FanPost edited and promoted to the front page by CagesideSeats.com.
For those who didn't read Keith Harris' post on Monday, Davey Richards and the other members of his "Team Ambition" seem to have been booked to wrestle on an indy show but, upset at the apparent disrespect paid to them, pocketed the money they'd been paid up front and ran. That's pretty scummy but there are worse things going on in the world. Hell, there were worse things going on in Iowa. What I find more interesting is that the day before, Richards' teammate Tony Kozina seems to have shot on a teenager that he'd been booked to fight.
The kid -- named, er, Ryan Kidd -- had cut a promo on Kozina in which he compared the guy to Louis XVI and himself to the French revolution. (Don't ask me.) When their match started, then, Kozina grabbed a microphone and said that it was going to be "a real wrestling contest." You can watch the match here. It's not the second coming of the Mass Transit incident but it's pretty nasty. He no-selled everything Kidd tried to do and then choked him out pretty brutally in a display that his opponent claims took him entirely by surprise.
I should say that it's dimly possible that the whole thing is a work. I rather doubt it, and it would be pretty stupid if it was, but everything in wrestling could be a work.
Kozina and his comrades seem to have thought this was hilarious. He retweeted a member of "Team Ambition" -- King Fale, who wrestles in NJPW -- saying...
...some wrestlers make a joke of wrestling. Just watched @TTKozina1 shoot on one of them. Make a mockery of this business you'll be delt with!
Ring of Honor's Kyle O'Reilly also wrote on his blog that ...
...it is nobody’s business but Tony and Ryan Kidd’s. They both know why this happened and Tony isn’t a bully, he’s a veteran that was providing a lesson to someone that had disrespected him.
If there's one unpleasant habit I thought wrestling had outgrown it's the idea that "disrespect" legitimizes assault. New Jack, the ECW performer who's also famous for jumping off high things, ranting like Charlie Sheen on more coke than you'd find in Columbia, and having scratches in his head that make Abdullah the Butcher's scalp look as smooth as a newborn babe's, is notorious for this. When he's felt "disrespected," he's attacked a 17-year-old with a chain and stabbed a wrestler with a metal blade. But then, that's New Jack. Who the hell knows what goes on in that man's head? The fact that other guys think similarly -- even though they wouldn't express their disapproval so ferociously -- is a bit grim.
Let's get this clear: if you get offended when somebody "disrespects" you in a wrestling promo, you're almost as silly as an actor who plays Willy in Death of a Salesman and gets offended because the dude playing Howard "disrespects" you. Of course they'll disrespect you, you sensitive flower. It's pro wrestling.
Even granting that it's possible for someone to be out of line in a promo, or to "make a joke of wrestling" or whatever, why does this give one the right to essentially beat them up? There's no other industry in which that would be tolerated. Plumbers don't get to beat their apprentices with basin wrenches if they aren't very good at putting pipes together. Shoe salesmen don't get to kick their interns with Dr. Martens on if they're a bit arrogant. David Lynch wouldn't get to attack an assistant with a boom pole if he'd said Mulholland Drive was overrated.
What makes pro wrestlers so special?
As for O'Reilly's suggestion that it's no one's business but Kozina and Kidd's, he's wrong. Assault is everyone's business, but especially the guys who might step inside the ring with the former man or those of his friends who feel that such behavior is legitimate.
I don't know them. Perhaps they've had a rotten few days and would be be reliable professionals at any other time. But pro wrestling depends on trust. When you step inside the ring with another man or woman you've got to believe that they'll be careful with your body because otherwise, as aerial moves are being performed and holds are being locked on, there's liable to be a misunderstanding and that's liable to end up in torn muscles and broken bones.
Gross as the storyline with Matt Hardy, Edge and Lita was, it can't be denied that those men were admirable in working their matches safely. If Hardy -- Matt freaking Hardy, who isn't exactly notorious for being a consummate professional -- could restrain himself from shooting on a man who slept with his girlfriend, anyone should be able to cope with being "disrespected."
If you can't, consider taking up another job. And if you want to really fight people, give UFC President Dana White a call.