PWPonderings was contacted by the APW promoter with the following Press Release about the incident that took place in Iowa this weekend concerning Davey Richards, Tony Kozina, & Kyle O’Reilly. Jeremy Hall, head booker to APW provided this insight.
It all started around 1:30pm or so. Keep in mind this was an afternoon show, with doors opening at 3:30pm and the show starting at 4:00pm. I had been asked to text Tony Kozina to discuss a change they wanted to make. They informed me that “due to injury” they didn’t want to compete in singles matches, however wanted to do an 8 man. The only reason I wanted to book them was for the specific singles matches I had signed for the show. However, I was willing to work with them. I shot them a counter idea of doing a 6 man tag, and then asked if they would do it for an even $400 (only $75 less than the price we agreed on months ago). I was told they are wrestlers and need to be paid what they were promised. I replied that I respect there position, however when I agreed on the original price it was for those specific matches, not just them working on the show. They again informed me that they need paid in full.
To which once again I told them I respect their position but at the same time I would appreciate if they respected my position as a promoter/booker. I said I would gladly pay the full amount for what we agreed on. Yet again they continued to push the issue, seemingly becoming more and more irritated at the fact that I still wanted to go with the original plans. This continued back and forth for hours. At about 3:00pm I received a text saying that we will stick with the original plan, to which I responded sincerely with a thank you. I received a, “No, thank you in return. We will be there in about 45 min.”
At around 3:20pm, 10 minuets before doors open, I get another text, saying that they decided that they still wanted to do the 8 man tag. I have juggled, moved/changed matches, and re drawn up the entire card multiple times at this point and am becoming slightly annoyed at the unprofessional way I felt I was being treated as a promoter. So again I asked, since I was not receiving what I was told I would get and have put several man hours into promoting, I asked to negotiate the price. I have always prided myself on delivering on what my fans expect. No matter if 200 or 20 people show up I want to give them what they were told they were going to see. I have heard, but not personally read, that there are reports stating that I didn’t want to pay full price because of a bad turn out at the show. Which is the farthest thing from the truth. It was never about money, however the principle of the situation to me. I felt disrespected, and was not gonna allow myself to be taken advantage of. Just because I run a small promotion, in a small town doesn’t mean I am not a serious business owner and promoter.
Approximately 20 minuets later I received a reply stating that they wanted full price and wanted to do it their way, not mine, and that they are still 45 minuets away. You can’t go into you’re day to day job, and tell your boss that you want to get paid your normal wage but not do what is asked of you. At this point I had a locker room full of guys looking at me for direction for a show that is starting in 10 minuets and people in the audience wondering what they are going to get. I reply that the show is starting in 10 minuets, I’ve had to juggle the card many, many times and have been more than willing to work with them and negotiate. I apologized but informed them that I was going on with the show without them. This didn’t sit well with them and they informed me that I DON’T cancel. I replied that I had cancelled. I felt like I was left with no other choice. We had negotiated all day and now that the show had started I had to go forth with plan B. I wasn’t going to hold the entire show up because of them. I felt it was unfair to the guys in the locker room, unfair to me, but most importantly unfair to the fans in the attendance.
At this point I go on with business, to concerned with running the show I ignore my phone for a brief while. At this point Davey Richards texts one of the workers and tells him to inform me to text Davey back. He asks me what’s going on? Seemingly unaware of the entire afternoon’s conversation and that Tony, can get a little hot headed at times. I inform him of what had transpired, at this point we are 45 minuets into the show, and I tell him that I felt my hands were tied and I was left with no other choice but to cancel. He continues to reply, saying he can’t miss out on the pay day and that they are 40 minuets away and want to wrestle and will do the original plan. Keep in mind we are almost an hour into a two hour show now. I inform Davey that I don’t think it’ll work. I did not want to hold up the show just for them. Again, I felt like they were attempting to take advantage of me. I told Davey that I would call him in the morning and personally make everything right with him. I swore I was willing to compensate Davey for the trouble, but it couldn’t work out with the limited time we had at that point. I can’t speak for everyone but I am a man of word and had every intention of either through PayPal or wire transfer, sending Davey his cut. Davey said no, we will talk in person and that he is now 20 minuets away.
Roughly a half hour later, with only 30 min left in the show, Davey arrives and storms into the locker room. I meet him at the door and ask to speak to him in person. I follow him outside and am greeted by everyone, Davey, Tony, Kyle and one of Davey’s trainees. Unknowingly I was walking into a verbal ambush. I can’t post most of the conversation here because of the language used by Davey. I was told at least twice that if this were “the old days, I would be taken around the corner and dealt with if the situation wasn’t fixed”. Was even informed that if he called Jim Cornette, he would tell Davey, and I quote, “Kick his ass.” Davey said they were there now, the shows not over we want to go on. Not out of fear, but as a means to resolve the situation I agreed to again change the ending of the show and have Davey and Kyle on the show. Davey said they wanted $375 upfront so they can “get the f*ck out of this town” as soon as it’s over. I agreed to pay upfront as a sign of good faith, if they would do it for $350. Davey agreed. To my understanding, situation now solved, an agreement has been met and cooler heads have prevailed.
They came inside, quickly began getting in gear to go wrestle. They asked how the match was going to go and quickly worked it out with the other athletes in the match. Davey came up to me in full gear, asked for the pay day, I gave it to him shook his hand and attempted to apologize and said I’m glad we could work something out. Unbeknownst to me, Tony had gathered up all their bags and taken them back to the car. Moments before they were to go out, Davey says “I forgot tape” and bolts out the door, into the car, and off down the road.
They gloat now about how they got one over on the small time chump in Milo, Iowa, now referring to themselves as Team Bandits. The reactions of everyone that was in the locker room and things that have been posted is a way of showing their individual outrage on the situation. I did not ask anyone to post or say anything. I appreciate the support from all my peers on the situation. It was never EVER about money and I never accused anyone of not putting on a quality performance. It was about me standing up for myself, my company, refusing to be taken advantage of and most importantly it was about the respect they demanded, but I was never shown in return.
We also have a video of Jaysin Strife from the show shooting on Team Ambition
These guys wanna make good? Drive back up to Iowa on their own dime, and work like the pros they claim to be and do it free. Have Davey…
— Jaysin Strife (@JaysinStrife) July 31, 2012
Take his own advice he told the kids training with him, and take his lumps like a man.
— Jaysin Strife (@JaysinStrife) July 31, 2012
After seeing the footage, & regardless of why, what Tony Kozina did is reprehensible; totally classless. And I really respected Tony.
— Adam Pearce (@ScrapDaddyAP) July 30, 2012
Kyle O’Reilly posted a blog about the incident. Here it is to read in full.
Regarding the “incident” in Iowa, Sunday, July 29, 2012.
I feel obliged to clear the air regarding the accusations against Team Ambition this past weekend. The accusation I’m referring to is that Davey Richards, Tony Kozina, Darren Dean and myself deliberately showed up late to an Indy show in Iowa after demanding to have the card changed, physically threatened the promoter to pay us and left before wrestling. It boggles one’s mind how stories stray from one individual to the next, altering truths and facts into self-fulfilling myths. I admire the passion that is being displayed amongst people obviously outraged by these accusations, and I think it’s tremendous when people stand up for their beliefs on morality. I am simply going to recount the story as I saw it unfold to help shed some light on the matter and perhaps bring forth some clarity to those made ignorant by false claims.
I had my first professional wrestling match in October of 2005, so that would put me at coming up on seven years of having matches. By no means do I consider myself above anybody else or do I consider myself an experienced veteran of the wrestling business. I’m constantly learning and improving to better myself both physically and mentally towards the game. However, I do have a genuine respect for wrestling and those that paved the road before me. I think it’s safe to say that I’ve worked my ass off and sacrificed a lot of time, money, friends and well being of my physical health to get to where I am today. “Mouth shut, ears open” is a saying not practiced enough amongst many “workers” and through practicing this phrase I’ve learned how things operate on the road and what is and isn’t acceptable.
Anybody that has ever worked me, booked me or for that matter met me will tell you that I always wrestle with conviction and with passion regardless of how much money I’m making or how small the crowd is. The same can be said for any member of Team Ambition because we have pride and belief in what our team represents. On the road we find a gym, we train, we show up to the show (not always on time) and we deliver matches that people expect of our work ethic. This weekend was no different.
After a show in Des Moines, Iowa on Friday and a show in Council Bluffs, Iowa on Saturday the Earth’s rotation had brought us to Sunday. Now if you had asked anybody from these two shows about Team Ambition’s work ethic and attitude on these two shows I’m sure most responses would have been satisfactory. Providing the best matches on both nights and delivering an open training seminar on Saturday before the show, which included the attendance of said “promoter/worker” that we supposedly would threaten 24 hours later. No demeaning or insulting comments were made during these shows towards individuals like is what’s now being claimed. An altercation between Kozina and Ryan Kidd happened and it is nobody’s business but Tony and Ryan Kidd’s. They both know why this happened and Tony isn’t a bully, he’s a veteran that was providing a lesson to someone that had disrespected him. I won’t elaborate on the matter because it’s not my place but contact Tony for an account of the unbiased simple truth.
So it was Sunday morning and as per usual we found a gym. Body Masters Inc. Run by a gentleman named David who had also performed on the Magnum wrestling show the previous evening. Ask him about Team Ambition’s “devious ways”, or ask him about the unrequested donation we made to his awesome self-run business. The point I’m getting at is that we are men of routine and consistency and if we are shown respect and generosity we will show it back, plain and simple. Thanks again to Body Masters for the great training facility and I highly recommend it to anybody living in or traveling through Omaha, Nebraska.
Following my match the previous night and our training session that morning, my back had been giving me a lot of grief. After a full weekend of wrestling, and a full schedule of upcoming appearances, 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. By no means was this an excuse to call it in and have a lazy match, this was simply a way of evening the work load and still putting his guys over clean in an outstanding 30 minute match. This request was met with hesitance from the promoter, claiming that his fans had expected specific singles matches from us and that he couldn’t come to an agreement with us on the matter. 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.
Davey Richards and myself make a living from wrestling, being told to turn around and just drive home was insulting and disrespectful. At that moment, canceling us completely meant he owed us the full amount of pay whether we showed up or not. It’s understandable that he wanted specific matches and we were willing to work with him on the matter but cancelling us then and there shows a level of immaturity and ignorance. So after getting lost we finally arrive at the show an hour after bell time, which admittedly, isn’t unusual for us. This is where we supposedly threaten him. According to the promoter himself and one witness that was with him. Davey basically reiterated everything I just wrote about regarding our lives, how we wrestle for a living and how disrespecting Tony, a guy who trained us and paved the road is unacceptable. Davey just said it in his own words, which can come off as extremely intimidating and were obviously misconstrued as threats. We DO NOT threaten people unless it’s a matter that makes it completely justified like a fucking rapist is stalking your girlfriend. People with legitimate backgrounds are usually the last to threaten or hurt others. I spend almost every day being humbled by legitimate fighters who tap me out constantly, which is basically me admitting to them that they could have killed me but I tapped out so “please release the choke”. And they’re all cool as shit, the people who fulfill their own self-righteous agenda are the ones who pretend to be something they’re not and are more often then not bluffing and hiding something.
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:
“Well nobody here really knows who you guys are anyway…”
Well which way is it?! Do you have fans expecting certain singles matches out of us that you promised or do they not know who the fuck any of us are and it doesn’t matter if we do a damn 8 man tag?! It’s all well and fine if the 25 people there don’t know who we are, but don’t tell us something and then completely change your words. That statement was the breaking point for Davey and Tony. So 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.
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.
The majority of you reading this is probably in complete disagreement with me on the matter and thinks what went down in Milo, Iowa yesterday was a crime. Most of you reading this probably have a strong dislike for me, being my wrestling style, my selling, my promos and character ability (or lack there of) or just you know me and personally dislike me for whatever reason. I’m okay with that. Hopefully this whole incident won’t affect anybody’s desire to book me or Team Ambition. However, if it does that’s okay because I’m a man of honour and regardless of what you say or think I’m going to continue being the best possible professional wrestler I can be. I’m standing by the decision that was made whether I regret it or not. It’s in the past and to those people who are hiding behind a computer screen “Wishing Team Ambition would get in a car wreck and sustain career ending injuries” just makes me sad for you. You live everyday through other people’s successes and mistakes and you feed off it to just have something to talk about amongst your pro-wrestling sewing circle. To anybody making an overly elaborate blown out of proportion attempt to create hateful energy towards myself you can stop wasting your time. Go and read a book, put on some “Beatles”, smoke a fat joint and try to incorporate a little love and positivity in your life. Focusing on negative aspects only dumbs everyone around you down, get over it and move on. XOXO
Here is footage of the incident between Tony Kozina & Ryan Kidd
From the video description: Ryan Kidd apparently offended Tony Kozina to the point to where he deemed the following actions necessary. Please try to enjoy the content. Feel free to comment with thoughts on how this ‘veteran’ carried himself at this professional show as well as how the 16 year old rookie did in this match.
We will be covering this incident & more this weekend in the PWP Weekly Newscast hopefully with some comment from either Davey, Kozina, or O’Reilly.