Everything that is old is new again. A phrase often populated because things that have taken place as it applies to wrestling or anything else for that matter happens again. Over the past year or so, two men on two different brands have found a wrestling resurgence. In fact, their roles have become so prominent that they have, in fact, had a renaissance. The WWE has had MVP (Montel Vontavious Porter) lead Bobby Lashley & The Hurt Business. In AEW, Taz has worn multiple hats with the company, including the leader of Team Taz.
In both cases, these men have seen success in various promotions and at various times. For Taz, his rise in Extreme Championship Wrestling was an evolution. As the silent Tarzan-like character, the Tazmaniac to the emergence as the Human Suplex Machine and future ECW Champion, Taz assumed his role atop of ECW’s roster as its champion. Fans of the former ECW will recall when Taz departed ECW, he would join the WWE. Despite not having the same success on-screen and in the ring as he did in ECW, Taz still had a remarkable ability to convene what he thought. For several years, Taz would maintain a prominent role as a commentator in the WWE. After his time in the WWE as a commentator, he would join IMPACT Wrestling as a commentator.
As they say, Taz had the ‘gift to gab.’ That ability to not only put over a match, a move, or an individual would benefit him. In fact, it wouldn’t only be something that would benefit him at the time but would later become something that benefits him in the future. After departing IMPACT, Taz could only be heard on his podcast sharing his thoughts on all things tied to professional wrestling. It would be a number of years before he would join another promotion.
Montel Vontavious Porter’s life is as much a tale of redemption as it is anything else. He made mistakes, paid his debt to society. As a performer, MVP achieved success not only in the WWE but in New Japan Pro Wrestling. In fact, MVP was the first IWGP Intercontinental Champion. He would defeat the legendary Kazuchika Okada to become the inaugural champion. MVP would later be joining TNA and IMPACT Wrestling. Upon joining TNA/IMPACT Wrestling, he would be thrust into a storyline against Dixie Carter. He initially joined as a face, but would later become a heel in the promotion.
Much like Taz, MVP was also able to elevate an individual, a match, or move, giving someone greater worth. This intangible element has long been what has made MVP such a remarkable character time and time again. If an individual’s success is their actual character cranked up to 11, then MVP has risen from the lowest of lows to riding alongside the WWE Champion. MVP has gone from a place of nearly being forgotten to becoming someone that is so key to the success of Bobby Lashley and his reign as the WWE champion.
With each word, MVP utters on behalf of Bobby Lashley the more he elevates the value of the champion. He brings with him an intangible that isn’t uncommon than the likes of Paul Heyman for Brock Lesnar.
“He’s always been really, really boisterous. He says what’s on his mind. I’m more calm, more reserved, most of the time. So it’s like, what if we put them together? What would that look like? We’ve always been friends. So we’ve always had something that worked and I’ve always wanted to work with him in different senses. Because MVP is great on the mic, you know that, but he has that same fight mentality that I have. I think it was just, it was just a very good synergy and I knew that it was going to be like that from every time we worked together. I mean, it’s always been cool. Everybody’s liked it. So I think it’s something that works.”
Bobby Lashley on What MVP adds to his presence. (h/t Sportskeeda)
But success works both ways; in the cases of Lashley, for as much as he credits MVP for his success, MVP sees value in several wrestlers today. With that, he would also offer advice to the talent on the rise. The 47-year old sees the value in everyone, and if he can offer to shed some light on success and how he can help them, he is always willing to do so. Thus, he is able to make the connection that he, too, has with Bobby Lashley and why it has been so successful to this day.
“I always tell young, up and coming professional wrestlers, when you’re trying to play a character that’s not really you, it’s going to be difficult and fans can register that…Sometimes it’s not even consciously, it’s subconsciously they pick up on it. But, Bobby Lashley really is that combat athlete, Bobby loves to train, Bobby is happiest when he’s training and fighting. The Lashley that you see on the screen is Lashley when he’s his own personality turned way up. MVP is me, with my volume, my personality volume on 11. If you look, that’s the reason that we work so well.
“Historically all of the greats, Stone Cold Steve Austin, that’s Steve with the volume turned way up to his personality, Dwayne Johnson is The Rock, he just turns his volume on his personality way up. In this case, that’s why me and Bobby work so well together because the dynamic, Bobby is a man of few words and I always got something to say.”
MVP on advising young talent and why he and Bobby Lashley work so well together (h/t Wrestling Inc)
From the likes of Ricky Starks, Powerhouse Hobbs, his son Hook and previously Brian Cage, Taz can see the value in AEW’s rising talent. However, his seeing something special within them also led to an opportunity to excel in the promotion.
“Nothing was really pitched to me, it was more of Taz recruiting me. After the match with Cody, Taz took a liking because it was something different and he can appreciate someone with more tenacity than most people have. I bring that to the table and that’s what made me a standout.”
Ricky Starks on how he and Taz came together. (h/t 411Mania)
For both MVP and Taz, their success goes beyond the ring. What they have both achieved over the past couple of years they have created alliances that have elevated the value of those within them. Bobby Lashley, Shelton Benjamin, Cedric Alexander, Powerhouse Hobbs, Ricky Starks, Hook, and Brian Cage have all benefited from being under the tutelage of either Taz or MVP. Whether on-screen or off, these men have all been offered pieces of knowledge that have helped them succeed. Singles or tag team championships, rivalries, or feuds with others in the promotion speaks volumes of how invested all parties are in making themselves successful.
Whatever the future holds for either Taz or MVP in their respective promotions is unknown. However, what is known is that they’ve been part of making seven talented men a prominent part of their respective promotions. Moreover, they have done so with pride and without prejudice.
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Lots of interesting information is on our site ProWrestlingPost.com including interviews with IMPACT Wrestling’s Tenille Dashwood, Sami Callihan, and Madman Fulton, AEW’s The Blade (Formerly Braxton Sutter of IMPACT Wrestling), Chris Sabin, and our podcast, ProWrestlingPost Podcast.