December 16, 2010
An interview with Dave Taylor
First off, it’s great to talk to you. Do you miss the daily grind of a full time wrestling job, either in or out of the ring?
Yes, I really miss it after 35 years of wrestling and travelling around the world but my body doesn’t miss it!
Jumping back a few years, let’s talk about how you got into the business. You’re one of the original third generation wrestlers, as both your father and grandfather wrestled. Did you always want to follow in the family footsteps?
I wanted to be just like my dad even as a young lad. My father and my grandfather were both my heroes.
Was anyone else responsible for training you when you became a pro or was it more of an on the job training type of thing?
I worked out a few times with my father and my older brother Steven. Then Orig Williams called my father and asked him if he thought I was ready to wrestle. My father said that I was ready and then after that, I was on the road setting up the ring and wrestling all the time. You learned in the ring-- that was the training process at the time.
Did you simply work in the UK at the beginning of your career or where you able to get opportunities in other countries?
In the beginning, I worked for 2 weeks in Scotland and then went on an 8 week tour in Sweden. You might say it really just depended on where the big shows were happening.
I remember seeing you on ITV in the UK during the 1980’s. Although wrestling’s popularity was huge in the UK at that point, from what I hear the pay wasn’t just so huge.
The pay has never been great in England and that’s why you didn’t see me on TV much in the UK. I was in Germany and Austria for 15 years and because that’s where I made more money.
The big names on the scene at that time, if you pardon the pun, were Big Daddy & Giant Haystacks, but it was guys like yourself, Dave ‘Fit’ Finlay & Marc ‘Rollerball’ Rocco who kept me watching with your more technical style. Was your hope at this stage of your career to make it to Japan or the WWF fulltime, a la Dynamite Kid/Davey ‘Boy’ Smith?
I first went to Japan in 1976 where the trip was cut short as I had a serious injury. I did not return to Japan for another 10 years but I always liked working in Japan as it was my style of wrestling. I never really thought about America until that late 90’s when other guys started going over to work.
How was the backstage atmosphere in the company at this time?
The atmosphere in the dressing room was great—It was always a good laugh and we all enjoyed being in the business.
Was there anyone in the UK at that time who you felt would make it internationally as a star but never did?
No because almost everyone that I thought would make it big actually did.
You won the CWA tag titles with Chris Benoit in late 1991. Being on the same side of the ring as him, just how good was he in the ring?
Chris was an intense wrestler—He took his work very seriously. It was good to have him as a partner.
At this point of your career, in your mid-30’s, did you think that you would ever get a call to go to the US fulltime?
It never crossed my mind as I was very happy wrestling in Europe, but I know a good opportunity when I see one.
You were most well known in WCW for you run as part of the Blue Bloods, with Steven Regal & Bobby Eaton. How did you enjoy this?
It was a great time. I really enjoyed playing the part of a Snobby Englishman.
You left WCW in 2000, so you had seen many of the ups and downs in the promotion. Can you give us a fresh insight into what helped to cause the demise of the company?
The guys on top were getting over paid and started running the company down. That’s never a good idea as the lunatics don’t run the asylum.
What led to you joining, and ultimately leaving, WWE as a trainer in OVW in 2001?
WWE wanted me to relocate to Cincinnati but at the time my wife had a great job in Atlanta and we did not want to risk moving. Not to mention, it’s cold as hell up there!
What did you do in the time in between leaving WWE & returning to it in 2006?
I wrestled Independent shows in the US as well as England & Germany.
Were you originally rehired as solely a trainer or did you hope to wrestle on the main roster?”
I was originally hired to be a trainer on the new series of Tough Enough but they changed direction and put me on the road where I worked dark matches and then they wanted me to train in Cincinnati.
In 2006, I was rehired as a trainer at Deep South in Atlanta where I jokingly said to all the wrestler’s “Looking at you lot, I’ll be the first one out of here on the main roster.” MVP beat me by a couple of days.
No sooner had you returned to the main roster on SmackDown, alongside Regal once again, but you tore the meniscus in your knee. Where you worried that this might lead to you having to hang up your tights for good?
Yes, I was a little worried, but I knew inside that I’d be back!
This may be a silly question, but I assume that given all of your associations with Regal that you and he are quite tight?
Regal and I have been friends and partners for the last 20 years. You could say he is my best friend.
You were a lumberjack in the dark match at WM23. Were you glad to be able to say that you had been to WM or would you have preferred to have wrestled somewhere on the card?
Of course I would have rather wrestled on the main card but being a lumber jack was great! Just being associated with a top production is an exciting privilege.
Were you ever offered the opportunity to return to the WWE’s developmental system as a trainer before you were released in mid 2008?
Did you have much to do with Vince during your time with WWE?
Not much - Vince is very polite but a no nonsense guy.
You had a tryout as an agent with TNA this year. Did you hear back one way or the other from them?
Yes, I heard back that I had done a great job but someone else beat me out.
What are your thoughts on TNA as a company?
TNA is a great company and I enjoyed working with all the guys there.
You are most well known as a tag wrestler, especially by younger fans. Do you mind that or do you think that if you had been given a go as a singles wrestler that you could have run with it?
I have been a tag wrestler mostly at WWE but could run with anything they gave me.
I am a HUGE Regal & Finlay mark – I think they make their matches seem a lot more believable than many of the younger guys in the industry. How highly do you rate them?
I rate them 10 out of 10…Right up there with myself (laughs)
Do you consider yourself part of the UK’s golden generation of wrestlers?
Never heard of it but I like the sound!
What does the future hold for Dave Taylor?
You never know in this business but I do know that there is more to come!