|Pictured: Proof that maturity doesn't always come with age.|
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
Well, things have gotten even more interesting in the Team Ambition vs. Iowa independent wrestling. First off, David Bixenspan, formerly of Cageside Seats and currently of Bleacher Report, sent off this account via TwitLonger:
I can shed some light...The report was not written by him, for what it's worth, but he also doesn't source it. That being said, the account was written by someone who works for 3XW. Everything up to the last paragraph seems to be a collated set of all the information dispersed by random Tweeters so far. That last paragraph, the part I bolded, is the real news. Ring of Honor right now is kinda hurting for talent, so for them to outright let Richards walk to me seems a bit odd. No explanation was given, so it's hard to make any kind of sense of it. Richards has promised to retire at the end of the year like he has before, so maybe it was his call. Or maybe ROH was the one who severed for whatever reason? I have no idea, so we'll just leave it at "he's not in ROH anymore".
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.
Meanwhile nearly every reference to it on Facebook from someone involved gets a bunch of responses from the four of them tagged #TeamBandit and other shit, basically bragging about getting away with it.
Calls have been made to ROH and Sinclair, but apparently Richards has been done with ROH for a few weeks now and is not being brought back.
Obviously, most of what's been disseminated so far has been from the accusing side. Kyle O'Reilly broke the silence from Team Ambition in this blog. It's a longer read than even what I posted from Bix, but it really is worth reading. O'Reilly here is far, far, FAR more eloquent than what Richards and Kozina were in that Facebook thread I posted earlier. Here are pertinent excerpts:
Following my match the previous night and our training session that morning, my back had been giving me a lot of grief... we decided amongst ourselves it would be best for everybody involved if we got our singles matches changed to an 8 man tag team match for the show. ... After several back and forth attempts of an agreement, he simply told us we were then cancelled off his show. “You can’t just cancel us like this” Tony replied, “I just did” was his response. Let me remind you we are in the middle of a cornfield laden highway in friggen Iowa and we’re being told that we no longer have a booking for today and to just go home.A fair request if true.
So after dealing with all of this we continue to negotiate some way for us to wrestle and make at least some of the money that we were promised. I’m starting to feel bad for the guy as he clearly has no idea how to run a wrestling promotion, (bear in mind I have no idea either). He then has the audacity to say and I quote:Yeah, that's pretty much hubris on the promoter's part if he said that.
“Well nobody here really knows who you guys are anyway…”
o we agreed to work a tag, Davey and myself against 2 of his guys, who I wont mention because after all the shit talking they’ve done in the last 24 hours they don’t deserve any more publicity. We take a pay cut, yet still enough to cover our gas and all of our food for the day, put our gear on, got paid and walked out the back door.There, O'Reilly admits to taking the money and leaving. That much isn't in doubt. However, there are differing takes on what went down. So, which is right? I have no idea except that it's somewhere in the middle. Either way, it's an ugly situation, and the only thing I know is that Kyle O'Reilly, the youngest person of the bunch, is the only one involved who has handled it with any kind of tact or professionalism. Whether you agree with him or not, he deserves credit for trying to bring some sanity to a pissing match driven by pure ego.
Was what we did wrong and unethical? Perhaps. Was what we did completely justified and reasonable? Perhaps. The fact of the matter was we felt disrespected and so “give and you shall receive”. The point being that sometimes you have to be the bad guy and stand up for what you believe in. I’ll be completely honest in saying the entire thing made me feel really uncomfortable and I felt a sense of guilt. Am I going to apologize? Absolutely not, because you have to live and die by the sword. Regardless of regrets, one must stand by their decisions and at the end of the day a guy disrespected two of my close friends that I look up to and that’s simply, morally wrong.
So yeah, I think that's all that really needs to be said about this. Just an ugly incident from an industry that if peeled back to see below the surface is really ugly. So yeah, maybe I'll just stick to what happens on screen.