Evolve 10 will be remembered for many reasons. The final goodbye to The Arena in Philadelphia and a surprising promo to close to show. But for me, I will always remember Evolve 10 for Low Ki knocking out Ahtu with that viscous kick.
While some people thought it was a great moment that showed how 'wrestling should be', I thought it was an unnecessary strike form yet another MMA style wrestler who takes wrestling too seriously. Something like that didn't need to happen, yet Low Ki showed no remorse in going super stiff and continuing the match even though Ahtu was in no condition to continue.
Over in ROH, there's also a wrestler who considers himself an MMA fighter, someone who's very serious at what he does, Davey Richards. Now firstly, without trying to contradict myself, I like stiff wrestling. It can be very enjoyable to watch... when done right. But that's not what I'm getting at today. I'm getting at the way some wrestlers carry themselves these days.
Davey Richards isn't as bad as Low Ki. He's someone who delivers stiff shots but does them in a relatively safe way, unlike Low Ki who is just plain careless at times. No, Davey isn't like that, but he still carries some traits of someone who maybe takes wrestling too seriously with his MMA antics.
Davey has always had a bit of an MMA background. He's trained in Japan, walked out with KENTA during ROH events and has always looked to improve himself as a grappler. Davey is an absolutely fantastic wrester, and in my opinion one of the best wrestlers in the World.
I think that's why it's such a shame to see Richards turn his MMA persona up another notch. Ever since mid-2011, Davey has changed somewhat. His days of quietly training to be the best wrestler he can has now turned to him having has his very own team along with Kyle O'Reilly and Tony Kozina called 'Team Davey Richards'. His days of only going as far to say that he's “neither a heel or a face” has now turned to him blatantly admitting that wrestling has “storylines” and “characters”. His days of being an American Wolf has now turned to him being a full pledged MMA fighter.
There's no denying how Davey works. No matter if people like his matches or not, very few will deny that he goes out to that ring and works his ass off. It's just that now he can't seem to find a balance, and because of that fans have now started to turn on him.
While people like Daniel Bryan also train in octagons, at least he's subtle about his training and doesn't bring that sort of thing on screen. And that's maybe what Davey is doing wrong. He can train different styles of MMA all he wants, but when you bring that MMA training and put it into your character, that's another story entirely.
If people want to watch MMA they can go watch UFC. If people want to watch professional wrestling, they watch ROH or any other wrestling promotion for that matter. Davey seems to be stuck in the idea that MMA is better. It's real, it's tough and it's something that fans should respect. But at the end of the day, who wants to see it done to that extreme?
Jim Cornette is someone that seems to think that a lot of people do. It's pretty clear how big a fan Cornette is of Davey Richards. In 2010, Cornette was a massive fan of Tyler Black, and when he left he started to hype up Davey Richards even more than he had before.
As an old school wrasslin' fan, Cornette loves the realism that Davey Richards brings to Ring of Honor. He loves his intense attitude, his athleticism and loves how seriously he takes the wrestling business. Davey Richards is simply ROH's golden boy these days. He's the main man in the company, and in many ways is like John Cena in the sense that he is being shoved down peoples throats as God's gift to wrestling.
While many people don't like Davey because of his wrestling ability and MMA persona, a lot of the blame for this also has to go to Jim Cornette, as he's the one that showcases Davey off to the wrestling audience.
Realism, seriousness and pure wrestling ability is all well and good, but when people like Davey use all those characteristics and come across as more of a 'real wrestler' than just a professional wrestler, that's where the problem will always lie.
People like him and Low Ki need to realise that this MMA style isn't the way forward. By all means use some MMA techniques and maneuvers, it can be very enjoyable after all. But at the end of the day, these guys are professional wrestlers, and nothing more.