Since September 2014, Mike Bennett and Matt Taven have been linked at the hip, both personally and professionally. Whenever both have been under contract with Ring of Honor, Bennett and Taven have been inseparable. Their chemistry inside the ring is undeniable, and as Bennett described to me in our recent conversation for Love Wrestling, that bond extends to far more than just the confines of the squared circle.
“What is it that you love about working with Taven,” I inquired. “You look at Ring of Honor, and objectively, there’s a lot of great professional wrestlers there. There could even probably be the temptation for you to, I guess, try something new at the buffet! What keeps you going back to working with Matt Taven?”
“It’s one of those things where it just feels right,” commented Bennett. “I mean, like I said, he’s my best friend in the entire world. And I feel like with this run, and we’ve been asked this before, ‘is this like, ‘oh, it’s Kingdom or nothing?” and to me, it’s like, the Kingdom’s always there. The Kingdom was there when I left. The Kingdom’s still there, [and] we’ll team.”
“But,” he continued, “Matt’s gone on and done incredible things since I’ve left. He’s become the world champion. He led the group by himself. He’s done amazing things without me. So to me, I don’t want to pigeonhole him, and I know he doesn’t want to pigeonhole me. So there’s this idea that we’ll always be The Kingdom, we’re always going to be gunning for tag team gold. But at the end of the day, too, if there’s opportunities for me to go do something with the TV title, or him to go do something with the World title or me to go do something with the Pure title, we’re not going to get in each other’s way. In fact, we’ll be in each other’s corner cheering each other on because that’s how we view it. That’s how we look at it. It’s kind of like we’re this group, we’re this team, that we have each other’s back. And, if the opportunity presents itself for tag team gold, let’s go get it. But Matt, if you have an opportunity to go be world champ, again, you go take that opportunity, and I’ll be the first person to cheer you on. So that’s kind of like where we’re at right now. And, I think that’s probably where we’ll always be for the rest of our careers. We’ll go our separate ways, but we’re always there. The Kingdom’s always there.”
Hearing the joy he spoke about Taven and The Kingdom with, I had to ask Bennett about his best friend’s winning of the ROH title in New York City just under two years ago.
“How cool was it to see him win the Ring of Honor World Heavyweight Championship at Madison Square Garden?” I asked excitedly.
Bennett responded with equal enthusiasm.
“Oh, it was the best!” he enthused. “In this industry, it’s very rare to – you have so many acquaintances in this industry, and you have very few friends. I happen to not only have a friend, but I’ve made my best friend in this industry. And not only that, but you also don’t – other people’s successes tend not to – like for me, when Matt won, I was just as excited as if I had won, maybe more. That’s how close we are. He’s family. When your brother goes and gets a promotion or does something really good, you’re just happy. You’re not jealous, you’re not envious, you’re just genuinely happy for your brother, your sister, your mom, or your dad or whatever, and that’s how I am with Taven.”
“He won and my excitement was just – I was genuinely just happy for him. I was like ‘that was well deserved.’”
Please credit Spencer Love/Love Wrestling with any of the above quotations used.