While there might be a wrestling war among fans and others, there is very little war among the actual wrestlers. Former ROH Television Champion Shane Taylor has shared the locker room and the ring with Keith Lee and Erik (Ray Rowe) of the Viking Raiders. And while he may work for a different company than those two, he couldn't be more excited about what they've been able to achieve.
“It’s fantastic, and yeah, we talk weekly. I’m always shooting them funny memes or messages or vice versa and we text back and forth," he said. "I just went to go see Ray [Erik] for his birthday in Cleveland. Shout out to his wife Sarah [Logan] as well who hooked that up for me. I’m extremely proud of both of them. When Keith had his big Survivor Series weekend, even though it was late, I made sure to send him a text just letting him know how proud of him I was. Both of us had our visions of what we wanted to be and where we wanted to go and what we wanted to do and how we wanted to take this sport over and separately, we are able to do that on our own terms the way that we wanted to do it. Sometimes that takes a little bit longer, but again, traveling down that road and doing it the right way makes it all much better in the end when you get to your goal, and with Ray, seeing him achieve just about every goal on his checklist that he wrote down years ago — winning championships all over the world. Winning championships at the very top of this sport. Winning championships in Japan and seeing everything that he’s done now from where we came from in Cleveland, man, I couldn’t be prouder of the guy. Both of them are like the big brothers I never had and I tell them that and words can’t do justice as to how proud I am of them, how much I wish for their continued success and I’m sure if you were to ask them, the same would be said to me about the things that I’m doing now so, much respect to them, much love to them and keep it going.”
Erik survived a motorcycle accident in 2014, and when he needed help the most, one man there for him was Taylor. Taylor was roommates with Erik at the time and helped out as much as he could by going to the gym with Erik, bringing him food, and encouraging him any way he could.
Taylor said of his relationship with Erik, "That’s what you do for family. There’s very few people in this world outside of my kids that I would take a bullet for. He’s one of them so, to me, our families are extremely close. Blood couldn’t make us any closer so, if I was in the situation he was in, I can pretty much guarantee the same actions would’ve been taken. There’s no thanks that’s needed. Those are things that you do for family. His success is based off of his hard work and what he does and the pride he takes in his craft and he deserves every bit of it. That’s awesome.”
Following his loss to Dragon Lee at ROH Final Battle, Taylor will reportedly become a free agent at the end of the year. He has begun counting down the days to his #NextChapter on social media. It is unknown where Taylor will end up, but he knows that, despite the stereotypes of black wrestlers, he is going to be successful when he turns the page.
“It’s incredible to see the progress that’s come. I still feel that there’s a longways to go. So it’s fantastic to see people that I know well have success. Guys like Keith Lee who had an absolutely incredible Survivor Series weekend and now the world’s talking about him as they should’ve been. It’s amazing to see guys like Kofi [Kingston] have their run, who has been killing it the last decade-plus, and it’s inspiring to see not only the men, but the women do their thing as well because there’s so much talent out there. Again, in this sport, people like to put us in boxes and put us in stereotypes of what we can and can’t be and that reflects what society [thinks] and wrestling mirrors that, and so for me, to be able to be on a platform and turn that mirror around and go, ‘I am more than what you think I am. I am more than what you think I can be. I am more than what you want to promote me as’, and stick by that. That to me is how we continue to push this forward and continue to keep these doors open, and continue to let the next generation see that whether it’s wrestling, media, music, TV, whatever it is. You don’t have to be a character of black culture to be successful. You find what your talent is, find what you can do, do it well and then promote yourself that way. You don’t have to give into the pressure of doing whatever you need to do to make a dollar. You can earn income and be successful and keep your pride," he stated.
Elsewhere in the interview, Taylor discussed his ROH TV Title reign, Shane Taylor Promotions, and more.
Taylor told Fightful three days before ROH Final Battle that he had not re-signed with the company. Joey Mercury noted in November that Taylor would not be re-signed and ROH had yet to inform him of their decision. An ROH source said Taylor and the promotion were negotiating a three-year deal.