Ring of Honor star Matt Taven sat down with Inside the Ropes to talk about ROH’s return to performing in front of live fans at Best in the World. It was a bittersweet experience for Taven, who wished he could wrestle in front of the crowd but ultimately was happy that fans were back at the show.
“I mean, it definitely was something that we had always kind of looked forward to since being in the in the pandemic era and being in the bubble,” Taven said. “You’re spending so many times stuck in a hotel room, kind of just staring at the ceiling, you know, wondering what game you’re going to replay for the millionth time to try to wait to try to keep yourself occupied. You’re always just kind of thinking of that time when the fans are going to be back and like this whole, we get through this and it will all be worth it on the other end. It was amazing, you know what I mean? There’s so many great moments that happened, like Bandido becoming the world champion in front of the live crowd. It’s just like, those are the things like I’ll remember just hearing the Opening Music and Ian and and Caprice going to their booth and the place places going crazy. So you know, you’re hearing that noise from the back and unfortunately for me, you know, I didn’t know how that far in advance that there was going to be a live crowd there for Baltimore for Best in the World. But at the same time, I was always kind of hoping that was kind of like a temporary marker on the calendar like this could be the day. Unfortunately, with everything going on with Vincent, I found myself in a weird spot where I wasn’t you know, I wasn’t going to be in a featured match which is unusual for me. I mean the year before at Best in the World or 2019 the last Best in the World, I’m the World Champion. And now to find myself not in one of those championship spots. Mike Bennett had earned a spot, a shot at the Pure Title so he had his thing going on. And you know, looking at the first time live crowds coming back and knowing that instead of being in one of these marquee matches, I was going to be in a an in ring segment with with a guy who since before the pandemic has been the bane of my existence.
“It was kind of a double edged sword. It was like ‘man I really wanted to go out there and feel the energy of that live crowd.’ Unfortunately with everything that happened to that point, I was going into this event with the live crowd kind of like ‘of course this would be the event for the first live crowd back.’ But all in all to see the Ring of Honor fans back there and just hear them scream and yell. And there’s even stuff we can’t do, like they were unable to throw streamers, which I know at the next Ring of Honor show that’ll happen. It’s like we’re still kind of dipping our toes in the water for like a fan to actually be back back. I think I speak for everyone that, you know when you hit that mat and you actually hear a reaction? It’s a whole lot easier to get up off it and and to keep wrestling instead when it’s just like boom, and there’s just like nothing but an echo. Like ‘I think I wanted to stay here, I don’t want to get back up.’ So the amount of energy that we get from the fans, I don’t think that they understand sometimes how important that is to us. But I think it speaks for how good Best in the World was from top to bottom. That that energy really drove everyone that normally wants to go out there and show everyone why they’re, you know, considered the best in the world. That just kind of boost everyone’s spirits over the top and it’s why from the beginning to the end, that pay per view is fantastic.”
Another topic the former ROH Champion was asked about was the rumors of Daniel Bryan, aka Bryan Danielson, and CM Punk jumping to All Elite Wrestling. With the Forbidden Door open, Taven would love to see them make an ROH appearance and would especially like to see Bryan go toe to toe with ROH’s Pure Champion. He also wouldn’t be opposed to facing another AEW star.
“For me personally, just on a selfish level, I grew up a huge Chris Jericho fan,” Taven said. “There’s there’s so many people that you grow up watching but there’s only a few that can can outdo father time and last long enough for you to meet your idol in the ring. I would love for it to be standing across the ring from Jericho one day. Honestly there’s so many guys that were from that were used to be in Ring of Honor or cut their teeth in Ring of Honor that really made their name. You can pick a name from the very top of any company and they have some sort of Ring of Honor connection and now that everyone’s floating around Punk and Bryan Danielson, there would be no bigger treat I think as a fan to see one of those guys return home. And it would really kind of change the landscape of things but at the same time I think it would be for those guys personally, I know how I would feel personally, of wanting to give back to a place that did so much for me. And who knows, maybe they wouldn’t feel that way but I think it would be just a cool moment and probably really cool for them to come back home. Even if it’s only one more night give those all old ROH fans that treat. You know, have them banging across a banging on those barricades like the good old days.
“So I think that’s where my mind goes personally at the same time. All the wrestling is so good right now that any company working with anyone is just exciting for the fans. At the same time we also have such a crazy amount of talented guys in Ring of Honor itself and unfortunately, you know, because of the pandemic we’re still waiting on guys like Joe Henry, Mark Haskins and Adam Brooks. There’s so many more guys to be coming over that there is an unbelievable amount of talent in the Ring of Honor locker room. So it’s like if it happens, amazing. If it doesn’t happen we still have something really amazing so it’s really just kind of a win win for everyone. I would love to see someone return back home just because I think the you know, the documentary lover in myself thinks its a good story like that where everything comes full circle. But at the same time man there’s so many talented guys and girls in this locker room that no matter what happens I’m really excited for what Ring of Honor has to has to show the world. I’ll keep my Chris Jericho fantasy match out. If I can get Jonathan Gresham and The American Dragon and see them across the room from one another. I might have to like walk out and be like ‘yeah buddy, you got to get out of the seat/ I got to watch this front row.’ Mr. Bryan Danielson, if you’re seeing this somehow please, for us fans just give us one thing. Lock up with The Octopus.”