During the height of The Monday Night War, the New World Order waged war weekly against World Championship Wrestling in front of millions of fans worldwide on TNT. At the same time, in Philadelphia, the Blue World Order infiltrated the Extreme Championship Wrestling roster, bringing their own brand of mayhem, even if it was more light-hearted. The core members of the popular NWO parody group were Da Blue Guy, aka The Blue Meanie, “Big” Stevie Cool, aka Stevie Richards, and “Hollywood” Nova, who went on to become Simon Dean in WWE.
The faction has become a cult favorite among pro wrestling fans, and some have even called for the group to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame next year when the promotion holds WrestleMania 40 in Philadelphia. If that were to come to pass, it would appear that all three members will be healthy enough to accept, as Richards gave a health update on a recent episode of Wrestling Shoot Interviews.
“I’m just grateful to be alive, upright, and be able to walk without the assistance of a walker and cane, which I keep just off camera here as a reminder that I should be thankful, grateful, blessed, and all that stuff,” he said. “What basically happened was, it wasn’t an all of a sudden thing, but the really bad part came on all of a sudden.”
The ECW Original described how he thought he was pushing through the worst of normal pro wrestling back pain but eventually, it got so bad, he felt like his legs were paralyzed. The debilitation got to the point he was having to use a walker to get around, something that was really scary to him. The pain continued to get worse over the next two weeks and he wasn’t sure what was going on, even after consulting several doctors.
“I’m in a wheelchair and then the Mayo Clinic finally got eyes on me, thank God,” he recalled. “Once they saw me, I got admitted, they started doing tests, and they did a spine biopsy, which, by the way, because of the infection, none of the Twilight-type of anesthesia worked. I felt every bit of them hammering a needle into my spine. Dude, I’m telling you, I was just laying there and he kept apologizing and I just hear that, it sounded like a railroad spike going into my back.”
Following the biopsy, the infectious disease specialist identified an infection that was eating away, as he described it, at about half of his L4 and L5 vertebrae. At that point, there was a frightening revelation, the infection was moving so fast, it could make its way to his brain, and needed to be stopped. Because of that, he was quickly given antibiotics to stop its spread.
“It’s always going to be in the back of our mind, we’re always going to have to get blood work at least for the foreseeable future to make sure, that’s how you tell if you have the infection, the blood work if it’s hitting the yellow or the red in certain blood markers,” he described. “That’s how I found out initially, as well. Besides the CT scan, I’m officially out of the woods but I also have to be very careful because the effects from the spine infection have still lowered my immunity.
“I’m down about 35 pounds, still, which I wanted to lean out but I didn’t want to do it that way. (Laughs) But I’m down from I was down for 215 and I dropped, now I’m around 181 to 185. My workouts, I have to say, thank God, have been, outside of hip hinging movements, and putting any kind of pressure, axial pressure, on my neck, or my spine, I’m pretty much able to do just about everything.”