HomeInterviewsA Dangerous Man, A Dangerous Mind: An Interview ROH's with Shane Taylor

A Dangerous Man, A Dangerous Mind: An Interview ROH’s with Shane Taylor

Shane Taylor
Ring of Honor/Roy Harper

Shane Taylor is one of Ring of Honor’s most intimidating wrestlers. His rough and ready in-ring style combined with intense promo style make him one of the company’s “can’t miss” wrestlers — destined for big things in 2019.

This weekend, Taylor will challenge Jeff Cobb for the Television Championship at ROH 17, the company’s 17th anniversary show in Las Vegas. It’s a big opportunity for Taylor as he could be taking the title into Madison Square Garden for ROH and New Japan’s G1 Supercard.

Recently we spoke with Taylor about his thoughts on the “beauty and art of violence,” what motivates his soul in the world of professional wrestling, and what he thinks his chance are against Jeff Cobb this weekend.

You’re obviously no stranger to holding the gold. Now you’re with ROH and have a shot at the ROH Television Championship. We know the lineage and names that come along with that particular title. What would it mean to you to win the title and carry it into MSG for the G1 Supercard event?

Man, that’s everything. I can barely even put that into words. When you talk about the lineage and the history, you’re talking about, first and foremost guys like: Matt Taven, Jay Lethal, Kenny King Silas Young, Marty Scurll. The legacy of that championship is, arguably at times, been more important than the ROH World title. To me that is the workhorse championship. That’s the guy that’s gonna go out there and deliver every single night. No matter what. Hurt. Sick. Tired. Doesn’t matter. And that’s exactly who I want to be.

And even more importantly walking into Madison Square Garden with that championship, you’re talking about, a guy from the East Side of Cleveland, Ohio who was supposed to be a statistic. Who wasn’t supposed to be anything, coming from nothing. And walking into MSG as the Ring of Honor Television Champion — Hollywood couldn’t write a better story. It’s very important to me in this re-match with Jeff Cobb to end his undefeated streak, and take that championship. It’s also important because I want to silence everyone from the critics to the smart ass fans that tell me what I do and don’t deserve, to anybody in the office that doesn’t think that I’m the man. My goal is to prove that I am the man and in one fell swoop shut everybody’s mouth.

Shane Taylor
Photo Credit: Ring of Honor/Roy Harper

This Friday you’re going up against Jeff Cobb for the title at the ROH 17th Anniversary show in Vegas. He is a force to be reckoned with. Do you think that you have an advantage being one of the more agile powerhouses, and what is your strategy going into this one?

As far as agility and things like that go, people can see what Cobb can do. The guy can do moonsaults, the guy can fly around with the best of them. So when it comes down to technique and things of that sort, I think we match up well — strength vs. strength. I think we match up well. Agility for agility as well.

The difference in this match is going to be my striking versus his grappling. Can I keep distance? Can I keep him at the end of my shots? Can I not let him tie me up? If I can do that, then I have a great chance of wining. There’s not too many people that can stand at the end of my shots and just take those for 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 20 minutes, however long it is. Eventually they’re gonna go down. So my job is to keep throwing until he does.

In the past you’ve said that you have found “beauty” or “art” in violence between the ropes. You’ve even used phrases like, “violence at it’s finest.” Can you elaborate on this philosophy?

To people that have never been or haven’t studied combat sports, or haven’t been in situations that have pushed their survival instincts, they can see violence as just this chaos. There’s no rhyme or reason to it. There’s nothing positive about it. It’s just all negative. Where I’m from, you learn to appreciate different things. Let’s take boxing for example. I’ve studied all of the greats and the history of boxing. A lot of people can just see it as this gladiator sport.

We don’t know why two people would just beat each other senseless. It’s just savagery. But when you talk about people that come from nothing yet they literally have had to fight for everything they have in life. When you talk about the techniques that they use and the knock outs that they produce, or in Floyd [Mayweather]’s case, their ability to not even be touched no matter who the opponent is, that’s when you start to get into the art form of it.

When you can look at somebody setting up a knockout, not in the seventh round but the first round, faking, moving, slipping shots, getting in their opponents head, drawing them in – you can see these little things. It’s no different than watching an artist paint their masterpiece. You go to a blank canvas and you watch them stroke by stroke implement their vision. In one culture it results in beautiful artwork. In this culture, it results in a knockout. There’s beauty to it. Especially when you know what you’re looking at. I try to implement that as much as possible.

I’m a guy that wants to eliminate so many of the negative connotations and stereotypes that come along with my culture. Especially when you look about how it’s portrayed on TV, movies, and in professional wrestling. I’m not just a guy who’s a violent individual. I’m a husband, a father, a brother, and I’m college educated. I’m a very smart guy. I just happen to be able to knock you the hell out. And I do it very well. That’s what I want to impress upon people. It’s not that I can just knock you out, but I can out think you, I can out perform you, and then knock you out. That’s my game plan, and that’s what I bring to ROH with that mentality.

We touched on Cleveland a bit, but one of the my favorite aspects of the city is the Rock + Roll Hall of Fame. When you’re on the road or training what are you listening to? Are you a rock kinda guy? What’s on the Shane Taylor playlist?

It really depends what I’m gearing up for. If it’s a training day, it’s a little bit of everything. You might have some rock ‘n’ roll on there. You might have some hip-hop. You might have even some death metal on there. You might have some hardcore. I listen to a whole plethora of musical styles. If I’m getting ready to go into a match or I’m preparing for that day, you’re going to hear DMX over and over again. That gets me in the mind frame to shut everything out and gets me focused for what I have to do, which is more than likely an extremely violent act.

You’ve had success tagging in the past with another big man, Keith Lee. Do you prefer being a singles competitor over the tag division? Also where do you pull your influences from both in and out of the ring?

To me it makes no difference, singles or tag. Because I’m doing singles now then that is what I want to do. But if I’m in a tag team, then that’s where my focus is. And that’s what I put my all into. Teaming with Keith was great. For being a team for less than two years, we made a lot of noise. People were very excited about that team, and we’re constantly getting messages asking when we’re gonna do it again. He’s doing his thing and I’m doing mine. You never know what will happen down the road, but appreciate what we do individually. If there’s a time going forward that we can make it happen and if it benefits us, then maybe we make that happen.

As far as influences inside the ring there are guys I look up to like Ray Rowe (of NXT’s War Raiders) or guys I’ve studied growing up — like Vader, Bam Bam Bigelow, Stan Hansen. I implement a lot of the way the presented themselves, their attitudes and that take no prisoners mentality in my style as well.

My influences outside of the ring are my friends and family. For anyone who knows my story I’ve had to bury a lot of people in my life. Everything for me is maximizing what I can do, because I know so many people who didn’t get a chance to live their dream. They didn’t get a chance to find out who they wanted to be and put their all into it. That includes raising my daughters, and taking care of my family, I also make sure I’m maximizing my potential for all of those I know I didn’t get a chance to. So every day of training and preparing, that’s all that’s on my mind.

Who have you learned the most from specifically in ROH, and who’s been your favorite opponent thus far?

That’s a good one. I think the answer to both of those is Jay Briscoe. Physically and mentally he’s a guy that makes you bring everything you have when you step into the ring with him. I appreciate that. That gets me excited and gets me going. Any of the matches that I’ve had with him have been great. They’ve been physical, they’ve been fun. Any of the small things he can help me with along the way, even when he doesn’t have to has been of great help to me. Going forward that’s something I’ve always done. Just continuing to learn and develop my styles. And to impress upon people that he was very much right when he told me I am going to be one of the next guys up in ROH. I’m gonna make sure that his words come true.

Tell us about your journey to ROH. How did all this experience get you ready for such a major platform? Additionally, I feature a lot of up and coming indy talent here on The Pop Break and on my podcast. What advice would you give to some of these guys trying to make a name for themselves?

That’s such a tough question, because just like any other sport you can train and do everything in high school, but it doesn’t really prepare you for college. You have to get your reps there to be ready for it. Same thing when you go to the pros. ROH is no different. From just mastering your fundamentals and getting a great base, that’s what helped me. When you get to ROH you’re dealing with the best talent in the world. But until you’re there on that stage, there’s nothing that can get you ready for those moments. There’s no amount of swings in the batting cage that’s gonna get your ready for the majors. You have to have time in the box.The only thing that prepares you for being there, is being there.

For anybody that’s looking to come up, find a great place to train. Find people that believe in you and surround yourself with positive energy. Then be ready to hear “no ” a million times. But have enough confidence in yourself to be who you think you are. Some of the greatest to ever do it have been told by somebody they’re not gonna make it. Whether it be Cena, Austin, Taker, Bret Hart, they’ve all been told they don’t have what it takes, but here we are. As long as you’re doing what you’re doing, you’ll be alright.

Shane Taylor challenges Jeff Cobb for the ROH World Television Title this Friday, March 15th at “ROH 17th Anniversary.” The event airs LIVE from Las Vegas at 8pm Central on pay-per-view and FREE for HonorClub VIP members. Visit ROHHonorClub.com to sign up and enjoy every ROH event LIVE! Click here for tickets to the 17th Anniversary.

ROH and New Japan Pro-Wrestling present “G-1 Supercard,” LIVE on Saturday April 6th from sold-out Madison Square Garden. The event will air LIVE at 6:30 Central on pay-per-view and FREE for ALL HonorClub members! HonorClub content can be streamed through the ROH and FITE TV apps!

Rob Crowther IV
Rob Crowther IVhttp://bobculture.podbean.com
Rob "Bobman" Crowther IV is host of The Bob Culture Podcast and drummer for local Jersey rockers, Vextion. This drummer with a mic can often be found on the site reviewing wrestling, superhero shows, and movies. Rob loves to put the spotlight on up and coming local bands and indy wrestling talents. @bobculturepod

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