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By Mike Johnson on 2023-02-21 10:35:00

Michael Manna, known in the professional wrestling world as Stevie Richards, has been dealing with a number of health issues of late, and posted the following on his Instagram account over the weekend:

"The last 4 weeks, especially the last one, have really been something else.  We aren’t quite at the finish line yet, but hopefully the road to recovery starts asap.    I will be explaining what has happened and documenting my road to recovery on the YouTube channel as well as here.  Speaking of the YouTube channel, we have plenty of videos to edit/publish- so there will still be new content as we work through this. Please subscribe to stay updated and for the normal fitness reviews."

The word making the rounds is that Richards has been facing a number of issues related to his back/spine that have gotten more and more pronounced in recent weeks.

Richards wrestled in the first ever match at the first ever ECW show back in 1992 and by 1995, he was one of the most talked about heels in the promotion, drawing great heat while portraying the "clueless putz" to the stoic Raven in Extreme Championship Wrestling.  By 1997, the advent of the BWO led to Richards turning babyface and becoming a major piece of the promotion leading into its first PPV, Barely Legal, where he wrestled Terry Funk and The Sandman for a chance to face Raven in the main event.  Coming out of the PPV, he was so hot as a babyface that the promotion's fans sometimes cheered him over Funk - and the idea of ECW fans cheering anyone over Terry Funk was unthinkable at the time - but it happened.

Just a few months later, Richards would undergo neck surgery after being struck in the back of the head with a railing by Terry Funk in Buffalo, NY.  He would not return to ECW, something Richards later admitted he regretted and blamed on his immaturity at the time, not seeing how much ECW had invested in him, instead turning back the clock and reprising the clueless putz as Raven's second in WCW.  That run didn't work out and neither did a short return to ECW in late 1998.

Richards, after taking time off to heal his neck issues, came to the WWF in 1999, where he and The Blue Meanie reprised their ECW gimmick of doing impersonations.  Richards had a long run with the company through 2008, including taking part in the WWE ECW revival, being the core personality for the heel Right to Censor group, being the self-proclaimed General Manager of WWE Heat, an alliance with Victoria and lots of other roles.  He was often tasked with having strong matches and helping others get over and in that regard, always did a great job, but at the expense of his own promotional push and spotlight.

After leaving the promotion in 2008, Richards worked for several years for TNA as "Dr. Stevie" in a program with Abyss, appeared on Lucha Libre USA as an announcer and in recent years, worked regularly for New Orleans' Wildkat Wrestling.  His focus in recent years has been more involved in pursuits outside of professional wrestling in the fitness and technology circles. sends our best wishes to Manna and his family for a quick, painless recovery.

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