By Chris Shore
If you asked me to pick the two guys who currently most deserve the payday of a WWE contract, Johnny Gargano and Chuck Taylor would top my list. Wrestling as a babyface team in Dragon Gate USA, rivals in EVOLVE, and as the heel tag team champions in CHIKARA, the duo gets great looks everywhere they go, and never fail to disappoint those watching. Both men were kind enough to talk with me after the recent CHIKARA show I attended, and both are in agreement on which promotion is their favorite to work for.
"Oh, without a doubt for me it's CHIKARA," Taylor said without hesitation. "All three promotions give us something different, so we really get the best of both worlds."
"Dragon Gate gives us the opportunity to work with the best talent in the world, and gives us great exposure," Gargano added. "The good part is, the talent in all three is so good that we get to improve no matter where we work. But I have to agree with Chuck that CHIKARA is the most fun."
Taylor quickly jumped in to add, "As a wrestling fan, and let's be honest we're all wrestling fans deep down, I think CHIKARA is the best promotion there is right now. Wrestling needs to evolve again. The last time that happened it was ECW, and everybody is trying to recreate that. But ECW's time is gone. CHIKARA is the future of professional wrestling."
I turned to Gargano and asked him a question I hoped he would take as fair, even though it was questioning his judgment. "The last time I saw you in this building, you and [Dragon Gate wrestler] CIMA were in the most brutal open hand slap contest I have ever seen. Tonight however, I saw you take a legit head-butt that made a sound that turned my stomach. In light of what we know now about head injuries and their prevalence in wrestling, was that really the best idea?"
Gargano took it all in stride. "Well first, let me tell you it felt as bad as it sounded. And I'm fairly confident in my ability to self-diagnose and I can tell you I do not have a concussion right now. I agree that taking unprotected chair shots, especially a bunch in a row is stupid. And I also think that you should never wrestle with a concussion. But I also believe that there are times, title matches like we had tonight for example, where the circumstances call for going there. That spot is dangerous, but a lot of what we do is dangerous. So if the circumstances call for it, I'm OK with it."
I didn't agree with his answer, and still do not, but there wasn't a good follow-up to his explanation so I moved on to his recent try out matches with WWE. "Well first of all," he said, "I wrestled as John Grey, not as Chris Hero or anything else. I'm not sure how that happened on the Internet. But yes, I did the Cleveland and Dayton loop and worked both nights. I don't think it could have gone better, but who knows?"
Taylor said he hadn't had any tryout matches, which I find to be a bit confusing. Of the two, Taylor is taller. Gargano may have a better physique and be the better overall worker, but Taylor has more natural charisma. As a tag team, they are the perfect mix, and would be an asset to any promotion, as a team or singles.
I knew they had to get to Tennessee so I thanked them for their time. It was then that I told them that I wished them a WWE payday, but worried they would be used all wrong if they ever got there. They thanked me, and Taylor added a final thought. "What would Tough Enough have been like if WWE had picked the top ten or twelve indy workers in the world, and had really focused on making one of them their legit next top star? You would have had all the current WWE fans, plus all the guys out there watching CHIKARA and Dragon Gate and the others.
"But things are changing in wrestling. More groups are being seen and less people are watching WWE. The audience is there. You just have to give them what they want."
Questions? Comments? Anyone, anyone? Let me hear from you. Email me at email@example.com or tweet me @TheShoreSlant with whatever is on your mind.
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Shore's Blog: An Interview with CHIKARA and Dragon Gate USA stars Chuck Taylor and Johnny Gargano
Oct 12, 2011 - 09:35 AM
Oct 12, 2011 - 09:35 AM
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