INTERVIEW: Shane Taylor discusses title match at Final Battle being pulled, his ROH deal

Ahead of his forthcoming ROH title opportunities, Shane Taylor chatted with Andrew Thompson for their second interview.

Photo Courtesy: SP Media Graphics

 

Former ROH World Television Champion Shane Taylor is being promoted on ROH’s digital platforms on the lead-up to his ROH World Championship match against RUSH that will air on the weekend of February 27th. This coming weekend, Taylor along with Moses and Kaun of Shane Taylor Promotions are challenging Bandido, Rey Horus and Flamita for the ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Titles.

Taylor has big two weeks that is underway and I had the opportunity to chat with him ahead of his matches airing on ROH TV. Throughout Ring of Honor’s history, Jay Lethal is the only Black talent that has held the ROH World Championship and Shane is looking to add his name to that list. He added that he’s chasing two legacies in ROH currently and those are the legacies of Lethal and Kenny King.

I mean that’s the goal. Only three of us have held the Ring of Honor World TV Title: Myself, Jay Lethal and Kenny King and only Jay has reached the top of the mountain for the world title. That is why I make no bones about it that when I say I’m only chasing two legacies in ROH, that’s why, because we’re all here right now in our primes. Our careers are going to be compared. Like imagine if Kobe [Bryant], LeBron [James] and [Michael] Jordan all played in the same era, right? That’s what this is. So I’m chasing them in real time. I can’t be worried about the ghosts of Ring of Honor past. I can’t be worried about legend’s past. I look at who’s in front of me, I look at who’s around me and they are here right now. Those [are] the legacies that I’m chasing. I’ve already won the TV Title. I’ve been on one of the most impressive championship runs in Ring of Honor history with that championship and then, you follow that up with a singles victory over Kenny King to make sure he couldn’t have that over me and I’ve beaten Jay Lethal now in tag team action on two occasions. He holds a singles victory over me but I’ve now pinned him more times than he’s pinned me, and so the only thing left to do now in my opinion is to give him company on the top of that mountain and go on one of the most impressive runs that anybody has ever had with the Ring of Honor World Championship, because especially now in this time, in this climate, in this era, not only in professional wrestling but in society, in the country, to have a prominent Black male figure standing at the top of a professional wrestling company, not dancing around issues, not saying things without saying them, actually saying them and standing by that, to me that speaks to progress, that speaks to innovation, that speaks to a willingness to really make change. Anybody in any company can just say they want it, but you have to show that you really wanna do it.

At ROH’s Final Battle pay-per-view in 2020, Shane Taylor, Moses and Kaun were scheduled to challenge Mexa Squad for the Six-Man Tag Team Titles. That match was postponed due to COVID-19 protocols, but the match will be taking place this weekend on ROH TV.

Taylor said it was disappointing that the initial match was postponed because he was excited for Moses and Kaun to make their ROH pay-per-view debuts at ROH’s biggest show of the calendar year.

It’s essentially like you said. I promised Kaun and Moses when I recruited them a little over a year ago that I was gonna make them champions within a year. You’re talking about guys who were in the ROH dojo system just waiting, waiting for a chance, waiting for an opportunity and nobody knew what to do with them, but I did. So, you go from that point, me, selling them on a dream, on a plan, on asking simply for patience and loyalty and to give me their very best and a year later, touted as undoubtedly future Ring of Honor Tag Team Champions, they will be. They are now looked at as future pillars of the company which they will be and the first step to that is winning the Ring of Honor World Six-Man Tag Team Championships, allowing them to taste that gold for the first time, know what it is like to go out there, win that. It was supposed to be their first pay-per-view. What better way to make your pay-per-view debut than Ring of Honor Final Battle? So this is what we had been working on, this is what we’ve been preparing for, what we’ve been game planning for and to have it not happen, of course it’s disappointing but we knew that it was gonna happen.

While on the topic of Shane Taylor Promotions, I asked Shane about the latest addition to the group, O’Shay Edwards. O’Shay recently appeared on ROH programming and had a singles match against Sledge that went to a time-limit draw.

An interview with O’Shay is up on the POST Wrestling site and he discussed how the opportunity with Shane Taylor Promotions came about. Taylor went on to do the same and detailed what he sees in Edwards.

When I sat down and talked to O’Shay [Edwards], we as well as everybody in S.T.P., we all have the same vision, we all have the same goals and synergy on that team is important and I just made a post the other day and the reason I am so excited about everybody in this group is because even though I’m the face of the company, I’m the captain of the team, everybody on the team is better than me at something. Whether it’d be social media, whether it’d be fitness, whether it’d be Moses who’s got a mathematics, engineering degree, it’s — Ron [Hunt] with his idea creation. Everybody’s better than me at something and when you have that, you are constantly sharpening each other, you are constantly making each other better and if we’re making each other better, then the competition’s got no chance, you know what I mean? So now that he has made his ROH debut, he showed up, showed out. He’s got people talking and I’m sure that he will be back again. I’m sure they’ll probably do a rematch with him and Sledge. We’ll see how that goes. But yeah, I can’t wait to bring him into the fold. Man, and with me, O’Shay Edwards, Kaun, Moses, there’s nobody stopping us, nobody.

Taylor named several names who he could potentially see joining his group. Names such as Fred Yehi, Calvin Tankman, Trish Adora, Savannah Evans and Lee Moriarty were tossed in the hat. While speaking on that topic, Taylor stated that Shane Taylor Promotions is for everybody, but they’re not for everybody.

You named two right off the bat [Fred Yehi & Calvin Tankman] but when you look at it, you talk about guys like Lee Moriarty, you talk about guys like Darius Lockhart, you talk about guys like — let’s see, you mentioned Tankman, but you’ve also got Gia Scott, you’ve also got Trish Adora, they’re absolutely killing it. Nicole [Savoy], Savannah Evans, Suge D. There’s so many people who are making their names out there and have that voice to speak up for themselves, to stand on a platform, to deliver a message and do it in a way that is informative and to the point and that’s what it is all about, you know what I mean? Like I said before, Shane Taylor Promotions is for everybody, but we’re not for everybody, because it’s the truth. People may not want to hear it, but we tell them the truth. The truth is sometimes difficult, the truth is sometimes uncomfortable but the truth is the truth, and we want everyone to be fans of ours, we want everyone to support us but we also know who we are and who we represent and we’re gonna do our very best to make sure that we represent in the right way.

In February of 2020, Ring of Honor announced that Shane Taylor signed a new deal with the company. Over the past several months, ROH has announced the re-signing of Jay Lethal, Bandido, Sumie Sakai, Jonathan Gresham, Bateman, Mark Haskins and many more talents that have opted to stay with the company.

When asked if his name could be popping up on that list, Shane said anything is possible. Shane signed a multi-year deal in 2020 with an option in the contract. So 2021 is the last year and he’ll have his option in 2022. One thing he wants to make sure of is that wherever he goes or if he chooses to stay, he wants Shane Taylor Promotions to come with him.

I signed a multi-year deal I think in the beginning of, let’s see, 2019? So 2019 went through, 2020 — no sorry, the beginning of 2020. So, 2020 was what it was, I signed a multi-year deal with an option. So this is the last of that year and then we’ll have an option for a third. It’s possible [that I’ll sign a new deal]. Anything is possible. What I really wanna make sure is that no matter what happens, that Shane Taylor Promotions remains a unit. So if I do go somewhere, I wanna take them with me. If I stay, then we’re all there together but, the goal is to take this thing and make it our version of DX, our version of Bullet Club, our version of the nWo and make it something that people can celebrate and historically can compare to some of the greatest factions ever in the history of the sport and I think we have the talent to do it, so we’ll see. There’s a lot of time between that decision and right now so we’ll see but that’s the goal.

Ring of Honor’s working relationship with New Japan Pro-Wrestling is well known but as of late, the likes of IMPACT Wrestling, NWA, AAA and NJPW have collaborated with All Elite Wrestling in some form or fashion.

Shane Taylor thinks that Ring of Honor has been faring well as a product since their reboot and there is not a need right now for them to collaborate with another organization. While Shane feels it would be welcomed, he reiterated that he believes it is something not needed at the moment.

And you’ve said it and I’ve said for years that we have enough talent, that we don’t have to have a partnership with anybody else. We have enough talent, we have the skill to be on our own and do those things. Obviously, when you partner up with other companies, you’re gonna get dream match-ups, it’s great for business, it’s great for the fans, all that stuff. As long as it truly helps Ring of Honor, I’m all for it. Usually what happens is that is not the case. It helps the company that we’re working with but it doesn’t really help us and so for me, my thing has always been, ‘We have the talent. Let’s showcase our talent. Let’s prove that it is not just whoever else was here and the rest of us.’ It’s not just big brother here and oh, here’s ROH. That’s not what this is. We are the best wrestling on the planet, we are. You can take anybody’s top ten, take our top ten and I’d match them up in the ring or out of it, you know what I mean? It is what it is. So for me, that’s always been a thing so I don’t think it’s necessary. Would it be welcomed if it made business sense? I’m sure. But again, as long as it actually helps Ring of Honor because if it doesn’t then what’s the point?

Back in July of 2020, Ring of Honor presented their Black Lives Matter roundtable discussion hosted by Ian Riccaboni and featuring Jonathan Gresham, Caprice Coleman, Jay Lethal, Shane Taylor and Kenny King. Shane opened up about what it meant to him to be a part of that discussion and Ring of Honor promoting it on their platform.

 

And I give credit to Ring of Honor for having the guts, for lack of a better word to let us have that space and let us speak freely about these things because again, that’s what innovation and progress in this sport looks like. Too many people, too many companies talk about inclusion, talk about diversity, talk about what they wanna do and they just don’t ever deliver on those promises. It all sounds good, but if you don’t do anything behind it, then it’s just words. Words without actions are meaningless so to have that discussion with people that I consider peers and friends was absolutely incredible and again, that goes to show the progress that we’ve made as a company because a few years ago, you wouldn’t have had that discussion, you know what I mean? But now we have the talent, we have the voices, we have the ability to say these things and use our platform and use our voices, and yeah, I think with the George Floyd situation, what made it so jarring is usually, there’s some sort of feared for my life, quick decision excuse that people can feel comfortable getting behind, right? Like, ‘Oh, well he didn’t know. Well it was dark, who knows? Well his hand was there…’ this was the first time that it blatantly looked like okay, you’re not in danger. You just killed that dude, and that’s a hard thing to face. That’s a hard thing to look away from without being affected by that and I think that was sort of the, ‘Yo, you’re brazenly just doing it now?’ I think that’s what that feeling was and that sparked something worldwide, and that’s what sparked this whole thing and it’s disgusting to see so many people still try to excuse it and to make fun of it and things of that sort but this is the ugliness that we’re fighting. This is hundreds of years of systemic racism, nationalism, indoctrination and propaganda now that it has built such a cognitive dissonance in people’s minds that they don’t know anything other than this. I always tell people racism is so closely ingrained into the fabric of America, they think when you’re attacking it, you’re attacking the nation itself and that’s not what we’re doing and I explain to people, Black people love this country more than it has ever loved us. We’ve fought in every war, we’ve invented things, we’ve changed culture, we move culture, we move commerce forward, every single day.

Ring of Honor aired several Shane Taylor highlight and compilation videos on the lead-up to his Six-Man Tag Title and ROH World Title opportunities. To keep up with all things Shane Taylor, check him out on Twitter and Instagram @shane216taylor.

The audio from our interview can be watched on the Andrew Thompson Interviews YouTube channel or via the embedded video at the beginning of this article.

About Andrew Thompson 1404 Articles
A Maryland native and graduate of Norfolk State University, Andrew Thompson has been covering wrestling since 2017.