ATHLETE APPRECIATION: Matt Taven

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Long on the road to recovery and often overshadowed by highest profile tag team partners, it’s easy to under-appreciate Matt Taven.

New Hampshire’s Michael Marinelli remains a core figure in the upper tier, independent wrestling scene, the man of a million moves and throwback 80’s hair.

It’s natural to take Matt Taven for granted as he makes the seeming impossible look easy. I literally can’t recall a single Taven match where Hurancarana and I didn’t witness something new within his repertoire. It’s an ongoing joke in our household to refer to Taven as ‘The Wrestling Wikipedia,’ as you can YouTube nearly every wrestling move across the planet and find Taven executing it to perfection.

Per above, however, it’s natural that Taven isn’t front and center on one’s wrestling mind. He’s still sidelined from a significant knee injury suffered in January 2016 at a Ring of Honor PPV. Sadly, this match saw Taven and Michael Bennett (now in Impact Wrestling) dropping their Tag Team titles to War Machine.

In today’s celebration of the formerly X-Division now Cruiserweight class, Taven is the rare individual capable of adapting to virtually any opponent. Taven’s power moves are matched only by his high flying and/or ring jumps. Let alone brilliant kayfabe and slimy persona we can’t help love to hate. Oh, Sexual Taven; you gross us out in the best of ways.

Perhaps the most impressive thing about Taven – at 31 – is he’s still relatively new in the pro wrestling business. Now in his 9th year, Taven’s wrestled across over a dozen promotions, holding belts an equal number of times. This includes prestigious singles and team straps both in Ring of Honor and Japan’s IWGP.

A stalwart of the New England pro wrestling scene, Taven appears regularly in promotions across his home region. Still, he remains a fairly low profile wrestler despite continuous appearances on Pro Wrestling Illustrated’s Top 500 yearly lists. No surprise; Taven’s work rate ranks at the top of the independent wrestling world.

The thing about Matt Taven is – despite his excellent in ring work, fan interaction, and over-the-top persona – he remains willing to share the spotlight. Matt Taven invokes memories of a childhood favorite in Tito Santana, one of the generation’s best arguably underappreciated until decades later.

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