Ring of Honor champ Matt Taven, stars of Mexico headline wrestling show in Dearborn Friday
Today 10:04 AM
By Matt Durr | firstname.lastname@example.org
In December 2015, professional wrestler Matt Taven suffered a serious injury to his left knee that one doctor told him could keep him out of the ring for more than two years. The injury came at a time when he and his partner were making waves in the industry and Taven appeared to be ascending to the top of Ring of Honor wrestling.
However, shortly after the injury, Tavens partner -- now known as Mike Kanellis in WWE -- left ROH, leaving Taven with no clear path when he would eventually return. During his time away, Taven says he evaluated his career and decided he would no longer keep his mouth shut and would make it clear he saw himself as a top guy in the industry.That determination and mindset culminated in Tavens crowning moment this past April when he won the ROH World Championship at Madison Square Garden, arguably the most sacred arena in professional wrestling.
Its still very surreal. To tell a 6-year-old boy who grew up watching events in MSG that you were going to win the title at MSG ... Its something you fantasize about and you look back at it like a movie, Taven said in an interview with MLive this week.
Five months later, Taven is still champion and is set to lead ROH during a tour of the Midwest this weekend that begins in Dearborn Friday night at Dearborn Performing Arts Center. The tour is special for the company and for Taven in particular because it will also feature the stars of CMLL a Mexican wrestling company that is the oldest professional wrestling company in the world.
This loop is special because its not just the best wrestlers from ROH, youre also seeing some of the best from Mexico. And youre seeing a clash of styles that you dont always see," Taven said.
What makes the Mexican style so unique is the athleticism and ability of the luchadors, who showcase high-flying moves combined with nonstop action-filled matches that arent typically seen in the U.S. The tour is also special for Taven, whose first matches after returning from injury were with CMLL.After rehabbing for nine months, Taven returned in September 2016 -- a different doctor helped him through the process to recover more quickly -- and has been working with CMLL consistently since then. Being in Mexico after the injury gave Taven the confidence he needed to realize he could achieve the heights of success he saw in his mind.
And although he represents ROH as champion, he says CMLL has a special meaning to him because of how that company helped him in his return to the ring. He wants to prove to fans of both companies that hes deserving of the trust officials have given him.
I definitely have the kind of feeling of this is an event where Im not only showing people why Im the champion, but why I succeeded in CMLL," Taven said, adding the luchadors are going to surprise people during this tour.
Theyre down in Mexico City just killing it every night. I think this tour is going to do wonders to open peoples eyes on how good the talent is down in CMLL.
Since becoming ROH champion, Taven has been on a torrid pace defending the title, the same title that was previously held by some of the biggest stars in the industry. Former champions include WWE stars Daniel Bryan, Kevin Owens, Adam Cole, Samoa Joe and current WWE Universal Champion Seth Rollins.While Taven is proud to be on the same list as those guys, he also says hes not satisfied just being one of the names.
One of my biggest concerns is defining my own legacy on that list," Taven said. You dont want to be just another name on that list, you want to stand out.
Standing out means traveling the world as champion and defending the title as much as possible. That includes being the first ROH champion to wear the belt in CMLLs home venue, Arena Mexico.
It also means coming through with top-notch matches during weekends like this one. Taven says he always feels pressure to have the best match on the card, but during a loop such as this he feels it even more. Having the best match can be tough because of just how good the ROH roster is.
I truly believe ROH at a live show always lives up to the moniker as the best wrestling on the planet," Taven said.
Tickets for Friday nights show are still available and can be purchased here. If you want to see the show but are unable to attend, the card will be broadcast on ROHs streaming service Honor Club.