Desmond Wolfe

Desmond Wolfe
Desmond Wolfe
Ring name(s) Desmond Wolfe[1]
Nigel McGuinness[1]
Billed height 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)[2]
Billed weight 225 lb (102 kg)[2]
Born January 23, 1978 (1978-01-23) (age 33)[1]
London, England, United Kingdom[3]
Resides Louisville, Kentucky, United States
Billed from London, England[2]
Trained by Robbie Brookside[1]
Chic Cullen[4]
Les Thatcher[1][5]
Dave Taylor[4]
Debut September 1999[1]

Steven Haworth[1] (born January 23, 1978)[1] is an English professional wrestler, better known by the ring names Desmond Wolfe and Nigel McGuinness. As McGuinness he first gained notoriety working for Ring of Honor (ROH) in the United States and Pro Wrestling Noah in Japan. He was the longest reigning ROH Pure Champion, holding the title for 350 days, while also being a former ROH World Champion, holding the championship for 545 days.[6] In October 2009 Haworth signed a contract with Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA), where he worked as Desmond Wolfe until June 2011. The following August, Haworth, once again working as Nigel McGuinness, returned to ROH to work as a color commentator.



Haworth, born in London, grew up in Staplehurst, Kent, where he attended Maidstone Grammar School.[3][7] Haworth was a wrestling fan from the age of twelve, particularly enjoying The Hart Foundation and The British Bulldogs, and attended SummerSlam 1992 while wearing Ultimate Warrior face paint.[3] After attending Les University, Haworth relocated to America in the 1990s in order to attend Kent State University, and graduated in 1997 with a degree in chemistry.

In September 1998 Haworth began training under Les Thatcher in the Heartland Wrestling Association (HWA) in Cincinnati, Ohio, incurring large debts in the process. After debuting in September 1999, working under the ring name Nigel McGuinness and defeating GQ Masters III in a match that was featured on ABC's 20/20, he spent a year wrestling in the mid west. Haworth returned to England where he worked two full time jobs to earn enough money to be able to return to the U.S. to wrestle, and wrestled for All Star promotions between September and December 2001, where he learned from wrestlers such as Robbie Brookside.

Heartland Wrestling Association

McGuinness developed a heel character which he described as "a punk rock soccer hooligan... Billy Idol meets Johnny Saint."[8]

On July 10, 2001, McGuinness defeated Dean Jablonski in a singles match with the HWA Tag Team Championship on the line (the co-holder of the title, Chet Jablonski, was indisposed), claiming the title for himself and his partner, The Human Time Bomb. McGuinness and The Bomb held the title until August 7, when the Jablonski brothers regained the title. McGuinness and The Bomb would become champions for a second time on July 23, 2002, defeating the Jablonski brothers once more. They lost the title to Southern Breeze later that year.

In 2003 McGuinness introduced the HWA European Championship to HWA. He held the title until September 30, 2003, when he lost to Hoss. He regained the title on November 4 and promptly retired it.

McGuinness won the HWA Heavyweight Championship on September 6, 2003 in Batavia, Ohio, defeating Chad Collyer, He held the title until January 3, 2004, when he lost the title to Hoss. McGuinness defeated Hoss to begin a second heavyweight title reign on January 6, and held the title until March 17, 2004, when he lost to El Temor.

Ring of Honor

Debut; Pure Champion (2003–2006)

McGuinness debuted in Ring of Honor (ROH) on August 9, 2003, defeating Chet Jablonski.[9] He wrestled for ROH throughout 2004, but had limited success. In March 2005, McGuinness and Colt Cabana teamed together to challenge for the ROH Tag Team Championship, but lost to the incumbents, Dan Maff and B.J. Whitmer.[1] Cabana and McGuinness then began fighting one another, with McGuinness defeating Cabana on May 7, 2005, with an accidental low blow for a shot at the ROH Pure Championship. He challenged the champion, Samoa Joe, on June 12, 2005, but was defeated.[1] He faced Joe once more on August 27, and defeated him to win the Pure Championship.[10]

After becoming champion, McGuinness turned heel and for several months was engaged in a feud with Claudio Castagnoli, instigated by a non-title match on October 14 where Claudio was able to use his knowledge of Nigel's European wrestling style to score a pinfall on the champion.[1] This led to a series of matches for the title, with Nigel using underhanded tactics to avoid losing the belt.[1] On March 25, 2006, Nigel defeated Claudio in a match billed as Claudio's last chance to win the belt as long as Nigel was champion.[1]

During his Pure Championship run, McGuinness regularly carried an iron (decorated with the Union Jack) to ringside. When asked, the typical story given was that a group of men once broke into his home to attack him, but he was able to defend himself with the iron. In reality, he began carrying the iron after a girlfriend's mother asked him why some wrestlers carried weapons to ringside, and then inquired as to whether anyone had ever carried an iron before.[11] He would often use the iron as a weapon to win his matches.

McGuinness also had a malapropistic gimmick in ROH of mispronouncing words. An example would be at Survival of the Fittest 2005 in Dorchester, Massachusetts, when he said the fans appreciated him as much as "their beloved Boston Red Stockings".

During the rest of 2006 McGuinness was mostly uninvolved in the war between ROH and Combat Zone Wrestling, instead developing a new gimmick where he would win his matches by countout by using (often unfair) methods of preventing opponents from returning to the ring. McGuinness received a shot at the ROH World Championship against Bryan Danielson with his own Pure Championship on the line and contested under pure wrestling rules on April 29. McGuinness again won by countout, by which only the Pure Title could be won but not Danielson's World Title. The victory was enough to earn a rematch under regular rules on July 29, in which Danielson narrowly managed to retain his title.[1] A month later in Liverpool, England ROH arranged a unification match between the two titles and guaranteed there would be a winner, with both titles able to change hands due to count-out or disqualification under pure wrestling rules.[12] McGuinness lost the match on August 12 and the Pure Championship was unified and retired.[10][13] McGuinness reign of 350 days is the longest in the two year history of the Pure Championship. After the match Danielson offered McGuinness one more shot at the unified ROH World Championship and on August 25 the two of them wrestled a two out of three falls match to a 60 minute time limit and as a result McGuinness could no longer challenge for the title as long as Danielson was the champion.[14] After the match Danielson recognized McGuinness' efforts and gave him the now retired Pure Championship belt as a trophy.[14]

Feuds with Jimmy Rave and Chris Hero (2006–2007)

After losing the Pure Championship, McGuinness, now a face, challenged for Pro Wrestling Noah's GHC Heavyweight Championship on September 16, 2006, at ROH's Glory by Honor V - Night 2, but was defeated by the defending champion Naomichi Marufuji.[1] The rest of the year McGuinness would feud with Jimmy Rave, who, using his new submission maneuver, the Heel Hook, forced him to tap out on two separate occasions, first on December 8, 2006, at The Chicago Spectacular Night 1 and then on December 23, 2006, at Final Battle 2006.[1] Rave followed that up with another victory over McGuinness on January 27, 2007, this time in an "I Quit" match, which he won via referee stoppage.[1] In February McGuinness began acting as a representative of Pro Wrestling Noah and as a spokesperson and tag team partner of Noah talent Takeshi Morishima, upon his arrival to the company.[15] On March 4 in Liverpool McGuinness ended his feud with Jimmy Rave by defeating him with a Rebound Lariat, which in storyline resulted in Rave suffering a broken jaw and earned the move the new name of Jawbreaker Lariat, when in reality Rave had broken his jaw a month earlier.[16] McGuinness' next feud would be with Chris Hero, who had dubbed himself the best pure wrestler in the World. During this feud McGuinness also received two shots at the ROH World Championship, on April 14 and July 16, but was both times defeated by champion Takeshi Morishima.[1] On June 23 McGuinness defeated Hero in a 30 minute time limit match, but Hero came back on August 10 and defeated McGuinness with help from his agent Larry Sweeney and the Sweet 'n' Sour Inc. in a match contested under pure wrestling rules.[1]

ROH World Champion (2007–2009)

McGuinness as the ROH World Champion in October 2008

On September 15, 2007, at Man Up, ROH's third pay-per-view, McGuinness defeated Chris Hero, Claudio Castagnoli and Naomichi Marufuji in a four-way match to earn one more shot at Takeshi Morishima's ROH World Championship.[1] At the following PPV, Undeniable on October 6, 2007, McGuinness defeated Morishima to win the ROH World Championship.[1][17]

In late 2007, ROH confirmed that McGuinness had suffered a torn biceps and would be out of action until Final Battle 2007, however he would not be stripped of the ROH World Championship.[1] On November 2, the first night of ROH's Glory by Honor VI event in Philadelphia, Chris Hero and his agent Larry Sweeney complained of McGuinness' injury, calling him a fluke champion. Sweeney felt that Hero's victory of the Survival of the Fittest in Las Vegas earned him a title shot any time he wanted. McGuinness, in street clothes, accepted the challenge. He successfully retained the title against Hero, despite first losing the match due to the referee failing to notice McGuinness' foot on the rope while Hero made him tap out to submission.[18]

On December 29, 2007, McGuinness returned to the ring full-time at ROH fifth pay-per-view, Rising Above. During his defense of the ROH World Championship against Austin Aries, however, McGuinness injured his head when Aries dove from the ring onto him, which resulted in him hitting his head on the metal guard rail. The impact gave McGuinness a concussion, broke his nose, opened his eyebrow, and required 14 stitches.[19]

On January 25, 2008, McGuinness wrapped up his feud with Chris Hero by successfully defending his title against him in a steel cage match.[1] On February at ROH's Sixth Anniversary Show McGuinness turned heel during his successful title defense against Bryan Danielson by breaking an earlier agreement and targeting his head, injured earlier at the hands of Morishima.[20] Throughout the rest of the year McGuinness successfully defended his title against the likes of Tyler Black, Austin Aries, Kevin Steen, Claudio Castagnoli, Go Shiozaki, Jerry Lynn, Roderick Strong, El Generico and on November 22, 2008, at Rising Above in a grudge match against Bryan Danielson.[1]

On March 20, 2009, McGuinness sustained an arm injury competing in a tag team match.[1] However, despite the injury reportedly requiring surgery, he still wrestled at the Seventh Anniversary Show the next night and defeated KENTA to retain his title.[1][21][22] Finally, on April 3, 2009, at Supercard of Honor IV McGuinness lost the ROH World Championship to Jerry Lynn, ending his reign at 545 days.[17][23][24]

Departure (2009)

After a hiatus to recover from the injury, McGuinness returned to wrestling a few months later. On July 24, McGuinness suffered a minor injury during a four-way match after his "spine got compacted taking a piledriver", and was unable to wrestle the following night.[25] On September 4, ROH announced that McGuinness had "in principle" agreed to a contract with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), but confirmed that he would continue to wrestle for ROH until the end of September.[26][27] McGuinness wrestled his last ROH match on September 26 at Glory by Honor VIII: The Final Countdown, losing to Bryan Danielson, who was also making his final appearance for the company.[28]

Independent circuit (2004–2009)

McGuinness at a 2CW show in April 2009

While still in ROH, McGuinness continued to compete in various other independent promotions like IWA Mid-South, New Era Pro Wrestling, Italian Championship Wrestling, and American All-Star Wrestling, as well as tours in various countries.

McGuinness would also make appearances for some major promotions. On August 11, 2004, McGuinness appeared in Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA), debuting in a 22-man Gauntlet for the Gold for the TNA X Division Championship, which was won by Petey Williams.[29] On August 31, 2005, McGuinness competed in Ohio Valley Wrestling, WWE's developmental territory, on episode of its OVW TV, losing to Elijah Burke.[1] He would go on to wrestle Danny Basham on the September 11, 2005, episode of WWE Sunday Night Heat, taped prior to WWE Raw on September 5, losing after Basham hit an inverted DDT.[1]

On November 13, 2005, McGuinness returned to TNA Wrestling at the preshow prior to the Genesis PPV in a losing effort to Shark Boy, before leaving America to tour Japan with Pro Wrestling Noah in November and December 2005.[1] He wrestled nine matches in total, seven of which he won, and teamed with fellow gaijin Doug Williams, 2 Cold Scorpio and Bison Smith.[1] During his tour of Japan, Nigel was supposed to compete in TNA's 2006 World X Cup Tournament, but Team UK was replaced by Team Canada, after McGuinness and Williams could not appear because both were booked in Japan.

In 2007, McGuinness represented Ring of Honor in the King of Europe Cup. He made his way through to the final and, in his home country, defeated fellow Brit and tag-team partner Doug Williams to win the 2007 tournament final.[30]

In June 2007 McGuinness participated in the annual Australian supershow International Assault, where he faced Bryan Danielson for the World Series Wrestling title in a match at the UNSW roundhouse in Sydney and then wrestled in two other events in Melbourne and Newcastle.[31]

On October 14, 2007, McGuiness wrestled James Tighe in the first round of the British National Championship held by International Pro Wrestling: United Kingdom, however McGuiness was disqualified for the use of brass knuckles and eliminated from the tournament.

McGuinness won the 1PW Openweight Championship, his first title in a British promotion, on 19 April 2009, by defeating Johnny Moss.[32]

Total Nonstop Action Wrestling

Wolfe in a match with Kurt Angle.

Debut; feud with Kurt Angle (2009)

On September 4, 2009 ROH announced that Haworth had agreed to a contract with World Wrestling Entertainment "in principle".[26] On October 20, 2009 it was reported that Haworth's deal with the WWE had fallen through due to him failing a pre-screening physical test[33] and that he had decided to sign with Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) instead.[34] He officially made his TNA return as a heel under the ring name Desmond Wolfe on the October 22 episode of Impact! by attacking Kurt Angle.[35] The following week Wolfe defeated Angle in a street fight via referee stoppage, following a lariat.[36] On November 12 Wolfe won a third exchange with Angle as he laid him out with a DDT.[37] At Turning Point Angle defeated Wolfe via submission.[38] The following month at Final Resolution Wolfe faced Angle in a "Three Degrees of Pain" two out of three falls match. Wolfe managed to gain the first fall by pinning Angle following the Tower of London, but tapped out to the ankle lock in the second fall to make it even. In the final fall, which could only be won by escaping the Six Sides of Steel, Angle managed to escape first and won the match and the feud.[39]

Fourtune (2010)

Fourtune hopefuls: (from left to right) Wolfe, Robert Roode, A.J. Styles, and James Storm.

Following the loss to Angle, Wolfe moved on to feuding with D'Angelo Dinero, who defeated him on the January 4, 2010, three hour, Monday night edition of Impact!.[40] At Genesis Wolfe debuted a new valet, who was later named Chelsea, and defeated Dinero in a rematch.[41][42] At Against All Odds Wolfe entered the 8 Card Stud Tournament to crown a new number one contender to the TNA World Heavyweight Championship, but was defeated in the first round by the evantual winner of the whole tournament, Dinero.[43] On the February 25 edition of Impact! Wolfe aligned himself with Ric Flair and the TNA World Heavyweight Champion A.J. Styles in their battle with Hulk Hogan, Abyss and D'Angelo Dinero.[44] On the March 4 edition of Impact! Wolfe received his first shot at the TNA World Heavyweight Championship, held by Styles, in a four-way match, which also included Dinero and Abyss. In the end Styles was able to retain his title by defeating Dinero via referee stoppage.[45] The following week Wolfe and Dinero were scheduled to once again face each other, but the match was cancelled after Wolfe attacked Dinero during an interview and re-injured his ankle.[46] Wolfe and Dinero finally had their fourth singles match together on the March 29 edition of Impact! and this time Wolfe was able to pin the number one contender, after hitting him with a chain, while Chelsea was distracting the referee.[47] The following week Dinero defeated Wolfe in a rematch in just two minutes.[48] At Lockdown Wolfe, along with Sting, Robert Roode and James Storm, represented Team Flair in the annual Lethal Lockdown match, where they were defeated by Team Hogan (Abyss, Jeff Jarrett, Rob Van Dam and Jeff Hardy), when Abyss pinned Wolfe.[49] On April 26 TNA introduced a new Championship Ranking system, where fans were allowed to vote on the number one contender to the TNA World Heavyweight Championship.[50] Surprisingly Wolfe led the first poll from start to finish, ahead of the likes of Jeff Hardy, Mr. Anderson, Sting, A.J. Styles, Kurt Angle, D'Angelo Dinero and Abyss, and on the May 3 edition of Impact!, was granted a shot at the title, held by Rob Van Dam.[51][52] Wolfe was, however, defeated in the title match.[52] At Sacrifice Wolfe was defeated by Abyss, who as a result won Chelsea's services for 30 days.[53] On the following edition of Impact! Chelsea started showing sympathy towards Abyss, when he was being brutalized by Wolfe.[54] The following month at Slammiversary VIII Wolfe was defeated by Abyss in a Monster's Ball match, when Chelsea turned on him and helped Abyss pick up the victory.[55] On the following edition of Impact! Ric Flair, who had aligned himself with Wolfe, Styles, Roode, Storm and Kazarian, announced that he would reform the Four Horsemen under the new name Fourtune, stating that each of them would have to earn their spots in the group and that in order for Wolfe to earn his spot, he needed to become the Lex Luger of the group.[56][57] Later in the night Chelsea reluctantly returned to Wolfe after her 30 days with Abyss were up. Wolfe gave her a chance to redeem herself, but her behaviour outside the ring provided a distraction, which cost Wolfe his match against Flair's nemesis Jay Lethal.[57] After a series of losses, Wolfe attempted to get back in good graces with Flair by helping Styles and Kazarian defeat Samoa Joe and Rob Terry at Victory Road to earn their spots in Fourtune, only to get a Muscle Buster from Joe after the match.[58] On the following edition of Impact! Wolfe confronted Flair, when he inducted Styles and Kazarian into Fourtune, demanding to be included in the stable.[59] Two weeks later Flair revealed Robert Roode and James Storm as the final two members of Fourtune, leaving Wolfe out of the stable.[60]

London Brawling (2010)

Wolfe, Chelsea and Magnus posing in the ring in July 2010

After failing to make it into Fourtune, Wolfe went on to form a tag team with fellow Briton Magnus and together the two not only ended Wolfe's losing streak, but also started a winning streak, defeating teams like Amazing Red and Suicide, Hernandez and Rob Terry and Ink Inc. (Jesse Neal and Shannon Moore) on episodes of Xplosion, and in the process earned themselves the right to challenge for the TNA World Tag Team Championship.[61][62][63] On the August 26 edition of Impact! the team was named London Brawling.[64] They were scheduled to receive their shot at The Motor City Machine Guns (Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin) and the TNA World Tag Team Championship at No Surrender, but were at the last minute pulled from the event, with TNA citing a "personal issue" as the reason.[65] It was later reported that Wolfe was pulled from the event due to an undisclosed medical situation that would sideline him for the next few months.[66] On–screen his absence was explained by Magnus, who claimed that in an attempt to become a dual athlete, Wolfe had travelled to London to try out for Chelsea F.C.[67] On November 21, 2010, TNA president Dixie Carter announced that Wolfe was close to a comeback.[68] On the December 16 edition of Impact! Magnus met his former tag team partner Douglas Williams and informed him that Wolfe was now done with football and would be coming back soon, while also telling him that they had gotten rid of Chelsea.[69] Wolfe finally made his return in a non–televised segment on December 10, 2010, at the tapings of the January 6, 2011, edition of Impact!, when he and Magnus saved Douglas Williams from Fortune members A.J. Styles and Rob Terry.[70][71]

Xplosion Commissioner (2011)

On May 16, 2011, Wolfe made his return to TNA, when he was announced as the new commissioner of Xplosion, turning face in the process.[72] During his time as the commissioner, Wolfe also served as the third member of the Xplosion announcing team, working beside Jeremy Borash and Taz.[73][74] However, on June 17 it was reported that Wolfe had been released from his TNA contract.[75][76]

Return to ROH; retirement tour (2011)

On August 13, 2011, Haworth, returning to his Nigel McGuinness ring name, returned to ROH at the promotion's first Ring of Honor Wrestling tapings under the Sinclair Broadcast Group banner, working as the color commentator beside Kevin Kelly.[77] The tapings concluded with McGuinness saving Eddie Edwards from the House of Truth.[78]

After a fourteen month break from in-ring competition, it was announced on October 24, that McGuinness would be making his return to the ring on November 11 at a Squared Circle Wrestling (2CW) event in Watertown, New York, starting a two month long string of shows billed as the "Nigel McGuinness Retirement Tour".[79] In his return match McGuinness faced Eddie Edwards in a losing effort.

In wrestling

Wolfe performing the "Tower of London" on D'Angelo Dinero in 2010.

Championships and accomplishments

McGuinness as the ROH Pure Champion.
  • New Breed Wrestling Association
    • New Breed Heavyweight Championship (1 time)[1]


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