Barri Griffiths (born January 13, 1982) is a Welsh professional wrestler and former Gladiators competitor, also known as Goliath and by his ring name Mason Ryan. He is currently signed to WWE.
Griffiths studied construction management at Cardiff University, before working as a trainee carpenter and in his family's funeral home. He also played as a centre-back for Porthmadog F.C., but a knee injury curtailed his career. Griffiths appeared as "Goliath" on Gladiators in 2009.
Griffiths began training to be a professional wrestler in 2006, and competed around Europe for the next three years. In 2009, he signed a contract with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), and debuted in Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW), WWE's developmental territory, in January 2010 using the name 'Mason Ryan'. In July, he won the FCW Florida Heavyweight Championship and held the championship until February 2011. Griffiths debuted as Mason Ryan on the Raw brand in January 2011, where he aligned himself with The New Nexus.
Griffiths attended both Ysgol y Gorlan primary school in Tremadog, Wales and Ysgol Eifionydd secondary school in Porthmadog, before studying construction management at Cardiff University for 18 months. Griffiths worked as a trainee carpenter and in his family's funeral home business prior to becoming a professional wrestler. He has a sister. Griffiths played football as a centre-back for Welsh Premier League side Porthmadog F.C., but had to stop due to a knee injury.
Griffiths appeared in the second series of the revived Gladiators television show in 2009, and competed under the name "Goliath". When he was working on a television show in Wales about being a wrestler, he was told that producers were looking for new gladiators, and he applied with the encouragement of his trainer, Orig Williams. He began filming the first show approximately a month later and had to grow a beard especially for the role.
Professional wrestling career
Training and early career (2006–2008)
Griffiths began training to be a professional wrestler in 2006 after attending a wrestling show with a friend where the promoter Orig 'El Bandito' Williams, recommended he start wrestling. He trained at a professional wrestling school in Birkenhead. Prior to appearing on Gladiators, Griffiths had wrestled under the names "Celtic Warrior" and "Smackdown Warrior" since 2007, and had competed in almost 100 matches in countries including Egypt and Venezuela. He represented the UK in a 'Battle of the Nations' tag team match between the UK and Austria, teaming with Drew McDonald and Sheamus O'Shaunessy in a losing effort to Chris Raaber, Michael Kovac, and Robert Ray Kreuzer at the European Wrestlng Association's Night of Gladiators show in June 2007. After signing with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), Griffiths had his final show in Wales at Y Ganolfan, Porthmadog in October 2008, where he first won a singles match, before winning a battle royal.
World Wrestling Entertainment / WWE
Florida Championship Wrestling (2009–2011)
In mid-2009, Griffiths signed a five-year contract with WWE. When he received his work visa, he debuted in their developmental territory, Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW) in January 2010. Under the name Mason Ryan, he competed against wrestlers including Johnny Curtis, Tyler Reks, Johnny Prime, and Hunico in his first matches.
On 22 July, Ryan won a triple threat match against defending champion Alex Riley and Johnny Curtis by pinning Riley to win the FCW Florida Heavyweight Championship for the first time. Over the next few months, Ryan successfully defended the championship against wrestlers including Bo Rotundo, Richie Steamboat, and Eli Cottonwood. At the tapings of FCW television on 2 September, Ryan successfully defended the championship against Johnny Curtis when FCW commentator Byron Saxton interfered and aided him. The following week, Saxton became aligned with Ryan, accompanying him to the ring and acting as his manager. In November 2010, Ryan toured Europe with the SmackDown brand, defeating Chavo Guerrero in Belfast on 4 November and again in Liverpool on 6 November. On 3 February 2011, Ryan lost the Florida Heavyweight Championship to Bo Rotundo, ending a six-and-a-half month reign.
Griffiths, as Mason Ryan, made his WWE television debut on 17 January 2011 episode of Raw by interfering in a match between CM Punk and John Cena. Following his interference, Punk presented him with a 'Nexus' armband, inducting him into the New Nexus. Ryan then participated in the 2011 Royal Rumble match where he eliminated The Great Khali and Booker T. On 7 February Ryan had his debut match on Raw when he lost to R-Truth via disqualification. In late February, it was announced that Punk would face Randy Orton at WrestleMania XXVII, with each member of the New Nexus facing Orton to win the right to accompany Punk to the ring in the weeks leading up to WrestleMania. Ryan was the final member to face Orton, but lost on 14 March episode of Raw. Following the match, Orton punted Ryan in the head. Ryan was absent from television for nearly a month, making his return on 11 April on Raw with the other New Nexus members, attacking Orton and preventing him from earning a WWE Championship match. On the episode of Raw on 2 May, Ryan lost to Kane by disqualification following interference from Punk, and went on to attack both Kane and Big Show. Afterward he left the ring without celebrating with the other members of the New Nexus. At the Over the Limit pay-per-view on 22 May, Ryan and Punk challenged Big Show and Kane for the WWE Tag Team Championship, but were unsuccessful. Mason Ryan was voted to face Evan Bourne in a singles match and won, but was later to be revealed to be a glitch in the voting process, as Sin Cara was the actual winner. The following month, Ryan suffered an injury and was absent from television to recuperate.
Ryan returned from injury as a face at a house show in Jackson, Mississippi in late August. He made his television return on 8 September episode of WWE Superstars, defeating JTG. On 26 September episode of Raw, Ryan was chosen by Vickie Guerrero as the partner for Jack Swagger and Dolph Ziggler in a six-man tag team match against Zack Ryder and Air Boom (Evan Bourne and Kofi Kingston), but Ryan turned on Swagger and Ziggler, allowing Ryder to pick up the victory for his team, this turned Ryan face. The following week on Raw, Ryan teamed with Air Boom, Sheamus, CM Punk and John Cena in a 12-man tag team match to defeat the team of Alberto Del Rio, Christian, Cody Rhodes, David Otunga, Ziggler, and Swagger. Ryan began feuding with Ziggler, with the pair trading wins via disqualification. Ryan was part of Team Orton at the Survivor Series pay-per-view in November, where he was eliminated by Cody Rhodes. After his Survivor Series appearance Ryan would be taken off TV and wrestled primarily dark matches and house shows for the rest of 2011. Ryan returned on 19 January 2012, edition of Superstars, teaming with Santino Marella to defeat the team of Curt Hawkins and Tyler Reks. After once again pulled off from TV tapings, Ryan returned in action on 22 March, edition of Superstars, teaming up with Alex Riley and losing to Primo & Epico. In late spring he seemingly aligned himself with the Abraham Washington stable before he was pulled from television again.
Griffiths has appeared on The Paul O'Grady Show. Barri Griffiths: Y Reslar, a documentary about Griffiths' life in the months before he moved to the United States, aired in September 2010 on S4C. In December 2011, Griffiths appeared on the TV documentary Orig, where he was interviewed by Tara Bethan, the daughter of his first trainer Orig Williams.
Ryan speaks Welsh and is a keen weightlifter. Recently, Griffiths released several videos of his usual workout on his Twitter account, @WWE_MasonRyan, depicting an average workout training session for him.
Ryan posing in 2011 at a house show
in London, England.
Championships and accomplishments
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