Recently, I did an over the phone interview with recently signed Ring of Honor superstar, Shane Taylor. You can check the article on Taylor signing with ROH here.
DailyDDT: You’re very open about your past. In a recent interview, you said your Father said something along the lines of how “You have two choices, you can keep dealing, and I’ll show you how to be the best at it, but you know the end game is dying or jail. Or the other choice is you can be better than me, change the story and break the cycle.” How do you feel looking back at your past and where you are now?
Taylor: To fix part of that, it wasn’t dealing. It was apart of street life altogether. I never dealt anything. I’d go collect money for people, and things to that nature. Simply just being in the street life altogether, and my Father was talking building on the reputation my family had in the city.
No matter what shape, or form those are the only two options. There are no happy gangsters in their eighties. There’s no 401k plan for guys like that; you know what I mean? So, as many people as I saw put in an early grave due to things like that. It was very important for him to sit me down and explain to me what my life choices were.
Essentially, he left it up to me to see what kind of man I’d choose to be. Because of my Dad, and other great men in my life, I realized that even though I grew up as tough as I did, I’m still very very fortunate.
Millions of people grow up in a similar environment, and they don’t have the leadership to get them out of that. So knowing that, and seeing as many people that did not be able to reach their dreams due to the same thing, it was important to me to take the ladder option, and become a better man than him, although that’s a tall order.
DailyDDT: What was going through your head, or how’d you feel when Ring of Honor offered you a contract for 2019?
Taylor: I think this is my third one now. Anytime you sign a contract it’s always a bit surreal, you know? Every time I go through the process I think about the legacy of Ring of Honor. I think about the guys that were here before me. The guys that are here now, and what we’re trying to do, and build going forward. Being a part of that is cool.
Personally, I was looking at just how the American independent scene is now, with many guys going to different companies and things of that sort. My initial plan was to continue the buzz, not only here in the states, but overseas in the U.K. I had an incredible tour over there with IBW, Rev Pro, 4GW, and continue with the momentum from the Adam Page match and Jeff Cobb match.
I planned to see what was next on the day American independence for me. I planned on hitting some of the bigger and well-known ones. To their credit, Ring of Honor saw what was going on with me, saw what I had been working hard for all year, and decided that they were in a position and happy with what I’ve done to give me that opportunity with a contract.
So, I was very very happy; my Wife is very happy, my Daughter is ecstatic. She’s looking forward to some new toys.
DailyDDT: You trained with Ring of Honor Alumni Raymond Rowe. Who we all know from one half of the tag team War Machine, now War Raiders in NXT. What was it like to have him as a trainer, and work alongside Rowe and Hanson?
Taylor: It was incredible! Ray is one of the best men I’ve ever known in my life. Just about any story involving my career, it’s going to have the name Ray Rowe mentioned in it.
He’s always been a great mentor, teacher, rival, friend, big brother and the lessons I’ve learned from him and continue to learn in and out of the ring, continue to help me grow as a performer, and as a man, his role in my career is invaluable.
DailyDDT: You had a match with Jay Briscoe who is like a locker room leader in Ring of Honor, in an interview, you stated that Briscoe came up to you and said, “They don’t know how good you are, but they will.” What did that mean to you?
Taylor: It’s beyond words. A lot of what we do is for respect for our peers. When you’re in any profession that for respect of your peers and guys that you look up to; for them to see the talent that you have, and to recognize it. Not only recognize it but to speak about it. It’s incredible because they don’t have to do that.
Jay has been a guy that my entire career in Ring of Honor has gone above and beyond to help me. He’ll watch matches for me; he’ll call me up and be like, “Hey, I saw this, I saw that. Maybe try this, maybe try that. Even if it’s not wrestling stuff, he’ll call me up when The Browns are playing The Raiders, and say, “Hey man, you know what time it is?”
He’s just been that guy to look out for me. There are other guys as well like Caprice Coleman, and Kenny King. To have guys like that in your corner, and have been cornerstones to Ring of Honor, it’s a blessing to have.
DailyDDT: Do you feel a wrestler should learn just one particular style because of body type/stature? Do you believe a wrestler learn a mix of a variety of wrestling styles?
Taylor: Oh it’s always good to be well rounded. In any combat sport of fighting sport, you’re going to have trainers that are specific things. Some are great at footwork; some are great at head movements, some are great at agility work, strength training, all of those things. It doesn’t matter on body size. Anyone you work with you will pick up on things.
DailyDDT: There is a lot of buzz on Twitter that 2019 is Shane Taylor’s year. What can fans expect for 2019?
Taylor: If fans have been watching the latter part of 2018, and the matches that I’ve had. For those fans who are realizing it now, welcome to the party. I’ve been doing this since I got to Ring of Honor. It’s just now you’re able to see it.
Now, attention is being paid to it. So far, that the spotlight is shining on me. In 2019, the rest of the world gets to see what I’ve already been doing. Nothing is going to change on my end.
It’s going to be the same great matches, same hard-hitting, same attitude, same guy trying to shatter that glass ceiling and make a path for guys like me in professional wrestling. I’m going to do it unapologetically. I’m going to do so as cocky as I can because, to be the best at anything in life, you have to have the utmost confidence in yourself, and I lack none.
For those out there supporting me, saying it’s the year of Shane Taylor, I’m going to make you all look like prophets because you’re right. For anyone along the way who thinks I’m too cocky, or too arrogant, or too brash, or whatever you want to call it, you’re right I am, because I’m nice haha. It’s going to be a fun year for everyone this year.
DailyDDT: How did you come up with The Hitman/Enforcer persona?
Taylor: It’s all inspired by real life stuff. Most people don’t understand it because they weren’t in it. When you grow up in a situation where survival is your first instinct, it changes how you view things.
When you’re put in a position where you have to fight, and it’s you or the other guy, there is no third option. You develop skills to survive, to stay alive. So, that is an adaptation from real life. I used to have to fight. It’s how I provided a living for myself. That’s where it came from.
Now being 33, and learning about different things in life, being allowed to be on different platforms that I’m allowed to be on, now it’s important for me to change the focus on things I had to do to survive, to things I’m building for the future. A lot of attention goes on before someone’s success. A lot of that gets glorified almost to a fault. People think to be successful this is what you have to do.
I take a lot of pride in showing the evolution of people who came from where I came from, and show them what we can do in a positive light. For me now it’s what I’ve been able to achieve, and my plans are going forward, not so much where I’ve been.
DailyDDT: Who would you like to face in Ring of Honor in 2019? Pick one on the roster now, someone RoG might bring in, and a potential New Japan Pro Wrestling?
Taylor: Oh that’s a good one. Immediately on the roster for Ring of Honor, I’ve already made this as public as I can, I want my re-match with Jeff Cobb or the Ring of Honor Television Championship.
I want to raise the stakes and have it in Madison Square Garden. I’ve been very vocal about that. We’ll see what happens as it’s in the hands of the bosses. To me, there’s no bigger fight feel, and an opportunity to showcase something to the world than a sold out Madison Square Garden.
As far as people that they may bring in, I’d say Juice Robinson. I would love to have a match him. Also, I’d like to congratulate Juice Robinson for winning the IWGP U.S Title. I know that’s a very important thing for him.
As far as someone from New Japan we might be able to work with; personally, for me, it’s either a rematch with Hirooki Goto, Minoru Suzuki and Tomohiro Ishii. They have so much talent over there that I would love to get in the ring with. Those are the ones off the top of my head that I think would be really really fun. Not only enjoyable for myself, my opponent, but also the fans.
DailyDDT: How do you feel about Hulk Hogan being back in WWE after his racial remarks, and returning to Raw?
Taylor: Okay, that’s a good one. I feel like that’s a situation that had to be handled by the current roster, the people surrounding it.
Of course, everybody deserves second chances, everybody makes mistakes and says things they wish they could take back. I feel if you’re sincere in those thoughts and those feelings then you should be able to have a chance to redeem yourself.
If those feelings come off as insincere, or if you’re not truly sorry or truly to learn more about yourself to stop those feelings, there’s really no point in you having that chance.
So, if he is adamant about changing those feelings, he has toward people, and how that affects him personally. Then I wish him the best; I hope he’s successful. If he’s not and full of it, then he can stay gone.
It’s going to be an interesting test for those on the roster to see how they deal with this. Hopefully, it’s a situation that can be worked out on all sides and have everyone on both sides feeling okay about what’s going on.
We at Daily DDT would like to wish Shane Taylor all the best in Ring of Honor in 2019. You can follow him on Instagram and Twitter at @Shane216Taylor. We want to thank Marc Kruskol and Ring of Honor for allowing us to interview Shane Taylor.