Davey Richards - has he descended from ROH World champion to petty criminal? Photo via upload.wikimedia.org.
Former ROH World champion Davey Richards is sadly developing quite the reputation for unprofessionalism within the wrestling business.
New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) recently stopped booking Richards after he missed a scheduled IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team title defence on May 3rd in Fukuoka, Japan. He had been involved in a minor car accident before he was set to fly out to Japan, but clearly New Japan management must have been upset enough about how he handled the incident to stop using him despite his immense talent.
He's also taking a strange leave of absence from ROH rings at the moment. No reason has been given for his presumed temporary departure (though it is starting to look like he may be gone for good), but clearly he's disgruntled with how ROH management has been booking him lately. In a recent shoot interview for Highspots.com, he made these outspoken comments:
And then we started this thing with [Dan] Severn and the whole thing got, in my opinion, stupid and it got ridiculous. Now [Eddie Edwards] is doing his thing and I'm doing my thing. We should still be tagging in my opinion, but I don't book things I guess.
You know, I love Jim [Cornette], but if you want an honesty and honesty is something I strongly believe in, I think he's outdated.
A lot of ROH wrestlers are quietly disgruntled with ROH over their booking and a recent loss of dates, but it's unusual for someone to so publicly gripe about the hand that feeds them.
Now, Adrenaline Pro Wrestling wrestler Jaysin Strife is publicly questioning Richards' professed honesty on Twitter after the lead star of Team Ambition allegedly threatened APW's promoter with physical harm and left the arena with $350 in hand without even working a match:
I may be a nobody, but I'd rather be that and professional and have REAL RESPECT, than be like @ttKozina1and his team ambition. Let's make a living in pro wrestling by robbing and threatening small local promoters. I can see how it's easy to "do this for a living."
I am disgraced and appalled that I ever shared a ring with those Team Ambition clowns. Disgusted that I ever looked up to and thought I would ever learn from those professionals. Know what I learned? How to be a real man and real professional and not cheat and rob indy. Promoters who put their hard earned money on the line to entertain people. Every one who sees this please RT everything I have to say.
Strife has also criticised Richards for completely crapping on Kevin Steen and CM Punk as workers during an afternoon seminar and Tony Kozina for shooting on 16-year-old Ryan Kidd during their match together the day before. If this is legitimate, then it paints Richards in a very bad light. An alternative account of the situation is added after the jump.
Update: More details on this shady affair from Dave Meltzer and a second opinion from someone backstage at the show in question have been added after the jump.
More information was shared on facebook by Josh Donner who attended the event in person:
Attn all Bookers; Tony Kozina, Wesley Richards and Kyle O'Reily are theives. They threatened physical harm to a promoter today, and left an arena with a payday without working. Please be sure to watch out when they inquire about a booking. They demand to change predetermined matches and showed up to the event an hour after it had started. When they were told that the company did not need to be on the card due to said actions, they refused to take that for an answer. I feel for all the people that were affected by this today, and hope that some sort of justice is served.
Dave Meltzer on his daily news update at f4wonline.com today confirmed the incident as legit and gave more insight into the problems between APW and Davey Richards:
On the third night for Adrenaline Pro, they asked (because Kozina's foot was hurt and O'Reilly's back was bothering him) to work against four guys from the promotion in one match instead of separate bouts. They ended up going back-and-forth with the local promoter and at one point, it fell apart. However, they showed up to get paid and Blodgett said there were even threats made against the 115-pound promoter. They arrived at the end of the show, the situation was diffused and had a last minute [agreement]. The promoter wanted to change the pay because they had changed the booking. Everything them seemed okay, as they got paid in advance as a sign of good faith and then Blodgett said they went out the back door and left. On Richards' Facebook he apparently called [themselves] Team Bandits instead of Team Ambition. Blodgett said he feels at fault since he put the deal together to bring them in and then they ripped off his friend.
I can shed some light...
The company I work for (3XW) helped a couple smaller local groups book Richards, Kozina, O'Reilly and one of their flunkies for a triple shot this weekend.
They worked for us Friday night. Everything went perfectly smooth. They were totally professional and already asking about coming back to work for us again.
Saturday night, I wasn't at the show. They set up camp outside the locker room, talking shit about everyone and everything involved with the show. Kozina went out for his match with Ryan, who is 16/17 years old, and told him he was changing the plan, and was going to teach him about respect. I haven't watched the video yet, but everyone I've talked to said he roughed the kid up, and legitimately choked him out in the finish.
Sunday afternoon, we show up at the venue and find the promoter, a friend of mine, pissed off. The show starts in 20 minutes and none of them have arrived. Davey has been texting him all day and is now demanding to change the card and put the four of them in an 8 man tag. Jeremy has already changed up the card for them multiple times through the day, but will not take them all out of separate matches, because of promises made to other workers, to the fans, and the price that had been negotiated for 4 separate matches. Show starts, Jeremy goes out and breaks the news to the crowd that they won't be on the show, and life goes on.
They finally do show up at the building before the main event goes on and demand to speak to Jeremy. He takes the issue out of the locker room and goes outside to meet them. They threaten to kick Jeremy's ass (and he's all of 140 pounds soaking wet) if he doesn't give them their money. He finally works out a deal that KOR and DR will work for a slightly reduced fee in the main event. He pays them upfront as a gesture of good faith (trying not to piss them off further, or get his ass kicked). They change into their gear and work out the plan for the match. As they're doing that, their stooge trainee is quietly running their bags back out to their truck. "Where's the wrist tape?" "Oh, I left it in the truck. Be right back." They run out the back door, into a waiting car with Kozina behind the wheel, the promoter out $350 mostly from his own pocket.