Shane Taylor went from saying that Ring of Honor wasn't invested in him, to making sure he invested in himself. Now, he looks to make history.
The Ring of Honor World Television champion spoke with Fightful this week ahead of Final Battle, with the same title belt belonging to him that he had when we met at the Maple Leaf Gardens in August. The only thing that's changed is Taylor's body count along the way. He's racking up title defenses and days as champion, and he has a pretty clear goal.
"My goal when I got to Ring of Honor was to be a champion. Especially being an African American male, only two have held championships in the history of ROH. One being Kenny King, the other being Jay Lethal. Being able to have and work with both guys, now it means the world is able to have my run while they’re in their prime and while they’re there. What I want to do is to be able to go down as the greatest Ring of Honor Television Champion that there’s ever been. That starts not only with the defenses that I’ve had, but the ones going forward," Taylor said.
As things stand, Taylor has the seventh longest ROH TV Title reign in company history, as rumors swirl about his status with the company. Taylor reiterated he hasn't agreed to a new deal with the company. If he retains Friday and does come to terms with ROH, he has his sights set on number one. Three more months would give him the second longest reign, and he's keeping track
"You mentioned Jay Lethal’s run, which is the target [on the] way to the goal," said Taylor. "Because he has set the standard for what a champion should be in ROH. Now, we’re two completely different people in how we go about this sport and the professional two completely different ways. But, if I want to change that standard, if I want to be the guy that everybody looks to as the new face of ROH, the new standard bearer for what a champion is: that’s the mark that I have to beat and eventually that’s the guy that I have to beat."
In addition to defending the ROH World Television Title against established names in the company, Taylor has also defeated the likes of Danny Jones, J. Spade, Bill Collier, Dysfunction and other emerging names. He's all for it, and wants to prove he can main event with anyone.
"This is the thing, I am one of the best and most consistent performers," Taylor boasted."Not just in ROH, but in this entire sport. Damn near everybody whose had their best match, has had it with me in ROH. When you look at Bandido or Joe Hendry, Jeff Cobb—any of the people you want to list, some of their best matches have been when they’re across the ring from Shane T. I elevate everybody that gets into the ring with me and whether that be guys like Danhausen, like you see on TV. So for me, people are lining up around the block to get a shot at the World Television Championship and I want them to be able to have it because I want to break that record. They’re not lining up around the block to fight Rush. They’re not lining up around the block for any other champion and there’s a reason for that. That’s because they know when they get into the ring with Shane T. the world is watching," said Taylor.]
It's not just the length of Lethal's reign, he's after the title defense record, too. He sits at 13 right now, with 14 being Friday's show.
"The single reign is 35 championship defenses and right now I’m already the longest reigning singles champion in ROH. But, I want to be able to etch my name in that history. I’m not interested in being #7, I’m not interested in being #4, #3 or #2. I’m interested in the top spot and the top spot only. So, all focus, all preparation of course is on Dragon Lee and will be on the next contenders moving forward. But, that’s the end goal and to prove that the championship to have in ROH is the World Television Championship. If you want to prove you’re the baddest dude in ROH, that’s the championship you need to have. As far as I’m concerned, the title right now is just semantics. I’m already the man in ROH," said Taylor.
You can see Shane Taylor defend his ROH Television Championship Friday night against the former Dragon Lee. Fightful will have full, live coverage of the show, which airs Friday, December 13, 2019.