PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — From a young age, Matt Taven dreamed of calling himself a world champion.
Now, his childhood dream is a reality.
“It’s not everyday that someone pictures something when they’re 6 years old and it comes true one day.”
Less than a week after winning the Ring of Honor World Championship in front of a sold-out crowd at New York’s Madison Square Garden, Taven said it’s difficult to put his crowning moment into words.
“I had this event, this place, this moment on my mind for so long that I thought I’d be nervous, but going into it I was just so excited.”
Last Saturday night’s G1 Supercard (which was co-promoted with New Japan Pro Wrestling) was the biggest show in Ring of Honor’s history as well as one of the most anticipated shows during the busiest weekend of the year for professional wrestling. Many promotions were competing for the attention of fans who traveled from across the country and around the world to the host city of WWE’s annual spectacle, WrestleMania. Madison Square Garden had been the exclusive domain of WWE for decades, which made Saturday night’s show even more special for Taven and others on the card.
“I’m not gonna lie. I walked into the arena part of the building and it kinda hits you all at once.”
Taven chuckled in disbelief as he recalled the atmosphere inside The World’s Most Famous Arena even before fans started filing inside.
“It kinda takes your breath away for a second.”
Taven has grown to relish the hatred of fans over recent years, and it’s helped to fuel his rise. That feeling only intensified as he made his entrance in the heart of New York City.
“There was nothing like when they announced me from Boston, Massachusetts. To hear the chorus of boos that started right then. I knew that this was gonna make for a fun night,” Taven said. “It brings a smile to my face because I knew going in there with one of their darlings like Marty (Scurll) that my plan was to go out there and upset a lot of people.”
Taven dethroned former ROH World Champion Jay Lethal and outlasted Marty Scurll in a hard-hitting three-way ladder match, ascending a ladder to seize the championship hung above the center of the ring. He savored those final moments…and the view from atop the ladder.
“You’re looking around at a sold-out Madison Square Garden. You see people jumping for joy. You see people flipping you off. You see people booing, screaming, hoping to God that you don’t do what you’re about to do.”
After a breathtaking Triple Threat Ladder Match, @MattTaven is the NEW Ring of Honor World Champion!
— ROH Wrestling (@ringofhonor) April 7, 2019
The hours following Taven’s championship win were a whirlwind. His phone quickly filled with well-wishes.
“My phone was going off. I couldn’t keep up with all the people and trying to get back to them.”
Taven said he was one of the last wrestlers to leave the arena that night, but a group of fans were still waiting outside to congratulate him.
“To my surprise, there was a bunch of fans still waiting for me by a back entrance. I don’t even know how they knew I was going to be on that side of the building.”
Later, family and friends gathered at a nearby bar to celebrate with him.
“Their joy and their excitement – the looks on their faces – it made the moment even sweeter than it already was.”
Taven’s championship victory is the high point of what was already a successful career that’s taken him to arenas around the world. Now, he’s preparing for the next chapter. He’ll kick off his title reign Saturday night in Pittsburgh. He’s scheduled to open Ring of Honor’s Steel City Excellence show at Stage AE, addressing fans publicly for the first time since his coronation.
Taven is sure to bring the same brash, antagonistic attitude that propelled him to the Ring of Honor world championship, while he reflects on the biggest night of his career.
“To live in that moment as long as I can is my goal,” Taven said.
“Inside I was that 6 year old boy again, excited to be a wrestling fan and excited to be there.”
Bell time for Ring of Honor’s Steel City Excellence show is 6:00PM Saturday night. Meet & greet opportunities begin two hours prior.
Matches announced for Saturday night’s card:
- ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Champions Villain Enterprises (“The Villain” Marty Scurll, PCO and Brody King) vs Jay Lethal, ROH World Television and NEVER Openweight Champion Jeff Cobb and Jonathan Gresham
- Jay and Mark Briscoe vs CMLL stars Caristico and Soberano Jr.
- Shane Taylor vs. Bandido
- The Kingdom’s TK O’Ryan and Vinny Marseglia vs LifeBlood’s Mark Haskins and “Hot Sauce” Tracy Williams
- PJ Black vs. Eli Isom