Rise of the American Wolf

Davey Richards made his Ring of Honor debut at “Destiny” on June 3, 2006 and quickly found success in the company by defeating Jimmy Rave in his first match. He quickly turned heads and made fans with his physical, ruthless style. One of those people was KENTA, who adopted Richards as his protégé.

Richards would eventually join Roderick Strong and create the No Remorse Corps. It was during this time that Richards had his first opportunity to capture gold in Ring of Honor. He and Strong challenged Naruki Doi and Shingo for the ROH World Titles in Liverpool, England on March 3, 2007, but they were unsuccessful.  Rocky Romero joined the No Remorse Corps that same month and the three men challenged the then-champions Briscoe Brothers in various incarnations. Richards and Romero were unsuccessful in winning the titles from the Briscoes in November 2007, while Richards and Strong lost a two out of three falls match to the Briscoes in December of the same year in New York City.

Richards and Romero were finally able to capture the ROH World Tag Team Titles January 26, 2008 in an Ultimate Endurance match that featured the teams of Jimmy Jacobs and Tyler Black, Bryan Danielson and Austin Aries and BJ Whitmer and Brent Albright. They would hold onto the belts for nearly four months before losing the belts to the Briscoe Brothers. During their title reign they successfully defended their title against Ruckus and Jigsaw on two separate occasions.

Richards turned his back on the No Remorse Corps and joined Larry Sweeney and his faction Sweet & Sour, Inc. It was during this time that he would begin teaming with Eddie Edwards and the American Wolves were formed. Their first match as a tag team was at “All-Star Extravaganza IV” in a triple threat tag team match that also featured the Briscoe Brothers and the European Union. The Wolves were able to eliminate the European Union, but were ultimately beaten by the Briscoes. The American Wolves then entered into tag team title contention, but were unable to capture the title from Kevin Steen and El Generico on two separate tries.

The feud between the Wolves and Steen and Generico reached its boiling point at the April 10, 2009 ROH on HDNet television tapings when the two teams squared off in a tables are legal match with the ROH World Tag Team Titles on the line. The Wolves were finally able to win the titles after a brutal match. They would hold onto the belts for over eight months and defended their titles in a variety of matches. Their feud with Steen and Generico continued and the Wolves defeated them in both a submission match and, at “Glory by Honor VIII,” the second ever Ladder War, in which Edwards competed with a broken elbow. They ultimately lost the belts to the Briscoes at “Final Battle 2009,” but there was no denying that the Wolves title reign had been a success.

It was during the title reign with Edwards when Richards began receiving ROH World Title opportunities. He first chance at the ROH World Title was at “Aries vs Richards” in November 2009 when he challenged Austin Aries for the belt. He came up short in his first title opportunity, but he gave Aries everything he could handle and proved himself as a future World Champion.

Richards’ next chance at singles gold was a bit more personal. He battled his American Wolves tag team partner in the finals of the tournament to crown the first ever ROH Television champion. The two teammates battled for nearly twenty minutes and hit each other with everything they had. Edwards was ultimately able to pick up the victory, and the title, after Richards tapped out to the Achilles Lock.

The American Wolves focused on singles action for much of 2010, although they would team together several times throughout the year. Richards received two ROH World Title matches in 2010. The first was against Tyler Black at “Death Before Dishonor VIII” in June. Many fans thought that Richards would be the one to beat Black for the belt and it looked like they were right for most of the match. Black hit Richards with everything he had but he could never put him away. The same could be said for Richards, as well. Richards’ time had not come yet, however, and he fell to Black in what many considered to be the Match of the Year.

Richards would get another chance to win the ROH World Title at “Final Battle 2010” against Roderick Strong. Once again, fans thought he was the favorite going into the match. Once again, though, he was unable to win the title. Richards suffered a concussion during the physical match in which both wrestlers pulled out all the stops. Strong won the match after referee Todd Sinclair called for the bell when he deemed Richards was unable to continue.

Jim Cornette announced that Richards would get another shot at the title whenever he wanted, but Richards said he did not want to waste the fans’ time and he would only challenge for the title once he thought he was ready. He also said his next shot at the title would be his last shot. Richards would go on to wrestle wrestlers of different disciplines to prepare himself for his final title opportunity. It was during this time that his American Wolves brother Eddie Edwards defeated Roderick Strong for the ROH World Title at “Manhattan Mayhem IV.” Richards was one of the first people to congratulate Edwards after the match and even strapped the belt around his waist.

Richards then claimed that he would not challenge Edwards for the title. He said that he does not want to end his brother’s dream. The American Wolves teamed up once again at “Honor Takes Center Stage: Chapter Two” in April 2011 to wrestle Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team in a dream match. The Wolves lost the match and after the match it seemed like tensions were beginning to run high between the two. Edwards then offered a challenge to Richards at “Super Card of Honor VI” and said that if Richards doesn’t fight him he will walk away from Ring of Honor. Richards reluctantly agreed and the match was made for June 26 at “Best in the World 2011” in New York City.

The match itself was as great as everyone expected it to be. The two best wrestlers in the world battled for nearly 40 minutes in a classic match that saw Edwards try to prove that he was better than Richards and retain his belt. Richards held nothing back from his teammate and they both delivered brutal shots to each other throughout the match. Richards was able to beat Edwards after delivering a sick running kick to Edwards’ head and he was finally crowned ROH World champion.

He was very emotional in the post-match speech he delivered. Edwards and Richards shared a hug and showed that they were still brothers despite just destroying each other for over 30 minutes. Richards thanked the fans for believing in him when nobody else would. He told the fans that they are the reason he wrestles and that wrestling is all he has. The speech included him telling his grandparents that he finally did it and he was noticeably emotional. Edwards strapped the belt around his waist much like Richards did for him in March. “Best in the World 2011” went off the air as Richards celebrated in the crowd.

Richards has been on the hunt in Ring of Honor for over five years. The hunt has continued through various factions and tag teams and included two runs as tag team champion. The hunt continued through disappointing title losses and injuries. The hunt is going to continue with Richards holding the ROH World Title. Richards has proven that the hunt never dies.

Jon Shumake

Jon has been with ROHWorld since March 2011. The American Bearded Nightmare is one half of 'Team America' on ROHCast, which is available every week on ROHWorld, iTunes and Stitcher.