Richards making his ring entrance in 2013.
|Birth name||Wesley David Richards|
|Ring name(s)||Davey Phoenix
|Billed height||5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)|
|Billed weight||208 lb (94 kg)|
March 1, 1983 |
|Billed from||Othello, Washington|
|Trained by||Tony Kozina
Wesley David "Davey" Richards (born March 1, 1983) is an American professional wrestler, currently signed to Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA). He is best known for his time in Ring of Honor, and has also wrestled for several independent promotions, most notably Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (PWG).
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 New Japan Pro Wrestling, where he is a two-time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champion.
Richards is a four-time world champion, having won the ROH and PWG World Championships once each and the Full Impact Pro (FIP) World Heavyweight Championship twice. He is also a seven-time World Tag Team Champion, having won the PWG World Tag Team Championship three times (with Super Dragon twice and Roderick Strong once),the ROH World Tag Team Championship three times (once with Rocky Romero and twice with Eddie Edwards) as well as winning the TNA World Tag Team Championship once (with Eddie Edwards). Richards and Romero are also former IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions. 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.
- 1 Professional wrestling career
- 1.1 Early career
- 1.2 Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (2005–2013)
- 1.3 Ring of Honor
- 1.4 New Japan Pro Wrestling (2010–2012)
- 1.5 Other promotions
- 1.6 Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (2014-present)
- 2 Personal life
- 3 In wrestling
- 4 Championships and accomplishments
- 5 References
- 6 External links
Professional wrestling career
Prior to entering 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. Richards also spent time training with Paul Orndorff in Atlanta, while working at the same time at a Duracell factory an hour-and-a-half drive away in Cleveland, Tennessee.
Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (2005–2013)
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. 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 mask and revealing him as T.J. Perkins, starting a rivalry between the two. 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.
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. 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. 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. On September 13, 2010, Richards was stripped of the title, when he was unable to defend it due to other booking commitments.
Richards returned to PWG during the WrestleReunion 5 weekend on January 29, 2011, in a match, where he defeated by Low Ki. 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). In his next PWG appearance on September 10, Richards unsuccessfully challenged Kevin Steen for the PWG World Championship. During December 2013's All Star Weekend X, Richards announced it would be his final weekend with the promotion. On December 21, Richards was defeated by Ricochet in his PWG farewell match.
Ring of Honor
Kenta's protégé (2006–2007)
On June 3, 2006, Richards made his debut with Ring of Honor (ROH) at Destiny by defeating Jimmy Rave. 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.
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. The next night, Richards faced his mentor in a singles match at Fight of the Century; he was unable to secure a victory.
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; the pair was later joined by Rocky Romero. The No Remorse Corps was involved in a feud with Aries's faction The Resilience. 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. 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 (2008–2011)
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.
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. As the American Wolves gained contendership for the ROH World Tag Team Championship, 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 Championship from Steen and Generico in a Tables are Legal match. 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.
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 title 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.
On January 29, 2010, ROH announced that Richards had signed a contract renewal with the company. 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. 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. 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.
World Champion (2011–2012)
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. 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. On September 11, 2010, at Glory By Honor IX, Jim Cornette announced that Richards had signed a new contract with Ring of Honor. At the following pay-per-view, Final Battle 2010 on December 18, Richards unsuccessfully challenged Roderick Strong for the ROH World Championship. 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. On August 10 ROH announced that Richards had signed a contract extension with the promotion. At Final Battle 2011, Richards successfully defended the championship against Edwards.
At the January 7, 2012, tapings of Ring of Honor Wrestling, Richards formed Team Ambition with Kyle O'Reilly, opposite Eddie Edwards and Adam Cole. Outside of ROH, the team also came to include Tony Kozina. On March 4 at the 10th Anniversary Show, Team Ambition was defeated by Edwards and Cole in a main event tag team match, with Cole pinning Richards for the win. During the Showdown in the Sun weekend on March 30 and 31, Richards first successfully defended the ROH World Championship in a three-way elimination match against Eddie Edwards and Roderick Strong and then in a singles match against Michael Elgin. Richards' match with Elgin was later given a five star rating by Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. On May 12 at Border Wars, Richards lost the ROH World Championship to Kevin Steen, ending his reign at 321 days. On June 24 at Best in the World 2012: Hostage Crisis, Richards received his final shot at the ROH World Championship as long as Steen was champion, but was unsuccessful in his attempt to regain the title.
American Wolves reunion (2012–2013)
On December 16 at Final Battle 2012: Doomsday, Richards reunited with Eddie Edwards in a tag team match, where they defeated Bobby Fish and Kyle O'Reilly. Following their win, the American Wolves received a shot at the ROH World Tag Team Championship, but were defeated by the defending champions, the Briscoe Brothers, on January 18, 2013. On August 3, the American Wolves defeated the Forever Hooligans (Alex Koslov and Rocky Romero) to win the ROH World Tag Team Championship for the second time. They lost the title to reDRagon (Bobby Fish and Kyle O'Reilly) on August 17. On September 20 at Death Before Dishonor XI, the American Wolves unsuccessfully challenged the Forever Hooligans for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship. On November 30, Richards announced that he had parted ways with ROH. ROH later claimed that the promotion had decided to part ways with Richards due to his "unprofessionalism and unreliability with the company".
New Japan Pro Wrestling (2010–2012)
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. After the tournament Richards began working regularly for New Japan Pro Wrestling, joining the promotion's top heel stable Chaos, and no longer made appearances for Pro Wrestling Noah. In November 2010 Richards and Rocky Romero, reviving the No Remorse Corps name, 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. On December 11, 2010, Richards received a shot at the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship, but was defeated by the defending champion, Prince Devitt. On May 3, 2011, Richards and Romero unsuccessfully challenged Devitt and Ryusuke Taguchi, known collectively as Apollo 55, for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship. 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. On June 10, Richards was eliminated from the tournament in the semifinals by the eventual winner of the entire tournament, Kota Ibushi. 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. Richards and Romero made their first successful title defense on November 12 at Power Struggle, defeating the team of Kushida and Tiger Mask. As a result of pinning Prince Devitt in the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship match, Richards was granted another shot at his IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship on December 4, but failed in his attempt to become a double champion. On January 4, 2012, at Wrestle Kingdom VI in Tokyo Dome, Richards and Romero lost the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship back to Devitt and Taguchi. On February 12 at The New Beginning, the No Remorse Corps defeated Apollo 55 to regain the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship. As a result, Richards received his third shot at the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship on March 10, but was yet again defeated by Prince Devitt. On May 2, Richards and Romero were stripped of the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship, after a car accident forced Richards to miss his flight to Japan and the following day's Wrestling Dontaku 2012 event, where the two were scheduled to defend the title against Jushin Liger and Tiger Mask. Despite being able to wrestle in the United States, New Japan also pulled Richards from the 2012 Best of the Super Juniors tournament, citing doctor's orders.
Richards has also done extensive tours of Japan, debuting in 2007 with Pro Wrestling Noah. He made a tour of the company again the following summer, competing in tag team matches. Richards was scheduled to return to Noah on November 27, 2013, working an entire tour, which would culminate in him challenging Taiji Ishimori for the GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship. However, on November 25, Richards announced that he had suffered a neck injury and would be forced to pull out of the tour.
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. He would regain the title a month later at DGUSA Fearless.
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.
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. 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. 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. After BxB Hulk won the championship later that night, Richards challenged him to a championship match before attacking him. He also began competing for DGUSA's parent promotion, Dragon Gate, and completed a tour with them in December 2009.
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. 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. On March 22 Richards was stripped of the FIP World Heavyweight Championship and will not be wrestling for that company in the future either. Following his departure from ROH, Richards returned to Evolve on January 10, 2014, unsuccessfully challenging AR Fox for the Evolve Championship.
On April 2, 2010, the American Wolves traveled to Squared Circle Wrestling (2CW) and won the 2CW Tag Team Championship from Cheech and Cloudy in Watertown, New York. They held the title for four months before losing them to Colin Delaney and Jimmy Olsen on August 22, 2010.
From June 30 to July 2, 2012, Richards took part in World Wrestling Council's (WWC) Anniversario weekend in Puerto Rico. On the first two nights, he was defeated in singles matches by Ray Gonzalez and Chris Angel and, on the final night, he and Melina were defeated in a mixed tag team match by Velvet Sky and Xix Savant.
In August 2013, after their contracts with ROH had expired, Richards and Eddie Edwards took part in a tryout camp for WWE, where they were described as "standing out of everyone". On November 18, Richards and Edwards entered the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida for another week-long tryout. Three days later, Richards and Edwards, working under the ring names Derek Billington and John Cahill, respectively, and billed together as "The American Pitbulls", made their WWE NXT debut, losing to NXT Tag Team Champions The Ascension (Konnor and Viktor) in a non-title match. The following month, Richards announced that his time on the independent circuit was coming to an end, implying that he had signed a developmental contract with WWE.
Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (2014-present)
On the January 16, 2014 episode of Impact Wrestling, Richards made his Total Nonstop Action Wrestling debut alongside his American Wolves teammate Eddie Edwards in a segment with TNA President Dixie Carter, where she welcomed them and then offered them a tryout match on the following episode of Impact Wrestling before they informed her that they had already signed contracts with the company, courtesy of the private investor, MVP. On February 23 2014 he and Eddie won the TNA World Tag Team Champions at a live event in Morgantown, West Virginia. After a week-long reign, The Wolves lost the title back to The BroMans at Wrestle-1's Kaisen: Outbreak event in Tokyo, Japan in a three-way match, which also included Team 246 (Kaz Hayashi and Shuji Kondo).
In 2008, Richards married Jennifer, better known as female professional wrestler Christie Summers. In addition to professional wrestling, Jennifer is also a competitive bodybuilder in the figure class. The couple separated sometime in 2010, leading Richards to reevaluate his retirement plans. In October 2013, Richards mentioned in a blog posting on the Ring of Honor website that he was "freshly engaged". He was originally set to marry her on March 30, 2014 but the event was evidently scrapped as Richards was booked by TNA to work a house show in Spencer, Iowa.
In a June 2010 interview, Richards stated that he planned to quit the wrestling business by the end of the year to concentrate on other areas of his life. However, he later withdrew those plans. Richards is a trained paramedic and is training to become a firefighter. He also wants to obtain a black belt in jujutsu.
- Finishing moves
- 14:59 (Keylock)
- Cross armbreaker
- DR Driver / Tiger Driver '98 (Double underhook piledriver, sometimes from the second rope)
- DR Driver II (Double underhook brainbuster)
- Diving double foot stomp
- Folding powerbomb – NJPW
- Kimura with neckscissors
- Sharpshooter – NJPW
- Shooting star press
- Signature moves
- Alarm Clock / Go 2 Sleep II / Hammer of the Gods (Pop-up lifting kick to the opponent's midsection)
- Ankle lock
- Body slam
- Diving leg drop
- Double knee backbreaker
- Fireman's carry gutbuster
- Horse Collar (Over the shoulder single leg Boston crab)
- Invader (Diving double foot stomp)
- Multiple kick variations
- Multiple suplex variations
- Running elbow smash to a cornered opponent
- Running powerslam
- Running sitout powerbomb
- Snap DDT
- Suicide dive
- With Eddie Edwards
- Double team finishing moves
- Double team signature moves
- With Rocky Romero
- With Super Dragon
- Double team finishing moves
- Double team signature moves
- Entrance themes
Championships and accomplishments
- Futureshock Wrestling
- FSW Championship (1 time)
- New Japan Pro Wrestling
- Pro Wrestling Guerrilla
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- Ring of Honor
- SoCal Uncensored
- Match of the Year (2006) with Super Dragon vs. Roderick Strong and Jack Evans, March 4, Pro Wrestling Guerrilla
- Squared Circle Wrestling
- 2CW Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Eddie Edwards
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Davey Richards.|
- Official website
- Ring of Honor profile
- Dragon Gate USA profile
- Full Impact Pro profile
- Online World of Wrestling profile