The 1990s upstart promotion Extreme Championship Wrestling produced a lot of beloved stars including Rob Van Dam, Sabu, the Dudley Boyz, and Raven. But it also produced some seriously underrated performers who never reached the top of other companies like WWE, WCW, and Impact, but still managed to consistently appear on pro wrestling television, like Stevie Richards.
Because he was never a top star, fans likely don’t know much about Stevie Richards, and modern fans might even be totally unaware of him. So let’s take a look at Richards’ career, from his time as Raven’s lackey to his time in WWE, where he came in during the Attitude Era.
10/10 An Early Adopter Of ECW
Born in Philadelphia, Michael Manna made his in-ring debut in 1992 for Tri-State Wrestling Alliance, adopting the ring name Stevie Richards from the get-go. Notably, the Tri-State Wrestling Alliance would evolve into Eastern Championship Wrestling and later Extreme Championship Wrestling, making Richards one of the earliest ECW Originals.
In 1994, Richards would officially sign to Eastern Championship Wrestling, with his first match on TV being a tag match against Terry Funk and Dory Funk Jr. Other opponents during these early years included Public Enemy and early ECW figures like Salvatore Bellomo and Rockin’ Revel.
9/10 Used To Introduce Raven
By the end of 1994, Stevie Richards would suffer several losses to Tommy Dreamer, and started to become increasingly unhinged, adopting different gimmicks like “Stevie Flamingo” and “Stevie Polo.”
This was to set up the arrival of Raven, who had wrestled for WCW as Scotty Flamingo and WWE as Johnny Polo, and for whom Raven was a brand-new gimmick that would debut in ECW. Raven finally arrived in early January 1995 and immediately got into his famous rivalry with Tommy Dreamer that would span years and even decades.
8/10 Member Of Raven’s Nest
Stevie Richards wasn’t just the vehicle for Raven’s arrival — he would also become one of his closest allies and the first member of Raven’s faction, The Nest. When paired together, Raven devised Richards’ now-iconic outfit of denim cut-offs with crop tops, a perfect visual to reflect Stevie Richards’ goofball persona.
While Raven and Stevie Richards held the ECW Tag Team Titles together, Richards was pretty much Raven’s lackey, whom Raven abused and bossed around. Richards even joined Raven in WCW for a brief spell in 1997.
7/10 Gained His Own Faction, The Blue World Order
While Stevie Richards was Raven’s devoted sidekick in ECW, that didn’t stop him from getting his own sidekicks in The Blue Meanie and Nova. Together, the three would often come to the ring doing parodies of other wrestlers and pop culture figures, but struck gold when they decided to lampoon WCW’s New World Order as the Blue World Order.
The BWO proved to be popular with fans, and the parody became their gimmick, with the trio bringing the act to not only WWE, but also the independent wrestling scene.
6/10 Temporarily Retired Due To A Neck Injury
Stevie Richards’ status as Raven’s abused sidekick and his popularity as part of the BWO assured that he’d end up breaking out and getting some bigger opportunities, which ended up happening.
Richards got several shots at the ECW Championship, including a four-way match at The Buffalo Invasion where he unfortunately ended up getting a neck injury during the bout when Terry Funk dropped a guard rail on his back. This resulted in Richards announcing his retirement, but he ended up making an in-ring return later that year when he signed to WCW in 1997.
5/10 Worked Parody Gimmicks In WWE
After spending some time on the indies, in 1999 Stevie Richards signed to WWE. There, he not only reunited with The Blue Meanie, but also continued with the parody gimmick that made him and his crew popular in ECW.
In addition to shooting a Blair Witch Project parody called “The Blonde Bytch Project” with the Blue Meanie, Stevie Richards ended up doing his impersonation thing as a singles wrestler, lampooning various members of the WWE roster. However, during this run much of his work happened on minor shows.
4/10 Led Right To Censor
Stevie Richards’ initial run in WWE didn’t set the world on fire, but in mid-2000 he rolled out a gimmick that would be remembered by Attitude Era fans. Sporting a new clean-cut image complete with shirt and tie, Richards began to campaign against WWE’s edgy, provocative subject matter as a parody of the Parents Television Council, a group that was doing the same in real life.
Tweaking his ring name, Steven Richards formed a whole faction of wrestlers devoted to the cause, incorporating The Godfather (now “The Goodfather”), Val Venis, Bull Buchanan, and Ivory to form Right to Censor. The act would last until April 2001, when Richards’ team all walked out on him after a handicap match loss to the Undertaker.
3/10 Competed In WWE’s ECW Revival
Following the dissolution of Right to Censor, Stevie Richards stuck around in WWE, working various gimmicks. When WWE relaunched ECW as a third brand in 2006, Richards was a natural fit for the show as an ECW Original.
However, the creative direction of the new ECW signaled a lack of concern for the ECW Originals compared to established WWE talent and some newcomers, so Stevie Richards was mostly relegated to being a warm body in multi-man matches when he wasn’t a straight-up jobber, and ended up getting released from the company in 2008.
2/10 Became Dr. Stevie In Impact
After being released from WWE, Stevie Richards made his way to the Impact Zone, becoming a part of TNA (now known as Impact Wrestling). However, his initial gimmick in Impact offered something different from what fans had previously seen.
Rather than rehashing the parody gimmick thing, Richards became Dr. Stevie, a villainous therapist who worked with Abyss. Later, he’d add a second patient in former WCW star Daffney. Once Abyss turned on him, however, Dr. Stevie got some backup from his old buddy Raven.
1/10 Member Of EV 2.0
In 2010, Dr. Stevie reverted to his Stevie Richards persona, just in time for an ECW reunion angle. At the time, Impact had a number of ECW alumni on its show, including Rob Van Dam, Rhino, Mick Foley, Tommy Dreamer and Raven, in addition to Richards.
In addition to a reunion show, Hardcore Justice, the ECW alumni also formed a babyface stable called EV 2.0, and feuded with the heel faction Fortune. Several big matches ensued including a Lethal Lockdown match ensued, and Stevie Richards ended up leaving Impact in early 2011 due to low pay.