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The Man Called Vu: Remembering Richard Phillips

They called him Vu, Deja Vu or even King Vu for awhile. His name was Richard Phillips and for being 6 ft 3 and over 300lbs, he was freakishly athletic. He was so agile and could glide around the ring like a cruiserweight, yet his lariat or “Stank-line” as he called it, was the best looking lariat this side of Stan Hansen. He had the look, the skill and the ability to be more than a local star and it’s unfortunate that his talent didn’t transcend the Midwest. But today, none of that matters. The man they called Vu, Richard Philips, is no longer with us and there’s a lot of people in the wrestling world hurting right now.

Sitting here, I can’t help but think of that smile. If you knew Richard, you know exactly what smile I’m talking about. While he was a ruthless monster in the ring, outside the ring, he was one of the kindest, sweetest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. Richard Phillips was the guy fans loved to boo and fear when he was performing, but when he was leaving the building, those same fans were lining up to hug him or shake his hand and tell him how much they loved his match. He would make time for every single person that wanted to talk. He never took it for granted or blew anyone off. He was the definition of approachable.

Backstage at a wrestling show, it can be chaotic and tense. Everyone wants to put on the best show they possibly can and everyone is trying to move up in the world. While Richard was just as motivated as anyone else, he was also always laughing, having fun and enjoying every moment of the experience. His attitude was infectious. You couldn’t possibly be around Richard Phillips and be in a bad mood.

Richard Phillips promo photo

Richard Phillips, the man they called Vu, will be best known for his battles with Jon Moxley, BJ Whitmer, Aaron Williams, Jesse Emerson, Jake and Dave Crist and other staples of the Ohio independent wrestling scene. He’ll be remembered as a monster in the ring and a gentle giant outside of the ring. If you had the pleasure of seeing him work, you’ll know that he had the talent to do so much more in this business, but the stars just didn’t align. If you had the pleasure of knowing him personally, your life will have been impacted for the better.

I’ll never forget the time Vu talked me, the website guy, into getting into the ring for a pull-a-part brawl with Aaron Williams. Of course, he didn’t tell me ahead of time he was going to hit me in the face, but I remember after the show him telling the locker room to give me a round of applause for taking my first bump. What I didn’t realize at the time was that he was helping me earn respect from the guys. That’s just the kind of guy Richard Phillips was, always looking for ways to help people, always thinking of other people’s well being.

There are some people in this world that you’re instantly drawn to; big hearts, big smiles, infectious personalities that draw you in. That was Richard Phillips, the man they called Vu. He was a special man, a gentle giant, and the world was a better place for him being a part of it. Rest easy Vu. Until we meet again.

Richard Phillips, Jon Moxley, Jake Crist backstage at an HWA show

Written by Andrew Grevas

Andrew is the Founder / Editor in Chief of 25YL. He’s engaged with 2 sons, a staunch defender of the series finales for both Lost & The Sopranos and watched Twin Peaks at the age of 5 during its original run, which explains a lot about his personality.

6 Comments

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  1. Richard u will be missed by many esp by me. U always gave me the biggest hug which would lift me off the floor whenever I came to the matches. Whenever u would wrestle with my son Chris “the madness” Hall also known as “Chris silverback Hall” I would boo u so bad but after the show we would give each other the buggest hug. Loved it. U had the biggest heart of gold and loved everyone. U will truly be missed by all. RIP big But.

  2. Shock doesn’t even begin to cover it. While our time together served as a huge lesson to me, you were one of my best friends for three years. I was absolutely gutted when I got the news. We may not have ended our relationship on the best terms, but I never in a million years would have wished this to happen. Your radiance will always be missing from this world Richard

  3. Wow I was his manager at Thorthons in sharonville he was a great guy with a smile that lit the room up my guy rip king vu.

  4. Big man this is truly heartbreaking to hear and know,you was one of the biggest ugliest meanest most beautiful kind n nice ppl I’ve ever met in the biz of in the world in general,they don’t make them like you brother and I guess god needed u back! May u rest easy my friend!!!

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