Former Ring of Honor and Impact Wrestling star Jimmy Rave has passed away today at the age of 39-years-old. The announcement came on Twitter earlier this afternoon, in a statement prepared by agent Bill Behrens and Rave’s daughter, Kailah.
“James Michael Guffey has died at the age of 39,” the statement began. “James was best known as Professional Wrestler Jimmy Rave. His career started in 1999, continued for over 2 decades. He was a two-time NWA World Junior Heavyweight Champion. He appeared in Total Non-Stop Action Wrestling, where he teamed with Lance (Hoyt) Rock as the ‘Rock and Rave Infection.’ In Ring of Honor, he feuded with AJ Styles and was the ‘Crown Jewel’ of the faction, The Embassy, and last appeared in 2013 as a member of S.C.U.M. He toured Japan with both Dragon Gate Wrestling and New Japan Pro Wrestling where in 2008 he competed in the Best of the Super Junior Tournament. In 2005, he appeared on World Wrestling Entertainment’s Sunday Night Heat. Rave also appeared in numerous independent promotions including Rampage Pro Wrestling, Atlanta Wrestling Entertainment, and Combat Zone Wrestling, among many others. He also served as the booker for several years in Rampage Pro Wrestling and led a faction known as Jimmy Rave Approved.
“Outside of wrestling, he held the position of Director of the Bartow County, Georgia Peer Support, Wellness, and Respite Center for several years. James had been struggling with drug addiction for many years. His struggles resulted in the amputation of his arm and, later, both of his legs. James is survived by his ex-wife Felicia, daughter Kailah, son James II, and his parents Jim & Toni Guffey. At the time of his death, he was living in Philadelphia, PA area with Gabby Gilbert. RIP, James Michael Guffy, 12/8/82 – 12/12/21. Memorial services will be held in Georgia. Details to be released at a later time.”
The news of Jimmy Rave’s passing comes only a few months after Rave was forced to have both of his legs amputated following a battle with a MRSA infection. Jimmy Rave had previously been forced to have his left arm amputated due to infection in 2020, which resulted in him being forced to retire from wrestling.
Many have tried to help Jimmy Rave as he worked to overcome his struggles in the past year. A Go Fund Me page was launched for Rave earlier this year to help him with the cost of his medical bills. In recent months, WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley also began raising money to assist Rave.
“I was thinking about Jimmy and how Jimmy’s Go Fund Me really needed a boost,” Foley told The Wrestling Inc. Daily last week. “Losing both legs, it’s devastating emotionally, psychologically, and also financially. He’s got bills that go for $100 thousand. He believes they’ll be able to whittle that down to $50 or $60 thousand, but it’s still a mountain of money.
“I just thought ‘hey, if there are some orders out there to be had, and I can combine that with some of my memorabilia, and also some personal interactions like the 2 nights in Georgia.’ Actually, it was 3 nights, and we had a fantastic time with a couple that bid a nice amount of money. It really exceeded my expectations. I thought we’d get maybe $10 or $12 thousand. Michael said ‘we’re going to try and get you and Jimmy to his goal’, which was $22 thousand. And we get it. It was really incredible.”
Debuting in October of 1999, Jimmy Rave joined Ring of Honor in 2003 and gained notoriety for being one of the most hated heels in the early history of the promotion. He would wrestle the likes of AJ Styles, Bryan Danielson, CM Punk, Nigel McGuinness, and countless others, and once unsuccessfully challenged Danielson for the Ring of Honor Championship in 2006. His most notable matches in ROH were a tag match where Rave and current WWE on-screen authority figure Adam Pearce wrestled Danielson and Punk at ROH Unscripted II, Punk’s last Ring of Honor match, and a Fight Without Honor match with McGuinness in March of 2007.
Jimmy Rave would join Impact Wrestling, then TNA, in 2007, but failed to catch on despite his aforementioned Rock & Rave tag team with Lance Hoyt (current AEW star Lance Archer). The duo would be released in 2009 after an uneventful two-year run, though Rave would eventually return for several one-off appearances until 2013.
Rave would also make several returns to ROH, first in 2009 to feud with Grizzly Redwood and Necro Butcher, though he was let go shortly after as he battled his drug addiction. He would return again in 2011 to feud with The Embassy’s new Crown Jewel Tomasso Ciampa, and one last time in 2013 as a member of the S.C.U.M. stable, alongside Kevin Steen, Jimmy Jacobs, Steve Corino, Rhino, Cliff Compton, Matt Hardy, and Rhett Tidus. He would continue to wrestle on the independent circuit afterward before his retirement.
Wrestling Inc. would like to express its condolences to Jimmy Rave, his family, and friends during this difficult time.
You can read the statement on Jimmy Rave’s passing below.
Ok this sucks
Kailah helped write it pic.twitter.com/WfY7v8uQ6g
— Bill Behrens (@WilliamBehrens) December 13, 2021
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