Matt Taven recently spoke with Wrestlezone’s Managing Editor Bill Pritchard about his accomplishments in 2019 and how he’ll make it back to the top with another ROH World Championship reign.
Taven’s first reign as ROH World Champion started at Madison Square Garden and came to a close after 174 days at Death Before Dishonor XVII in Las Vegas. Taven says he’s not only looking to get his title back, but wants to prove himself to any doubters that still might be out there. He says the locker room has seen what he’s capable of, but his brazen attitude might have turned fans off where they were blind to how good his title run really was.
“There’s a big part of me that felt like, ‘Maybe after I’m gone, they’ll appreciate it,’” Taven explained. “And then the other part of me is like, ‘No, this is my place and I’m going to make sure you realize how hard Matt Taven works, and why he deserves to be the top guy,’ and there was a lot of doubters out there. My goal was to, A) get back that Ring Of Honor World Championship, and B) prove all of those doubters wrong and turn them into believers.”
Earlier this week, Taven put a photo out on social media, highlighting a broken nose but also revealing that he’d been dealing with torn ligaments and a broken bone in his ankle. Taven said he didn’t tell anyone about it during his title reign because that’s the pride he carries in himself, but he wasn’t about to hand over a title—and give up on a childhood dream—because of an injury.
Taven says he thinks he twisted his ankle earlier in the summer in June, and noted that injuries like that only get worse and you could be susceptible of having it happen again. He says there was a moment at Champions vs. All-Stars in Atlanta on August 24 where his ankle completely turned sideways, and he thought he’d broken his ankle completely. “I was able to get up and walk it off a little bit. Your adrenaline is pumping and, it’s a crazy thing, once that adrenaline gets kicking because you’re kind of like Superman. And there I am, diving outside the ring, and not knowing at the time the damage I had done to my ankle, but also not wanting to take a step back. I was the Ring Of Honor World Champion, and like I said, I fought for this moment for so long,” Taven said.
Taven also cited leaving soon for the Grand Prix in Mexico as another reason why he waited to properly assess the injury, thinking he could tape and brace up and continue to go, not learning how bad his ankle was until after he lost the ROH World Championship.
“And not until right after the match in Vegas, after I had lost the Ring Of Honor World Title did I get the official news of what was going on there. And mostly because I didn’t want to know, because I wasn’t going to stop either way. And I wasn’t going to take no for an answer when it came to, ‘Can I get in the ring?’” Taven said. “After Vegas, I went to the doctors in Boston, got X-Rays and MRIs, and it turns out there’s a broken bone there, a torn ligament, a partly torn ligament, and I’m in the process right now of kind of figuring out what the next step is. But come hell or high water, I’m gonna make sure that I don’t miss a single moment, don’t miss a single show, and continue to go out there and prove every – to everyone why I’m Matt Taven and why I will be, again, the Ring Of Honor World Champion.”
Taven is set to compete this weekend in Pittsburgh, where he will face Rush in a tag team match, but fans will vote for their partners. Earlier this week it was revealed Jay Lethal, one of the choices for the match (along with Dalton Castle), broke his arm in the UK last weekend. Taven says Lethal will fight back and while you can’t go wrong with either option, he wouldn’t mind being paired up with Castle tomorrow night.
“Both are former World Champions. Jay, unfortunately, did injure his arm, I think it’s out there, he broke his arm in the U.K., but Jay is a warrior just like myself and I doubt that he’ll let that phase him for a second. But, with that being said, and having the option between a guy that’s dealing with an arm injury and one that’s not, I’m probably going to have to go with Dalton Castle on that one because he seems to be the one closer to 100 percent.”