Main Story: Davey Richards Re-Signs w/ Ring of Honor
The biggest story in the world of wrestling, as far as is this guy is concerned, occurred on Friday evening when seemingly out of nowhere Davey Richards was pulled from all future Evolve and DGUSA events. The reasons why were puzzling, as both promotions were being built around him and it was even reported that he was a part owner of Evolve. The news ultimately broke that Davey Richards had re-signed a contract with Ring of Honor and suddenly everything seemed to materialize.
Davey Richards debuted in Ring of Honor in June '06 at the Destiny event, earning a victory over established ROH-star Jimmy Rave (a man, it could be claimed, was one of the biggest draws for the promotion in the year prior with his feuds against CM Punk, AJ Styles, and Generation Next). In all honesty, that's a hell of a start. In fact, then-ROH booker Gabe Sapolsky revealed recently that he had intended to debut Davey Richards much sooner with a non-title victory over then-ROH World Champion Bryan Danielson! To say that Gabe had deep interests in Davey would be an understatement. During his ROH tenure, Davey was always pushed hard.
In October '08, however, Gabe was ousted from Ring of Honor as booker (a story for another day) and it seemed that Davey's days as a potential future world champion for the promotion were over. In fact, MySpace blogs and interview comments from Davey revealed a certain disdain for the new regime in charge of Ring of Honor. Not to be deterred, Davey somewhat reinvented himself in '09 as 1/2 of the American Wolves (Wrestling Observer's Tag Team of the Year). When it seemed like Davey might be pushed to the backburner, through sheer force of will and effort he increased his star power.
In the not-to-far distance, former Ring of Honor booker Gabe Sapolsky was working deals with Bryan Danielson and Japanese-superstar CIMA. In fact, before DGUSA even came to be, Bryan and Gabe (according to Gabe) had begun brainstorming Evolve Wrestling. Evolve Wrestling was to be just what it sounds like, an "evolved" form of pro wrestling. As Bryan Alvarez mentioned in a radio interview with Gabe, it's not really evolved at all and instead harkens back to the days of wrestling when wins and losses meant something.
In addition to all this, with Bryan Danielson signing a WWE contract, Davey Richards became the "It" guy on the independent wrestling scene. In fact, Gabe, Sal Hamoui (Evolve co-owner, FIP owner, and former ROH producer), and now Davey Richards had come together to build Evolve Wrestling.
With the wheels turning, Gabe Sapolsky found work in another side project: DGUSA. Dragon Gate had long been the centerpiece and drawing points of ROH's spectacular "Wrestlemania Weekend"-events. With the idea that a limited number of shows per year could make good money, Dragon Gate began booking events in America under the name DGUSA with Gabe Sapolsky as head booker. It should come as no surprise given his fondness of Davey in ROH and his partnership with Davey in Evolve, then, that Gabe booked Davey as focal point American of the group.
Ultimately, the big showdown came. DGUSA announced that it not only intended on doing business in Arizona on Wrestlemania Weekend (essentially putting itself in competition with ROH), but that Davey Richards would be appearing on DGUSA shows. From the outside looking in, it seemed obvious that battle lines were being drawn and that Davey Richards had chosen his side and his side was with Gabe Sapolsky.
Then everything changed Friday night. Gabe Sapolsky's MySpace status told a quiet story: "betrayed." An infamous website with a penchant for bashing all things ROH is reporting that Davey used Evolve and DGUSA as a bargaining chip in getting himself a new, better ROH contract. In fact, it's already been announced by ROH that Davey will be appearing in Arizona for them - not DGUSA.
This author won't make those assertations, although in the long run it does seem like that. I can't speak for Davey's character as normal human being; only his personality that I see on my TV screen. The biggest issue for Davey will be what happens if he isn't pushed big (Tyler can give him advice on that), ROH folds, or worse, Cary Silken (ROH President) essentially cancels his contract. Davey is one of the most talented wrestlers in the world, but he's not big enough for the 'E. TNA would likely take him, but honestly, that's not a given. Fact is, his big money is going to come on the indy scene and right now, the indy scene is comprised of two major individuals: Cary Silken and Gabe Sapolsky (and one day soon, most likely, Mike Quackenbush). Gabe is notorious about not giving second chances to those who have burned bridges with him, and it would seem Davey hasn't just burned that bridge but single-handedly dismantled and destroyed it.
My Opinion is Right
Chris Jericho does not draw. It's simple. Some might argue that he's never been put in a position or pushed hard enough to do it, but I say this: sure he was Stephanie's lackey, but the Rock wrestled in a DOG SHIT MATCH. That's not for lack of effort on Jericho's behalf though. He simply doesn't resonate with the fans on the level of a John Cena or Steve Austin. Even last year when he was at the peak of his career (and make no mistake about it, being the first Undisputed Champion means jack compared to his lengthy headline program with Shawn Michaels), he wasn't pulling in the big money.
Part of this can be contributed to the fact that right now, John Cena is wrestling's only major draw. Even then, the biggest draw in wrestling isn't any one superstar. It's an acronym: WWE. The wrestling fanbase is to the point where it doesn't really care who's out there as long it's WWE. That's the major problem with wrestling now. There are no stars that fans genuinely would take a sick day to go see.
Of course, people could say that Vince & Co. never get behind someone long enough for them to get over. I call MALARKEY! Vince got behind Cena. Vince got behind Batista. Vince got behind Orton. Vince got behind Punk. The problem is, we as wrestling fans on the IWC tend to believe that talent = ratings. Talent does not, in fact, equal ratings. In fact, when the man who is most likely going to go down as the greatest wrestler of all time was in WWE by himself headlining - the promotion almost tanked. Shawn Michaels on top in 1996 was the closest WWE ever came to going under.
Vince pushes the type of people who have made him money in the past. Charismatic and big guys. Part of the reason that works is because he established a larger-than-life belief of what a wrestling superstar should be and fans grew to accept it. Ultimately, Chris Jericho doesn't meet that criteria.
He's still the best worker in WWE currently, though.
Spotlight On: Chuck Taylor
Now THAT'S a heel.