Word of Honor is an occasional series of first-person feature articles written by ROH talent.
I vividly remember walking by the giant Stage AE letters in Pittsburgh on Nov. 2, 2019 with a smile on my face, knowing this was going to be the night I unleashed my vision and my message to the world.
It was almost like someone was waiting at the door to give me the keys to the invisible handcuffs I was wearing, to release me from playing this political prison game, man. It’s like once the keys hit the palm of my hand -- a hand that has done more work for others than it has for myself -- I clenched them and knew it was this night or never, dig what I’m saying here?
So I sit by ringside on this night and watch Matt Taven, a friend of 12 years, take the spotlight again and I think to myself, “Man, is this what it’s going to keep being like here? Is it going to be him telling me to walk over broken glass to keep getting him what he wants?”
I had already thrown myself in front of every bullet directed at him so that he could become ROH World Champion, whether you believe it or not, you dig? So later that night, it was time for the devil to pull the strings that make us dance.
I had to sacrifice fellow Kingdom member TK O’Ryan for this to work. I had to bash his head against the wall in the hallway and lay him out, then lay myself down next to him so Taven wouldn’t suspect a thing. And he didn’t, man. I held the chess pieces the whole time. I spin the dice, you dig what I’m saying? None of you will ever outplay me. Not him, none of you.
Of course, when Taven sees us lying in the hallway, he pretends he gives a crap, storms out to the ring and demands whoever is doing this to come forward. While pleading his case, he’s in the spotlight yet again because he just can’t get enough of it.
I’m sitting under the ring and I hear him say, “I’m standing right here! I’m going nowhere! Be a man and show yourself!”
At that moment, the spotlight came on, exposing his pure selfishness. Man, I have to say that very moment stepping into the light from the dark, which I have spent more time in than anyone, was a euphoric experience, man.
I took out his bad knee, which made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up with joy. I hit him in the side of the head with the top of the axe before he could even see who did it. As I saw him face down holding his head, I thought, “This isn’t enough.” Then I recalled all the conversations he and I always had about the axe:
Imagine if you really did cut someone with this?
Running my finger on the blade, this is it! This is the first page in the Righteous book of blood, man. I held the blade to his forehead and pulled back as hard as I could. He looked up with all the blood from every sin he had committed dripping from his face, finally realizing who was standing over him.
Man, if only I could replay that feeling over and over! Sure, I have done some great things, but nothing was more of a high than this, dig what I’m saying? I have photos of his bloody face, my big moment, hanging in the ranch.
I hit him one last time as he was trying to crawl to his feet, then I cradled him and told him it was either going to be me or him and that he knew that deep down. I put my finger to his blood and tasted my success. Then I painted the letter “V” on my forehead with his blood and looked him in his gory face one last time.
That night, Vincent was born, man.
Vinny Marseglia was born in Providence, Rhode Island. When I was a couple months old, my family moved to the gutter that is Cranston, R.I., a small town just outside of Providence. That’s where most of my traumatizing experiences took place, man.
I was quiet as a child. I had loving parents, but my father was an alcoholic who would constantly fight with my mother. I still remember my fear in those situations. I also remember the older kids in my neighborhood trying to abuse me verbally and physically. I would run home and isolate myself, either watching wrestling or an 80s horror movie.
I was just a caterpillar wandering the street hoping that I’d turn into a butterfly and fly away, just get out of this place that felt like it could have been a layer of hell, dig what I’m saying?
At 5 years old, I took wire cutters and cut a hole in the back of the school fence and left, walking down the street of Cranston. The police located me shortly after and brought me home. I was trying to escape the empty feeling and the dark cloud with long demon hands chasing me everywhere, trying to scoop me up.
Things in the neighborhood started to escalate and I began to fill with anger, hate and rage. At 5 years old, man, you don’t have it figured out yet. The storms come and go, the waves crash overhead, the big fish eat the little fish, but I just kept on paddling, man.
Eventually, we got out of there and moved to what we call Borden Ranch, located miles away from the snitches and snakes of the world. I was about 6. At that time, I was wrapped up in horror films and wrestling, man.
My mother was big into the horror and true crime genres. There are some horror stories in her family from before I was born that I can’t even talk about here. She got me into all this stuff, man. So while my friends were asking me about Mickey Mouse, I’m telling them about Jack Torrance and Michael Myers. It felt normal to me. It’s all I knew.
I have many screen-used props from horror films and real crime artifacts that I have collected over the years -- along with bloody photographs of Taven and his blood-soaked shirt from 11/2/19. It looks great, man. Even my wife and daughter dig this stuff, too. It’s a family thing for us.
You got to do what you got to do, even if you want to call it betrayal. Look me in the eyes and tell me you wouldn’t do the same for your loved ones, man.
I have only told you about 20 percent of what I went through during my upbringing. It’s real. I’m real. I have scars that sometimes still bleed if you say or I see certain things, but I know who I see in every reflection I pass.
I’ll tell you what somewhat subsides a lot of the things I experienced in my childhood: being here in Ring of Honor, man. That’s an escape for me. It’s like medication. On my journey here, everyone was throwing things at my feet trying to trip me, but here I am writing this article for Ring of Honor.
It’s going on almost 11 year since I started training inside the gritty walls of the Lock Up Academy with Spike Dudley and Ryan Waters. I remember when I met Taven. Unlike him, I didn’t go to college. Hell, I barely made it out of high school. Wrestling is the only thing that has a special place in this scarred heart, man. I had to do it.
So after delivering every time I got an opportunity and having nothing to show for it, I got frustrated. Anyone would, dig what I’m saying? I had to watch my friends travel the world while I was barely surviving.
When I left it all behind, I had every job the devil created. After a year of deep thought, I knew I had to come up with a plan. I came back with a different mindset, man. Here’s when I turned the dial on the station that had been nothing but static to me. Suddenly it became a tune I could snap my fingers to.
Taven was the closest person to me out of everyone I knew. When he decided to create The Kingdom in his own image, I convinced him I would be his best choice, even above all the names that he may have lined up. Once he said I was in, I played the game, man, whether I liked it or not.
What people don’t seem to realize is that I was the man pulling the strings the whole time. Every loss I endured, every sacrifice I made, hurting myself, hurting everyone else -- it all eventually led to Taven winning the ROH World Championship.
It makes me laugh hearing him in interviews claim that he did everything for me. We both know it was me who did everything for him, standing in front of every bullet that was fired at him. I was the leader, he was the messenger.
After he won the title and put the company on his back for months, I knew it was time to do what I had to do. To make an impact, I had to wait for him to be as successful as he could possibly be, dig what I’m saying?
After I put the blade of the axe to Taven’s head and scarred him for life, it brought us to our match at Final Battle on Friday the 13th of December.
That night, hearing the crowd snap their fingers as I walked alone to the ring with half a grin on my face was a feeling, man, a feeling of my plan working so well, but scarring his face wasn’t good enough this time. I needed to do something more. I needed him to disappear from here.
I put the same axe that I had used to ruin the face I was sick of seeing under the ring that night and left it. I cut you, you cut me, right?
I knew he would go looking for it, and that threw his focus off for a moment, and that was all I needed. I beat your king, your former world champion, in the middle of the ring at Final Battle.
Like I said, though, that wasn’t enough for me, man. That night I introduced him to a man who had been toiling for years, performing acts of cruelty on whomever tried to prevent him from getting what he wanted. I admired that. I believed in his vision.
So that night, Taven got to meet a man who has shaken hands with the devil more than once -- Bateman. With what Bateman has done and been through, sometimes even the devil himself can’t look him in the eye.
When Bateman executed This Is a Kill on Taven, I watched Taven’s spine compress. After that, just to have some fun, we put the block between his ankles, which looked like pure misery, dig what I’m saying? But, man, it was pure ecstasy for us, especially for me because I was in total control.
I took a steel chair, and every single thing I experienced in my childhood and everything I put into my plan to this point ran through my body like razor blades, and I smashed his ankle with every bit of anger and resentment I had for his selfishness and ego.
It was done. I walked away the most powerful (a word Taven often used) man in Ring Of Honor.
Six months later, I showed Taven that he wasn’t even safe in his own home. Should’ve locked your door, man. No one has seen or heard from him since. Quite frankly, the world would be a better place if no one ever does.
Now I’m doing for others what Taven didn’t do for me. I’m giving people like Bateman, Vita, and even Chuck a chance to take everything they have gone through or what they are good at and use it here. It’s a lot of acts of cruelty and suffering, but it’s a cruel world, man. You’ve got to survive, and that’s the only way we know. It’s a passion, as Bateman once explained to all of you.
There are many out there who are just like us, man. They’ve just got to be willing to hold the handle of the blade and I’ll guide them unselfishly to where they want to go, no matter how much blood I get on my hands. Honestly, it’s a righteous way to live.
When I met Bateman, I knew he was a guy with the same mindset, walking with his blade out straight ahead, and if you don’t move aside, you’re going to get cut. I dig that about him. He doesn’t change for anyone. He knows who he is and what he’s about. We share that passion, man.
Vita was someone with bottled-up anger and resentment from her past abusive situations. I wouldn’t say she needed help; she needed an outlet. Vita needed someone to pick up the bottle, smash it against a wall, pick up a piece of the broken glass, hand it to her and tell her to go do what she’s got to do, man.
So that’s what I did for her, and now she feels more free than ever and has that outlet to scar those who have scarred her. So to those who may not be familiar with her, I’d suggest you keep yourself at arm’s length.
As for Chuck, I can’t stand the phony clown BS. We have enough clowns walking this earth -- some with paint, others without. There was more to Chuck than just face paint, though.
I still remember sitting at a bar and him being on his last limb as a rodeo, looking at me and asking, “So you know what it’s like living in hell on earth?” with a stare that only someone like me could appreciate. I told him he could do something with all his anger in hell on earth.
Since closing the gates of a kingdom and burning it to the ground, we continue on the road of destruction in this world without conscience, remorse or guilt. I just want you to remember that we aren’t responsible for our acts of cruelty, you are.
This is just a righteous beginning. Dig what I’m saying?