DVD Review: Versus Series; Davey Richards vs. Kevin Steen; Hilarious, Insightful, Brilliant!

Last night following Raw I was in the mood for some wrestling orientated viewing, so with that I focused my attention on my latest purchase from Highspots.com that I’d yet to view, that being the first release from their newest “Versus” series which is similar to WWE’s “Greatest Rivalries” series, which sees two rivals sit down and speak about their heated rivalry in professional wrestling.

Highspots do a great job of providing independent wrestling fans and wrestling fans in-general with some great documentaries and shoot interviews such as this one, “Dynamite Kid: A Matter of Pride” being one, shoot interviews with the likes of Kevin Steen, Jimmy Jacobs and Steve Corino, Roderick Strong and many others, with some controversial remarks being made during almost all of them, which garners great interest.

One of their most controversial summer releases was “The Man Behind the Hunt” which focused on former ROH World Champion Davey Richards a matter of weeks after losing his title to Kevin Steen at Border Wars. During the interview Richards blasted Steen for being out of shape, saying he was “unworthy” of the ROH World Championship and he also called out Jim Cornette for being “outdated”.

This would start a summer of controversy surrounding “The American Wolf”.

The shoot kicks off with Davey speaking on the Team Bandit incident from the summer, where he allegedly stole money he hadn’t earned and ran off with, the addition of Kevin into this story makes it better as Steen remarks that he would have done something similar in Davey’s shoes as the promoter had actually canceled on Davey despite the fact he, Kyle O’Reilly and Tony Kozina had already completed one scheduled event.

Davey says he would have done nothing different had he the chance, insisting that it was about respect. He also comments on angles certain promotions did following this incident, one being Smoky Mountain Wrestling (unaffiliated to Jim Cornette) having the trio invade the ring and “steal” a title to mock the incident from the previous weekend, this also leads to Kevin inadvertently spoiling an angle Davey is running in England.

This leads to a brilliant story from Kevin detailing an incident involving IWA: MS owner Ian Rotten and a disagreement over pay, which I will provide a quote from as to not spoil it:

“I don’t know why but every hotel Ian Rotten puts me up in has 24/7… black or white or Asian porn in it; but whatever, anyway. Myself, Generico and Vanessa Craven get back to the hotel room and I turn on the TV and there is this big black dick ramming this; like destroying this woman,” – Kevin Steen

“Remember there’s no cussing,” – Davey Richards

“Oh, well… okay, well that’s Ian Rotten’s hotel set-up for you, anyway…” – Kevin Steen

With the conclusion of this story and another from Davey about his dealings with promoter Alex Shane, we get into the thick of things as it pertains to Davey and Kevin’s relationship with one another and the things Davey said about Steen. This is a fantastic insight into the minds of both guys, due to both of them being in the room they seem to almost forget the camera is on them and decide to let their emotions fly.

Richards vents his frustrations on Ring of Honor. During the Cornette era Davey admits to feeling pressure, he was in his own words “trying to conquer the world” by competing for Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro Wrestling simultaneously but it couldn’t be done. His biggest issue came when New Japan promised to put the Jr. Heavyweight title on him, in-order to convince Davey to hold-off on his paramedic studies.

When he arrived in Japan to face Prince Devitt, he was informed there would be no title change. New Japan had deceived him and he immediately informed them he would never compete for them again.

Kevin’s frustrations with Cornette were more-so creative than anything else. He labels Jim as “cheesy,” stating that while live attendance numbers were up and new fans had been brought into the product, old fans became alienated due to Jim Cornette’s mind-set of booking; they highlight their feud in Ring of Honor as an example as to how narrow-minded his booking mentality was.

“I was annoyed that they wouldn’t let me respond you know. It was just Kevin talking and they wanted me to stand there and take it all, then the one promo I cut before Best In The World on Jim – that wasn’t planned, they had told me not to do it five minutes beforehand. But when I got the back he was like, “that was great, I loved it”, so he didn’t know what he wanted,” – Davey Richards

Throughout all of this you get a sense of how sly Jim Cornette is behind-the-scenes. Kevin says numerous times, “I checked with them that I could say this, but I knew it was annoying you,” a reference to the content of his promos being proposed by Ring of Honor management (ala Jim Cornette) who would then tell Davey that it was all coming from Kevin’s mind.

Davey seems genuinely regretful of the things he said about Kevin who admits to being upset when he initially heard an audio version of Davey’s remarks. Kevin also brings up the allegation Davey made about Kevin wanting to cut moves out of their Border Wars match because he was gassed, to which Kevin denies stating he wanted to cut one move out, which brings us self-made insight from Davey himself.

“Sometimes I forget that this isn’t a real competitive sport. I forget that I am an entertainer. And that’s an issue I’ve had difficulties wrapping my head around. Because… I don’t see a place for me in professional wrestling. I was trained to believe if you work hard you get rewarded and that is what I do,” – Davey Richards

Kevin and Davey have contrasting ideologies of what a wrestler should be. For Davey he admits to seeking the perfect match, as he did in an interview with me several months ago he admits to not caring for things such as promos and instead focuses on the in-ring content, his matches. Kevin on the other hand focuses on character, stating he knows he can’t have the five-star match Davey can.

In the end of the first chapter Davey apologies once again to Kevin Steen for the remarks he made about him during his Highspots shoot during the summer, he even makes his apology to the camera speaking on how good a friend Kevin has been to him and that nobody should treat their friend like that, which brings Kevin to attempt a playful hug.

Following this they delve into Davey Richards mysterious Twitter account @DaveyRichards83, which he no longer controls yet still makes tweets. This portion as seen in the preview above is hilarious as Davey reads out tweets made by the account. Kevin also mentions how certain wrestlers, such as Mike Mondo and Seth “Tyler Black” Rollins have fell for the fake Richards account in the past.

From here on the interview alters continuously from a laugh riot detailing stories from the road and Pro Wrestling Guerrilla events, to insightful talk on the behind-the-scenes environment of Ring of Honor, to serious discussion as Davey brings them back to his bitterness towards Ring of Honor, showing rightful anger towards the way they had him speak of his divorce and Grandparents death publicly to promote a match.

One of the most hilarious stories told involves an ex-girlfriend of Joey Ryan‘s. Kevin brings it up by telling a story he heard about Davey when she was dropping him off at the airport:

“I heard this, now I don’t know if its true or not but… you [Davey] were getting a ride to the airport from her, and she turned to you – and this is exactly what I heard – she said, “do you want me to blow you?” And your reaction was to turn up the radio and say, “keep driving,”” – Kevin Steen

[Davey has an awkward look on face, trying not to laugh.]

“It’s true isn’t it? She did blow you?!” – Kevin Steen

“She was with a lot of the guys,” – Davey Richards

“Oh no, she was with Generico too,” – Kevin Steen

“Oh that’s okay then, haha,” – Davey Richards

From start to finish, probably due to me being so high on both guys, I loved this interview and felt it gave me a new perspective of both men, Kevin Steen as the guy who really does try to have fun in the ring, while Davey, who does love professional wrestling strives to be the best and feels as though fans expect him to show up and put on a great match.

One thing this DVD does exceptionally well, and I have heard Kevin say this before is that it offers a different outlook on Davey Richards more than anything else, which I have to agree it does. Behind the iceman exterior Davey is actually a very funny guy, they bring up during the course of the interview how Richards new thing at ROH TV tapings is to flash wrestlers when they least expect it.

Richards does take issue with being labeled “Cornette’s boy,” something he knows little about considering he and Jim had little interaction in Ring of Honor, with Davey stating and Kevin attesting that Richards normally wanders off into his own little corner, oblivious to the goings on with creative until hes told by an official.

While it is very interesting it is also hilarious – I guarantee if you know nothing of either man you’ll still find it funny, from the stories detailed above to another on how Jim Cornette would turn beet root red and scare away medical personnel, to PWG owner Super Dragon’s high standard making fellow owner Disco Machine cry following matches, to Tony Kozina’s world nearly falling apart due to his phone battery dying.

The final question in the interview is “What would you change about the other guy if you had the chance?” Kevin recites how on several occasions if Davey missed an event due to traffic issues or otherwise how promoters would contact him in-order to discover Davey’s whereabouts, which always leaves Kevin posing the question, “how the f#ck do I know?”

While Davey’s response is pretty straightforward, “I wish you’d keep better care of yourself dude.”

I recommend this DVD to anyone that wants an insight to the mind-set of two of the words top independent professional wrestlers, not only do they discuss their personal issues, but they also speak out on issues within the business including Gabe Sapolsky‘s reluctance to let EVOLVE or DGUSA talent work for Ring of Honor, the changes since Sinclair’s purchase of ROH and the future of the company.

If you want to order the DVD or watch it online, head to Highspots.com.