For the past couple of months Matt Taven has been proclaiming himself as the real ROH World Champion and complemented by his own title belt. This "championship" will be put on the line at ROH Final Battle when Taven will "defend" it against Dalton Castle.
While Taven has no doubt in his mind that he's the real world champion, others aren't so sure about that. He was asked on our WINCLY podcast if a victory over Castle would validate his self-proclaimed ROH World Championship.
"For me, no. But if it wants to be validated in other people's eyes, sure," Taven told Adam Hausman. "I'm just a fighting, defending champion and I came to Dalton and challenged him. I put my title on the line – that's the kind of heroic man that I am."
Taven didn't seem so heroic when he received help from The Kingdom in a recent 2-on-1 match vs. Castle's The Boys. But Taven argues that he should have never been in the ring with them in the first place.
"What are we really talking about here? Playing around with The Boys? The reason I had to whack one in the face with the title belt and let Vinny have his way with the other one is because it's a joke. I should have never been in the ring with The Boys in the first place," said Taven.
"I'm the real ROH World Champion. If you're gonna put me in the ring and make me risk my body, make it for some serious competition…
"To be in the ring with The Boys, whatever, I'll make an example out of them. As for Dalton Castle, when it comes to Final Battle, it's not going to be anything to do with The Boys or The Kingdom. It's going to be heads-up, man-to-man, and I'm going to prove why Dalton Castle should have never disrespected me and should have challenged me for my ROH World Title. But he didn't, and he made a mistake. I'm going to make him pay for that mistake."
Castle has been banged up recently as he's dealt with various injuries to various body parts. However, Taven says that's not his fault and that if ROH is going to put him in the ring, then Taven is going to put Castle right back on the shelf.
"We don't know what we're getting ourselves into when the guy comes back from injury so we want to see what he has," Taven said of Castle. "If you just look at Dalton, he's wrapped up like a mummy. He moves like an old lady. He looks like he's falling apart. This guy should have not come back from injury this early and, unfortunately, I'm gonna put him right back on the shelf…
"This guy is like one big tin man in the ring right now, but that's fine. ROH is gonna let him wrestle and I'm gonna hurt him."
Outside of the upcoming Final Battle event, ROH has also made news with the signing of PCO, formerly known as Pierre Carl Ouellet. PCO was a WWE tag team champion way back in the early 90s and was also engaged in a singles feud with Bret Hart.
Taven weighed in on the PCO signing and credited ROH with keeping abreast with the best talent on the indie circuit.
"I think it speaks to ROH in that they're keeping their fingers on the pulse and grabbing the guys that are making waves," Taven said of ROH signing PCO.
"What an incredible story of PCO at his age making a comeback after a successful run in WWE. I can remember Bret [Hart] and PCO's feud back in the day. It's crazy that he doesn't even seem like the same guy, but to see what he's doing now is impressive.
"It's kudos to ROH to keep in front of the trends and the waves that are being made throughout all of wrestling and to make sure the ROH fans are delivered a product that they want and can continue to be excited about."
When broached with the possibility of PCO and D.Destro feuding with fellow Kingdom member, Vinny Marseglia, Taven admitted that he's looking forward to that potential feud.
"That was my first thought [when PCO signed]. I think I texted Vinny right away when I heard the rumblings. Vinny's got to stake his claim as the nightmare fuel of ROH," said Taven.
You can listen to Taven's full interview from the WINCLY in the embedded audio player below: