Shane Taylor Talks The Early Days of ROH and Forming STP

Wrestling (Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images)
Wrestling (Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images) /

Shane Taylor made his Ring of Honor debut back in 2016. Since then, he has become a Ring of Honor Television Champion, is currently a  Ring of Honor Six-Man Tag Team Champion, and has become one of the standards of the promotion. This Sunday night, July 11, Shane Taylor Promotions will defend their Six-Man Tag Team Championships against Dalton Castle, Dak Draper, and Eli Isom.

Growing Up Shane Taylor

“Professional wrestling is an escape from reality,” says Taylor. Shane Taylor grew up on the East Side of Cleveland. “I had to grow up quickly and I saw a lot of terrible stuff.” Taylor was a wrestling fan, just like all of us, and he remembers watching it every time it was on. “The family was all together,” says Taylor. “We never had to worry about what was going on outside, all that mattered was sitting in those four walls watching wrestling together.”

Taylor was drawn to the spectacle. “The characters, the showmanship, the ability, was all incredible,” says Taylor. Taylor also recalls seeing Texas Tornado take on Warlord in a match live. That match went to double countout, and people started throwing garbage as their reaction. “Whatever they did to get people to react like that, I wanted to do it.”

Getting into the business was not easy for Taylor. Thankfully, he became friends and found some mentors in Raymond Rowe, now Erik of Viking Raiders, and Jerry Myers, aka J-Rock. As he progressed, he found himself becoming close with guys like Kenny King, Jay Lethal, Jonathan Gresham, and Bill Collier.

Wrestling was always Taylor’s passion. “Things lined up in my life just the way they were supposed to, to get me to pursue my dream.” This is what Taylor wanted more than anything else. Shortly after, Taylor was about to achieve another big dream: wrestling for a national company.

Shane Taylor Signs With Ring of Honor

Before signing with Ring of Honor, Taylor and Keith Lee formed a tag team and had wrestled all over. “The Pretty Boy Killers” were born. “Originally, the contract for Ring of Honor was supposed to be for us both,” says Taylor. “However, Keith Lee also had interest from Evolve and WWE.”  As much as Taylor wanted to share the locker room with Lee, both men agreed that their goals were to both get jobs in the business.

“People like Kevin Kelly were telling me that this was my deal,” says Taylor. “They had faith in me. Hearing that and knowing I earned my spot took a lot of the nerves off.” When Shane Taylor first got the contract, he remembers looking at it for 10 minutes and realizing he made it.

“Teaming with Keith Lee was great,” says Taylor. “We had yin and yang personalities.” Taylor and Keith Lee had so much fun teaming up together and shared similar goals, which is why it worked so well. “It allowed us to highlight both what we do so well.”

Taylor got to share the ring with a lot of other incredible teams as well, teams like All Night Xpress, War Machine, Briscoes, and The Addiction. “When you’re in there with guys at that level, you need to step your game up. I enjoy doing that above all else. I’m excited for the new crop of guys in Ring of Honor because they just keep getting better.”

Taylor’s accomplishments speak for themselves. He is a former Ring of Honor Television Champion and is a current Six-Man Tag Team Champion, with Shane Taylor Promotions. He won the Television Championship in a four-way match with Jeff Cobb, Brody King, and Hirooki Goto.

“Going into that match, I had a lot of momentum from the previous year having matches with ‘Hangman’ Page and Jeff Cobb,” says Taylor. “I’ve also been in the ring with Goto before as well. We put on a great match. Tanahashi came up to me and told me he really enjoyed it. To hear that from someone of his caliber meant the world to me.”

Winning the four-way match and becoming the new Ring of Honor Television Champion, felt great for many reasons to Taylor. However, the main reason was that he was only the third African-American to ever win the Television Title. “To be able to add my name to that list felt really good.”

Taylor also recalls seeing an African-American family in the back of the arena with roughly 15-20 people. “They were all losing their minds because they were so happy,” says Taylor. “At that moment I realized, this was no longer about me. I now had a chance, opportunity, and obligation to represent myself, my community, and my people, the way that they should.”

The Importance of Being A “Real” Model For The African-American Community

Shane Taylor lives by words once said by the great T.I.: “I’m not a role model, I’m a real model.” “I’m not perfect, I have my flaws and my demons like everyone else,” says Taylor. “We come from the places that they come from, we face those same trials and tribulations. We have the same fears, dreams, and goals.”

Taylor likes being able to connect with his fanbase on a deeper level than just wrestling. “To see, in every movie, stereotypes of what our culture is, and people who are uneducated and lazy saying that, that’s all we can be,” says Taylor. “To be able to show people that we understand and show them how we lead and become champions and how we go through it, means a lot. It’s exactly who we are. This isn’t a fad, it’s a movement.”

Shane Taylor Promotions Is Born

Shane Taylor Promotions was something that Taylor wanted to do for a while. Taylor, along with teammates Moses and Kaun, is the current Ring of Honor Six-Man Tag Team Champion. Taylor says that starting STP, was influenced by three major factors: “talk like Floyd, hit like Tyson, and lead like Ali.”

“I took Floyd Mayweather’s showmanship,” says Taylor. “I love the story of how Mayweather started Mayweather Promotions.” Taylor wants to be able to “mentor, guide, and provide opportunities” with his name and platform to people who deserve it and need it.

Looking ahead to Best In The World, STP will defend their championships against Castle, Draper, and Isom. While some people seem to think this should be an easy win for STP, Shane Taylor says not so fast. “Some of the hardest teams to fight against, are teams you don’t have tape on. They have a very good chance because we don’t have a game plan on them since they have never teamed before.”

“There’s no unit, there’s no group that is more cohesive from top to bottom than STP,” says Taylor. “We dominate every aspect of this game. We are getting ready for business as usual and we are prepared. We are taking them very seriously and we will do what we need to do.”

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What’s Next For Shane Taylor?

“The world chico and everything in it,” says Taylor. “We want it all. My goals since creating this are to establish my and my guys’ legacies. We are far from done. I want my opportunity again to claim what should have been mine when I took on Rush for the ROH World Championship. Everyone’s a target, if STP isn’t the logo you wear, you are in the way.”