I have lost my faith in a lot of things, but I have not lost my faith in Davey Richards. Davey, 29, 5'8", 208#, caught my attention the very first time I saw video of him in a ring, attention only intensified when, sometime in 2011, he tapped into his inner Ravishing Rick Rude and switched from long tights to barelegged trunks and occasionally performed an impromptu bump-and-grind for the fans. His position as one of my personal saints was sealed by his charismatic performances in the two live shows I've seen him compete in. He combines elements of sexy, tough, and outrageous, lately finished with a sportsmanlike grace that defines him as a Ring of Honor star of the highest calibre.
In attitude, Davey combines elements of the late (tragic) Chris Benoit and (cult idol) Bret Hart, two wrestlers wrestling against inner demons (and promoters) as much as against their ring opponents. Unlike them, though, Davey, shadowy and haunted as he is, reflects a nobler form of machismo, willing to praise and turn the spotlight towards his opponents and give credit to the wrestlers and fans who have helped him along the way.
His appeal for me is helped by the fact that he has wrestled some of my favorite wrestlers, greatness requiring great adversaries and challenges. He has faced some of my favorite ROH stars on multiple occasions: Tyler Black, Roderick Strong, and his sometime partner Eddie Edwards. He has wrestled some of the best UK talent too: Prince Devitt, Zack Sabre Jr., and Lionheart. And, like any Western wrestler worth his salt, he has proved himself against the top Japanese competitors, men like YAMATO, BxB Hulk, and Kota Ibushi.
For intensity, Davey cannot be topped. The man looks like he's about to explode any second now. When briefly teamed with the equally intense Kyle O'Reilly, his protege, the two looked like two sticks of dynamite perilously close to a lit blowtorch. Almost too combustible, perhaps. Eddie Edwards, with his bovine air of calm, has been a better partner for Richards. As the American Wolves, their contrasting attitudes and physiques favorably complement each other. A career high point was, during their separation, the 7 September 2011 ROH match, which pitted Davey and Kyle against Eddie and his new boy, Adam Cole, Kyle's ex. Talk about fireworks!
In my opinion, Davey's at his very best as a lone wolf. A favorite singles match is this 10 August 2012 match in North Wales, in which Richards toughs it out toe to toe with one of Britannia Wrestling's top heels, CJ Banks, 5'7", 189#. I love this fight, partly because CJ is a good match for Davey (in both physique and fervor) and partly because CJ is a sumptuously evil heel--a man you can depend on for nostril-stretching, eye-clawing cheap shots, and Davey makes him pay dearly for them up to the end. Part of the greatness of this match is also due to the fact that British wrestling encourages the kind of sweaty mat and corner work that stirs my juices. Every unnhh and yaagh that Davey squeezes out of CJ, I feel somewhere deep inside.