When Raymond Rowe called out Shane Taylor at Ring of Honor’s August 2016 Death Before Dishonor in Las Vegas, this challenge was certainly no coincidence.
See, Rowe’s miraculous recovery and inspiring story was anything but ordinary. And his recognizance of Shane Taylor’s journey to this point likewise far from happenstance. Simply put: these are two of the truly ‘good people’ in the industry, and those who inspire daily.
Our first introduction to ‘Notorious’ Shane Taylor was via a 2015 Dark Match at Ring of Honor’s All Star Extravaganza in San Antonio, TX versus the quirky Romantic Touch. Taylor’s sense of humor and ring acumen became obvious, an athlete with both strong personality and ring presence. It’s no small feat going comedic toe-to-toe with Romantic Touch, and Taylor was certainly up to the challenge.
Fast forward a year, and Taylor is paired with an equally exhilarating talent in Keith Lee. The ‘Pretty Boy Killers’ defy gravity and body type, at 300 plus pounds each but unabashed in taking to flight. In their stomping grounds of Texas, ‘PBK’ are flat-out beloved for their flair and chemistry.
Watching Shane Taylor do his thing is recognizance of pro wrestling’s current renaissance via merging of mainstream and independent promotions. Meaning, an acumen of ring artistry and presence native to bigger promotions, with an omnipresent recognizance of eyes in the stands and match tempo embraced by independent ones.
In the current debate over what is/n’t ‘a wrestler,’ Shane Taylor crosses that divide well. He’s a wonderful throwback to the strongman of the 60’s and 70’s, possesses the personality inherent in 80’s and 90’s rosters, and easily works the fast paced style of the 2000’s. As a result, it’s rare to not spot something new in each of his matches.
Thus, a Shane Taylor match is one rarely one with a dull moment. He logically relies heavily on power moves (lariat clotheslines, forearm smashes, corner squash) but – per above – is never afraid to climb the turnbuckle for additional emphasis. Shane Taylor is no small man, mind you, and seeing him go airborne is evidence of a true athlete.
Now in his tenth year as a professional wrestler, few sport the work rate Taylor does, appearing in over a dozen promotions in a home state while smack in the middle of a key Ring of Honor storyline featuring the Young Bucks and War Machine. He’s held nine titles, wrestles literally every single week, and is the current (Booker T’s) Reality of Wrestling Tag Team Champion.
Those that know Taylor well would indicate the current Ring of Honor international spotlight long overdue, not only based on talent but also aforementioned personality. As stated, he’s literally one the nicest people in pro wrestling, a locker room lynchpin who always has times for fans. We’ve been asked several times how ‘Athlete Appreciation’ segments are selected, and – truth be told – it’s based on the person. Shane Taylor epitomizes this to a tee.
Interestingly as well, Taylor – a veteran boxer – is also one of the world’s top ranked players in EA’s UFC videogame on PS4. (We learned the hard way what ‘top ranked’ means via the fastest KO in online history!)