Word of Honor is an occasional series of first-person feature articles written by ROH talent.
By Rhett Titus
“Doy! Doy! Doy!”
As I fight to lock in a full-nelson clutch on Bestia del Ring at ROH’s 19th Anniversary show, all I hear is him repeatedly yelling that word. The next thing I know, ROH official Joe Mandak is calling for the bell and declaring me and Tracy Williams the new Ring of Honor World Tag Team Champions. (I find out later that “doy” is Spanish for “I give.”)
In those few seconds, a whole lifetime of memories flash before my eyes, visions of my past that had brought me to this very moment I had been waiting for so long.
I think about walking into the first ROH show, “The Era of Honor Begins,” at the Murphy Recreation Center in Philadelphia as a fan in 2002 and knowing that this is what I wanted to do with my life.
I think about my son, Chase, being born when I was 17 and being told I could kiss my dream of being a pro wrestler goodbye.
I think about knowing that if I was going to follow through with pro wrestling and still be in my son’s life like I wanted, I was going to have to work harder than everyone else.
I think about training at the ROH training academy under Austin Aries and how hard we had to work even to set foot in a ring.
I think about driving all over the country, setting up and tearing down ROH shows, doing security, taking tickets, ushering fans to their seats and whatever job was asked of me for only a few bucks.
I think about getting the opportunity to wrestle my first official wrestling match on a ROH show, against Shane Hagadorn at Montgomery County Fairgrounds Coliseum in Dayton, Ohio in 2006.
I think about all the people who graced an ROH locker room that I was able to learn from and helped me along the way.
I think about making my ROH main roster debut at the first Hammerstein Ballroom show in New York City in 2008.
I think about being told I was being put in a tag team with a guy named Kenny King and how much I hated the thought of it.
I think about building chemistry with Kenny as The All Night Express and starting at the very bottom of the card and making it to the top of the mountain and becoming ROH World Tag Team Champions in 2012.
I think about being stripped of the title two weeks later when my partner left me high and dry.
I think about feeling lost and trying to find the same chemistry with other partners but never coming close to achieving the same success.
I think about all the different jobs I was working at the time just to make ends meet and keep my dream alive.
I think about all the losses I had accumulated and how so many people counted me out.
I think about having to drive the ring trucks and do ring crew again just to keep myself around.
I think about being told by a superior that they didn’t see me as anything more than enhancement talent and “creative had nothing for me.”
I think about having no confidence in myself.
I think about how no matter how bad things got, my wife stood by me and supported me and kept me pushing forward.
I think about my second son, R.J., being born and how I never wanted him to see me down and out like my first son had.
I think about looking at myself in the mirror, not being happy with what I saw and dedicating myself to working even harder.
I think about all the crazy dieting, all the hours I spent in the gym and going to extreme lengths to stick to the plan.
I think about never giving up and wanting to inspire people to do the same.
I think about The Foundation taking a chance on me and believing in me.
I think about getting my confidence back.
I think about all the peaks and valleys, hardships, lack of sleep, hard work, passion, pride, professionalism, loyalty, blood, sweat and tears of the past 15 years and conclude … it was all worth it.
My journey is unlike anybody else’s and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
We taped 19th Anniversary a week prior to it airing on pay-per-view, but I didn’t tell anyone that Tracy and I won the ROH World Tag Team Titles. Naturally, I didn’t want the results to get out, but there also was part of me that thought something could still go wrong.
It was while watching the pay-per-view at home surrounded by family and friends and seeing it all happen in front of my eyes again that it got real.
I couldn’t help but let out some tears of joy. All the support I have received and people who have reached out to congratulate me is truly heartwarming and I appreciate it so much.
To climb back to the top of the mountain almost nine years after being thrown off isn’t an easy task, but as one half of the ROH World Tag Champions, this is where the real hard work begins.
And now that you’ve read this, you know Rhett Titus isn’t scared of the hard work.