Within hours of reading about the number of challengers that were lining up to face NWA World Heavyweight Champion "Ironman" Rob Conway, who became a two time champion after defeating Satoshi Kojima in Las Vegas as part of the annual Cauliflower Alley Club reunion, the liquidator of The Illuminati, Chris Richards spoke out about being overlooked and not mentioned as being a contender for the title.
"Hey, I want to know something," Richards shouted. "Who, outside of Kojima, has pinned Rob Conway in the last two years? Chris Richards that is who."
Richards, known as "The Tennessee Redneck," was able to defeat former NWA World Tag Team Champion (with Conway) Jax Dane and then pin Conway the following night during back-to-back NWA Smoky Mountain shows in May.
"I beat both Dane and Conway, who else can say that?" Richards continued. "No one can make that claim, absolutely no one. So why was I not on that list of 'challengers' because I should be first in line."
While historically the number one contender for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship is the current NWA National Heavyweight Champion, that title currently held by Phil "Nitro" Monahan, Richards feels that he should instantly be next in line for a title shot since he already has a pin-fall victory over Conway.
"I beat his ass once (Conway) and I guess if I have to beat Nitro's ass too then bring him on, I don't care. I will beat the hell out of anyone who stands in front of me if at the end I am the NWA World Champion," Richards said. "Conway is a great champion but I beat him, I pinned him and I will do it again so step up 'Ironman' and put that title on the line because this 'Tennessee Redneck' will whip your ass again and I will be the next champion."
Conway has said that he will put the title on the line against anyone including Richards, but that he has to wait his turn like everyone else.
"I don't care who I wrestle, I am a fighting champion, I am THE only true World Champion right now and if Chris Richards wants a shot at the title, not a problem," Conway said. "Yeah he pinned me once, only once, and it won't happen again."
While part of The Illuminati, one of the strongest factions in wrestling and the most feared group in NWA Smoky Mountain, Richards has seen his career flourish and with the victory over Conway, the next logical step in his eyes is the world title.
"There should be no 'waiting my turn' damn it, what part of I have already beaten Rob Conway once so I should get the next title shot is difficult to understand?" Richards fumed. "Just bring your scrawny ass back to Tennessee and shine up that Ten Pounds of Gold for me. I will beat you so bad you will wish you had taken that cushy job training."
With more and more wrestlers sizing up the competition and putting their name on the list of those who want and deserve a shot at Rob Conway and the NWA World Heavyweight Championship as well as those who have the NWA National Heavyweight Championship on their radar as a way to get to Conway, the NWA and the battle for the belts has only begun.