WWE superstar and former 205 Live cruiserweight champion Rich Swann has been arrested and charged with battery and kidnapping. To say that this is a shocking turn of events for fans is putting it mildly, as Swann is generally one of the most beloved members of the cruiserweight roster, and delights audiences with his flashy, upbeat character. Sadly, if the charges against him hold up, it would appear that the smiling Swann character might be nothing more than a facade.
The 26-year-old Swann has been wrestling professionally since 2008, and became a star on the indie circuit, competing for promotions such as Chikara, Dragon Gate, Evolve, and Full Impact Pro. Swann was signed to a WWE contract in 2015, which saw him wrestling for the NXT developmental brand. Swann made his WWE television debut in January 2016, and would go on to participate in the Cruiserweight Classic tournament that was held during the summer of last year.
When WWE decided to bring back the cruiserweight division to its main roster - and subsequently create the show 205 Live for the WWE Network - Swann was chosen to become a major focus, defeating then-champion Brian Kendrick for the cruiserweight title on the first episode of 205 Live. Swann has been a steady fixture on the show since. The Wrap reports that Swann was arrested in Gainesville, Florida, around midnight on Sunday morning. He has been charged with battery and the kidnapping or false imprisonment of an adult.
Authorities have released Swann's arrest report, which offers further details on what allegedly took place. The alleged victim in this instance is Vannarah Riggs, Swann's wife, and a fellow wrestler who performs on the indie scene as Su Yung. According to the report, Swann was driving a car with Riggs as the passenger, and got into an argument over a match that Riggs had had earlier that night. Swann became angry, and a frightened Riggs exited the vehicle while it was stopped in traffic. Swann then allegedly demanded that she return to the car, and when she didn't comply, he got out, placed her in a headlock, and dragged her back inside. She exited the car again, causing Swann to jump out, and pursue her again. While this was happening, witnesses say that Swann's car continued rolling and crashed into a telephone pole.
For his part, Swann apparently told police that he did not touch Riggs, and only went after her after she left the car due to her phone GPS containing the directions home. The kidnapping charge against Swann is a felony, and carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in state prison. The battery charge is a misdemeanor, and carries a maximum penalty of one year in county jail. Just before this article was published, WWE released a statement saying that the company has "zero tolerance for matters involving domestic violence" and officially suspended Rich Swann indefinitely.