Very few people can say that they have been actively wrestling for 30 years. It’s not a sport that is kind to one’s body. It can take its toll and for someone to be able to stick with it for that long, they would definitely have to love it. For Chaz Taylor of Houston, Texas, he does.
The 46-year-old is a second generational wrestler and the son of Tugboat Taylor. As long as Taylor kept his grades up in school during his teenage years, he would be allowed to go on the road during summer breaks with his Father who was wrestling in order to provide for the family.
While at the matches, Chaz would take the wrestler’s jackets from the ring to the dressing room. Sometimes a referee wouldn’t show up and Taylor would have the honor for the night. Then there were the nights that luck was really on Taylor’s side.
“They would say this guy didn’t show up and do you have your boots and are ready to wrestle? It kind of just went on from there,” said Taylor.
Being fortunate enough to have his Father in the business he already had his trainer. It wasn’t long before Taylor was stepping inside the ring on a regular basis and wrestling full time. It might have been the love of the business that this Father and Son had in common, but due to the significant contrast in size between the two, their wrestling styles were very different from each other and that helped Chaz to find his own path.
“Starting out, Dad was a big guy and I was a small guy. So we didn’t use the same maneuvers,” said Taylor. “I had to look at the Rock N’ Roll Express, The Fantastic’s, The Rockers, The Cheetah Kid, and Jeff Jarrett, guys that I started wrestling with later on. I learned a lot from them.”
Taylor’s use of the ropes and his ability to use his dexterity to his advantage made for exciting high-flying stunts during his matches that made the fans stand on their feet.
Traveling on the road always meant going to new and different places. As Taylor started to concentrate on his own career, he too, like his Father, experienced what it was like to trek the wrestling circuit. Wrestling took him all over the world to countries like Japan and Mexico.
Some of the wrestling promotions that Taylor has had the opportunity to work for in the United States were World Class Championship Wrestling, The National Wrestling Alliance, World Wrestling Entertainment, Total Non- Stop Action, World Championship Wrestling, Extreme Championship Wrestling, and The Global Wrestling Federation.
Some might say that his stay in The Global Wrestling Federation between 1990 and 1995, when he had a great deal of television exposure was when he cut his teeth in the business. Taylor wouldn’t find out how impactful that period of his life was until a few years later while he was working in the WWF.
“Christian, Edge, and the Hardy Boys came up to me in the dressing room and thanked me,” said Taylor. “They told me that they used to watch me and study my moves so they could create their own. They were thanking me! How cool is that?”
Chris Adams, Steve Austin, Shawn Michaels, Rod Price, and The Undertaker is a shortlist of people that Taylor has learned a little bit of knowledge from along the way, but his positive attitude and unique perspective on life, in general, has allowed him to learn from just about everybody he has worked with. One wrestler that will remain in Taylor’s memory for the rest of his life is Owen Hart.
Taylor would work with the WWF when they would take their tour through the Southern states. The two men wrestled against each other in the mid-’90s in cities throughout Texas and Oklahoma. It was around the time that Owen and his brother Bret were having their feud.
“He was great and he oozed with talent. He wasn’t cocky about it,” said Taylor.
When it came to the countless opponents that Taylor has stepped in the ring with, very few met up to the professional aptitude as Owen Hart had.
“Wrestling Owen was like dancing the waltz because we always knew where the other guy was in the ring. We beat the hell out of each other but we were professional about it,” said Taylor. “By the time we were done, we were both wishing we had more time because it so much fun.”
On May 23, 1999, Owen Hart fell 78 feet to his death while being lowered into the ring with a harness and grapple line at a pay-per-view wrestling event in Kansas City, Missouri. The news of Hart’s death traveled fast and it shocked everyone. Family, friends, wrestlers, and fans were heartsick. The wrestling business didn’t just lose a great wrestler, it lost a great person.
“He was a big loss, not just because of his talent, but he kept the locker room light-hearted and fun,” said Taylor. “He was a prankster and he made sure we had fun during the stressful times on the road.”
Sadness, triumphs, disappointments, and injuries, were all things that Taylor had to deal with through his long career. With all the things that the wrestling business, the world, life, and his opponents could throw at him, through it all he prevailed and found something that was invaluable, his experience.
Taylor’s reputation in the sport is widespread. Many schools and promotions have brought him out to do seminars and classes to teach up-and-coming wrestlers what he had to learn throughout his entire career.
“I’m happy to spread the knowledge and I’m happy to take the next generation and teach them right from wrong to better their craft,” said Taylor. “There are a lot of good trainers out there but sometimes the guys need to hear the same thing in a different way from someone else.”
Taylor believes that his descriptive way of teaching is impactful and it’s an effective way for young wrestlers to learn.
“When I was starting out, not a lot of guys wanted to teach you what they knew. They were afraid that you were going to take their spot,” said Taylor. “My thing is that I want to pass on that knowledge, and my skills are good enough to keep my spot. Hopefully, I will be in the ring with the guys I am teaching and they will learn first-hand what I am trying to tell them.”
After achieving veteran wrestler status, Taylor’s ideas for his business plan are changing. He is still wrestling and taking selective dates, but he is exploring other opportunities that wrestling has provided for him. Throughout the years of his wrestling career, he has done commercials, stunt work, extra work, small parts in movies, and he has also been in several music videos with artists like Coolio and ZZ Top.
Next month Taylor is awaiting the release of a sitcom show that he stars in called “Suplex, Duplex, Complex.” It’s is an 80’s wrestling comedy that features the lives of two wrestling tag teams living next door to each other. Todd Rohal directs the show, and it recently won an award at this year’s SXSW Movie & Music Festival in Austin, Texas.
“Wrestling is one of the most unappreciative art forms there is,” said Taylor.”With movies and acting, I don’t have to wake up sore every morning. It’s delivering lines, concentrating on facial expressions, and putting other people through walls.”
The skills that Taylor will need to be a successful actor are all things that he has already perfected during his extensive wrestling career.