Gone are the Hollywood Westerns in which it was so easy to tell the “good guy” from the “bad guy.” White hat with shiny spurs: that was the good guy; black hat and yellow teeth: outlaw. It was that simple.
Now, our angels are more interesting with dirty wings, and the bad guys are often the heroes (e.g. “Suicide Squad”). Worse yet, it’s an election year, when terms like “salvation” and “evil” are bandied about with numbing regularity.
Maybe that’s what’s so attractive about CWF Mid-Atlantic Wrestling events like the one that drew hundreds of fans to Chapel Hill’s Hargraves Center this past Saturday night. Bad guys were great, the good guys were better, and there was never any doubt who was who.
Take Chapel Hill’s own Devon Riggsbee, 35, who goes by the name “Snooty Foxx” in the ring. This Saturday night, the former Phillips Middle School and East Chapel Hill football standout was the hometown good guy from the start, he was the last man standing at the end, and the crowd loved it.
The night featured reigning Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Champion Trevor Lee, who successfully defended his title against John Skyler. TNA (Total Non-stop Action) Impact star Andrew Everett was also on hand along with ‘who’s who’ list of the area’s wrestlers. There was even an appearance by previous five-time World Champion, Don Kernodle.
Featured in the main event of the “Back to School Bash” which pitted 19 grapplers in the ring for a giant Battle Royal, Foxx captured a $1,000 prize to the delight of everyone. Returning the favor, Riggsbee asked CWF Mid-Atlantic (www.cwf247.com) to give a $100 cash prize to a lucky fan.
“Yeah, I’m a good guy,” Riggsbee said of his wrestling persona. “Without great ‘bad guys,’ my character couldn’t be who he is…but I want to remain a good guy, because I want to remain influential to kids. In wrestling, it’s about good versus bad, and good usually overcomes the bad.”
It wasn’t always the case for Riggsbee, however, who once found himself among bad elements.
“I made some bad decisions late in my teens,” Riggsbee said. “I got involved with drugs and alcohol. But I quickly realized that I was going down the wrong path. I decided that partying wasn’t fun anymore; I decided it was time to actually chase my dream.”
A standout athlete in his teens, Riggsbee still had a good healthy work ethic.
“I always was into sports, I played football at Phillips Middle School and East Chapel Hill High School,” he said. “But I’d always been drawn to (wrestling) since I was a kid.”
Preparation met opportunity just a year-and-a-half ago at a local TNA wresting promotion.
“I didn’t go just to watch the show, but to talk to somebody about getting into the business,” Riggsbee said. “They actually approached me and pointed me in the direction of the CWF.”
Riggsbee was trained by Trevor Lee (Caddell), who had been wrestling for years—since he was like 18.”
“We have a lot of guys who come in, and we also have a lot of guys who leave,” Lee said, “but Devon is a prime athlete, he’s a big dude, and he’s in shape. (Devon) came in with a good attitude, and good body control.”
“Devon impressed me from the very beginning,” CWF Mid-Atlantic co-owner (with Danny Wenkel) Jeff Rudd said. “He’s serious about what he’s doing, he works hard, and he loves wrestling.”
Riggsbee adopted a name that would be a reminder of treacherous times in his life.
“Snooty Foxx is something people have called me for six or seven years,” he explained. It goes back to my partying days, so it’s a constant reminder of what I don’t want to do.”
“I don’t need a fancy character. I just come into the ring as myself,” he added. “When I’m behind that curtain, I’m just Devon Riggsbee, and then suddenly, when my music hits, I’m in the ring, and I’m Snooty Foxx, and I’m just wide open.”
The choice of Hargraves Center for a wrestling homecoming wasn’t by chance. Hargraves was a sanctuary for Riggsbee, who spent much of his youth active in recreation at the gym. Saturday’s appearance was a way to say thanks to the facility and to its administrators who had been so supportive.
“The Hargraves Community Center and (director) Nate Davis kept me out of trouble for years,” he said. “Getting to wrestle in that building in front of my hometown had been a dream of mine for a very long time. To be doing what I love doing in front of the people I grew up around and who supported me: it’s a great feeling.”
Riggsbee said co-workers where he works at Jiffy Lube at 1746 Fordham Boulevard in Chapel Hill have been supportive, and he also had high praise for CWF-Mid Atlantic’s trainer Trevor Lee, owners Rudd and Wenkel, and all of the supportive fellow wrestlers in the CWF family.
But Riggsbee said one of his biggest inspirations is within his own family.
“I used to watch wrestling with my two older brothers William and Hubert,” Riggsbee said. “My oldest brother William (Barry) Riggsbee always believed in following your dreams. He faced a lot of the same challenges as I did, and he now owns his own furniture company.”
Riggsbee said he hoped that Chapel Hill would be a regular stop for CWF shows, and Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation is already planning for future events.
“We plan to have another event in January, 2017 and again in April,” recreation manager John Brunner said.
Given the enthusiastic fan response, the wrestlers were eager for a return to Chapel Hill as well.
“This was fantastic, and I was very excited to be a part of this,” female wrestler Chasity Taylor said.
“This was a great response, especially for a new venue where we’re just trying to introduce this,” Trevor Lee said. “It feels really good.”
As for the future of Snooty Foxx, Riggsbee had high hopes, but he said he’s already living the dream.
“The next step would be WWE,” he said. “From what people tell me, I’m what they’re looking for. But it’s crazy, because I’ve rubbed shoulders with a lot of really big names, even as an independent wrestler. I’ve met and worked shows with the Hardy Boyz and Ray ‘The Hammer’ Valentine, and I’m still a fan.”
Still, Riggsbee’s past keeps him humble.
“That’s one of the things I want to let people know,” he said. “There’s no way I could pull this off doing what I was doing before.”
And if Snooty Foxx serves to inspire, then Riggsbee is achieving his goal. Whether his fans enjoy professional wrestling as sport or entertainment, there’s one thing everyone can agree on in an uncertain world: we need more “good guys,” and Devon Riggsbee / Snooty Foxx is one of them.