Riley as General Manager of CCW in 2018.
|Birth name||Daniel Michael Riley|
|Born|| October 1, 1986 (age 29)|
Liberty City, Miami, Florida
|Resides||Toronto, Ontario, Canada|
|Spouse(s)||Mariella Riley (m. 2013)|
|Professional wrestling career|
|Ring name(s)|| Daniel Riley|
|Billed height||6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)|
|Billed weight||236 lb (108 kg)|
|Billed from||Miami, Florida|
|Trained by||Antonio Inoki|
|Debut||August 25, 2005|
Daniel Michael Riley is an American Businessman, executive and retired professional wrestler. Riley is the on-screen General Manager of Canadian Championship Wrestling. In July 2018, Riley became the sole owner of CCW after founder, Josh Holloway sold his shares to him for a disclosed amount of money.
After failing to earn himself a contract with ROH, Riley moved to Japan and trained more with the legendary, Antonio Inoki. Riley spent three months training with Inoki before he signed a contract with New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) in December 2005.
While in New Japan Pro Wrestling, Riley was a five-time IWGP World Heavyweight Champion, one-time IWGP Intercontinental Champion as well as a two-time IWGP Tag Team Champion with partners Yujiro Takahashi and Hiroshi Tanahashi.
Riley was known as a daredevil and was referred to as "Osore shirazu" which translates to fearless in Japanese. In August 2009 Riley won the annual G1 Climax Tournament held in Japan. In 2013, Riley would retire from active competition after WEW folded and would later begin getting involved in the business side of things.
Riley was born on October 1, 1986, in Miami, Florida. Son to Caroline and David Riley, he has one older sibling—Thomas. Riley attended Miami Jackson Senior High School; after graduating from Miami Jackson in 2003 Riley attended Florida International University with a degree in Biology. While in college—Riley continued to pursue his dream of being a professional wrestler and after he failed to get himself a contract with Ring of Honor (ROH) — Riley dropped out of college and moved to Japan.
Riley lived on the streets for a bit before being taken in by legendary wrestling promoter—Antonio Inoki. There Inoki would begin training Riley and was like a father figure to him and managed to help him adapt to the Japanese culture.
Professional wrestling career
Training and early career (2005)
While Riley was in College he was contacted by Rob Feinstein and was asked if he wanted to possibly try out for his wrestling promotion Ring of Honor. Riley agreed and was placed in various tryout matches and began training with CM Punk and AJ Styles to see if he deserved a spot on the roster. After competing in tryout matches for seven months Riley wasn't able to impress management enough despite Styles' attempts and persuasion to sign him to a contract.
New Japan Pro Wrestling / NJPW (2005–2013)
Riley was signed to a contract with New Japan Pro Wrestling in December 2005 and continued his training with NJPW founder, Antonio Inoki. After training for three months, Riley made his debut as a face in NJPW under the ring name—Riley Daniels on April 15, 2005. Riley would compete in matches against the likes of Yujiro Takahashi, Kota Ibushi, Yuji Nagata. That is when Riley earned the nickname, Osore shirazu meaning fearless as he would put on a show for the fans. Riley was involved in the Young Lion Cup however he came in third place next to Hiroyuki Ito and winner Hirooki Goto.
Riley following this started a rivalry with Black Tiger IV and would face him for his IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship at a live event however was unsuccessful. The two would continue the rivalry for the next two months before it was ended and Riley started a rivalry with Koji Kanemoto which lasted for eight months. Following his long and heated rivalry with Kanemoto, at a very special televised show Riley would go on to defeat at the time current IWGP Heavyweight Champion, Hiroshi Tanahashi.
Riley formed an alliance with Yujiro Takahashi and soon the two began racking up tag team victories so they were placed in a match with the at the time reigning Tag Team Champions, Manabu Nakanishi and Takao Omori and were able to score a non-title win over them. A few weeks later the two teams faced off again this time in a brutal ladder match with Riley able to climb the ladder and grab the titles capturing his first championship since joining NJPW.
Riley and Takahashi would go on to hold the titles for five months before losing them to Giant Bernard and Travis Tomko. After losing the titles a feud ignited between the two former teammates and lasted for months with Riley coming out on top. Riley would former another alliance with Tetsuya Naitō and the two would challenge Giant Bernard and Travis Tomko for the Tag Team Championships on a few occasions however they were unsuccessful.
After this Riley started a rivalry with Ryusuke Taguchi and the rest of the members of the stable, Apollo 555 which would last for the rest of the year and ended with Ryusuke Taguchi being victorious over Riley.
Riley continued his run as a singles competitor and announced his involvement in the G1 Climax tournament. Riley would go on to win all nine of his matches and would win the Tournament defeating Togi Makabe in the finals. After winning the tournament, Riley began a feud with Shinsuke Nakamura over the vacant IWGP Heavyweight Championship. In what is being billed as one of Riley's best matches to date he was able to defeat Shinsuke Nakamura and capture his first IWGP Heavyweight Championship.
Riley would hold onto the championship for well over two months before losing the title to Togi Makabe. Riley would change his ring name to Michael Riley shortly after this would make the transition into a narcissistic and self-centered villain. Riley would defeat Makabe to regain the IWGP Heavyweight Championship and would hold onto it for five months before he was defeated by Satoshi Kojima. Following this Riley would take a hiatus from the ring.
Riley returned six months later and would save current IWGP Heavyweight Champion, Hiroshi Tanahashi from an attack by Apollo 555 thus turning him back into a fan favourite. The two would align and be involved in a series of matches with Apollo 555's Prince Devitt and Ryusuke Taguchi. The two would defeat them in a match with Tanahashi's IWGP Heavyweight title on the line as well as the Tag Team titles starting Riley's second reign as Tag Team Champion. Tanahashi and Riley would hold onto the titles for a few months before losing them back at Apollo 555.
After beating Hiroshi Tanahashi in a non-title match, Riley earned himself a shot at the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. Riley's received his title shot on May 28, 2011 against Tanahashi in a two out of three falls match, for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship which he won; winning the title for the third time.
Riley would lose the title back to Tanahashi a week later after interference from Kazuchika Okada, marking the beginning of a long feud between Riley and Okada. A week later Riley assaulted Okada as the two men brawled only for Apollo 555 to interfere on Okada's behalf and attacked Riley before putting him through a table, which marked the beginning of an alliance between Okada and Apollo 55 who also happened to be the reigning IWGP Tag Team Champions along with Prince Devitt being the reigning IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion. Riley would then challenge Devitt for the Junior Heavyweight Championship however he would lose due to interference from Okada again which then led to a three on one beatdown only for him to be saved by IWGP Intercontinental Champion, Shinsuke Nakamura. The two would team up in a match against Apollo 55 and would get a victory after Riley pinned Devitt. It was then announced that Riley would face Okada in a No Disqualifications match with the winner getting a title shot at Nakamura's Intercontinental Championship.
Riley would defeat Okada despite interference from Apollo 55 after a grueling thirty minute match which was later given five stars by Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Riley would receive his title match at Wrestle Kingdom 7 on February 29, 2012. Riley would go on to defeat Nakamura to win his first Intercontinental Championship. Riley later went on to successful defend the title against the likes of Nakamura, Devitt, Yujiro Takahashi before losing it to Okada. After this Riley made it known that he wanted the World title back that was ripped away from him by Okada and challenged any superstar to face him in the ring for the opportunity to become number one contender. The challenge would be answered in the form of Karl Anderson who believed that he deserved a shot at the IWGP Heavyweight Championship and that Riley has had plenty of chances.
Anderson would then attack Riley which brought out the champion Tanahashi who agreed that both men deserve a shot at the title and that he wanted to face both of them in a triple threat match. The match was made and Riley would come up short in his quest to reclaim the title after Anderson was pinned by Tanahashi. Shortly after this Riley would slowly begin a heel turn as following his matches he wouldn't let up on his opponents and would attack them after he had already won the match. Along with his heel turn, Riley also got rid of his long hair, but cutting it off. Attacking the likes of MVP, Hirooki Goto, Satoshi Kojima and Junji Hirata. This too brought out Tanahashi who didn't like how Riley was attacking his opponents after his matches and formerly offered to give him the rematch that he had wanted, to which Riley accepted. The match was made for the following week. Riley would defeat Tanahashi after interference from Ten-Koji winning the title for the fourth time. It was revealed a few weeks later that Riley had paid off Ten-Koji to help him win, leading up to a Six Man Tag Match being scheduled between Ten-Koji and Riley against the team of Tanahashi, MVP and Masato Tanaka. The match would be ruled a no contest after both teams brawled with Riley getting one over on Tanahashi and putting him through a table.
Riley would go onto successful defend the title against Tanahashi with Ten-Koji banned from interfering thus ending their feud. Following this Riley would go onto defend the title successfully against the likes of Tanaka, Karl Anderson, MVP, Shelton Benjamin, Yuji Nagata, Yujiro Takahashi, Davey Boy Smith Jr, Alex Koslov and Alex Shelley before losing the title to Hiroshi Tenzan ending his reign at 333 days. After this Riley would take a brief hiatus from wrestling, before returning eight months later retaining his heel character from before as the mystery opponent for then reigning IWGP Heavyweight Champion, Kazuchika Okada where Riley would defeat him after putting his feet on the ropes unseen by the referee thus winning the title for the fifth time. Riley would go on to hold the title for 126 days before losing it back to Okada in a Loser leaves NJPW match. Following the match Riley's contract would expire and he opted not to renew it.
World Elite Wrestling / WEW (2013)
Canadian Championship Wrestling (2018–present)
Riley was revealed as the new on-screen General Manager of then Western Canada Championship Wrestling at their World Divided show replacing Dominic Duvalle and established himself as a heel when he and Holloway attacked Duvalle, injuring him in the process. In July 2018, Riley re-branded WCCW and turned it into Canadian Championship Wrestling complete with new championship belt designs. On July 27, 2018, Holloway would sell his shares in the company to Riley making him the sole owner with Holloway deciding to step away from CCW. In a statement, Holloway stated that he knew that CCW was in good hands with Riley and that he would remain in some capacity as the Founder but relinquished all creative control to both Riley and his wife.
Riley has an older brother, Thomas Riley who is a singer-songwriter who's collaborated with such artists as Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull.
Riley was previously in a relationship with model Danielle Higgins, but the two have since broken up. Riley previously dated British actress Kate Beckinsale. They began dating in mid October 2011. On December 6, 2011 Riley was involved in an altercation with Kate Beckinsale's ex-husband, Len Wiseman which lead Riley ending up punching Wiseman in the jaw. Wiseman intended to file a lawsuit against Riley however it was later dropped. In early March 2012, Riley ended his four-month relationship with Beckinsale which garnered a lot of media attention.
Riley met Mariella Lucato at a study abroad trip in Italy during his junior year in high school. The two immediately hit it off and began dating during his time there. The relationship ended when he had to return to the US. In mid-July 2012 the two became engaged after re-connecting following his breakup with Beckinsale and planned an October wedding. However they called off their engagement in August. The day after the supposed wedding date (10/15/12) Daniel showed up at her home in Rome, Italy. The two reconciled after he found out that she was pregnant with their child and he proposed to her again, which she accepted. The two would wed in March 2013 at Lanikuhonua Cultural Institute in Kapolei, Hawaii. In May 2013, Mariella gave birth to an 8 lbs baby boy they named Luca. In December 2013 Riley announced on Twitter that him and his wife were expecting their second child due. The couple welcomed Noëlle Willow Riley on 4/20/14 who weighted in at 10 lbs. In November 2014, Mariella and reveled to her husband via Twitter that she was pregnant with their third child. The baby, a girl they're naming Sofia Violet, is due in mid-2015. She was born April 20, 2015. The family resides in Toronto, Canada during the Summer and in Miami, Florida during the Winter.
- Spear – (2013–present)
- Derailed – (Hangman's facebuster) – (2012–present)
- Frog splash – (2005–2011)
- 450° splash – (2007–2012)
- Big boot, sometimes to a seated opponent
- Clothesline to the back of the opponent's head
- Cobra Clutch
- Corner clothesline
- Diving European uppercut
- Falling clothesline
- Figure four leglock, sometimes from a standing position
- Hell's Revolt – (Fireman's carry dropped into a knee lift) – used as a tribute to CM Punk.
- High-impact elbow smash, sometimes transitioned from a short arm
- Kutajihami – (Standing shiranui into a dragon sleeper
- Multiple knee lifts to an opponent trapped in the ropes
- Phenomenon – (Standing moonsault side slam) – 2005–2011
- Running one-armed swinging neckbreaker
- Saving Grace – (STO backbreaker followed by a Downward Spiral)
- Single underhook followed by multiple punches to the opponent's ribs
- Sliding clothesline
- Multiple suplex variations
- Snap scoop powerslam
- Spinning spinebuster
- Touched by an Angel – (Reverse STO followed into a Koji Clutch)
- "The Antidote"
- "The Best Wrestler in the World Today"
- "The Derailer"
- "The Fearless One"
- "Faint" by Linkin Park (NJPW; 2005–2013)
- "I Stand Alone" by Godsmack (2013–2018)
- "Rollin' [Air Raid Vehicle]" by Limp Bizkit (2018–present)
Championships and accomplishments
- New Japan Pro Wrestling
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter