Michael Richards is a product of both the Fale Dojo and New Japan Pro Wrestling Dojo systems. Richards is one of four New Zealanders to train at the revered NJPW Dojo following in the paths of Toks ‘Bad Luck’ Fale, Toa Henare and “Switchblade’ Jay White. Since his return back to NZ in 2019, Richards has been lending his experience as a trainer at Fale Dojo, part of which he competed at the first two ‘Fale Dojo Exhibition’ events. At the first ‘Exhibition’ he wrestled a young lion, and at the second show, he and fellow graduate Andrew Villalobos engaged in a match emphasised on the NJPW Dojo young lions style.
Richards shared that he has yet to process the reality of competing at the ‘Southern Showdown’ tour because it has been his ultimate goal to wrestle for NJPW. Notwithstanding the expectations that await him as a graduate and trainer, Richards is determined to give his absolute best.
“It still really hasn’t hit me just yet,” said Richards. “To think that I will have an opportunity to wrestle for the most respected company in the world is truly an amazing feeling.”
“However, there is a lot of pressure riding on me during this tour. So I’m just going to give it my all and hold nothing back, and represent Fale Dojo the best I possibly can.”
Richards’ focus in the meantime is to utilise all of his experience and knowledge to help shape the current Fale Dojo intake to becoming the best they can be. This is to equip the students for the likelihood of advancing to the New Japan Dojo in Tokyo as Richards explained.
“Right now being a trainer at Fale Dojo, I’m taking everything that I learnt from the NJPW Dojo and applying it to Fale Dojo,” he shared. “Everything from the training to the system, to the Japanese language, I have incorporated into our daily training at the Dojo.”
“My goal is to prepare our students as much as I possibly can, so that if they get the chance to go to Japan, I want to make sure that they are 100% ready for it.”
Although Richards’ primary focus is currently on the students at Fale Dojo, he did indicate his anticipation in reuniting with his friends from the New Japan Dojo, also noting that his family will also attend the tour. It is very likely that Michael Richards will not process the news of his outstanding achievement until he is able to share the experience with those who are near and dear to him.
“I’m looking forward to seeing everyone again,” said Richards.
“I’m excited to see all of the Senpais and my Dojo brothers who I trained with in Japan.”
“My family are travelling to Melbourne to watch me wrestle on the 29th of June,” Richards shared in closing. “So it will be amazing to wrestle in front of them in a very historic Festival Hall.”