|O'Reilly and Richards, along with their trainer Kozina, stand accused of some heinous shit|
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
On the other side of the coin, the only inkling we've gotten from both Richards and Kozina about their perspective has been in a bizarre Facebook thread where Josh Donner also recounted the accusations, tagging both men in the post. Richards (as Wesley Richards) and Kozina both played Internet troll stoking the fires, with the only Richards making one offhand comment that "these cats are off in their own world." They also got positive character witness from the promoter of Insanity Pro Wrestling, who claimed that while Richards often showed up late to events, that he always gave it his all when he got there.
I get the feeling that there is a lot more to this story than what is being let on. Obviously, Strife, Maris and the crew at APW have beef, and they wouldn't have gone this public with it had nothing happened. I'm not sure why Richards and his crew would stiff someone, given that they pretty much do business with every indie promotion in America with the exception of Dragon Gate USA/EVOLVE right now it seems. Where there is smoke, there is fire though, and in the interest of fairness, I'm gonna hold off on making an editorial judgment on this until Richards, Kozina or O'Reilly (who has remained silent) give their accounting of the situation.
That being said, it's not looking good for either side right now, given how much of a public pissing match this has turned into. My heart goes out to the APW folks if they really were robbed the way they claim, but at the same time, I have a hesitation to trust anyone in the wrestling business, promoter or wrestler, when it comes to shady dealings, and furthermore, in my experience, the promoters are usually worse than the wrestlers. This isn't always the case, and I stress that I am not making the accusation in this case either. Still, for both sides to be carrying on like this (Especially Richards/Kozina by actually ENGAGING the accusations in a manner more befitting one of the idiots on 4chan rather than a professional) is really fucking low-class.
Also, for Kozina to allegedly shoot on a 16 year old kid? What the fuck was he thinking? In fairness, I have to ask what a 16 year old kid was doing in a wrestling ring against anyone. I thought 18 was the minimum age to participate in wrestling. That's kind of a bad judgment call on Strife's/Maris' part here. I don't know. The whole situation is fucked up, and I'll try to have more as it develops.
Until then, this has been your weekly reminder at how fucked up the wrestling business can be. Don't even think about getting into it unless you've got the kind of constitution either to be an asshole or to deal with them (or both).