I’m about to step through the curtain, just like I’ve done a hundred times before. But this time it’s different. I can’t catch my breath, I’m nervous, my fingertips are numb, I can’t stop fidgeting, I’m second-guessing my abilities… and I look my left and See the Ring of Honor Champion… with the Ring of Honor World Title glistening over his shoulder. I’m about to step in the ring with a world champion, my music hits and all I can do I think of Kevin Hart saying “Nooooooooooo….. I wasn’t ready”. I was prepared to be working magic with Matt Taven.
30 minutes later…..
I just went 20 minutes with the ROH World Champion… and all I can think about it is…. How cool Matt Taven is. In front of the camera, Matt Taven is the quintessential “better than you” prick heel, but behind the scenes he is one of the most positive, humble, giving and supportive wrestlers I have ever met. You hear stories about superstars that smile to the camera and insult you behind closed doors, but Taven is one of the most genuine guys I’ve ever met in a locker room.
Taven (A man 4 weeks removed from main eventing at Madison Square Garden in front of 16000 people) was receptive to every idea I had, willing to let me shine, and happy to put me (a no name and relatively unknown) over without any qualms. As my good friend “Epic” Eddie Rhude would say “He’s always been a G to me”.
Working Magic with Taven
I could go on verbally fellating Taven all day for how cool he was… hell, I may even start a fictitious adventure novel series about my journeys with Matt Taven as his sidekick. It’ll basically be the wrestling equivalent of Mark Twain’s “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”, and I shall be Matt Taven’s loyal “N-word” Jim. But alas in this article I only have 750 words to do it.
But all this got me thinking…. Why was what Matt Taven did so cool? Why did I expect him to act any differently? I contemplated and mused this thought for quite a while, and when I stumbled upon what I thought was the answer, I became disheartened. For this “epiphany” was something I knew all along.
Wrestling changes people.
I’ve seen it change people in many ways. I’ve seen it pit friends against one another. I have seen some metamorphose and believe they truly are their character. I have seen men lie, cheat, steal and backstab in ways that would give “Game of Thrones” a run for their money, And what for? Nothing more than better booking on a card at your local legion in front of 200 people, an extra $25 dollars on their PO, and climb the hierarchical ladder of a group of men who mostly work minimum wage jobs. The real show goes on behind the curtain. Different cliques lobbying, collaborating and scheming. Machiavellianism in its purest form, everyone circling the iron throne to become king of a fantasy world.
If I sound pessimistic about the industry, its because I am. I am tired and I have grown weary. I have to constantly question if someone is pretending to be my friend for an ulterior motive. Wondering who will be the next I say ‘Et Tu Brute?” to, and ultimately this was why I gave up running my wrestling company and began partnering with RCW.
“I’m tired of this earth, these people. I’m tired of being caught in the tangle of their lives”
– Dr. Manhattan
Maybe that is why meeting Matt Taven was so refreshing. Everything I did with him felt so pure and was purely for the art and the performance in the ring. Ill probably never see him again, and there is nothing I could possibly do for him. Except for maybe tell all of you here to like/follow and support him on social media, cuz the world needs more Matt Tavens.
I don’t want to end off making you think that wrestling has left me a beaten and broken man, quite the opposite. I love wrestling, I love creating and painting on the literal and metaphorical canvas. Wrestling has brought me closer to many people, turned fans into friends, and I’ve met wrestlers that have become an integral part of my life. You take the bad with the good, and I will focus on the lovely silver lining that this sport has given me. On this night I was working magic with Taven.