Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Uh, Guys, Don't Panic, But I Think Chuck Taylor's Retiring

Happy trails?
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
Chuck Taylor has had a pretty big impact on the wrestling scene despite never working for a company bigger than Chikara or Pro Wrestling Guerrilla. He's developed a reputation as one of the most effective and modern comedic wrestlers in the game. He's over wherever he goes, either on reputation or after the crowd actually sees what he can do. Companies like Chikara, PWG, or EVOLVE/Dragon Gate USA cannot be imagined without the impact he's had upon them. When Global Force Wrestling came calling for indie names to help sell its first ever tour, it went right to Taylor. Hell, he even dabbled in promoting, even if it was only for 15 second Instagram videos for the 24/7 Hardcore Championship, which by the way, was maybe the most innovative thing anyone's done in wrestling for the last five years outside of maybe over-the-top streaming services like WWE Network or New Japan World.

So when Taylor dropped this tweet last night:
...well, yeah, it sent a few shockwaves, not only among fans, but his peers as well. He hasn't yet turned 30, and he just got off a WWE tryout at the Performance Center. Then again, maybe the retirement talk is stemming from the fact that WWE wasn't terribly impressed with him and he feels he's advanced his career all he can? I don't know at this point.

What I do know is that if that tweet is for real and it isn't some elaborate rib, the wrestling scene is going to be losing one hell of a performer. While Taylor is polarizing among members of the community at large, the fans who love him absolutely adore him. Him leaving the scene would be akin to Black Flag breaking up or Eazy-E dying before he could really hit mainstream success. He may not have been known to every wrestling fan, but his influence is pretty big regardless.

For selfish reasons, I hope this is all just a stunt or that he reconsiders. I'm a huge Taylor fan because he brings a bigger-than-life, circus atmosphere to any match he's in, especially when it's a dedicated comedy match. But one has to think about his or her own life and career. Wrestling isn't something that pays particularly well unless you get to WWE or get to have tours with New Japan or AAA. Wrecking your body for minimal pay requires a masochistic desire for attention or some kind of dogged, stubborn psychosis. If Taylor's prospects for advancement in wrestling are truly dried up, and he wants to be comfortable in his 30s and beyond, then retirement may be the best option, and it's one that all his fans should support, begrudgingly or not.

And hey, even though he might be gone from wrestling soon, at least he gave us this. All hail the glory of the hand grenade: