As it has become well known now, at Melee 2016, “Wrestling Personified” Rik Luxury became the new NWA Western States Heavyweight Champion after defeating “The Last Temptation” Ricky Ruffin–thanks to some outside, er, “help” by Donovan Troi.


But, Donovan Troi was instrumental in Luxury even getting the match to begin with. At April Cruels Day, when Luxury lost his match against SoCal Crazy for the Vendetta Pro Wrestling Heavyweight Championship, he was barred from challenging for Vendetta Pro Wrestling titles for a full year. As of Melee 2016, he still had 292 days remaining before he could challenge for a Vendetta Pro Championship. However, almost immediately after April Cruels Day, Luxury’s manager/lawyer Donovan Troi was making appeals to the National Wrestling Alliance.

On May 20, 2016–the day of Melee 2016–Vendetta Pro Wrestling Commissioner Joseph Duncan was already in Santa Maria, California making preparations for the night’s event, when his office received this memo from R. Bruce Tharpe, President of the National Wrestling Alliance:


The memo states that the National Wrestling Alliance had found that while Luxury was indeed barred from challenging for “Vendetta Pro Wrestling” Championship titles, that he was still eligible to challenge for “National Wrestling Alliance” Championship titles, such as the NWA Western States Heavyweight title. Because of this, when Ruffin issued his open challenge, Duncan was unable to prevent Luxury from accepting the match. Unfortunately for Ruffin, he would go on to lose the title.

However, not all is lost for Ricky Ruffin. Besides being entitled to a rematch for the NWA Western States title, history has shown that former Western States titleholders have gone on to win World Championships.

Western States Champions gone on to become World Champions

The last four men to hold the title have been a World Champion in their careers. Barry Windham, who won the inaugural Western States “Heritage” Championship, would later go on to become the NWA World Heavyweight Champion. Larry Zbyszko, who would effectively retire the Western States “Heritage” Championship, would later go on to become AWA World Heavyweight Champion. Matt Riviera, who won the first Western States title in over 20 years at Reflexion 2015, is currently one-half of the NWA World Tag Team Champions.
The only anomaly is Jeff Jarrett. While he only held the Western States title for a couple of days, he had already been a six-time NWA World Heavyweight Champion, four-time WCW World Heavyweight Champion and six-time WWE Intercontinental Champion. Other Western States Champions that have gone on to do big things are Terry Funk, who went on to become NWA World Heavyweight Champion and ECW World Heavyweight Champion, as well as Bob Backlund who went on to become WWE (WWWF) World Heavyweight Champion and Dick Murdoch who went on to become WWE (WWF) World Tag Team Champion.
Ricky Ruffin’s name–and Rik Luxury’s as well, for that matter–is already listed among all-time greats. Now, what’s next for “The Last Temptation”, and will Luxury elevate the Western States title to heights never before seen?