RATNW Interview with Davey Richards
April 30, 2006 -- by Mike Rodgers --

Ring Around The Northwest is a monthly publication that covers action in the NW. Ring Around The Northwest has been around for over 20 years. Each issue features a interview with a current or past NW star. Some of the past interviews include Lou Thesz, Don Leo Jonathon, John Tolos, Pampero Firpo, Red Bastein, Mad Dog Vachon, Christopher Daniels, American Dragon, Dory Funk Jr, Tim Flowers, Moondog Moretti and many, many others. You can order Ring Around The Northwest from Mike Rodgers, 2740 SE Lewellyn, Troutdale, Or 97060. [email protected] I also have a gigantic library of results available from all over the world. You can e mail for more details.

RATNW: How did you get interested in wrestling and were you a fan growing up?

Richards: I was a fan of WCW wrestling as I used to watch it with my grandfather, but quit watching before the whole "attitude" era took place. I liked the NWA guys growing up, like Arn and Tully, Barry Windham, and Ricky Steamboat.

RATNW: I know I have read that you did a portion of your training at WCW's power plant. Talk a little about that experience. Who helped train you and who did you train with. (Were you from here and went to train at the Power Plant or were you from there and moved here?)

Richards: I'm from and still live in Othello,WA, its a very small town in Eastern Washington, I packed up and drove to Atlanta to train at the powerplant after a promoter talked to me about wrestling at a MMA event. My trainers there were Buddy Lee Parker and Paul Orndorf. WCW had closed down a while before that so a guy named Frank had bought the school and continued running it. I trained with just local guys, most would come and go after a week or so. I was born in the NW, but as far as wrestling I've never really done a whole lot in the NW, I have different ideas on the way things should be than alot of guys around here so we clash often, so my work often is elsewhere. Michelle Starr was the one whom hooked me up with Tony Kozina and Kozina got me Portland Wrestling for a short while.

RATNW: What made you decide to go to the Power Plant rather then be trained locally?

Richards: The reason I went to the power plant is because the promoter I talked to at the MMA event suggested them and I had no idea that Tony Kozina (or any one) was training people locally otherwise i would have went there.

RATNW: Talk a little about training with Paul Orndorff & Buddy Lee Parker...What was Orndorff like?

Richards: Orndorff was awesome, his physical prime is behind, but just hearing him talk about storytelling, show people your face, emotion and expressions, body language was just awesome, he was an excellent teacher. Buddy Lee made me puke more times than anyone in my life, but he wanted us to respect pro wrestling and earn our keep, and I owe him alot for it.

RATNW: Did you like Georgia? Did you have any matches?

Richards: I loved Georgia, the humidity killed me, but oh well. I didn't have any matches the first time i was there, but when i went back I worked for NWA Wildside a couple of time, nothing much to speak of, i was still very green.

RATNW: . Talk a little about your first match, where it was, who it was against and any memories.

Richards: My first match was against Mr. Sexy in Tacoma,Wa, it was a little 5 minute match, very simple. I remember being very nervous, and very excited and focused. It was good for what it was and I thank Mr. Sexy for the match.

RATNW: I found it, ICW, Oct 18th, 02. Tacoma. You worked as Davey Phoenix. How did you enjoy that and how was Tim to work for?

Richards: Wow, so long ago, mmm it was ok. I wasn't ready to be in the ring just yet, the training there was very so-so, it was just a ring in this guys front yard, you had to show up (most times me by myself) and pull the tarps off and work out, but still they gave me an opportunity to work and I'm grateful for that. Tim is well, Tim. I didn't know him much, we never really talked, he never trained me in my time there, most of it was Sonny Omara (great guy). I left after a short time there to train somewhere else the right way. ICW has a good thing going for themselves, I just got a really weird vibe from them, oh well.

RATNW: I know that I have read that you have had a hip replacement? You are very young to have had that type of surgery. Was it from wrestling?

Richards: I had a hip replacement at 10 years old, it was from BMXing. I tried to make a big jump and well, didn't make it. it was reinjured through kickboxing when I was 16. But now its as good as gold. It has completely healed, the doctors did a fantastic job, oddly, its my other leg that gives me trouble now and then.

RATNW: Since arriving here in the NW. Your name pops up all over the west coast. You have done and continue to do a lot of traveling for your career. Talk a little about that, is it still fun or does the traveling become a chore? Do you have some transportation stories.

Richards: Traveling is fun sometimes, when me and Kozina get together and drive its the best, we find tons of humor in things most people don't find funny at all. I fly out alot now and jet lag is becoming a problem, plus I have to drive 3 hours to Seatac to fly out, but when you get there its all worth it. HMmm stories, ok , the first road trip to work a show was me,Kozina, Robby Lance, and Damon Scythe. We were working for Pro WRestling IRON in Hayward,CA. Me, Rob and Damon are at Tony's house waiting for Tony with the rental car, he calls us up and says he got a free upgrade, now we all though ok he got a suburban or van or something. Tony shows up in a freaking mustang that somehow were all supposed to cram in with our luggage, it was the most uncomfortable 12 hour drive of my life. Tony's heavy metal blasting at 3 am when im trying to sleep is another. Oh ok, so it was me and Tony coming back from LA onetime and its about 1 am and I'm drinking a diet pepsi in one of those 20 oz. bottles, tony chews, so he spits in old empty 20 oz. bottles, so on accident I drink some of tony chew-spit crap and threw up everywhere, i was pissed.

RATNW: You have worked for several promotions in the LA area, most notably WAR and Pro Wrestling Guerrilla. I know that WAR has closed, but talk a little about each of these promotions. On paper their cards always looked very good.

Richards: WAR was what I started out at in LA, Kozina got me on that. I really enjoyed my time there, and they really gave me a shot when no one else would. I started as the opening match there, and by the time they closed I was main eventing against guys like Low Ki. So it was good to work my way up the ladder using the opportunities they gave me. WAR had many financial troubles that plagued it from the start so that ultimately led to its demise. They had a lot of fun shows and will be missed. PWG is the top promotion on the west coast hands down. They have the best talent from all over the country on their cards. The crowds are always big and very loud and rowdy, Their the best. They have given me so many great opportunities. I've gotten to work all the top guys through them and learn tons and get alot of exposure. People in the NW have no idea what their missing, they should buy some PWG DVD's, head and shoulders above anything else on the west coast.

RATNW: Now I know that you were able to go to Europe with Pro Wrestling Guerrilla. Talk a little about that and please tell as many stories as you can. What did you enjoy seeing there.

Richards: Yes, it was fun we worked in Essen, Germany on saturday and Kent, England on Sunday, great, great, great crowds. The 12 hour flights weren't the funniest, but oh well.  The Germany venue is amazing, they pack about 400 hundred in this tiny night club and their no seats, so the fans are right up to the ring apron and they are pounding on the mat the entire time. It was surreal. We drew more than Kobashi and Misawa that were there the week before so the whole trip was a great success. In England they packed all of us on to a tour bus(very cool) and AJ Styles brings on this little air plastic pallet gun, and kept shooting people when they go to the bathroom, so he shoots Chris Bosh when he is taking a crap and Bosh gets pissed and chases him out with his pants down all pissed off, very funny.

RATNW: Lets talk about wrestling styles and how wrestling is evolving. A year or so ago, I got an old tape of Mad Dog Vachon & Verne Gagne. I watched in amazement as they worked a test of strength that went to a surfboard hold and back and forth. The sequence went 4 minutes or so before they went on to something else. I was totally enthralled in it. Now wrestlers probably wouldn't even do that spot and the fans wouldn't want to see it. But why? If the VG-MDV was good then and it holds up, why don't we see things like that today?

Richards: Because too many people that shouldn't be in the business are in the business. Ok things are going to get ugly from here on out, these are my opinions not RATNW's.  CPW/WCWC are two prime examples of this, untrained guys who have hung around long enough and are now in the shows, killing the business, No work ethic. Not everyone fits this bill in these promotions, but there are many. No one has to earn and pay dues anymore and take it seriously, if they hang around long enough they get in. The reason you don't see wrestling anymore like that is that no one studies that, they watch the "cool" moves, think of a name and get a trampoline and are a worker. They don't understand pacing, logic, and building in their matches. They just want to get pop's at any cost. The reason the 5 minute test of strength worked, is because you believed it, you felt it. Wrestling is all about emotion, not movement. You believed these guys were fighting with all they had, because every single thing about explained them, their look, their talk, their walk, they were professional, I don't buy half of the crap in the NW anymore, its very very generic.

RATNW: I catch some of the current wrestling in small doses and see guys like Samoa Joe and Christopher Daniels and AJ Styles, Jack Evans. You have been in the ring with all these guys recently. Talk about working with them, the wrestlers who would have to be considered the tops in wrestling.

Richards: All of these guys are very professional, look at the names and each fits the character they portray to a T.  Samoa Joe is amazing, makes everyone think he's stiff and murders people and looks legit. He taught me alot about progressive selling and such, great guy, just kicks harder than a damn truck. Daniel's is so, so, so smart when it comes to wrestling, his structure is amazing, and always thinks I'm going to kill him with my offense. AJ I love, but he dropped me on my damn head last week, so I'm mad. No J/K he's great guy and probably the best athlete in wrestling. Jack Evans is not human, me and Super Dragon have decided. no human can flip and bend like that, its not possible, we tried. Jack is simply amazing to watch with his high flying, great guy.

RATNW: Since you have been in the ring with guys of that caliber, does that give you more confidence. Do you feel like you are getting close to breaking into their level?

Richards: Oh yes, I've learned so much from them, more in the last 6 months than the previous year. As far as being on their level, lets just say by the end of April, things are going to get VERY interesting in pro wrestling.

RATNW: How would you describe your style? I see a little of all your favorites in your style. (Benoit, D Kid and Arn Anderson).

Richards: My main influences are Dynamite, Benoit, Arn and Flair. These guys are just work rate machines, they looked like fighters as well. Took what they did seriously. My style hmmm, very basic, very believable. I really like the early 90's NJPW jr. style like Benoit, Guerrero, Kanemoto, Malenko, ect. I just try to draw the crowd in and be myself out there, seems like its working. I do include some of my MMA experience into my matches, because well, thats me, If you can make it logical and make it work and look good, then your going to be ok.

RATNW: You have worked for almost all the promotions in the NW and have also seen what things are like outside of the NW. What is your thoughts of the state of wrestling in the NW?

Richards: Well, i kinda went off subject a few questions back and somewhat touched on this. There is alot of good, ECCW has a great thing going up there, some guys still don't get it, but most do, and its a great show they put and they all work hard. Starr has really given these guys tons of opportunity to work and thats why their number 1 in the PNW. Pinnacle has a tremendous thing going, they are doing business, yes they are small, but quantity does not equal quality. They are the show to keep on an eye on. CPW is a very sad, sad place. Untrained guys, just a bunch of matches, not a building show, no work ethic, no one looks like a wrestler, very generic and unbelievable. Portland I cannot comment on since i haven't seen a show in quite sometime. WCWC I hope to God has changed because when the promoter is telling me he knows alot of his talent sucks, there is a problem. However, the NW has a really solid fan base, a local wrestling community, which is awesome. we have some amazing veterans like Denton, Piper, ect. ect. to learn from. There is alot of opportunity to work, its just the workers don't seem to care. The NW wrestling scene is very special, its very good and vibrant just alot of the wrestlers aren't.

RATNW: Who impresses you that wrestles in the NW?

Richards: Caden Mathews, Laramie Lexow (put on some size!!) Len Denton, Tod Ruhl and Jewels have a very awesome work ethic and are going to go far. Many guys from ECCW and Pinnacle, Pinnacle guys are so hungry man, they just want to learn, they listen to advice, they are all going to be very good, just wait. These guys who want to work and be good at what they do, sadly not a common thing among alot of new guys in the NW.

RATNW. You have opened up a school in Eastern Washington. How is that going and how many students have you had?

Richards: The school is going well, I've turned down more students than I've accepted, the ones I do have are working very hard and are hungry to learn, thats what counts.

RATNW: Any humorous stories or ribs that you have come across in wrestling.

Richards: HMMMMM, ok here is one. When me, Robby Lance were at the New Japan dojo, I was taking clenbuterol, which is used for burning fat, yes, its illegal. Hey everyone welcome to wrestling. So there is this guy there from Nova Scotia there. Robby and I had gone out to check out the beach or something and I left the pills in my bag in my locker. We return to the dojo and the guys are talking about this guy that got hurt and the paramedics came and they found my clen and called the cops and now I have 48 hours to respond or their coming back to find out whose pills they were. I was seriously scared shitless. Luckily he told me it was a rib and after my heart climbed back into my chest, everything was cool.

RATNW: On your website, your goal is listed as winning the GHC jr title for Noah. Have you had any contact with Noah about working for them.

Richards: Actually in July, Super Dragon and myself are going back to germany for PWG vs. NOAH , yes I've had contact with them and New Japan and Dragon Gate and Zero 1. My first tour of japan will be this year.

RATNW: You are scheduled to wrestle in the ECWA Super 8 Tournament. Talk about what that opportunity means for you. (Davey went on to win the Tournament. Hopefully more details next issue)

Richards: It is an awesome opportunity and I'm really looking forward to it, this years super 8 is a special being the 10th anniversary so I fell really lucky to be apart of it.

RATNW: You have just signed with Ring of Honor. Talk about what that means to you.

Richards: Signing with ROH is a very big deal for me, it gives me the oppurtuntity to showcase what I can do to a broader audience. I really like the "athletic" style ROH represents and think we will compliment each other well. They have tremendous talent over there and I look forward to testing myself against all of them.

RATNW: What are your hobbies?

Richards: I like to watch movies alot, I enjoy watching wrestling and MMA as well as lifting weights. I really like listening to old country music like Hank Williams Jr and Johnny Cash. I really have no life, its kind of sad. Between wrestling and school I don't do much else.

RATNW: This is a question that I haven't really asked before. What did your family think about you getting into wrestling?

Richards: My family was supportive, they're huge wrestling fans so they are excited, they worry about injuries and travel, but they see the progress I've made and their proud.

by Mike Rodgers..





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