Mason Ryan Was Hand-picked By Orig Williams To Be The Next Welsh Wrestling Star


Hamish Woodward

Former WWE Superstar Mason Ryan could have been the next big Welsh speaking wrestling star.

The young lad from Porthmadog starred in Sky One’s Gladiators before becoming a star in the WWE. While his real name is Barri Griffiths, he is best known as part of the Nexus in WWE, under the moniker Mason Ryan.

While he clearly worked hard for his position, he credits Orig Williams as the reason he found any success in wrestling at all.

In the forward in Orig Williams’ book, El Bandito, Mason Ryan details just how influential the Welsh legend was to his career.

“I owe everything to [Orig Williams]. He fixed me up to become Goliath on Gladiators; he sought my introduction to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), and he became a ‘second father’ to me.”

These were very strong words, and ones he followed up on later on.

“Orig always had a burning ambition to produce a Welsh-speaking wrestling champion, and he never tired in his search for a potential candidate.”

Mason Ryan went on to write that Orig Williams brought his travelling wrestling show to Porthmadog. He noted that he strutted around the ring, getting all the crowd’s attention on himself, despite being the referee!

He quickly took a shine to Ryan, who was big, strong and most importantly spoke Welsh. He took him to Brian Dixon to train, and shepparded him for the next five years in his career.

That was until Orig Williams passed away in 2009, at the age of 78. Mason Ryan has already signed for the WWE at the time, so had some comfort that he had achieved Orig’s dream of a Welsh-speaking star in the WWE.

Mason Ryan went on to wrestle in the WWE as part of “The Nexus”, teaming with CM Punk during the peak of his career.

Mason Ryan confirmed this in an interview with WalesOnline in 2012.

β€œI met him and he said to me he was looking for a Welsh-speaking wrestler for years and through him he put me on his shows and got me in contact with promoters to do a few shows in Ireland, Austria and Denmark and even as far as Egypt,” he said.

β€œIt was his dream from the moment I met him that I would be a WWE wrestler, a Welsh WWE wrestler, and I would be a Welsh world champion.”

Sadly, He Never Became The Welsh Star ‘El Bandito’ Envisioned

Unfortunately, Mason Ryan never became a champion in WWE. Orig Williams never got to see him wrestle in the WWE. He passed way in 2009, two years before Ryan made his debut.

While he was heavily featured alongside CM Punk in “The Nexus”, his success was limited. Injuries saw him put on the sidelines for a number of years.

When he did return, Mason Ryan wasn’t given another chance. He wrestled mainly on NXT (WWE’s developmental promotion), before being fired from his job in 2014.

Mason Ryan wrestled briefly under his own name in 2015, but soon faded into wrestling obscurity. Despite not becoming a Welsh-speaking superstar, he still did Orig Williams proud.


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