LEE MORIARTY TAIGASTYLE, Words with Righteous Reg
Photo: Michael Watson @Brainbuster_
Lee Moriarty has a big weekend coming up at The Collective. I took some time to ask him about his preparation for the weekend and what being tasked with so many high profile matches means to him.
RR: You have an insane line up of matches coming this weekend at The Collective, off the bat how do you feel? How does it feel to know that one, bookers have a faith in you to put you in such high profile matches and two, that many fans in attendance and watching this weekend have your matches as the ones to watch?
LM: I’m pretty nervous but otherwise excited. The feeling is very humbling that people trust me enough to put me in these matchups on high profile events. It means even more that fans seem to be excited about every match. Now I just have to do my best and hopefully not let anyone down. In the end I’m just focused on having fun.
RR: The matches against Isaias Velazquez, Mike Outlaw, and the 3 way with 2 wrestlers who are very important to your career Alex Shelly and Tre Lamar are going to be absolutely tremendous but for me the two other matches you have are personal dream matches for myself, first, how important is it to have a match with ACH at this point given that he has been on such a great run since he has been back on the indies on top of what he already presents. Secondly from the first moment I discovered you the match I IMMEDIATELY wanted to see was against the man you face at JJSB4, Johnathan Gresham, what’s your mind state going into a match with who many would say is the master of the style of pro wrestling that you do? How long have you wanted the match?
LM: I’m excited for every match for different reasons. The ACH match is probably the most important to me. I never thought I’d be able to step in the ring against him because our paths always seemed to go in different directions. He’s inspired so much of who I’ve become so it’s huge.
The Gresham match is important to me because of the learning lessons I’ll gain from competing against him. I think studying Gresham gave me a better idea of how I wanted to fight in the ring. A lot of people have wanted to see this match in a while, and part of the reason is because they believe our styles are similar. I think I’ve worked very hard I’m creating my own identity from my influences and I’m ready to show my own interpretation of pro wrestling.
RR: How do you prepare for such a different set of opponents in a weekend? You don’t want to go at every single competitor the same way right?
LM: It’s a challenge preparing for so many different opponents and styles. I think I’ve studied and made my style variable enough to adapt to all of them. So there may be more traditional World of Sport in one match, then in another I’ll lean heavily more on the training I did in lucha libre. Thankfully I’ll have enough time in between events to switch mentalities for the next matchup.
RR: Hip hop music plays a huge role in the presentation of Lee Moriarty, I mean it is TAIGASTYLE Lee Moriarty, with an emphasis on black and yellow for WU TANG, how did you become TAIGASTYLE and also how important is hip hop to you and the character that you present?
LM: TAIGASTYLE came from me digging deep inside myself and figuring out what made me.... me. I combined my influences like hip hop, martial arts (Bruce Lee specifically) and things like anime and classic Adult Swim and Toonami television. The pronunciation and spelling of TAIGASTYLE came from a Wu Tang intro, putting it in all caps came from MF DOOM, the black and yellow represents Wu Tang, Bruce Lee’s Game of Death attire and my home of Pittsburgh PA. Then the visuals I produce are inspired by the other things mentioned before. TAIGASTYLE is my style of wrestling. I don’t believe in following patterns and standard practices. It’s style without form.
RR: What music are you listening to in preparation for your matches this weekend and what’s your go to songs when getting ready to wrestle?
LM: Most of the music I listen to is a mix of music that’ll give me some level of energy and songs that bring me back down to a mellow mood. I started making monthly playlist so fans can see what I’m listening to in my headphones before I walk out and during my entrances on my Spotify.
RR: The pandemic has made it so that there has to be more creative ways to build towards matches and angles in Pro Wrestling now but even before the pandemic you had a lot of very dope and innovative videos to lead into upcoming matches, what made you put a focus into those and also talk a little about how a important our guy JRose plays to the culture.
LM: So I’m an artist first, business man last I think. I’m always thinking of ways to be creative and present myself because I like creating and I think it’s a strength I have. If I want to learn how to edit a video a certain way I’ll spend hours learning and playing around until I have something I like. I didn’t want to just sit around when shows weren’t running so I improved those skills.
J- Rose is undoubtedly one of the most important people in wrestling currently. He became a leader without choosing to and is always thinking of ways to help wrestling as a presentation overall. He probably gives more to wrestling than anyone else. He’s helped me improve on my cinematic and editing approach to my visions too.
Video by Lee Moriarty
RR: It’s a crazy world we live in right now Lee, every time I open my phone something new and terrible is happening, we as Black man see trauma on a minute by minute basis now a days and you are never silent on the issues and what needs to be done moving forward, my question is, what role does Pro Wrestling play in the navigation of everything that we constantly have to deal with? Is Pro Wrestling an escape for you? Do you feel like you represent something for the young Black people who are out there who use Pro Wrestling as their escape?
LM: I think wrestling plays an important part in reaching people. Even though I’m independent and not some major influence I think wrestling has given me more of a voice than I would have without it. When NBA players sat out in protest of what’s going on millions had no choice but to ask why if they didn’t know and maybe that brought attention to something people weren’t paying enough attention to. I don’t have a big enough following to make an impact like that but with what I have, I’ll use it. Everyone needs an escape. Your mind can only take so much stress. I don’t want people to forget about what’s going on because I’m wrestling ,but I do want them to know there are still bright spots in the world. Take a break when you need it, and keep standing up for what’s right.
RR: Being given such a number of high profile matches really shows with the independent wrestling scene thinks of Lee Moriarty, what does being a top guy on the independent scene mean to you? What role do you think that you play in the future of the independent pro wrestling scene?
LM: Haha, I don’t think I’m a top guy. I think I’m reliable. I’d hope I could be an important part in independent wrestling. This year has been extremely hard and indie wrestling needs rebuilt. Between the pandemic, speaking out movement, and racism, change that’s been overdue has begun. Now it’s up to the people still here to continue to rebuild and uphold a standard. It’s not easy and things are always gonna be put into question, but if there’s ever a time to make independent wrestling better, it’s now.
RR: We have talked before about what one of your major goals is in the business and that is of course to travel to Japan for a stint in an organization out there, pandemic aside and you were free to travel do you have any specific companies out there you would like to work for? Why is wrestling in Japan such a big goal for you?
LM: Japan is the goal for me. It’s been that way since I was a teenager. Pro wrestling is so different in their culture compared to other places. It seems like it’s held in a higher regard no matter if it’s, strong style, comedy, deathmatch, joshi, or whatever. I want to earn that opportunity cause there’s nothing else that would make me feel that level of accomplishment in living my dream. I have three younger siblings and we come from a family where no one chases their dream. It’s always play it safe. I need them to know it’s possible to reach them if you put the work in.
Besides Japan, id love to work in places like the UK, Ireland, Germany etc. I haven’t been to the west coast yet either so that’s a big goal.
RR: Tre’ Lamar is one of the best up and coming wrestlers we have out on the indies now. At one point you tweeted that Tre was the Mysterio to your Guerrero and that we pretty much haven’t seen anything yet on what you two can do. Talk to me about the friendly rivalry you two have, y’all have already had some incredible matches.
LM: Tre and I have always gotten along even thought were pretty much the complete opposite haha. Our approaches to a wrestling match aren’t very similar and that’s what makes our chemistry in the ring work I think. We bring different insights as thoughts to the table and put them together.
RR: Two other wrestlers who I think have recently brought the absolute best out of you and are some of the best matches you have had so far are Alex Shelley and Josh Alexander. How much have interacting with those vets and them praising you and having those matches mean to your career moving forward?
LM: My series of matches with Shelley and Alexander have pushed me to a new level faster than anything else I think. You can learn a lot facing guys of that caliber just once, but doing it multiple times, you learn a lot about yourself and what you need to work on. I truly think they’re top 5-10 in the world right now.
It means a lot to me that they think I’m good enough to be in the ring with them.
RR: Finally, if someone has never heard of Lee Moriarty and wants to learn more about you, who is Lee Moriarty?
LM: Lee Moriarty is just a dude who wants to create art. I’m not in wrestling to become famous. I just want to have fun and leave something behind that shows the beauty in professional wrestling.