Sitting alone in the back of the locker room, darkness and solitude the only welcome friends, Chris Richards ponders the future as the noise from the last of the crowd leaving starts to diminish. Almost from the time he could walk Richards knew he wanted to be a professional wrestler. From the time he could first form words the promos came easy. From the moment Richards climbed into the ring for the first time he knew he wanted to be World Heavyweight Champion. Now, as Richards is on the cusp of realizing his dream, he remembers back to those days when he was a rookie, his first match, the first title he ever won, being part of The Illuminati and most importantly, the night he pinned “Ironman” Rob Conway’s shoulders to the mat and gained a three count victory, one of only two men in the last year to have accomplished that feat. The other opponent who defeated Conway, Satoshi Kojima, became the NWA World Heavyweight Champion. That fact lays heavy on the mind of Richards, he knows Conway can be beaten, he has beaten Conway and now all that stands between he and his dream of becoming World Heavyweight Champion, is Conway.
“Rob Conway, you’re a great champion, a great wrestler,” Richards says to no one as he emerges from the darkness of the locker room. “But I am better, I am better…I am better.”
On July 26, 2014 in Kingsport, TN the flagship of the National Wrestling Alliance, NWA Smoky Mountain, will host the NWA World Heavyweight Champion “Ironman” Rob Conway as he defends his title against Chris Richards in a steel cage. With Richards having beaten Conway earlier this year at an NWA Smoky Mountain show, the odds are on Richards, who has “home field” advantage, to defeat Conway again, especially with the title being defended in a cage. All the advantages belong to Richards and Conway knows he will be tested.”
“This is hostile territory for me, definitely,” Conway said. “Richards is a big guy, this is his home turf, and I can’t forget about The Illuminati but I am the Champion and being at a disadvantage isn’t always a bad thing.”
NWA Smoky Mountain is no stranger to high profile matches including those involving world titles. Current NWA World Junior Heavyweight Champion Chase Owens has had classic battles here for that title with NWA legend Ricky Morton as well as Jason Kincaid, who has one of the longest title reigns, over 1,000 days as NWA Smoky Mountain Heavyweight Champion. Being the flagship of the NWA the pressure is always on for NWA Smoky Mountain to deliver.
“The fans are great, they support us 100% and more and we try to deliver not just the best wrestling on the indies but in wrestling,” NWA Smoky Mountain promoter Tony Givens said. “Hard work and dedication produce results.”
Richards has been waiting on this moment for what feels like an eternity. “Times like this, matches like this, define a career,” he said.
While Richards is the proverbial young and hungry challenger, Conway is the consummate veteran and as a two time NWA World Heavyweight Champion, former NWA World Tag Team Champion and even a former two time WWE Tag Team Champion, he knows the ins and outs of defending a title, even against someone like Richards, who is holding that pinfall victory close to his heart.
As the lights in the building are turned off row by row, the sound of the switches clicking echoing through the now empty arena, Richards emerges from the darkened locker room and walks into the dimly lit parking lot to his car. Every step he takes Richards equates each of them to being one step closer to realizing his dream.
Chris Richards stops, turns around and glares toward the venue from which he just left, his eyes staring through the wall and back into the arena, back to that moment the referee hit the mat for the third time and he defeated Rob Conway.
“Next time Conway that title will belong to me…next time,” Richards shouts.