Shane Taylor is a singles wrestler.
But he might have the best tag team partner in the world.
Taylor is the Television champion with Ring of Honor wrestling. He’s one of the top wrestlers in the promotion, well known throughout the world and routinely in the best matches every time he’s on a show.
But after a slow start to his career, he almost called it quits. But he had some inspiration.
“My wife pushed me to keep going, she wouldn’t let me stop, she believed in me,” said Taylor, 32, a Cleveland native who now resides in Texas. “She’s great. I was ready to say this isn’t working and all of the effort wasn’t worth it. But she pushed me. Then I kept going, won the Television championship and now I’m having the best year of my life, professionally. She kept me in it. She pushed me to the top.”
That’s where Taylor is now, and he’s looking forward to staying there. And he has two huge matches coming up.
First up is a match Friday at Final Battle on pay per view in Baltimore when Taylor puts his championship up against Dragon Lee in what is annually the promotion’s biggest show of the year.
If he’s successful, he’ll come to Philadelphia on Sunday to wrestle an opponent to be determined at the 2300 Arena in South Philadelphia. Bell time is 6 p.m. with a preshow starting 30 minutes before. Doors open at 4:30.
Taylor plans on putting his title on the line in both shows and he hopes he continues to defend the championship for a long time.
“Being the Ring of Honor Television champion is very important because Ring of Honor has had such an impact on professional wrestling,” Taylor said. “If you look at every top professional wrestler right now, they all have ties to Ring of Honor. I think that says a lot about what Ring of Honor has meant to wrestling over the last 18 years.
“I want to have the best matches on the shows because I want to show the great wrestlers who came before me, all of the great wrestlers who wrestled for Ring of Honor, that I am continuing the legacy.
“Being the Ring of Honor TV champion is very important because I’m the guy everybody wants to wrestle. Everybody wants to wrestle me because they know it’s going to get them noticed. It’s going to get everyone talking about them. They know it’s going to end with them getting dropped on their head, but they don’t care. I’m the guy everybody wants to wrestle because they know it’s going to be the match people will talk about at the end of the night.”
The Philadelphia show, which will be available on Ring of Honor’s Honor Club streaming service, will also feature Jeff Cobb and Dann Maff against PCO and Marty Scurll, Kenny King against Rhett Titus, Alex Shelly versus Jonathan Gresham as well as appearances by the tag team champions Mark and Jay Briscoe and Bully Ray.
While Taylor might not know whom he’ll wrestle at the former ECW Arena at the corner of Swanson and Ritner streets, he knows he’ll be in for a fun time because he’ll be wrestling in front of the best fans around.
“I compare wrestling in Philly to performing at the Apollo,” Taylor said. “When you’re at the Apollo, you have a few minutes to prove themselves and if you don’t do it, you’re in for a long night. That’s how wrestling in Philadelphia is. The fans are great. But you have to give them something.
“I think Philadelphia fans relate to me because I’m from Cleveland, and we’re the same kind of people. People from Philadelphia and Cleveland have the same mindset. They might not be the same people from, say, the suburbs or from Cape Cod. They’re different types of people. I’m from Cleveland, and I think we have a lot in common with Philadelphia people.”
While Taylor is loved in Philly for being one of the toughest wrestlers around, he’s loved at home for being one of the best dads around.
He has a daughter who is 5 and another who is 10 months. And while dad does beat people up for a living, he makes sure to be there for the girls.
“That’s the biggest thing for me is I hear stories about guys who were on the road and miss everything and that’s not going to be me,” Taylor said. “I provide for my kids by wrestling and doing what I do, but being a good father is my most important job. Wrestling is very important, but it’s second. My kids are first.
“I could be out there every weekend doing independent shows, but it’s more important to be home with my kids. And Ring of Honor is where I wrestle.”
To sign up for Ring of Honor’s Honor Club, visit rohwrestling.com/nonmembership. Tickets to the show are available at rohwrestling.com.
And people going to the show can get a free autograph from announcer and Holy Family University professor Ian Riccaboni with the donation of a children’s book. All children’s books collected will be donated to Lehigh Valley Reads, a third-grade reading campaign that connects students with the resources to provide the best opportunities for success in Allentown. Riccaboni will personally match any book donated in Philadelphia.