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Matthew Marinelli (born March 20, 1985[1]), known by his ring name Matt Taven is an American professional wrestler. He is signed to Ring of Honor (ROH). Also appearing for Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL), where he is a former NWA World Historic Welterweight Champion.

Matt Taven
Matt Taven at House of Hardcore 9.jpg
Taven at House of Hardcore 9 in July 2015
Birth nameMatthew Marinelli
Born (1985-03-20) March 20, 1985 (age 34)[1]
Derry, New Hampshire, U.S.[1]
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s)Matt Taven
The Romantic Touch[2]
Billed height6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)[1]
Billed weight219 lb (99 kg)[3]
Billed fromLos Angeles, California[3]
Boston, Massachusetts
DebutMarch 7, 2008[1]

Taven has competed in Ring of Honor since 2012, most recently as a member of The Kingdom, as well as performing across the Northeastern United States independent circuit. Taven was the winner of ROH's 2013 Top Prospect Tournament, is a former one-time ROH World Champion, one-time World Television Champion,[4] one-time ROH World Tag Team Champion with Michael Bennett and one-third of the first ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Champions.[5] Taven has also worked for the Japanese promotion New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW), where he is a former one-time IWGP Tag Team Champion with Bennett. Taven is also the second wrestler to win titles in ROH, CMLL and NJPW after Rocky Romero.

Taven and Bennett operate a wrestling school in West Warwick, Rhode Island.[6]

Professional wrestling careerEdit

Matt Taven wrestles Vinny Marseglia at a 2015 outdoor event in Rhode Island

Ring of HonorEdit

Debut and ROH Television Champion (2010–2014)Edit

Taven competed in a few tag team matches over the course of 2010 and 2011, all losing efforts.[7] Taven received a Ring of Honor tryout at a TV taping in January 2012.[citation needed] Since that time, he has competed semi-regularly for the promotion. At ROH Boiling Point on August 11, 2012, Taven was unsuccessful in a four-way match, with the winner receiving an ROH contract.[8] In the 2013 Top Prospect Tournament, Taven went on to win.

With assistance from heel manager Truth Martini, Taven beat TaDarius Thomas in the finals.[4] With that win, Taven was awarded an ROH World Television Championship match against Adam Cole at ROH's 11th Anniversary Show. Taven went on to defeat Cole to win the ROH World Television Championship at the 11th Anniversary Show, establishing himself as a heel after Truth Martini hit Cole in the back of the head with the Book of Truth, allowing Taven to apply the Climax and pick up the win.[9] On April 5 at Supercard of Honor VII, he successfully defended the title against Adam Cole and Matt Hardy.

On April 6, he would successfully defend the title against ACH. At Border Wars 2013 he would successfully defend the title against Mark Briscoe. On June 22 at Best in the World 2013, Taven successfully defended the ROH World Television Championship against Jimmy Jacobs and Jay Lethal in a three-way match. On August 3 at All Star Extravaganza 5, he faced Roderick Strong in a losing effort in the first round of the tournament to determine the new a champion after the ROH World Championship was vacated. On September 20, 2013 at Death Before Dishonor XI he lost to Adrenaline Rush (ACH and TaDarius Thomas) and C&C Wrestle Factory (Caprice Coleman and Cedric Alexander) with Michael Bennett and reDRagon (Bobby Fish and Kyle O'Reilly) as his partners. On September 21 he successfully defended the title against Jay Lethal. On October 26 at Glory by Honor XII, he teamed with reDRagon and Adam Cole in an Eight-man elimination tag team match where he was eliminated by Michael Elgin.

On November 15 at Pursuit Night, he retained the title against Zach Gowen. On December 14 at Final Battle 2013, Taven lost the ROH World Television Championship to Tommaso Ciampa. Matt Taven's reign as World Television Champion was the longest in the company's history to date at 287 days and he accrued the most title defenses in an individual reign at 12.[10] At ROH's Wrestling's Finest show Taven fired Truth Martini. Later that night he unsuccessfully challenged Tommaso Ciampa for the ROH World Television Championship in a three way match that also included Jay Lethal. At the 12th Anniversary Show, he defeated Silas Young. On March 7, 2014, at Raising The Bar Day 1, he unsuccessfully challenged Adam Cole for the ROH World Championship.[11]

Teaming with Michael Bennett (2014–2015)Edit

Taven then entered a feud with Jay Lethal, unsuccessfully challenging him for the ROH World Television Championship on 3 different occasions. The first was at Global Wars in a Four corner survival match that also included Tommaso Ciampa and Silas Young. At War of the Worlds he teamed with ACH and Tommaso Ciampa to defeat Forever Hooligans (Alex Koslov and Rocky Romero) and Takaaki Watanabe. The second was at Best in the World in a singles match.[12] The last was at Field of Honor on August 15, where he was defeated by Lethal in a Steel Cage match after interference by Truth Martini. On August 19, 2014, Taven announced he had decided not to re-sign with ROH and would be leaving the promotion.[13] This was an angle used to write Taven off of television. He made his return at September 27 tapings where he aligned himself with The Kingdom and helped them attack The Briscoe Brothers, cementing himself as a heel again.

On November 2014, Taven was put in a tag team with Michael Bennett, beings known as The Kingdom.[14] On November 15 at Glory By Honor XIII, they where defeated by reDRagon for the ROH World Tag Team Championship.[15] Near one year later, on September 18, 2015, they would win the title at All Star Extravaganza VII, when they deefated The Addiction (Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian) and The Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson) in a three-way match.[5] They lost the title to War Machine (Hanson and Ray Rowe) on December 18 at Final Battle.[16]

The Kingdom and World Championship pursuits (2016–present)Edit

During that match Taven suffered a knee injury, tearing an anterior cruciate ligament and medial meniscus and rupturing a lateral meniscus, which forced him to undergo a four-and-a-half-hour surgery on January 12, 2016. He was expected to be sidelined for nine months.[17] During his injury, Bennett left ROH and, when Taven made his return on September 2016, he was put in a new version of The Kingdom as the leader, with TK O'Ryan and Vinny Marseglia as his new partners. The Kingdom won a tournament to become the first ROH 6-Man Tag Team Champions, defeating at the Final Battle 2016 PPV Jay White, Kushida and Lio Rush.[18] They lost the title to Bully Ray and The Briscoes on March 11, 2017, in a match, where Silas Young replaced an injured TK O'Ryan.[19]

On May 10, 2017, at ROH/NJPW War Of The Worlds 2017 - Night 2 Taven was unsuccessful at winning the ROH World Championship against Christopher Daniels. At Final Battle 2017, Taven defeated Will Ospreay. In January 2018, Taven started a rivalry with Cody Rhodes, attacking him and stealing his "Ring Of Honor". On ROH 16 Anniversary Show, Taven was defeated by Cody. On May 9, 2018 at ROH/NJPW War of the Worlds Tour, The Kingdom would regain the ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Championship by defeating SoCal Uncensored. During a match for the ROH World Championship Taven had a three count in the match while the referee was not looking the match ended with Jay Lethal winning the title. The Kingdom would lose the titles to Bullet Club (later known as The Elite (Cody & Young Bucks).

At ROH's Death Before Dishonor The Kingdom would attack Will Ospreay and Jay Lethal after the assault Taven pulled out of a bag a copy of the Ring Of Honor World Championship that was purple instead of black leather, saying he is the true Ring Of Honor World Champion. On November 2, 2018, The Kingdom would win the ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Championship for the third time beating The Elite, holding them until March 16, 2019. On March 15, 2019 at the ROH 17th Anniversary Show, Taven challenge Lethal for the Ring of Honor World Championship, with the match ending in a 60-minute time-limit draw. The following month at G1 Supercard, Taven would defeat Lethal and Marty Scurll in a ladder match to win the ROH World Title, and with that becoming the second ROH Grand Slam winner. His title win over the more popular Marty Scurll has been heavly critiziced,[20] usually calling him a "critical and financial flop".[21] According to former ROH Producer Joey Mercury, ROH gave the title to Taven because he would stay with the promotion but they couldn't get him over.[22] During a 411Mania podcast, Jerome Cusson said his title win "actively hurt ROH" since hs isn't "a draw" and he "wasn't over".[23] On September 27, 2019 at Death Before Dishonor, Matt Taven was defeated by Rush for the ROH Championship ending his reign at 174 days. On ROH television Vinny Marseglia turned and attacked Matt Taven, On December 13, 2019 at Final Battle, Marseglia defeated Taven.

New Japan Pro-Wrestling (2014–2015)Edit

Taven (left) and Michael Bennett (center) with Maria Kanellis (right) as the IWGP Tag Team Champions in July 2015

Through ROH's relationship with NJPW, from November 23 to December 5, 2014, Taven and Michael Bennett took part in New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW)'s 2014 World Tag League.[24] The team finished their round-robin block with a record of four wins and three losses, failing to advance to the finals.[25] Taven and Bennett returned to NJPW on April 5, 2015, at Invasion Attack 2015, where they defeated Bullet Club (Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson) to win the IWGP Tag Team Championship.[26][27] On July 5 at Dominion 7.5 in Osaka-jo Hall, The Kingdom lost the IWGP Tag Team Championship back to Bullet Club in their first defense.[28] Taven and Bennett returned to NJPW in November to take part in the 2015 World Tag League, where they finished with a record of two wins and four losses, failing to advance from their block.[29]

Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (2016–2018)Edit

Through ROH's working relationship with Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL), Taven made his debut for the Mexican promotion on September 9, 2016, which also marked his return from his knee injury. On September 13, Taven was defeated by Rush in Arena México.

Taven returned to CMLL on March 17, 2017, unsuccessfully challenging Último Guerrero for the NWA World Historic Middleweight Championship.[30] On June 14, 2017, CMLL announced Taven's participation in the CMLL International Gran Prix 2017.[31] On August 18, 2017 Taven with Juice Robinson and Marco Corleone defeated Volador Jr., Diamante Azul, and Valiente in Arena Mexico.[32] Taven returned to CMLL on Homenaje a Dos Leyendas 2018.[33] On March 30, 2018, he defeated Volador Jr. to win the NWA World Historic Welterweight Championship.[34]

Championships and accomplishmentsEdit

Luchas de Apuestas recordEdit

Winner (wager) Loser (wager) Location Event Date Notes
Bárbaro Cavernario and Rush (hair) Matt Taven and Volador Jr. (hair) Mexico City, Mexico CMLL 85th Anniversary Show September 14, 2018 [40]


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External linksEdit