Barri Griffiths (13 January 1982) is a retired Welsh professional wrestler and former Gladiators competitor, also known as Goliath and by his ring name Mason Ryan. Best known for his time in World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), where he wrestled in its developmental territory, Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW), where he had one reign as FCW Florida Heavyweight Champion. After a short stint on the main roster he was sent back to the now renamed developmental territory WWE NXT prior to his release in April 2014.
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 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
Griffiths began training to be a professional wrestler in 2006 after attending a wrestling show with a friend where the promoter told him to 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. Following 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
Florida Championship Wrestling (2009–2014)
In mid-2009, Griffiths signed a 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.
Raw, The Nexus and Injury (2011)
Griffiths made his WWE television debut on the 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 group. Ryan participated in the 2011 Royal Rumble match but was eliminated by Cena. 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 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 the March 14 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 2 May episode of Raw, Ryan lost to Kane by disqualification following interference from Punk, and went on to attack both Kane and The Big Show. Afterward he left the ring without celebrating with the other members of The Nexus. At the Over the Limit pay-per-view on 22 May, Ryan and Punk challenged Kane and The Big Show for the WWE Tag Team Championship, but were unsuccessful. On the 20 June Power to the People episode of Raw, Ryan was voted to face Evan Bourne, whom he defeated. WWE released a statement the following day on their official website, revealing Sin Cara was the real winner of the poll vote, but the text votes from the previous match were still coming in. WWE said on RAW Roulette that Mason Ryan was injured over the weekend but he didn't work any live events. Ryan suffered an injury outside of the ring and would be out of action for the next few months. He later made an appearance at the SummerSlam 2011 Axxess event with his former New Nexus stablemates and then WWE tag team champions, David Otunga and Michael McGillicutty.
Return, Face Turn, NXT and release (2011-2014)
On August 26, Ryan made his return at a house show in Jackson, Mississippi, before returning to WWE television on the September 8th edition of WWE Superstars, where he defeated JTG, thus turning him face in the process. On the September 26 edition of Raw, Ryan cemented his status by attacking Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger in a six-man tag match against Zack Ryder and Air Boom (Evan Bourne and Kofi Kingston).
After months of feuding with Swagger and Ziggler(mainly Swagger) off-screen, Mason was given a US Title Match in a dark match, but failed to win the title due to a run-in from Swagger.. Ryan then joined the 2011 Survivor Series Tag Team match on Orton's team. Orton's team lost the match, allowing Mason to be pinned for the first time in his WWE career.
Mason Ryan was sent back to the rebranded NXT and debuted on January 30, 2013. His most note worthy match was when he eliminated 11 out of 18 wrestlers in an over the top rope battle royal before being eliminated himself. Mason was seldom used on TV after that until he had his final televised match on April 24, 2014 in a losing effort to Number One Contender for the NXT Championship, Tyson Kidd.
He was released from his WWE contract on April 30, 2014.
Independent Circuit (2014-2015)
After his release from WWE, Mason Ryan continued to wrestle on the independent circuit still under his WWE name. His first appearance was for the American Pro Wrestling Alliance promotion, where during its May 31 show, he became the new APWA Tri State Champion.
He debuted for the Pro Wrestling Syndicate promotion at its Super Card 2014 show on June 7 where he was victorious against The Lifeguard.
He made his debut for the Universal Championship Wrestling promotion on its Hometown Throwdown & Summer Fest show on 14 June 2014, where he defeated Universal Champion Johnny Swinger by Disqualification, in a non-title match.
World Wrestling Council
On 7 September 2014, Ryan made his debut in World Wrestling Council at Septiembre Negro against the WWC universal Champion The Mighty Ursus in a losing effort.
Pro Wrestling Pride
Ryan wrestled his final match while in Pro Wrestling Pride, during the PWP Heroes & Legends 2: The Battle For Glory event, held on 1 November 2015. He teamed with Saime Sahin, The Saint & Ultimo Tiger in an eight-man tag match lost to Lomaxx, Team H8 (Gideon & Jeckel) & UK Dominator.
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.
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. Griffiths worked as a trainee carpenter, and in his family's funeral home business prior to becoming a professional wrestler. He has a sister. He speaks Welsh. Griffiths played football as a centre-back for Welsh Premier League side Porthmadog F.C., but had to stop due to a knee injury. He is a keen weightlifter.
- Finishing moves
- "Barri 10-foot"
- Tag Teams and Stables
- Entrance Themes
Championships and accomplishments
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- PWI ranked him #119 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2011
|CM Punk • David Otunga • Husky Harris • Mason Ryan • Michael McGillicutty • Skip Sheffield • Daniel Bryan • Darren Young • Heath Slater • John Cena • Justin Gabriel • Michael Tarver • Wade Barrett|