Shane Taylor always wanted more for himself.
ROH Television Champion Shane Taylor didn't want to be a stereotype in wrestling. While not always the case, many black wrestlers throughout the years have been portrayed as a bodyguard, a lackey, or an angry man with something to prove.
Growing up with a street legend for a father, Taylor could have easily fallen into that life or taken that character path as a wrestler. But his father steered him in a different direction.
“He gave me another option,” said Taylor in an interview with Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrated. “He told me I could be the first person in our family to go to college. My pride wants me to say I’d still be here if I chose the street, but everyone that thinks that way ends up going first. I’ve had guns pulled on me, lost too many people, and seen too many bad things. I am the one percent of one percent to have gone through what I did and still be alive. Thankfully, I did not become a statistic. Would I still be alive? I don’t know. I’m better off just focusing on doing what I am doing now."
When it came to wrestling, Taylor wanted to use his smarts and size rather than falling into a stereotype.
“I’m done with stereotypes of black culture,” said Taylor. “We’ve seen it, it’s tired, it’s boring. Ninety-eight percent of black culture aren’t pimps. They are everyday people who want the same thing everyone else does. We shouldn’t be relegated to being sidekicks or angry black dudes. So to be able to be where I’m from and represent this vision means everything to me.”
Taylor won the ROH Television Title in a fatal four-way bout on May 9 at War of the Worlds Tour - Night 2. He is scheduled to defend the title against Bandido at ROH Best in the World on June 28.