Acrylic on 24″ x 24″ wood
Xavier may not have been the first Ring of Honor World Champion, but he was the first to prove he was tougher than the champ. Born John Jirus in New York, he made his professional wrestling debut in 1997. After plying his trade largely in the New York area he competed for Ring of Honor at their first ever show in February 2002. While failing to make it past the first round in the tournament to become the fledgling promotion’s first World Champion, he continued to make his name in the early days of the company. In September he challenged the champion Low Ki for the title and defeated him, becoming the second ever champion in ROH. He immediately joined Christopher Daniels’ group The Prophecy, and defended his title against Jay Briscoe, AJ Styles and Paul London. It was finally Samoa Joe who defeated him for the title on March 22, 2003.
After taking some time away from the company, he returned and entered into a feud with Christopher Daniels and later Matt Stryker. In 2004 Xavier joined Prince Nana’s stable The Embassy. He was unfortunately soon injured and was sidelined through the remainder of the year. He returned to Ring of Honor in 2006 to unsuccessfully challenge Bryan Danielson/ Daniel Bryan for the World Title. During this time he also competed in dark matches and some televised bouts for WWE. He has also competed in two amateur mixed martial arts matches, winning the first in 14 seconds from a knockout and lost the second via decision.
About the piece: Except for some minor details, I did this all with sponge brushes and house paint. I wanted to do something with all broad strokes, getting across the energy of a sketch while still having the polish of a finished piece. The shape of the brush and the thickness of the paint causes a lot of ‘happy accidents’ to happen, which I really wanted to embrace.