Steel cage matches are rare in Ring of Honor, but if ever the unforgiving steel structure was needed, it’s to settle the long-running feud between Matt Taven and Righteous leader Vincent once and for all.
The former friends will enter the cage for “The Last Stand” in the main event at Glory By Honor Night 2 on Aug. 21 at Philadelphia’s 2300 Arena.
One man will leave the cage victorious, but it’s unlikely either of them will ever be the same after what figures to be one of the most violent matches in ROH history. Making the stakes even higher is the fact that Taven’s shot at the ROH World Title is on the line.
How did it come to this for two men who had been close friends for 12 years? Here’s a timeline of some of the key moments in their blood feud:
Nov. 2, 2019: In one of the most shocking and heinous acts in ROH history, Vincent ambushed Taven and sliced open his forehead with an axe at The Experience. In the moments preceding the attack, Taven found fellow Kingdom members Vincent and TK O’Ryan laid out backstage. It was the second time in five weeks that Vincent and O’Ryan had been sneak-attacked -- or so it seemed. It would soon be revealed as a ruse orchestrated by Vincent, who had attacked O’Ryan and then laid down next to him.
Taven stormed to the ring and demanded the unknown assailant or assailants reveal themselves. Suddenly, the lights went out and a spotlight blinded Taven. Vincent then appeared behind Taven and chop-blocked him. He proceeded to nail Taven in the side of the head with his axe before raking the bit end of the weapon across Taven’s forehead. In perhaps the twisted Vincent’s most disgusting display yet, he actually tasted Taven’s blood and drew a “V” on his own forehead with the blood.
Vincent later said he attacked Taven because he was tired of him hogging the spotlight.
Dec. 13, 2019: Vincent scored a clean victory over Taven at ROH’s biggest show of the year, Final Battle. After the match, Righteous follower Bateman attacked Taven and planted him with This is a Kill (tombstone piledriver). Vincent then brought in a wood block, placed it between Taven’s feet and smashed his already injured right ankle with a steel chair.
June 11, 2020: Vincent entered Taven’s home and assaulted him while he was participating in a Facebook Live Q&A. Vincent targeted Taven’s surgically repaired right ankle.
Oct. 10, 2020: While Vincent stood in the ring and delivered his message, Taven made his first appearance since the home invasion and attacked him. Taven went after Vincent’s eye, and then ripped off the canvas to expose the wood. He hit Climax on Vincent on the wood. Taven put Vincent on a table outside the ring and hit a frog splash that sent Vincent through the table. Taven told Vincent this is just the beginning.
Oct. 24, 2020: A grudge match between Taven and Vincent never officially got started. Vincent jumped Taven from behind as Taven made his entrance. Vincent hit Orange Sunshine off the ring post, sending Taven face-first to the floor. Vincent pulled out a purple ladder from under the ring, the same ladder Taven climbed to win the ROH World Title at Madison Square Garden in 2019. Vincent hit a senton off the ladder to put Taven through the table.
Dec. 18, 2020: Taven’s best friend, Mike Bennett, returned to ROH after a five-year absence to fight alongside Taven in his war against Vincent and The Righteous. At Final Battle, The OGK (Taven and Bennett) defeated The Righteous (Vincent and Bateman).
As Taven and Bennett celebrated their hard-fought victory, The Righteous’ Vita VonStarr came up from behind and delivered a low blow to both of them. Vincent hit Orange Sunshine on Taven, and Bateman tackled Bennett. Vincent used zip ties to trap Taven in the ropes, and VonStarr used her legs to choke Taven. With Taven being forced to watch, Vincent placed a wood block between Bennett’s feet and slammed a steel chair on his right ankle, recreating the scene from a year ago when he did the same thing to Taven.
Jan. 30, 2021: After The OGK defeated The Bouncers, the two teams were about to do the post-match toast of honor. However, Vincent came out to the stage and used his powers of persuasion to talk Bruiser into smashing a beer bottle over Taven’s head.
Feb. 20, 2021: After Bennett defeated Bateman in a singles match, Taven hit the ring and attacked Bateman. Taven and Bennett got a wood block and placed it between Bateman’s ankles. Taven grabbed a steel chair and vowed to injure Bateman’s ankle in the same manner in which Bateman and Vincent injured him and Bennett unless Vincent agreed to face him in a match. Vincent appeared on the video screen and said he would not give Taven what he wants. Taven smashed the chair on Bateman’s ankle.
March 26, 2021: Vincent invited Taven to meet him at PAL Hall in Fall River, Mass. -- the building where they cut their teeth in pro wrestling over a decade ago -- to battle it out in an unsanctioned match. They stomped each other all over their old stomping grounds, ferociously fighting on multiple levels of the historic building. As they exchanged blows while perched on a balcony, a large man in overalls came up behind them and knocked them off the balcony. Taven and Vincent crashed through a table below. The mystery man, who would later be revealed as Dutch, the newest member of The Righteous, picked up Vincent and carried him out.
May 22, 2021: Prior to The OKG’s title match against ROH World Tag Team Champions Tracy Williams and Rhett Titus, The Righteous attacked Taven backstage and injured his right ankle. Taven fought through the pain and competed in the match, but he and Bennett ultimately came out on the losing end. After the match, Vincent appeared on the video screen and taunted Taven.
June 26, 2021: During a match between Taven and Dutch, Vincent came out to the stage wearing Taven’s purple suit. He mockingly clapped for Taven. Taven tried to get to Vincent, but he was cut off by Bateman. Bateman and VonStarr attacked Taven. Bennett came out and jumped on Bateman, while Dutch joined VonStarr in beating on Taven.Vincent taunted Taven and seemed to be enjoying the chaos, but he didn’t get physically involved.
July 11, 2021: In a special Trending With Taven segment at Best in the World, Taven said he would leave ROH if Vincent faces him in one final match. Vincent said he doesn’t want to get rid of Taven because that would take all the fun out of things. Vincent said he wants Taven to put his ROH World Title shot on the line. Taven agreed to the stipulation. Vincent also made the suggestion for the match to be contested inside a steel cage.
After the match was official, Taven nailed Vincent in the head with a table. Bateman, Dutch and Von Starr came to Vincent’s rescue. Taven briefly held his own before succumbing to the numbers game. Bateman and Dutch lawn-darted Taven into the Trending With Taven sign and through the ropes to the floor.