Life on the road has its share of adventures, and Alex Taylor remembered such a time. He received a phone call from Jeremiah Plunkett and Crazzy Steve. They asked what he was doing the coming weekend. “I was like, ‘Well, it’s my birthday but I got nothing going on.’ and they’re like, ‘We have a show in New York and some guy backed out. Can you make it?’ and I said, ‘Of course, I can.’”
It went downhill from there. “Steve is having trouble getting ahold of the promoter because he’s supposed to get our room. So, we ended up getting our own room that night. We’re just gonna get that money back, we think. We end up at the show, in which Teddy Hart was on the poster but he wasn’t there. Go figure.” Taylor said wryly. “We get to the show that’s outside… terrible venue. I’m not really sure what’s going on. We get in there. The promoter’s still kinda shady; it’s hard to get a hold of him. [Then] Plunkett wrestles. I’m about to go up next and all of a sudden lightning hit [then] thunder; it starts pouring down rain. They canceled the show, so I don’t wrestle.”
The promoter tried to skip out, but Crazzy Steve managed to find him and get his money and Plunkett’s money. Taylor only got half his money. “I told him the only way we were leaving is if I had got his Oakley sunglasses that he was wearing,” Taylor continued. “I got some new Oakley sunglasses out of the experience. Turns out they’re fake though, so probably they weren’t worth much. Yeah, that was a bust of a birthday.”
It didn’t get any better after that. “We got back to the hotel and got some pizza, and Steve, being the kind gentleman he is, wanted to take me out to a gentlemen’s club for my birthday. But believe it or not, in Bath, New York, there are not many options for that,” Taylor said. “We ended up at what I can only describe as a rundown house that has been converted into a strip club. We got inside and there were some nice older women working the front desk. Turns out, they not only work at the front desk, they are the dancers!”
Time did not age the “dancers” gracefully. “This was my first and only strip club experience, so I didn’t know what to expect. Steve had given me some dollar bills to throw,” Taylor explained, “and we were in there for maybe two or three minutes and I looked at them both and I said, ‘Can we leave now please?’ They said, ‘Not until I see all the money.’ I just threw it all in a haste and demanded that we leave.”
Chalk it up as another ill-begotten adventure, one of a few the 29-year-old Taylor has faced since turning to professional wrestling.
On the positive side, the 5-foot-9, 210-pound Taylor — Alex Willoughby — has been turning heads in the National Wrestling Alliance.
What turned the Galveston, Texas, native onto the sport of professional wrestling?
“I went to college [at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga] for a year and I hated that and I figured, ‘Why not?’ I mean, it seems like such a ridiculous dream so you don’t really know how to do it,” Taylor said, “but thankfully I live in a time where the Internet is there. So. one day I decided I’m not doing college anymore and I googled how to become a wrestler, and I found Seth Rollins’ school in Iowa.”
That would be Seth “Freaking” Rollins of the WWE, and he and head trainer Marek Brave created The Black and Brave Wrestling Academy. Taylor started his training in 2015. “It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I remember the first night. I don’t think I’ve ever quit anything in my life and I didn’t want to quit this. That’s the closest I’ve ever thought about quitting something — that was intense,” he said. “It was just a conditioning test. It was a lot of running, a lot of lunges, a lot of sandbags, burpees; things like that. I thought I was in good shape until I got there that night, and then after throwing up a few times I realized I probably wasn’t in the best shape.”
But Brave and then trainer Shane Hollister and Matt Mayday (Krotch) worked with Taylor to get to be at the next level of professional wrestling. “I can remember just the basics, I mean learning the basics. I think that’s one thing even getting started, I realized, that a lot of people’s basics are terrible. That set me apart from the beginning.”
Taylor has wrestled for over eight years and has had quite a few memorable experiences. “I know it’s kind of corny, but I can remember a few months into wrestling I was doing a show for Bert Prentice, who is no longer with us, and it was in some Tennessee town that is the one you don’t wanna go back to,” he said. “That’s where I met Danny Dealz and he kind of saved me from those crappy indies. He said, ‘There’s another guy, Crimson (Anthony Mayweather), who wrestles for the NWA. He’s having a show in Clarksville, Tennessee, next week. Would you wanna come with me and help out?’”
From there, he formed good friendships with his future Ill-Begotten stablemates Dealz and Jeremiah Plunkett. “The three of us have been friends for years and it kinda just fell together in the NWA. They just put us together. I don’t think they even knew that we were all such good friends.”
In an earlier interview, Plunkett told SLAM! about a time that he and Taylor worked at a local fair and was stiff with a kick to the face. When asked about his memory of the event, Taylor deadpanned: “Well, I remember, because he tells the story so often, apparently I murdered him on a dropkick. I think he’s just being a little bit of a drama queen. There was a light tap and, at that point, I’d probably been wrestling for maybe three or four months. So a little inexperience [on my part] so give a guy a break, Plunkett. I don’t know what the big deal is?”
But it was his work in Tried ’N True Wrestling where Taylor was making his mark until COVID slowed things down for everyone. “I got on the phone with Crimson and I asked him, ‘Hey, what can I do to just get my foot in the door, help out. I’ll help set up the ring. Whatever you need.’ And he kinda hooked me up with it [the NWA]. Got me on the ring crew, and I got my opportunity from there.”
Taylor has had plenty of amazing opportunities in the NWA, the most memorable of which had The Ill-Begotten facing The Miserably Faithful at NWA 74 in a Beelzebub Bedlam match, where a spot involving Sal the Pal and Taylor had him landing on his back awkwardly from the top of a ladder; it looked incredibly painful. “Once I hit the ground and I could feel my toes and move my fingers, I felt a lot better,” Taylor recalled. “Uh, I don’t… I don’t love heights, and I was up there and I thought, ‘You know, you just go. Don’t think about it and it’ll be over soon.’ It did not go as I thought it would, but it is what it is at the end of the day.”
.@AlexT902 with the unintentional superplex reversal into a springboard moonsault 😳 He tweeted the Mike Tyson "thpinal" gif after the match, so it appears he made it out of this one okay (and has a good sense of humor). A salute to you, sir 🍻 NWA 74, 8/27/22. pic.twitter.com/cuzfZl61Ke
— Ryan / WrestleBotch (@WrestleBotch) September 29, 2022
What about fans’ and friends’ reactions to the nearly botched spot? “I got a lot of messages. I know Dealz got a lot of messages seeing if I was okay. Yeah, there was a big response to it, a lot of armchair wrestlers on Twitter [were] telling me that I am an idiot, things like that. But you don’t listen to those kinds of people.”
Now Taylor is in a good position as the NWA will return to live programming on January 31st on YouTube, and he is in the finals with Team Rock ’n’ Roll facing Team Tyrus in The Champions Series, and Taylor was instrumental in a couple of key winds to propel his team forward. “I had big victories over Luke Hawx and PJ Hawx and I really think I’m one of the best wrestlers going today,” Taylor said with confidence. “And it didn’t surprise me and I don’t think it should surprise anybody else but I think the world is finally starting to see what I have.”