Davey Richards


Davey Richards
Davey Richards

Richards making his ring entrance in 2005.
Ring name(s) Davey Phoenix[1]
Davey Richards[1]
Wayne Kerr[2]
Billed height 5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)[1]
Billed weight 208 lb (94 kg)[3]
Born March 1, 1983 (1983-03-01) (age 28)[1]
Othello, Washington[1]
Billed from Othello, Washington[3]
Trained by Tony Kozina[1]
Paul Orndorff[4]
Debut June 2004[1]
Website http://d-richards.net

Wesley David Richards[1] (born March 1, 1983)[1] is an American professional wrestler, better known by his ring name Davey Richards.

Richards is currently under contract with Ring of Honor,[3][5] where he is the current ROH World Champion, but also wrestles for several companies on the independent circuit, including Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (PWG)[6] and Squared Circle Wrestling (2CW). Aside from his work in the United States, Richards has also worked internationally, most notably in Pro Wrestling Noah, through ROH's involvement in the Global Professional Wrestling Alliance, a global organization of cooperative promotions that allow their competitors to travel abroad to other companies, and currently New Japan Pro Wrestling, where he is currently one half of the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions with Rocky Romero.[7]

Richards is a four-time World Champion, having won the ROH and PWG World Championships once and the Full Impact Pro (FIP) World Heavyweight Championship twice, and a five-time World Tag Team Champion, having won the PWG World Tag Team Championship three times in PWG (with Super Dragon twice and Roderick Strong once), as well as winning the ROH Tag Team Championship twice (once with Rocky Romero and Eddie Edwards respectively). Richards was the winner of several tournaments that highlight the top performers of the region: East Coast Wrestling Association's (ECWA) Super 8 Tournament in 2006 and PWG's Battle of Los Angeles in the same year.[6][8]

Contents

Professional wrestling career

Early career

Prior to entering the world of professional wrestling, Richards was an accomplished amateur wrestler in high school, as well as learning Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Richards began training in 2004 with Tony Kozina before making his debut in June of the same year in the Washington-based company, Pro Wrestling War against a wrestler named Mr. Sexy.[9]

Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (2005–present)

Richards after defeating Excalibur at a PWG show in 2005

In April 2005, he began wrestling for Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (PWG) in California; he debuted in an eight-man tag match for the first All Star Weekend.[10] He later returned for a three-way match with Human Tornado and Puma; during the match Richards established himself as a villain by removing Puma's (subsequently wrestling under his real name, T.J. Perkins) mask, starting a rivalry between the two.[1] Richards then began to work more extensively in tag team matches with his new partner, Super Dragon; the two managed to win the PWG World Tag Team Championship from El Generico and Tornado, which led to a seven-month reign, defeating a variety of teams before losing the championship to Chris Bosh and Scott Lost in May of the following year. Following the loss, Richards entered singles competition to be in the company's annual Battle of Los Angeles tournament by defeating, Ronin, Austin Aries, Roderick Strong, and finally Cima, a guest from Japan's Dragon Gate promotion, in the finals.[1]

Richards went back to tag team competition to win the tag championship for a second time with Strong defeating B-Boy and former partner, Super Dragon, only to lose the belts back to their former champions the following night. Richards spent his time with PWG in a number of singles matches until the fall of 2007 at European Vacation II, he and Dragon reunited to defeat rivals Kevin Steen and El Generico.[1] The two held the championship until January 2008 when Richards no-showed the Pearl Habra show; this resulted in the team being stripped of the championship, and led to a sixty-day suspension for Richards.[11] He returned to the company sixty days later, competing in the Dynamite Duumvirate Tag Team Title Tournament, once again teaming up with Super Dragon. After they were eliminated in the first round by the team of Steen and Generico, Dragon took time off due to a shoulder injury, and Richards returned to singles competition. Richards defeated Kenny Omega on February 27, 2010 at As the Worm Turns to win the PWG World Championship for the first time.[12] On September 13, 2010, Richards was stripped of the title, when he was unable to defend it due to other booking commitments.[13]

Richards returned to PWG during the WrestleReunion 5 weekend on January 29, 2011, in a match, where he defeated by Low Ki.[14] On March 4, Richards and Eddie Edwards entered the DDT4 tag team tournament, where they made it to the semifinals before losing to eventual tournament winners, The Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson).[15] In his next PWG appearance on September 10, Richards unsuccessfully challenged Kevin Steen for the PWG World Championship.[16]

Ring of Honor (2006-present)

Debut and KENTA's protégé (2006–2007)

Richards at an ROH event in 2006.

On June 3, 2006, Richards made his debut with Ring of Honor (ROH) at Destiny by defeating Jimmy Rave.[3][17] This was the start of a rivalry with Rave, who challenged Richards to a rematch at In Your Face on June 17. During the match, the pre-match ritual of fans throwing toilet paper at Rave backfired when one roll hit the chandelier above the ring, breaking some glass that scattered in the ring. Nevertheless, the two wrestled on that glass, resulting in numerous cuts on both men's bodies, and Richards went on to win the rematch.[18]

Soon after, Richards was chosen as the American protégé of KENTA, a junior heavyweight from the Japanese promotion Pro Wrestling Noah, who was on loan to the company as part of the talent exchange agreement between the two, the Global Professional Wrestling Alliance. On August 4, the two teamed together to face the Briscoe Brothers with Richards ending up getting pinned.[19] The next night, Richards faced his mentor in a singles match at Fight of the Century; he was unable to secure a victory.[20]

No Remorse Corps (2007–2008)

In early 2007, Richards helped Roderick Strong turn on Strong's former Generation Next partner Austin Aries. Together, Richards and Strong formed the No Remorse Corps, a contingency out to hinder Aries in endeavors;[21] the pair was later joined by Rocky Romero.[22] The No Remorse Corps was involved in a feud with Aries's faction The Resilience.[23] In early 2008, Richards and Romero won the ROH World Tag Team Championship from The Age of the Fall (Jimmy Jacobs and Tyler Black), which led to a four-month reign before losing to the Briscoe Brothers.[24] Following a victory of Strong over rival Erick Stevens, Richards himself turned on his mentor after revealing his allegiance to Larry Sweeney and his group, Sweet 'n' Sour, Inc. This was followed by Strong attempting to gain a measure of revenge before Richards won a match between the two.

The American Wolves (2008–present)

It was announced by Sweeney on the ROH Newswire that he would team up Richards and Eddie Edwards to create The American Wolves. The Wolves would first team in a triple threat tag team elimination match at All-Star Extravaganza IV against the Briscoes and the unofficial European Union (Claudio Castagnoli and Nigel McGuinness). They eliminated the European Union but ultimately were defeated by the Briscoes. Later that night, Richards attacked Kevin Steen's knee with a pipe. The next night at Final Battle 2008 they teamed with Go Shiozaki against Brent Albright, Erick Stevens and Roderick Strong in a losing effort. They later attacked the Briscoes, attacking the already injured Mark Briscoe's knee putting him out of action. Kevin Steen and El Generico tried to make the save, but were laid out by the Wolves.

Richards in the ring in 2008

Beginning in 2009, after defeating Strong twice with different tag partners The Wolves gained their first World Tag Team Championship match against Steen and Generico at Motor City Madness, where they were defeated. Richards went on to face ROH World Championship contender Tyler Black in a losing effort at Proving Ground Night 1. At Proving Ground Night 2, Richards lost to Steen in a singles match and after the show, he attacked Generico's knee with a chair. At Stylin' & Profilin', The American Wolves and Chris Hero defeated Steen, Generico and Bobby Dempsey, which granted the Wolves another title shot. Before their tag team title shot in New York City, Richards was hand picked by ROH World Champion Nigel McGuinness to be his tag team partner in a match against Generico and KENTA, but Richards and McGuinness lost the match. Richards faced his former mentor KENTA in a GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship match, which took place at Supercard of Honor IV in Houston. Despite losing, Richards received a standing ovation at the end of the match.[25] As the American Wolves gained contendership for the ROH World Tag Team titles, they lost their initial match against Steen and Generico, but the Wolves attacked Steen before putting Generico through a table.

On April 10 at a television taping of Ring of Honor Wrestling, The American Wolves were able to capture the World Tag Team Titles from Steen and Generico in a Tables are Legal match.[24][26] At Tag Title Classic, the Wolves took on the team of Bryan Danielson and Tyler Black. The match ended in 45-minute time-limit draw, the first time in ROH history that a World Tag Team Championship match had ended in a time-limit draw. The next weekend, Richards defeated Kevin Steen in a singles match, before he and Edwards defeated Steen and Jay Briscoe in a two out of three falls match to retain the World Tag Team Championship.[27]

In September 2009, Richards defeated Bryan Danielson in Danielson's penultimate match. The next night, at Glory By Honor VIII: The Final Countdown in New York, NY, Richards and Edwards retained the titles against Steen and Generico in Ladder War II. On November 13, Richards faced Austin Aries for the ROH World Championship in a losing effort. On December 19, at Final Battle 2009, the Wolves lost the Tag Team Championship to the Briscoe Brothers.[24][28]

On January 29, 2010, ROH announced that Richards had signed a contract renewal with the company.[5] On February 5 at the Ring of Honor Wrestling tapings, Richards entered the tournament to determine the inaugural ROH World Television Champion and defeated Delirious to advance to the second round, where he would meet Kenny King.[29] The tournament concluded on March 5, when Richards defeated King to advance to the finals, where he was defeated by his American Wolves tag team partner Eddie Edwards.[30] On April 3, Richards earned the number five spot in the Pick 6 series by defeating Kenny King at The Big Bang! pay-per-view.[31]

On June 19 at Death Before Dishonor VIII Richards received a shot at Tyler Black's ROH World Championship, but was unable to dethrone the defending champion.[32] At the Ring of Honor Wrestling television tapings on July 16, Richards lost to Roderick Strong in a match where Strong's guaranteed championship match was on the line. Richards refused assistance from Shane Hagadorn, his manager, during the match, and attacked Hagadorn afterwards when Hagadorn claimed credit for making Richards the best wrestler in the world, ending their association.[33] On September 11, 2010, at Glory By Honor IX, Jim Cornette announced that Richards had signed a new contract with Ring of Honor.[34] At the following pay-per-view, Final Battle 2010 on December 18, Richards unsuccessfully challenged Roderick Strong for the ROH World Championship.[35] On June 26, 2011, at Best in the World 2011, Richards defeated his own tag team partner Eddie Edwards to win the ROH World Championship for the first time.[36] On August 10 ROH announced that Richards had signed a contract extension with the promotion.[37]

Other promotions

Richards has also done extensive tours of Japan, debuting in 2007 with Pro Wrestling Noah.[38] He made a tour of the company again the following summer, competing in tag team matches.

On April 8, 2006, Richards won the ECWA Super 8 Tournament after defeating Scott Lost, Milano Collection A.T., and Charlie Haas. After winning this tournament, Richards began competing in many different organizations, including NWA Anarchy, Ring of Honor and ROH's sister promotion Full Impact Pro (FIP). On May 2, 2009 Richards defeated Tyler Black via forfeit for the FIP World Heavyweight Championship, his first singles title. While on tour in Japan for Dragon Gate in December 2009, Richards lost the FIP title to Masaaki Mochizuki.[39] He would regain the title a month later at DGUSA Fearless.[40]

Richards has competed twice in German promotion Westside Xtreme Wrestling's (wXw) 16 Carat Gold tournament. While being eliminated from the tournament in his first round match against Go Shiozaki in 2007, Richards made it all the way to the semifinals in 2011, defeating Jon Ryan and Zack Sabre, Jr. along the way, before losing to eventual tournament winner, Sami Callihan.[41][42][43][44]

Richards as the 2CW Tag Team Champion in 2010.

In mid-2009, Richards began competing for Dragon Gate USA and performed at the promotion's Open the Untouchable Gate show, where he defeated Shingo Takagi.[45] After his match, Bryan Danielson praised Richards and touted him as the best wrestler in the world, but Richards attacked Danielson claiming that he already deserved that title.[45] On November 28, Richards competed in a tournament to determine the inaugural DGUSA Open the Freedom Gate Champion, but lost to Yamato in the first round.[46] After BxB Hulk won the championship later that night, Richards challenged him to a championship match before attacking him.[46] He also began competing for DGUSA's parent promotion, Dragon Gate, and completed a tour with them in December 2009.[39][47]

In 2009, Richards, along with FIP booker Sal Hamaoui and Dragon Gate USA vice president Gabe Sapolsky founded the company, Evolve, which saw Richards in the main event of the first show, Evolve 1, on January 16 in the following year, defeating Kota Ibushi.[48] On January 29, 2010, it was announced that Richards will no longer be involved with either Dragon Gate USA or Evolve because he signed a new contract with ROH.[5][49] On March 22 Richards was stripped of the FIP World Heavyweight Championship and will not be wrestling for that company in the future either.[50]

On April 2, 2010, the American Wolves traveled to Squared Circle Wrestling (2CW) and won the 2CW Tag Team Titles from Cheech and Cloudy in Watertown, New York.[51] They held the titles for four months before losing them to Colin Delaney and Jimmy Olsen on August 22, 2010.[52]

In 2010 Richards was invited to take part in New Japan Pro Wrestling's Best of the Super Juniors tournament along with fellow North American and ROH wrestler, Kenny Omega. Richards entered the two week long tournament on May 30, but although he managed to win five out of his seven matches, he finished third in his block and narrowly missed advancing to the semifinals of the tournament.[53][54] After the tournament Richards has begun working regularly for New Japan Pro Wrestling, joining the promotion's top heel stable CHAOS, and no longer makes appearances for Pro Wrestling Noah.[55] In November 2010 Richards and Rocky Romero, reviving the No Remorse Corps name,[56] made it to the finals of a five day long Super J Tag League tournament, before being defeated by their CHAOS team mates Jado and Gedo.[57] On December 11, 2010, Richards received a shot at the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship, but was defeated by the defending champion, Prince Devitt.[58] On May 3, 2011, Richards and Romero unsuccessfully challenged Devitt and Ryusuke Taguchi for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship.[59] On May 26, Richards entered the 2011 Best of the Super Juniors tournament and after winning six out of his eight round robin stage matches, which included a win over the reigning IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Prince Devitt, Richards finished second in his block and advanced to the semifinals of the tournament.[60][61] On June 10, Richards was eliminated from the tournament in the semifinals by the eventual winner of the entire tournament, Kota Ibushi.[62] On October 10, 2011, Richards and Romero defeated Prince Devitt and Ryusuke Taguchi to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship for the first time.[63] Richards and Romero made their first successful title defense on November 12 at Power Struggle, defeating the team of Kushida and Tiger Mask IV.[64]

Personal life

Richards married Jennifer, better known as female wrestler Christie Summers, in 2008. Jennifer is currently a competitive bodybuilder in the figure class.[65] The couple separated sometime in 2010, leading Richards to reevaluate his retirement plans.[66]

In a June 2010 interview with Alex Marvez, Richards stated that he planned to quit the wrestling business by the end of the year to concentrate on other areas of his life.[67] However, he later withdrew those plans.[34] Richards is a trained paramedic and is training to become a firefighter.[67] He also wants to obtain a black belt in jujutsu.[67]

In wrestling

Richards performing the cloverleaf on Austin Aries.

Championships and accomplishments

Richards (right) after winning the ROH World Championship from Eddie Edwards in June 2011.
Richards (right) with Eddie Edwards after winning the 2CW Tag Team Championship in April 2010.
  • AWA Washington
    • AWA Washington Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Tony Kozina[1]
  • Pro Wrestling Prestige
    • PWP Tag Team Championship (1 time)- with Kyle O'Reilly
  • SoCal Uncensored
    • Match of the Year (2006) with Super Dragon vs. Roderick Strong and Jack Evans, March 4, Pro Wrestling Guerrilla[96]
  • Squared Circle Wrestling
    • 2CW Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Eddie Edwards[51]
  • Wrestling Observer Newsletter
    • Tag Team of the Year (2009) with Eddie Edwards[97]

References

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