ROH World Television Champion Shane Taylor discusses how growing up in East Cleveland shaped who he is today, why he still doesn’t get the respect he deserves from ROH fans, his reaction to Jeff Cobb not asking for a title rematch and more.
1. If you hadn’t gone into pro wrestling, what do you think you’d be doing for a living?
I honestly don’t know. I’ve never been a 9-5 kind of guy. If you can’t beat me up, you’re damn sure not telling me what to do. I’ve always felt that way. I’ve never been subservient to anyone and that won’t start anytime soon.
2. What’s the best advice you’ve been given about the pro wrestling business and who gave it to you?
The best advice would actually be from William Regal, who said, “Go out there and perform like people are always seeing you for the first time.” That stuck with me and is why every match, every city, every venue, the people get the very best of Shane Taylor. No off days, no phoned-in performances. You get me at my best.
3. Did you have a favorite wrestler growing up?
My favorite wrestler growing up was Ron Simmons. On top of being the first recognized African American World Heavyweight Champion, he also did so just being an incredible athlete. Simply worked hard and made it to the top. He wasn’t a caricature of black culture as so many people are portrayed as today. He wasn’t a stereotype that so many people have been conditioned to believe and have grown comfortable seeing and relegating an entire people to. He was the first of his kind. Now that I’m a World Champion, I’m going to continue that legacy.
4. How did growing up in East Cleveland shape who you are today?
The East side of Cleveland, Ohio does two things: It shows you who you are and shows you just how much you’re willing to sacrifice. If you can make it out of there, you’re simply built different than anybody else from anywhere else. You’re either from Cleveland or you're not.
5. What’s a subject you’d like to know more about?
I’d love to know about Japanese culture and history. Growing up a big fan of Vader and Stan Hansen, my earliest memories of wrestling were them wrestling in front of thousands of people in Japan, and I’ve always admired that warrior spirit and esteem Japanese culture has for pro wrestling and wrestlers. One day, I’ll be able to say I competed there.
6. What’s something that’s popular that you just don’t see the appeal of?
Skinny jeans. Never have and never will understand it.
7. Do you have a favorite line from a movie?
50 Cent’s whole speech to his daughter’s date from “Den Of Thieves.” Perfection.
8. Now that you’re ROH World Television Champion, do you feel like you’re finally getting the respect you deserve?
No, I don’t, but that’s to be expected because Ring of Honor didn’t want me to be champion; the majority of their brainwashed fanbase has only been conditioned to respect a certain few criteria in this sport, none of which I adhere to. But that will not stop me from becoming the most dominant television champion there’s ever been. It won’t stop me from putting on Match of the Year performance after Match of the Year performance, and it won’t stop me from achieving any of my other goals.Whether people like it or not, understand it or not, Shane Taylor is the man in ROH.
— Shane Taylor (@shane216taylor) May 23, 2019
9. What was your reaction when Jeff Cobb said he didn’t want a rematch with you for the ROH World Television Title because he was going after the ROH World Title?
Cobb is a grown man. He knows what our first two bouts were like, so I’m not shocked. I think this situation is a lot like Frazier/Ali where eventually we’ll have to meet up and I’ll have to prove to him who the man is.
10. If Bandido, your opponent at the Best in the World pay-per-view on June 28 in Baltimore, is reading this, what message do you have for him?
Protect your neck. I’m throwing bombs come Best in the World.