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Taylor Rust Aims To Put An Emphasis On Mat-Based Storytelling

Since Taylor Rust returned to Ring of Honor at the promotion’s Death Before Dishonor pay-per-view in September, the 17-year veteran has enjoyed some success in ROH. He defeated Tracy Williams at ROH Honor For All, and he has shared the ring with names like Jay Lethal, Jonathan Gresham and The Briscoes.

Though Taylor Rust isn’t officially a member of The Foundation alongside Lethal, Gresham, Williams and Rhett Titus, he supports the group’s focus on pure wrestling and the way it ties back to the style ROH was once known for.

In a new interview with WrestleZone’s Colin Tessier, Taylor Rust discussed his return to ROH and shared his thoughts on his most recent bout — a match with Chris Dickinson on ROH Week By WeekThough Dickinson emerged victorious, Taylor still seemed pleased with the bout. He described how it reminded him of the ROH he used to know, back when wrestlers like Bryan Danielson, CM Punk and Samoa Joe were making their names before they became household names. Taylor also praised Dickinson’s intensity, which brought out the best in him.

“Dickinson’s one of those guys that’s kind of on the top of his game right now, man,” said Taylor. “Like he’s really probably better I think than I’ve ever seen him before. He’s is just a ball of intensity, you know what I mean, in that ring. So I really thrive in an environment with those guys, those kinds of people because you know, that’s gonna bring out the best in you, always, and I really enjoyed our match that we had, you know. We basically had like a real, I like to call it kind of like a classic ROH style, where I remember growing up, when I first started wrestling, ROH was like the hot thing, you know what I mean, it was really the only thing that was kind of the hot thing on the indies because we’re talking like the year 2005, right, when I’m like breaking into the business, trying to make my name, not really make my name, just figure out what to do in this world of wrestling.

“And you see this product of ROH, and these guys are incredible and they have Samoa Joe and CM Punk and Bryan Danielson, the Briscoes, and they’re doing this hard-hitting, you know, style that nobody else can compete with, and while I think ROH has changed in a lot of ways, what I like about the fact that I’m there is I feel like I emphasize a lot of that style back into it. And like what me and Dickinson were doing there, or even that match before [at ROH Honor For All] with me and Tracy Williams, like we really bring out I think that classic ROH style back into it that people kind of like probably originally fell in love with, I think.”

Speaking of Williams, Taylor Rust explained how he and “Hot Sauce” share a common prioritization of using technical wrestling to tell stories. He shared his belief that this artistic style is rare these days, a stance that is becoming increasingly common in the modern wrestling nowadays.

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“So Tracy Williams is a good dude, me and him have really good chemistry naturally,” said Taylor. “And again [he’s] one of those guys that likes to emphasize, you know, technical wrestling and telling a story on the mat. So it’s an interesting thing when you can get two people I think that have really spent their careers focusing and training themselves to be able to tell a story on the mat. Because that’s kind of an art form that’s, not like a lost art, I wanna say, but just one that’s hard to come by more so nowadays.

To elaborate, Taylor Rust described how he sees younger wrestlers focus on spots and more flashy side of wrestling, whereas he has successfully carved out a lengthy career by excelling at the basics. In doing so, he has avoided any significant injuries (knock on wood) because he realized he had to be smart with his body.

“A lot of times when I find people in wrestling schools and I say, ‘Hey let’s just warm up with, you know, rolling around a little bit’, the first thing I usually get told is, ‘Okay, I’m not very good at that though.’ And [it’s] like practicing all these spots, but you don’t try and practice your basics? And like I’m like a pretty go-to-basics kind of guy. That’s pretty much most of my stuff, man. And I’ll say it all day long. It’s pretty much what I do is just most of the basics, but like do the basics very well.

“And if you do the basics very well, I mean I’ve been doing this stuff for 17 years now consistently, and you know, I’ve never had major injuries, knock on wood. And I always attribute that to hey man, you don’t, you know how to do the basics very well, and that could give you a long career if you’re able to do this actually efficiently, I think.”

Taylor looked back on how he once took plenty of damaging bumps; he specifically pointed to the springboard flatback dropkicks he used to on a regular basis and stated that this move “absolutely ruined” his neck. 10 years later, he now knows the importance of protecting his body so he can continue to wrestle for the long haul. That being said, he made it clear that his stance is a personal choice, as plenty of wrestlers take high-impact bumps and enjoy lengthy careers just the same.

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“I mean I’m 34 now, so I was doing a lot of high-impact stuff early on in my career in like my PWG days and when I was doing stuff in Japan, right? A lot of high-impact moves, and I remember a lot of like springboard flatback dropkicks, which just absolutely ruined my neck. And because of those days, now that I’m still doing this 10 years after it, it’s like hey, I gotta like find ways to preserve myself and keep it going long-term, you know what I mean, for a good career in this business.

“So it’s just my personal thing, really. Some guys can make it work really well with doing all these high-impact moves and making a long-term career with it, and their bodies go with it, man. And it’s amazing that they can do that.”

It’s unclear exactly what Rust’s future holds in ROH and beyond; the company is going on hiatus in the first quarter of 2022 and reportedly not renewing the contracts of its talent roster. But given Taylor’s exemplary utilization of the basics and his impressive track record, it’s fair to hope that the open road ahead of him is filled with many promising possibilities.

Watch our full interview with Taylor Rust at the top of this post; he can be seen regularly on Ring Of Honor television, including his match with Chris Dickinson on ROH Week By Week below. The company also announced a series of ‘Road To Final Battle’ matches which can be seen here.

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