The following was issued by Extreme Rising.
EXTREME RISING TITLE MATCH AT ECWA WAS A NON-TITLE MATCH. STEVIE RICHARDS REMAINS EXTREME RISING WORLD CHAMPION
In the wake of the postponement of the "Spring Beatdown" Extreme Rising event originally scheduled for this past Saturday, March 1, Extreme Rising officials received a phone call from our referee John Finnegan. Finnegan, who was going to be working as a referee for the ECWA promotion at their event on the same day and brokered a deal to feature a match between Extreme Rising World champion Stevie Richards and top contender Luke Hawx, given that both had already traveled to Philadelphia for the postponed event. Both made appearances to meet and greet fans at the Arena earlier in the day.
We felt that this would be a nice opportunity for our fans who still wanted to attend a wrestling event on March 1st, to be able to see an Extreme Rising bout and take in an event they may not normally have attended as it would be for a promotion that normally runs about 40 miles South from Philadelphia. We worked out the details so that any fan who had an Extreme Rising ticket for the postponed event would be able to attend the ECWA show for free, as a bonus for our fans.
We announced that there would be a match between “Extreme Rising World Champion” Stevie Richards and Luke Hawx featured on the ECWA card for March 1st. Both Stevie and Luke won their matches at "Unfinished Business." We anticipated having the two meet for the Extreme Rising title on Saturday, April 26th --at the Extreme Rising Anniversary event at the Arena in Philadelphia. This special match featured by ECWA was not scheduled, nor announced by Extreme Rising as a title match. When ECWA originally announced the match, they officially announced the bout as a non-title match in their press release. However, at the event on the night of March 1st, the bout was announced as a title match, much to our surprise. After interference by The Greek God Papadon, Luke Hawx pinned Stevie Richards and won the bout. Hawx then took the belt from official Mike Kehner and began proclaiming himself the new Extreme Rising World champion.
After further investigation, and speaking with Finnegan and Kehner this past Sunday, it was brought to our attention that moments before the match was about to start, Kehner and Papadon crossed paths in the locker room area. Papadon told him that the bout had been changed to a title match and to be sure that the ring announcer was informed. Not thinking anything of it, as Papadon has been a mainstay in ECWA for some time and is also a main player in Extreme Rising. Kehner thought nothing of it as details for matches often do change at the last minute in wrestling promotions. We expect better from a veteran of the ring who has worked in his capacity for over two decades, and he will be addressed in due time. Papadon and Hawx are friendly and are known to intimidate and manipulate situations for their benefit. Kehner informed ring announcer Bob Artese that the Extreme Rising title was indeed on the line. Unfortunately, he was mislead and delivered the wrong announcement during the in ring introductions.
Luke Hawx did indeed pin Stevie Richards and win the bout on 3/1 at the ECWA event in Newark, DE. However, it was never a recognized title match in Extreme Rising eyes. A title match between the two, if it were to occur, should take place in front of our loyal fans who have been attending and supporting Extreme Rising events over the past two years. Extreme Rising still recognizes Stevie Richards as our World champion, despite what people write on the internet and share via social media, this includes Hawx’s Facebook and Twitter rants and video promos.
Extreme Rising never acknowledged a title change because the bout was not for the Championship. Furthermore, we demand that Luke Hawx return the championship belt to Stevie Richards immediately.
Notwithstanding, we have decided that on Saturday, April 26th, Stevie Richards and Luke Hawx will face off one on one in an Extreme Rising ring. Should Stevie retain the title against Sabu on April 25th at the rescheduled "Springtime Beatdown" event, the bout on April 26th will be for the World title against Luke Hawx. Should Sabu beat Stevie Richards on April 25th, the winner of Richards vs. Hawx on April 26th will receive the next title shot, Saturday, May 3rd at the Irish Centre in Pittsburgh, PA.
Additional bouts for each event will be announced shortly.