INTERVIEW: Kaun discusses his AEW appearances, ROH Six-Man Tag Title run, RJ Meyer, MCW

Kaun spoke to Andrew Thompson about Shane Taylor Promotions, his AEW appearances, ROH Six-Man Tag Title reign, the late RJ Meyer & more

Photo Courtesy: SP Media Graphics

Coming off of his run in Ring of Honor as a part of Shane Taylor Promotions, Kaun has been featured three times on AEW’s Dark/Dark: Elevation programs. He spent the last three years of his career as a part of Ring of Honor and was a co-holder of the company’s World Six-Man Tag Team Championships.

Kaun, Moses, Shane Taylor along with O’Shay Edwards used the ‘Freebird’ rule for the titles and as of this writing, they are tied with The Kingdom (Matt Taven, Vincent & TK O’Ryan) for the second longest ROH Six-Man Tag Title reign in company history. While speaking to Kaun, he expressed that S.T.P. will go down as greatest six-man (tag title) unit in history.

Oh yeah, we made history with that [Shane Taylor Promotions’ run with the ROH Six-Man Tag Titles] and I don’t think the trios titles got as much respect as they deserved. I think people looked at them like a secondary title but yet, we were the only ones who were truly defending those belts it seemed like. Every TV taping or we told them, ‘We’re taking these on the independents and defending them. If you don’t have any six-man teams here that can beat us, then we’re gonna go find our own competition if you’re not gonna bring that competition for us,’ and honestly in my mind, other than like the MexiSquad holding those belts and they never defended them over the COVID period, we have the longest reign in my mind. We’re gonna go down in history as the greatest six-man unit in history and I’ve said this before, we made six-man wrestling relevant again. So, I stand by that claim.

POST Wrestling was in attendance for the ROH ‘Free Enterprise’ show in February 2020. Prior to the event airing live on the HonorClub service, Kaun and Moses, collectively known as ‘Sons of Savagery’, competed in a dark match. They appeared on the main show as well alongside Shane Taylor.

When Kaun thinks back to that main show moment, he agreed that-that feels like one of the moments when Sons of Savagery officially arrived in Ring of Honor despite being with the company for months at that point. Another one of those moments came when he and Moses wrestled The Briscoes.

I think that was one of the first moments [where it felt like Kaun & Moses arrived in ROH — Free Enterprise 2020] because like you said, we were on TV just kind of squashing people but we didn’t have any direction, so they had that dark match which it’s hilarious to see [how] things have happened with Griff Garrison being at AEW and how times have changed. Especially being in Baltimore, you could feel the energy with the crowd there, but I know for Moses and I, I don’t think we felt it until we wrestled The Briscoes last year because that was the true test and those are the two people that you want to get in the ring with like, all right, if you can hold your own with these two men, the baddest tag team in ROH history, one of the greatest tag teams of all-time, ‘Okay, they’ve arrived. They have their place in the tag team division here.’

Kaun was trained at the Maryland Championship Wrestling school. The promotion has been a staple in the DMV independent wrestling scene dating back to the late 1990s.

The likes of Lio Rush, Renee Michelle, WWE referee Jessicka Carr and others have trained at the MCW training center. One of the head trainers at the facility was the late R.J. Meyer. Meyer passed away in November 2020 after a battle with Leukemia. Kaun spoke highly of Meyer and the impact that Meyer had on him and many others that came through MCW.

I can speak for myself personally and I think probably Moses too like, we probably didn’t have the best relationships with our father’s growing up and to have — again, and you’re a grown man and you’re learning this new thing and like, you’re getting yelled at all the time but to see someone who doesn’t even know who you are, take such an invested interest in you and not give up on you and push you and like, I remember I went through some tough times. I had people commit suicide in my life or going through breakups and stuff and you can call him [R.J. Meyer] at any time, he’ll answer the phone and talk to you because he genuinely cared about who you were as a person. Like cool, he’s trying to make you succeed because you get to give back to the school if you’re great at wrestling, but he was just a great human being, he was a dad to every student there and the fact that he would show up no matter what. He was going through what he was going through. Even his chemo treatments, he was still trying to be there. People would FaceTime, go to the hospital to go see him. I remember when I first started — this dude’s intimidating as f*ck. He’s [this] big ass wrestler, ‘The Bruiser’ screaming at people and I remember I just kind of started showing up by myself and he was just like, ‘Oh, you’re trying to be a machine, right?’ I’m like, ‘Yeah man, I guess so.’ He’s like, ‘All right, you can start doing extra cardio with these other dudes’ and like, the fact that someone just, again, they don’t want anything from you but they’re gonna push you and invest this time into you and something from me, that just meant so much to me. I never felt like calling him but I was like, ‘Hey man, I have a problem, something happened in my life’ — I remember coming to training, this is your family. Like you’re around these people so much. I remember him telling me, ‘Once you get into wrestling, this is going to take over your life. This is where your friends are, this is where your family is. If you need anybody for anything, you call some of these people up.’ It was such a community-based thing and he was the head of that table. No one could replace that man there and I can already tell that he’s like truly missed because that was the place that R.J. built was MCW [Maryland Championship Wrestling]. That was his house.

Following Shane Taylor and Kenny King’s one-on-one match at ROH Final Battle, they were joined in the ring by Kaun, Moses, Ron Hunt, O’Shay Edwards, World Famous C.B., Eli Isom and Caprice Coleman and together, they stood in the ring in solidarity as Black men with their fists in the air.

In the moment, Kaun did not realize how impactful the moment was and how it would make others feel, but as the days went on after Final Battle, he soon discovered the positive moment he was part of.

I don’t think I realized the impact of what we were doing until like two days later, because when you do wrestling poses, it’s always like the fist in the air. Like okay, Black power, fist in the air and I know for me specifically, with my background, my dad’s from Cameroon so and I’m biracial. My mom’s from a small town in Wisconsin. I never grew up with Black cultural things. I never really understood those things. They went over my head because my dad’s an immigrant. So I grew up around afro-centric stuff, music, food. I had no idea what, I don’t know, these iconic Black shows are, I don’t know. But just seeing the impact that we have had on kids, specifically, that is huge to me because I know — one of the reasons why I wanted to get into wrestling is because I never saw anyone like myself really doing this. Like you had Farooq, you had The Rock and Booker T but The Rock was never positioned as a Black wrestler. It was always like his Samoan heritage. I know probably like Rikishi, there’s a couple others that I can’t remember at the moment. But like, seeing how far we’ve come now and seeing your peers like Big E, Kofi [Kingston], Bobby Lashley, seeing [them] at the highest level in this business and still at this age, I’m getting tears when they win championships because again, I never saw that stuff growing up. It’s just so profound. Like this stuff is really changing people’s lives. I’m seeing that we’re like people’s banners on social media and I’m like, ‘That was just a pose to me’ but this is so much more for so many more people so that kind of puts some weight on your shoulders but to see the impact that you have and that you can make in this business for people, I mean that’s life changing.

On the topic of representation and diversity in wrestling, Kaun feels that by all accounts, from the shows he’s tuned into on the independent scene, the talent roster and cards look diverse. When it comes to having more Black talent on shows, Kaun thinks that can always improve and be better.

That’s tough [to answer, in response to if things are fine concerning representation and diversity in wrestling]. I think on the indies — I never did the indies, so I think where the independent scene is now, I think it’s pretty okay. It’s pretty diverse. I’m down in Texas, there’s a lot more Black wrestlers than I’ve ever seen before in my life so, at least in that way and I think there’s like a conversation between diversity and then like Blackness in wrestling because I think wrestling is super diverse and it really actually is. I get where people are now talking about AEW and like having Black wrestlers. There’s Black wrestlers there and it’s a super diverse place. Jade [Cargill] just won the TBS Championship. It’s definitely changed from where it was, I guess like ten years ago when I started — maybe 15 years ago when I started watching wrestling. It definitely can change even more and be better, but to say it’s not good where it is and it’s not diverse, I don’t think that’s true.

Back in November 2019, Ring of Honor presented their ‘Unauthorized’ show which featured a card that was put together by fans via a voting system. Kaun was a part of that show and he teamed with Brian Johnson along with fellow Shane Taylor Promotions members Moses, Ron Hunt and Shane Taylor to take on Camera Man Gator, Colt Cabana, Gary Juster, Ian Riccaboni and Todd Sinclair.

Shane Taylor Promotions left Brian Johnson to fend for himself and he lost the match. Upon the announcement of the match, Kaun admitted that he had mixed feelings about it before being informed that he and his stable mates would not actually be wrestling in it.

I think back then, it was probably like two-fold [how he felt about the match]. At first I was like, ‘What the hell are we — are we actually gonna have to wrestle these people? Because I don’t know how I’m gonna be able to do that.’ I’m probably most frustrated about putting my gear on, which takes some time to put my boots on and all that and then I was like, ‘Oh, Brian Johnson’s gonna be the one wrestling? Cool. At least I’m not bumping to Todd’ but at the same time, we did the full entrance. People are like, ‘Oh, they’re gonna murder these dudes’ and then we just hop off the apron and walk to the back. I was like, ‘If y’all are paying my flight to come out here and do this, I guess I can’t complain.’

Kaun’s last three matches have taken place under the AEW banner. He has wrestled Andrade El Idolo, Frankie Kazarian and most recently Adam Cole. He reflected on those experiences and discussed his time collaborating with AEW so far.

He mentioned that Mark Henry has been a supporter of his for multiple years and recounted receiving props from Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian after his match with Kazarian.

So I was actually supposed to wrestle Frankie [Kazarian] the first time but his flight, something happened with his travel so he came to the show late. It’s funny because I’m like a huge fan of Andrade [El Idolo]. I was a huge fan of his in NXT and I’m like, ‘Okay, I’m wrestling this dude.’ But I’ve been watching AEW Dark since they started and I’ve been studying these match structures and I know they don’t get a lot of time and I think a lot of people do a lot of stuff that doesn’t really mean too much so in my mind, all right, I’m like, ‘I’m just making a moment. I’m just making a moment.’ When I was working with Andrade, fortunately we didn’t do too much because why? It doesn’t mean anything. There’s only three or four minutes. If I’m trying to show off my physicality and make a moment. This dude pulls my hair, I slap the sh*t out of him. He can slap me back, but, I make sure I had that moment and look, I’m not here to play either. This is my opportunity to try to get signed. Came to the back, Mark Henry’s been like a huge fan of mine for a couple of years so I talked to him briefly. He put me over on commentary too so I definitely appreciate that. He’s a legend so, him saying that I have a great physique and I’m an athlete, thank you. Same thing with Kazarian… talking to him about the way that I was trained by Joey Mercury and he was at ROH right when — right when he left ROH, that’s when I got signed there so I briefly crossed paths with him. But same thing with him, ‘Hey, we don’t have a lot of time. Let’s take this slow, let’s make this work, let’s show this struggle, let’s make this mean something because that’s gonna be so much more important to these people than just like doing all this stuff.’ I don’t even wrestle like that. I’d rather show off my physicality and came to the back, same thing, Mark Henry loved it, Kazarian liked it, [Christopher] Daniels liked it so, I think I’m going back for a couple more opportunities. Hopefully some good things come out of that. But it’s been great. I know a lot of those people from ROH, I know some people in the office, I got to meet people. Surprisingly, they remember me when I was at ROH when they were there. So it’s like a great vibe, it’s cool to see people like Austin Gunn, Fuego Del Sol and catch up with people so, hopefully good things happen in the next few weeks.

He went on to speak about the support that he’s received from fans coming out of his AEW appearances. It means a great deal to Kaun, but he also does not want the compliments to go to his head.

Oh definitely [it felt good to receive support after the AEW appearances]. Again, I’m super critical of myself so I’m like, ‘Oh, I could have did this better, I could have did that better.’ Then to see people, the way that they’re reacting, that’s always a great feeling. I just try to retweet people’s stuff. I’m like, ‘Ah, thank you.’ Just remain humble because I don’t want it to get to my head. But at the same time, just kind of check out of social media just because it can be hella overwhelming just to see that and people are messaging you…

Kaun made the move to Texas and he and Moses are chasing after their respective singles runs. They still team together on occasion and are constantly in contact.

He described Moses as one of his closest friends and detailed how R.J. Meyer is partially responsible for them becoming close friends.

It’s honestly probably thanks to R.J. [Meyer that Kaun & Moses are a team]. I remember, he started a year before me when we started wrestling and then I think my first or second day, he got hurt and I think he tore his meniscus. So he was out for a little bit. But I remember when he came back, I was looking at the landscape of MCW [Maryland Championship Wrestling] and I was like, ‘Okay, there’s no tag teams here really and there’s no Black tag teams. So if we team together, they’re gonna have to put us on the show. Like they’re going to have to do that. There’s a spot that needs to be filled.’ So I remember talking to him about that idea and to see the fruition of that happen, but I remember when we pitched the idea to R.J. and being like, ‘Hey, we kind of want to tag’ so we started tagging a little bit, doing these birthday parties [house shows] and R.J. would be like, ‘Did y’all talk today?’ And I’m like, ‘No, we talk at practice.’ He’s like, ‘You guys need to talk every single day. I do not care what you’re doing.’ He’s like, ‘You need to text each other, you need to call each other. Y’all need to like — that’s how good tag teams – become a great bond, become great tag teams is they talk every day, they become actual friends,’ so like, in my head, it was just, ‘Oh, we’ll be wrestling tag team partners’ but then once that happened, we actually started to get to know each other. We’re like super similar, kind of like same way that we grew up with our relationships with our parents and stuff that we’re to the point where like Joey Mercury was like, ‘Wherever one you are, the other has to be. You always have to be with one another because you need to be presented in these people minds as a tag team’ so we started working out together, going to shows together, driving together and all that time you spend with someone where you’re just like, you build this bond, you have this friendship and then like, it’s funny because people will be like, ‘Are y’all brothers?’ I’m like, ‘No.’ We both happen to have locs for the same amount of time. Now he’s getting tatted up. We just happen to be into the same stuff [and] we’re always around one another.

I know for me too, getting into wrestling is such a scary thing when you’re by yourself out there. So to be in a tag team and like, I remember when we first started wrestling, I’m like, ‘Oh no, you can go first.’ I was hella uncomfortable but it felt so much more comfortable having, like you said, someone right there in my corner. Like me being in his corner just having someone with you all the time. To now, we kind of are just brothers. We still talk all the time. I know that I moved here [to Texas], but talking all the time, rooming together when we do ROH. Now we’re both kind of doing like our own little indie thing trying to get some experience doing singles stuff. He just had a championship match at MCW against Brian Johnson twice. He’s doing CZW, we’re both kind of getting out here and it’s cool to see, just both of us, like how far we’ve grown in the five-to-six years since we’ve been in wrestling and like, he just came down here a few months ago. We just tagged on some indie scene stuff. He’s probably one of my greatest friends. It’s funny that we just like — we’ll see funny stuff, we’ll just text each other. We have the same kind of humor so, hey man, he’s a great dude.

Although Ring of Honor is on hiatus until April 1st, Shane Taylor Promotions plans to continue working together at points and supporting fellow members of the group. Kaun said it can be tasking to move five people at once on the independent scene.

He understands that it can be difficult for a promotion to bring in all five members but adds that they will open the proverbial doors for each other when the opportunity presents itself.

Oh yeah, I think the biggest thing we run into sometimes is like costs honestly [moving all of Shane Taylor Promotions around at the same time]. Definitely traveling places but it’s — we’re a collective, right? It’s like five people so a lot of these indie shows, they don’t have the funds. I understand where that could be possibly a struggle. We have talked about it. If anything, we try to keep S.T.P. together. I understand the politics — not the politics but like the struggle of bringing five people into wherever. But I’ve said this with them, if people get opportunities [at] places, why wouldn’t you support your brother getting these opportunities? And this opens the door. Like you can’t help people get into the door if the door’s closed, so someone could open that door for you, then you can help pull your brothers through.

To keep up with all things related to Kaun, check him out on Twitter @thekaun and on Instagram @the.kaun. His merchandise store page can be found at this link.

Our full interview can be watched via the player at the beginning of this article or on the Andrew Thompson Interviews YouTube channel.

About Andrew Thompson 3683 Articles
A Maryland native and graduate of Norfolk State University, Andrew Thompson has been covering wrestling since 2017.