Five Questions: 'Anyone can be a part of' local wrestling

Brandon Paykamian • Dec 2, 2019 at 7:27 PM

Jon Taylor, a 22-year old Bristol resident, has always had a passion for professional wrestling.

Over the summer, Taylor began putting his passion as a longtime fan into action, helping organize matches behind the scenes and as a referee.

Taylor now works regularly with Rated R Wrestling out of Lebanon, Virginia, but started out lending a hand at other regional wrestling events during the weekends.

“Most of my weekends would involve traveling, typically to Morristown for Intense Championship Wrestling Asylum or to Princeton/Bluefield, West Virginia, for West Virginia Championship Wrestling,” he said. “Then I'd have a couple of shows in between the two.”

The Press recently asked Taylor to tell us more about what he does, starting with some fast facts about himself.

Taylor Briefly:

Hobbies: “I'm a gamer and a musician.”

Favorite food: Cheeseburgers from the Burger Bar.

Dogs or cats: “I like them both for different reasons, but if I had to pick one, I'd pick dogs.”

Favorite musician: Claudio Sanchez of Coheed and Cambria

Favorite historical figures: Ruth Wakefield, Nikola Tesla and Elon Musk.

Tell us about how you got into wrestling, as well as your work currently.

Well, it started with meeting a wrestler I'd talked to online, Travis Dykes, and Lenny Stratton, a local professional wrestler, through a Fight Against Cancer show, where I was advised that a good way to get into the business was to offer to help tear down the ring and see what other things can be done to help out.

So at the end of the Fight Against Cancer, I asked to help with ring crew, and that's where things started for me. After that, I was messaging wrestling promotions left and right to see who all needed help with their crew. Before too long, I was advised to buy some referee gear because when you are as new as I am to the business, that is where a lot of people get their start. In August of 2019, I refereed my first show for ICWA.

What do you think makes wrestling unique?

It is something I think anyone can be a part of, as long as they have a love for the business and the willingness to work. Even if someone doesn't want to become a professional wrestler, there are so many more cogs to the machine that make it move.

Who do you think are some of the most important names in wrestling?

Off the top of my head, I can name three very important people in wrestling. The first one is the Undertaker because I think he is one of the most-recognized names in any household when it comes to wrestling. He's been doing what he does for 33 years now, and his gimmick is one of the most easily recognizable ones in professional wrestling history. Eddie Guerrero is another very important person in professional wrestling. While he has passed away, he is one of the few wrestlers I feel that all professional wrestling fans come together in support of. In my 17 years of being a fan of professional wrestling, I have yet to find a single person that has a negative word to say about Eddie. He's almost like a glue that brings wrestling fans of any age and era together.

Also, Vince McMahon. For a long time, he has owned the biggest name in professional wrestling, being almost unmatched until the past year with the introduction of All Elite Wrestling. Regardless of how people feel about Vince now, no one can deny his major contribution to professional wrestling, seeing as he has been on top of the industry for many years.

What advice would you have for someone looking to get into wrestling?

I'd give the same advice I was given. Look for your local promotions, check them out and see how their product appeals to you, and then the next typical step is to message Facebook pages and see what ways you can help out. Offer to do ring crew or concessions or anything that can help them out. I would also say to take any and all advice and criticism and apply it. Get into shape, which is an area where I also need to improve.

Yes, it hurts. Landing on the mat certainly doesn't tickle. As a friend put it to me, it feels like hitting a brick wall at 30 miles an hour.

What are your future plans moving forward?

I hope to be doing this for years to come, and I hope to eventually become a wrestler myself. I hope to keep training as I have been and someday be a wrestler myself, and I hope to travel all over East Tennessee and further, if only just to get the experience of working with other wrestling promotions.