Alberto Lara's hard exterior fool you, he, and presumably the other now-famous dicks, are softies.