Hailing from Raccoon City, Kentucky, 26-year-old Chuck Taylor has been becoming more-and-more impressive with each passing year, truly breaking out in 2010 as a member of the Evolve Wrestling roster.
As well as this, Taylor competes for Dragon Gate USA, Pro Wrestling Guerrilla and CHIKARA, having accomplished everything one can do in CHIKARA except hold the CHIKARA Grand Championship, something I was keen to get his opinion on.
Gabe Sapolsky has nothing but positive words to say in-relation to Chuck Taylor, stating in a 2011 interview with SlamSports.com, “Chuck Taylor has a natural connection to the crowd and a natural charisma. Some guys either have it or don’t. He has it,” Sapolsky said. ”He is a very athletic wrestler capable of many different styles, a very versatile performer. Chuck is a lot of fun to watch wrestle.”
Taylor’s talents are going from strength-to-strength on the independent wrestling circuit and many feel it is only a matter of time before those helping turn the proverbial “machine” come knocking. With a host of highly acclaimed matches to his name, Taylor is one of the brightest stars in independent wrestling.
I recently spoke to Chuck to discuss a number of topics including what got him into the business, if the CHIKARA Grand Championship is in his sights, has Ring of Honor ever contacted him on coming in, and what would he do if the WWE came calling,
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Q) What are your first memories of professional wrestling?
The first thing I vividly remember is Lex Luger slamming Yokozuna on the Intrepid. I know I had watched before that, but that’s the first thing that really sticks out.
Q) Who are the wrestlers that inspired you to venture into the world of pro-wrestling?
I’m the type of guy that can’t watch something without wanting to try it. The guy that really made me want to become a wrestler was probably Chris Jericho. He was so entertaining, and wasn’t the biggest guy. I thought maybe I could do it.
Q) You began your training at 15-years-old. Do you think it helped you mature quicker as a performer?
I think it definitely helped me get higher profile bookings at a young age. When I turn 30-years-old, I’ll have been wrestling half of my life. My entire adult life has been as a professional wrestler.
Q) Are there any specific memories from your first few matches?
They were terrible. I was chubby and had awful ring gear.
Q) Your first major independent promotion was CHIKARA when you competed in the Young Lions Cup tournament, for those who may not understand the concept behind the tournament, can you explain the concept and how you felt at the time when you debuted in CHIKARA?
The Young Lions Cup is a tournament for wrestlers under the age of 25. I was 20 when I entered my first tournament, and 21 when I won it. When I first got the call I was so excited. At the time I hadn’t seen much CHIKARA, but what I had seen I loved. When I got there it was a perfect fit for me as a performer. I love it.
Q) You turned “rudo” or heel only a few months into your CHIKARA career, defeating current CHIKARA Grand Champion Eddie Kingston with some assistance from the late “Sweet and Sour” Larry Sweeney. Do you have a personal preference between heel and face or do both just come naturally to you?
I usually prefer being a Rudo. But I don’t really act much differently either way.
Q) Since I mentioned him, what was it like working with Larry Sweeney?
Sweeney was amazing. Such a great guy. Probably my favorite promo I’ve ever been a part of was myself, Mitch Ryder, Chris Hero, and Larry Sweeney before an Atomicos match in CHIKARA. It was 4 totally different characters having a great time. I’d love to see that again.
Q) You’ve had a lot of tournament and tag team success during your time in CHIKARA, but is one of your goals the Grand Championship?
The Grand Championship is the only title in CHIKARA I haven’t won. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a part of the plan.
Q) One final note on CHIKARA, over the past couple years its really grown in-terms of fanbase and recognition from those in the wrestling business, is there a positive feeling inside CHIKARA that you’ve got something special going?
When CHIKARA travels to new states and towns and people know the product, when they know the current storylines and characters, it really is mind-blowing. When we can travel down to Alabama and the crowd is knowledgable about our silly little product, it proves to us that we are doing something special.
Q) In 2008 you began featuring for Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, one of the most consistently entertaining and definitely innovative wrestling promotions to maybe have ever came into existence. What is it about PWG that makes it so fun for the performer?
PWG is just so laid back. Everyone is having a great time and everyone is trying to steal the show. Plus the fans there are bananas. It makes for a great environment.
Q) One of your most memorable rivalries in PWG was with El Generico. What is it like working with Generico?
El Generico is the best wrestler in the world. Bar none.
Q) A question sent into me and one I’m more than happy to ask; what is it like working with Joey Ryan? Ryan is now a contracted performer for TNA after defeating Al Snow with the help of Matt Morgan at Bound For Glory earlier this month.
Joey Ryan is a great performer. I think he will do big things in TNA.
Q) Moving on from PWG, lets talk about Evolve. You featured on the very first card and have really made a name for yourself.What was your feeling toward the Evolve concept, whereby wins and losses really did play a factor?
It’s a novel concept. I think EVOLVE has put on great shows, it’s just having trouble catching on with audiences.
Q) In 2010 when Evolve stood alone it drew a lot of great performers, some of which can now be found on WWE and TNA television, such as Claudio Castagnoli, Austin Aries and Bryan Danielson. How highly did you rate the roster in the beginning of Evolve Wrestling?
EVOLVE uses basically all the best indy wrestlers that aren’t with Ring of Honor.
Q) Gabe Sapolsky is vice-president of Dragon Gate USA and the founder of Evolve, hes also the founder of Ring of Honor and held several roles for ECW back in the late-nineties. What’s it like working with Gabe?
He’s great to work with. Very collaborative.
Q) One of your most recent performance I caught was your “I Quit” match with Johnny Gargano in the summer at Enter the Dragon. You and Johnny go from teaming in one promotion to a heated rivalry in the next, is he one of the guys you just find it easy to work with?
He is great to work with. He and I have been basically married for the better part of the last two years, whether it’s tagging or wrestling each other. He really is fantastic.
Q) Speaking of Johnny Gargano and the summer, for a large part of the summer it was news in pro-wrestling that WWE wanted him and instead of joining the “machine” as some put it, he decided to re-sign with Dragon Gate and continue his career on the indies. For you, if that deal came along to work with WWE and you were in the same position Gargano was in, would it be a similar decision or would the temptation be too much?
I’d sell out… in a heartbeat. Less than a heartbeat.
Q) Another question I was asked to ask you, is from a lot of Ring of Honor fans. Ring of Honor is just off the back of Glory By Honor XI, event went well they had no technical issues, produced some great matches etc, etc, but has there ever been an offer from Ring of Honor to you, to compete for them? If they did make an offer would you like to wrestle there or are you happy with your current workload?
I’ve never spoken with anyone at Ring of Honor about working for their company. Not a single word. It’s kind of amazing.
Q) Just to wrap this up, I’m going to say some names and you give your thoughts; bit like word association. First name, “Mr. Wrestling” Kevin Steen?
Q) Current CHIKARA Grand Champion, Eddie Kingston?
Q) “Queen of Wrestling” Sara Del Rey?
The best female wrestler in the world.
Q) Bryan “Daniel Bryan” Danielson?
Those elbows to the neck he used to do hurt like hell.
Q) Necro Butcher?
Punched me in the face really hard in CHIKARA.
Q) “American Wolf” Davey Richards?
Q) Austin Aries?
Threw my ex-girlfriends pizza on the ground one time.
Q) Adam Cole?
Q) And finally, “The Kentucky Gentlemen” Chuck Taylor?
Follow Chuck Taylor on Twitter @SexyChuckieT