A postman who has swapped delivering letters for delivering blows is stamping his authority in the ring – as Britain’s first wrestling postie.
A life-long fan of the sport, Ryan Williams, 30, known as Ry, of Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, has devoted weekends for the past five months to taking down opponents in the wrestling ring – wearing a trademark costume, modelled on his postie’s uniform.
And his catchphrases like, ‘I’m going to whoop your ass first class!’ have really stuck with fans.
Ry, who became professional in July 2019 and lives with his girlfriend Mellissa Wells, 29, who works in finance, said: “I loved wrestling as a kid. I used to watch it on television and adored characters like Hulk Hogan and The Rock. Most people grow out of it but I didn’t.
“I took it up a year ago. I think I must have been having an early midlife crisis, I was 29 about to turn 30, so was thinking this might be the last time I can be childish before life takes over.
“My outfit is shorts and a blue Royal Mail-type shirt with the sleeves cut off and red kneepads. Then I strip down to my red trunks with my logo on them.”
Ry continued: “I always come in with letters and give them to the kids.
“I’ve got my own theme tune. A friend will carry the guitar and the song goes, ‘It’s time to go one on one with the postman.’
“Then I have other catchphrases like, ‘I’m going to whoop your ass first class,’ and, ‘signed, sealed, delivered.'”
He explained: “I’ve got a few signature moves, too. One is called the ‘special delivery,’ which is like a rugby tackle, where you dive in and knock your opponent down. Another is the ‘return to sender,’ where you do a front somersault and land on them.
“I like the entrances and the way it is light-hearted and not too serious. The characters are larger than life. I like that cartoonish aspect.”
Having previously worked in the fitness industry, when Ry, who became a postman four years ago, finishes his letter round, he then prepares for a round with another wrestler at matches across the south west.
No stranger to the limelight, he has had a successful YouTube channel for a year where he shares videos of random challenges – including the time he lost a stone in November 2018 after eating just food from the McDonald’s menu for 30 days.
Marketing himself as ‘Ry the Guy,’ he was approached a few months ago by local wrestling team South West Wrestling, which was founded by Pete Bainbridge who was a big star on ITV’s World of Sport in the 1980s, and wanted him to give the sport a go.
“I started training at the end of April 2019 and had my first match within 10 weeks. I didn’t expect to be fighting so soon, but they sprang it on me, so I thought, ‘Why not?,’” he recalled.
“I thought I would be terrible. Although I went to the gym, I was not particularly athletic and flexible,” he continued.
“The first match I took part in, I was really nervous. I had a mailbag with lots of letters which I handed out to the crowd. I was so nervous I just threw them all out in one go, so there were probably lots of paper cuts.
“I did get beaten up. That match ended with my opponent swinging a hammer at me so you could safely say I lost!”
Ry explained: “I already used the Ry the Guy persona on my YouTube channel. He is a very cheesy, family friendly kind of character.
“It’s a bit of a gimmick going from postman to wrestler, so I wanted to use the postman persona. It’s taken off quite well and I’ve got a lot of support from fellow postmen.”
Depending on the venue, Ry said he can draw crowds of up to 200, both children and adults. At the moment, he competes in return for free training, but hopes to earn £200 a night if he hits the big time.
He continued: “I do have some adult themed catchphrases along the lines of ‘a big package being delivered’ and I’ve got a pair of shorts with ‘your nan’s favourite wrestler’ written on them. It’s all a bit of fun.
“People have always referenced the fact that a wrestler’s character is themselves with the volume turned up, so that’s what I have done. It’s postman-related, but with the volume turned up.
“I love meeting people and we do a meet and greet after the show. I like to think I’ve sent someone home happy and that they’ve been entertained.”
He added: “It’s just a fun thing to do. I’m 30 and living the dream.”
With the look an important aspect of wrestling, Ry keeps himself in shape with plenty of exercise, but admits his diet could be better.
He said: “I let myself go after the McDonald’s diet, so I was trying to get back into shape. Wrestling is very visual, so you need to look strong.”
Ry continued: “The whole look and image is important. It’s part of the enjoyment for the audience.”
Every Sunday, Ry trains for four hours in the ring, and also hits the gym four times during the week, doing a mix of weights and cardio.
Diet-wise, his regime is not as restricting as people may think.
He explained: “I do cap my calories these days at 3,500, because I have to keep in shape, but people think I live off chicken and broccoli and I don’t.
“For breakfast, I have four Weetabix with full-fat milk with a big scoop of Nutella and peanut butter. I mash it up and put it in the microwave.
“Then once I’ve finished my round I will come home and make a sandwich, then raid the cupboards searching for chocolates and sweets. I have a really sweet tooth.”
“Then for dinner I’ll have something like a spaghetti Bolognese,” Ry said.
“I don’t drink so much anymore. I will have a couple of beers after the show but that is it.”
And although Ry’s long suffering girlfriend Mellissa doesn’t come to his shows, she fully supports his new profession.
“My girlfriend is the complete opposite to me. I’m quite an extrovert and she’s very quiet and reserved,” he said.
“She did come to my first match, but she prefers the quiet life so doesn’t come with me on a Saturday night.
“She has learned to live with my antics and I make sure we have plenty of time together. She’s pretty laid back and we have found a good balance.”
He added: “I have had a bit of attention from the ladies, but it’s not anything scary. I’m not doing hen parties or anything like that.
“Wrestling is quite a niche market, you do get a few characters but it’s all friendly chit-chat.”
When Ry first told her he was going to be a professional wrestler, Mellissa, who met Ry through mutual friends and has been with him for six years, did not take him seriously.
She said: “I’ve learned not to take anything he says seriously. He has some crazy ideas, so when he told me he was going to train to be a wrestler, I ignored it and thought, ‘Whatever’.
“I went to see his first match and felt very nervous for him. I wanted to throw something at his opponents, as it genuinely looked like he was being brutalised! I even went backstage to check on him as he was bleeding heavily.
“His outfits are funny. I’m most concerned about something ‘falling out’. He did a trial run in the red trunks in the garden and let’s just say it wasn’t a family friendly experience.”
Mellissa added: “They say opposites attract. Even though he’s a bit of a show-off, I’ve learned to just roll with it. Nothing surprises me with Ry anymore!”
For more information on Ry the Guy, click here