From April 6, 2019 to September 27 of the same year, Matt Taven reigned supreme as the Ring of Honor Heavyweight Champion. Whether it be initially winning the championship at the joint Ring of Honor/NJPW G1 Supercard at Madison Square Garden or defences against the likes of Volador Jr. and PCO, nearly every professional wrestling fan can find a personal highlight or two from Taven’s run on top of the company.
Now, just over a year-and-a-half removed from the end of his championship reign, Taven is in the midst of an OGK reunion with best friend Mike Bennett rather than pursuing the ROH Championship himself. I felt it was the perfect time to ask Taven about his feelings on his title run and what he feels should be looked back on from his time on top.
“It’s been about a year, or a real year, since you carried the Heavyweight Championship” I began. “I don’t like using the word legacy, especially when I would have to guess sooner rather than later, you would want to be going after that Championship again.”
“But, when you look back at your Ring of Honor title reign, what would you say your legacy or what would you say people looking back on your reign would say about Matt Taven’s reign as World Heavyweight Champion?”
“Well, I guess it would have to depend on who you ask” Taven began half-jokingly. “I’ve never been loved by the internet community, which it is what it is at this point. But I always felt like – you know, I joke to other people in the locker room I’m the Rodney Dangerfield of wrestling: ‘I get no respect!’ And I feel like a great artist, those people that go back and watch it now, it’s hard to see any holes in it.
“I took a lot of pride being the champion at that time,” Taven continued. “I mean, we knew what was coming. You know, half the roster had left on the last day of the year before, and there’s only a couple of people that really would want to have that spot because it’s not the best one to have knowing what’s coming down the pipe. But that’s why I’m – that’s what drives me as a competitor, you know what I mean? Not only have I been a wrestling fan my entire life, but I’ve been an athlete, someone who’s been involved in some sort of sport my entire life, and someone who’s just has a competitive nature. If we’re gonna play Monopoly, I will go all 16 hours until I win.”
“Or I’m flipping the board when I lose!” I laughed
“You’re the banker, you’ve been cheating this entire time!” Taven retorted. “One or the other is going to happen. That competitive spirit in me is like, ‘let’s do this.’ I’ll take the heat, I’ll throw it on my shoulders. Let’s go forward and I’ll take the punches. And, when you go back and you watch, you know, I think me and Volador Jr, me and Tracy Williams, me and Flip, me, Jay Lethal and Kenny King in New York. I’m sure I’m missing a bunch. Even I like the Alex Shelley match. There’s so many. I mean, there was just match after match after match. And, you know, every single month I’m putting out these videos, this new promo, having a new match with another person. Maybe I’m biased, maybe it’s me. I don’t know. But I daresay anyone wants to go back and watch it, it’s something that I’m very proud of, and I truly believe will be looked back at fondly. When we get to look back at it with a little clearer heads with retrospect.”
Please credit Spencer Love/Love Wrestling with any transcriptions used.