All hail the King of Ring Of Honor. Ahead of Matt Taven’s match at ‘Honor For All,’ he EXCLUSIVELY dishes on Kanye West’s ‘unbelievable’ music, which sports star is part of his ‘Kingdom,’ and more!
Matt Taven has been reigning over Ring Of Honor since 2012, helping make The Kingdom one of the most successful and revered stables in all of professional wrestling. Along with TK O’Ryan and Vinny Marseglia, Matt current holds the Six-Man Tag Team Championship. Yet, when he rolls into the Nashville Municipal Auditorium on July 20, he won’t be in six-man action. Instead, he will face his fellow contenders for the Ring Of Honor World Championship, “The Villain” Marty Scurll.
Ahead of the match, Matt EXCLUSIVELY spoke with HollywoodLife.com about Marty, whether or not The Kingdom’s “All In,” the genius of Kanye West, who in Hollywood is a “Melvin” (his term for nerd, dork or loser) and which sports champion is a member of Matt’s group.
HollywoodLife.com: You’re facing “The Villain” Marty Scurll at Honor For All in Nashville. Between you and “The Horror King” Vinny Marseglia, it seems Marty has a rivalry with “The Kingdom.”
Matt Taven: Well I think there is a natural rivalry between Vinny, “The Horror King” and “The Villain” Marty Scurll, just from their personas and lives alone. But I would have to give the edge to Vinny on that one because I don’t know if you would want to be in a dark alley with Vinny and Marty is so cute and adorable. You just want to put him in your pocket and feed him an M&M.
But Vinny is a real life terrifying beast. As far as it comes between Marty and myself and this match this weekend — this for me is big and a proving ground for me in the sense that Marty has had all these people fooled for so long. They thought he was cute with his little umbrella but then didn’t have enough spine to stay on his own, so he had to kiss ass to join The Bullet Club. He has become one of these internet darlings and people seem to think that he is deserving of the Ring of Honor Championship and to me that just makes me infuriated because I have been in Ring of Honor longer and accomplished more and I am taller, more handsome and more athletic. Check off all the boxes.
But I am the real Ring of Honor World Champion and the evidence is and has been abundant especially in the last couple months. If Marty thinks he deserves a spot or a shot at that title before me or over me is just frustrating to say the least. And, I will take all my frustrations on Marty this upcoming weekend in Nashville.
Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro Wrestling will host an event in Madison Square Garden in 2019? Of course, The Kingdom has to be there. If you could pick the match you or The Kingdom has that event, what would it be? Does this also make you the new “king of New York?”
I mean being a Boston guy, we have always dominated New York for years so every time we go to New York, I feel I am the reason for the sell out or in the main event or get the biggest reaction in the crowd. So I have been the King of New York and probably the world for a while now.
But, as far as Ring of Honor going into Madison Square Garden, to be a guy who personally – who, now doing the math – has been here for six years, which is crazy to think about. Even in my first dark match in 2009, the amount of time that I have been around this country and seen the growth. To see us go into that building is a big pat on the back. It is a big accomplishment and, for me personally, I have been with this company in its biggest years of growth. For me it is one of those notches on the belt and a source of pride.
It shows we are doing the right thing. It is catching on. I don’t think I get the credit I deserve obviously but I like to see the fruits of my labor go into things like getting into Madison Square Garden.
As far as I am concerned for a match, it should be me defending the Ring Of Honor World Championship against whatever Melvin that wants to get slapped around in front of the biggest audience in Ring Of Honor history. But, that is almost so far down the road that I haven’t thought of it too much.
I am very proud of what we have accomplished as a company and to be one of the cornerstones of Ring Of Honor, especially in the last five years. It really lets you know tat you are doing the right thing and all your hard work is going into the right direction and it is starting to pay off. The more people we can get to see this product, the more we will make fans so its a great pat on the back for all the hard work that has been put on this company in the last few years.
With many wrestlers branching out into reality television, be it on a national network or a YouTube channel, is that something you considered? What would a Matt Taven reality television show be called?
I mean without a doubt it is! I have done extra work here and there and in Boston and the Massachusetts area is becoming a hot bed for the movie and television industry the last couple of years since the tax breaks have taken into effect. I would love to do more and more and more of it.
And with me I have been saying for a while that we live in this golden age of wrestling and by that, I don’t mean it is the most watched or the most popular time but if you are a wrestling fan you can get all access to all your favorite superstars basically in the palm of your hand on your phone. I have myself have a YouTube channel and show that I have started myself, it is called Travel Taven.
[It’s about] more of me outside of wrestling. I have always been into true crime and the macabre and we go to all these places with so much history. I want to see the grassy knoll — I don’t want to just hear about it. I want to see where these controversial things in history went down so I try to do that with my show. And obviously Being The Elite is so popular but in general you can go on anyone’s social media and catch up on whatever they are doing, as far as wrestling or outside of it, just because you get that info and media out there to all of our fans right at the click of a button.
Obviously, I would love to get out there more in the acting wise but at the same time, it is right there for us to get out there and be in front of people as much as possible. Social media has really affected the wrestling game.
You used to work for the New England Patriots (in the marketing and sales department) before taking over ROH and the wrestling world. So, you may be a bit biased, but do you think Tom Brady will retire this season? Do you think he’s “Boston Strong” enough to play until he’s 45? Could Brady join the Kingdom?
Brady is a member of The Kingdom. You can go on my Instagram and see a picture of him rocking the shirt, throwing up the fours and showing the respect to the guys that do it just like him and that is to win all the time. But as far as playing till 45?
I was one of those guys who was big on the Jimmy [Garoppolo] train because Tom has to break down. It’s impossible. I mean age and time but year after year he is one of the best quarterbacks. So maybe he can play until he is 45. And thankfully, in wrestling these days, the age factor of the modern day athlete has become less and less of a concern.
Guys like… I mean I don’t want to expose people’s ages but I think people know how old AJ [Styles] is and I know I haven’t been in the ring with him but I know he is in unbelievable and incredible shape. If this were twenty years ago people would say that he is too old.
To bring that back to wrestling with comparison to Tom Brady and even look at LeBron James. He is still the best player on the planet and as much as I don’t want to repeat that, especially in front of my Celtics friends, but he is getting up there in age in a basketball sense, not a life sense for sure. But he is not showing any decline and it something you haven’t seen before.
So, I think personally hope that Tom Brady can play as long as humanely possible. Especially after trading Jimmy G. But I would be a fool to doubt him at this point after the years he seems to prove people wrong.
What would you like to see in wrestling again or for the first time in the years to come?
Just like in Hollywood, everything has been done. And it is like, “what is old is new again” and so it is hard to pinpoint something that hasn’t been done in wrestling. But we are getting to a point were we have really shrunk the globe and this bubble.
I think something that needs to be done and I know WWE is global but an actual World Champion, a Worlds Champion that defends his belt in New Japan or Ring Of Honor or CMLL and then go to Australia. And that does kind of happen in a sense but it is not like the New Japan championship is considered the ROH championship. And vice versa. So to see someone defend a title in Tokyo on a Saturday and then Friday back in New York and then the next night in Mexico City. And that sounds like an absolute nightmare for travel wise and what to do to your body. But that is the only thing that can be done that hasn’t been done before. I am trying to rack my brain for something else but I am literally coming up with ways to make wrestlers lives even tougher so I should stop now. [laughs]
You said you once recorded music with two bands – Winslow Gray and Rookie. What is Matt Taven listening to these days? What gets the King amped up when defending his Kingdom?
I kind of like to think that I am a music connoisseur in all genres. A far as the newer stuff, I think the Kanye [West’s] stuff is something where he is in his Sgt. Pepper phase, where if he does something out of the box, people think it is crazy but that is awesome because he can do whatever he wants. The two albums that came out recently have that feel to it but to me, it is unbelievable. It is someone that is looking for a more poppy side of things would think this is a crazy Kanye but I love it.
The new Drake album has its moments but I think I am very excited and am anticipating the next 1975 album. I am waiting for their next album. I am waiting for new music from them. I think they are one of the best bands if that is still a word. I am like an old school emo guy. I just went to the Getup Kids concert the other day, Taking Back Sunday was just around but I missed it. I would have gone to that. But all of those early 2000 bands will always be on my gym playlist. But I like to stay up with whatever is happening today. I am not a trap rap fan but I will listen to my Spotify and what the kids are listening to nowadays so I check it out. I keep my ear out there but right now it is all about the 1975.
Not to blow your cover, but does The Kingdom plan to invade ALL IN the same way the Bullet Club invaded RAW?
I never try to copy what those Melvins do. I really haven’t thought of All In too much. I know so many people are falling all over themselves for the ten thousand seats thing. But Matt Taven draws that in Arena Mexico every time they put him in the main event. But as far as All In, congrats to the Young Bucks. They really have been able to capture and capitalize on this popularity. They really have changed the business. But I have plans for the summer that I am sure will be announced sooner or later.
Is there a certain celebrity you would definitely say, “That’s a Melvin”?
Man, so many but how do you choose just one! [laughs] It’s funny because the immediate choice for me would be the Kardashians. You watch the Kardashians sometime and you are like, “Wow’! How are people really watching the show and why do they have so much influence?” I mean this can’t be good and you think you want to put them at the top of the list but then, you have people like Kanye. The insanity of Kanye and the whole thing about his personality since he has been with Kim [Kardashian] is something I think is an [act].
I think it is such genius that it makes me feel like, “Oh man, you can’t hate the Kardashians. They worked us, maybe I am the idiot.” They have got the exact reaction they want out of me so it is hard to pinpoint a person you think is a Melvin in Hollywood because just maybe, they want you think that they were a Melvin the whole entire time. So that is the paradox I live in.
Ring Of Honor’s “Honor For All” takes place at the Nashville Municipal Auditorium at 8:30 PM EST / 7:30 PM CDT. Fans can watch via ROH HonorClub. Get information here. This interview has been edited.