Cary Silkin’s Ring of Honor promotion is back in town Saturday March 20th with a show at Mississauga’s International Centre. And now that ROH world champion Tyler Black has had a taste of being the top dog, he isn’t ready to give it up without a fight. The Davenport, Iowa product is scheduled to tag with nemesis Roderick Strong against rivals Austin Aries and Kenny King, with Toronto fans choosing the stipulation. Either way, Black is promising an all-out brawl.

Tyler Black before a recent match in Los Angeles. Photo by Christine Coons

“It’s an interesting situation. I’m not necessarily in agreement with them and what they’re thinking a lot of the time,” Black said in an interview with SLAM! Wrestling.

“My history with Aries is pretty well documented. I don’t like him, he doesn’t like me. At the same time, there’s been some classic matches; people would say that’s come out of that. We’ve had a rivalry for quite some time. Roddy and I are just starting up a competitive rivalry. He’s an obsessed individual, with the ROH World title, getting what he thinks he deserves and that’s fine. I understand that situation. He’s come up short about a dozen times in title matches over the past six years. frustrated and that’s understandable for a guy in his situation, but I’m not here to be his psychiatrist and take care of him, really. I’m here to care of myself and make sure I stay healthy and strong and taking care of my ROH world title.”

“It will be a brawl, no matter what kind of match it is.”

Toronto has grown to become one of the company’s most important stops since the inaugural July 2008 show at the Ted Reeves arena. It’s also one of the places where an up-and-coming Black paid his dues.

“It was a little rough going in the beginning for me,” he said candidly. “I started out with the UWA, a local promotion there a few years ago. I had trouble getting along with some of the fans who didn’t seem to get along too well with me.

“But after a period of time, things started to change, they started to warm up to me. As ROH started to come through, I started to have some really good matches, I thought. The crowd really seemed to enjoy what I was doing. Instead of a love-hate relationship, it’s a love-love relationship.

“The Toronto fans are really ecstatic people and they love their pro wrestling.”

His only complaint is the grub, which simply is not world-champion material. “Everyone is like ‘Where are we going to eat, Oh, Tim Hortons is open.’ Well, Tim Hortons is always open. I don’t like Tim Hortons; I’m not a big fan of donuts and their selection. Their sandwich selection is not up to my standards.

“I just want $5 foot-longs all day and everyday, that’s all I’m saying.”

On the flipside, Black thinks the world of Sidney Crosby scoring the winning gold-medal winning goal for the Canadians at the Olympics.

“I got a chance to see a bit of the Olympics. I’m not too keen on it, as it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me, but I do follow hockey. [Ring of Honor referee] Todd Sinclair got me hooked on that, and so it’s exciting to watch the teams play for national pride because they really work hard. Like that Gold medal game a few Sundays ago, it was quite a treat.

“For anyone who enjoys dramatic competition because they went back and forth the whole game and it really came down to it. And for the NHL to have its biggest star to score the winning game and the most watched hockey game ever, is a big coup for them and hopefully they can come out of this funk they’ve been in these last few years since the lockout.”

Despite winning the belt from Aries just over a month ago in New York City, Black is firmly entrenched in the mindset of representing the company.

“I took about a week to enjoy my title win and I started to understand with all the talent in ROH and all the talent coming in, there’s going to be very difficult to hold on to that thing and carry the torch for the company,” he explained. “It’s a challenge that I’m literally vested in and looking forward to on a long term basis. I’m very excited to be the ROH world champ and I hope I can do its heritage proud.”

Tyler Black flies at Jerry Lynn in July 2009. Photo by Mike Mastrandrea

Just before the April 3rd Big Bang pay-per-view [featuring Black, Aries, and Strong in a triple-threat match for the title], are the upcoming Wrestlemania weekend shows in Phoenix Arizona, something the company has been doing since 2006.

“We’re trying to reach a larger market. It’s a great place to reach out to the casual fan who haven’t heard of ROH, who haven’t seen the product, who’s unfamiliar with our stars and our type of wrestling,” said Black. “That’s a great thing for us and a great thing for the wrestling community as well as the big community of Phoenix Arizona. It’s a big weekend for everyone involved. I know a lot of personalities will be there and everyone gets to hang out. Dragon Gate is running shows that weekend too, so there’s a lot of wrestling going on in that area. Everyone will get a taste of what they want. Our plan is to get some people in there who have never seen what we’re doing.

“Hopefully we can impress them and show them that there’s something outside of Vince McMahon’s vision of pro wrestling.”

Nonetheless, he will be attending Wrestlemania 26, primarily to see one of his idols in what may very well be his last Wrestlemania match.

“I’ve never been to a WrestleMania, so this will be my first one so I’m really excited about it. It’s the biggest event in our industry, so figured I may as well see it one time. I’m a big Shawn Michaels fan, so this is last match or his last match for a long time, so I thought I would take advantage of the opportunity.”