I had the opportunity to interview Rhett Titus, best known for his run in Ring of Honor, first in his "Addicted to Love" character, and more recently as a member of the All Night Express with Kenny King. We had the chance to talk about his training at the ROH Wrestling Academy, his early work with Delirious, and of course, the current blood feud with The Briscoe Brothers that culminates with Ladder War III this Saturday night, as Ring of Honor presents Death Before Dishonor IX live on iPPV through GoFightLive.tv! (You can order by clicking here!) Thanks to Rhett Titus and Ring of Honor for this opportunity!
1. You are arguably the most successful graduate from the ROH Wrestling Academy. What did training with Austin Aries and later Bryan Danielson mean to you at the time and now in retrospect at the point you are in your career?
When I first met Austin he was a cool guy and someone I could be at ease with. I had a hard time picking up on some things at first and he was very patient with me. I was sad to see him go when he did because we had formed a good bond but was also excited for Bryan Danielson coming in. Before I ever got trained I had hoped for Bryan Danielson or Steve Corino to one day train me but neither was accepting new students when I was looking to get trained and I decided on the ROH school in the meantime. Little did I know about a year later I would get to train with one of them which was a very cool experience.
2. One of the earliest highlights in your career was your feud with Delirious over Daizee Haze. What memories do you have of that feud and were you excited with the buzz that was created, as that was one of the first viral angles to get legs behind it?
I was super excited about the buzz that angle had created. I remember former ROH booker Gabe Sapolsky putting a lot of pressure on me at the time. Honestly I fully welcomed the pressure because I have always been the type to rise to the occasion in high pressure situations. I have a lot of fond memories of the feud and think it helped me get out on the map but I think that it suffered from the change of bookers mid-way through the feud. Both Adam Pearce and Gabe had different ideas on the final chapter of that story but I'm not going to complain or anything, things worked out fine for me.
3. Your team with Kenny King was introduced first in early 2009. How did your pairing come together?
As odd as it sounds I actually believe Sugarfoot had thrown the idea to Adam at first. When I was first informed that Kenny King and I would be teaming I wasn't exactly thrilled, neither was Kenny. At the end of the day business is business and I was happy to to have a spot and figured we would have to make it work. Obviously it did and Kenny and I are good friends now and always bring out the best in each other.
4. That teaming morphed into the faction that included Austin Aries. What was that run like and are you satisfied with how that ended? Did you feel any added pressure of being paired with one of your teachers/trainers?
I honestly felt honored that Austin Aries wanted Kenny and I to be his henchmen for his second ROH World Title run. It also helped adding more validity to our tag team as we were tagging, managing, and featured promos with the top guy in the company. Of course I would feel pressure wrestling alongside with not only the champ, but my trainer. Though like I said before high pressure situations bring out the best in me and I looked at teaming with Aries as the 2nd part of my training. It was great while it lasted but then one day it was just over and he had left the company.
5. Austin Aries departure seemed to truly bring The All-Night Express to life, with you and Kenny King both stepping up and getting not only better opportunities, but better in the ring as well. Are those things connected in any way or was it a matter of all of your hard work paying off?
Austin Aries named the group and branded us with his stamp of approval and when he left we knew it be time to sink or swim. Prior to being dubbed All-Night Express we were just Rhett Titus & Kenny King. We knew we needed a tag name as all great teams had names, but there was just nothing that ever stood out to us but once we were given that title it was the last piece to the puzzle. Once Aries had left we knew we would have to fill that void in a big way and step up more than ever.
6. As the All-Night Express has evolved, so have you, from the “Addicted to Love” character to a more hard nosed, tougher character. Is that something you’ve wanted to do, or was it just something that evolved over time? Do you prefer one to the other?
No matter how much I love to shake my hips and strutting my stuff when you’re bleeding night in and night out and have a heated rivalry going on shaking your hips isn't exactly on your mind. Though it's a lot easier not having to explain to family and friends why the crowd is chanting Hepa-titus, at times I do miss my carefree attitude and handing out hotel room keys. I fully understand that now is not the time for that though. #BusinessbeforePleasure
7. Talk about your feud with Jay & Mark Briscoe, where you’ve battled all over the ROH circuit and been in a number of different types of matches. Is there a highlight match in this feud that stands out to you?
From what started as a competitive tag team rivalry took a turn for the worst at Manhattan Mayhem 4 when the ANX defeated the Briscoes and the Briscoes realized they were getting surpassed by the younger team. It all happened really quick to me and over 6 months later it's still going down. The highlight of the feud for me had to be our match in Atlanta for Honor Takes Center Stage Part 2. We not only let the Briscoes but the fans know that we weren't to be taken lightly. And after all this time you have to wonder when the violence and brutality end. And all roads point to Sept 17th in NYC... #LadderWar3
8. With the Ladder War coming up at Death Before Dishonor IX, how do you prepare for that match and what you will not only put your body through, but what pain you plan to inflict on The Briscoes in attempt to win this feud?
I don't think the average person understands the risk in not only a regular wrestling match but a Ladder War. Not only is there a big risk of injury in the back of your mind you also have the expectations of the fans as the other 2 Ladder War matches in ROH history have been great. Don't mean to reiterate myself but I'm pretty good with this pressure stuff. I called Kenny the other day and let him know that I got my ladder climbing time down to 4 seconds. Ha ha but honestly, there is no way to train or prepare for this besides what you would normally do. I know Sunday morning is going to be a long morning but I can assure you that the following weeks will leave the Briscoes in pain and agony.
9. You have been in the ring with most of the top stars in ROH over the last few years, whether in singles matches or in tag matches with Kenny King. Who has been your favorite opponent, and why is that?
I always enjoyed wrestling The Briscoes whether in tags or single because i felt they brought out the best in me. Now not so much because I feel they bring out the worst in me. Though if I'm going to show my malicious side there is not two better people to show it on. I always enjoyed the chemistry Kenny, Austin, and I had in 6 man tag matches. I was ecstatic when Kenny and I wrestled Grizzly Redwood & Steve Corino has Grizzly was my training partner and Steve was my childhood hero. It’s always good to mix it up with the new talent ROH has like Cole, O'Reiley, Elgin, Bennett, and Ciampa because it makes you want to step up your game even more and show them why I have been able to keep my spot for so long and see what the newcomers are bringing to the table these days.
10. On September 24th, ROH will debut on the Sinclair Broadcast Group networks, being the only major national wrestling company with a presence on over the air broadcast television here in the US. Can you talk a bit about the opportunities this presents, not only for ROH, but also for you and the All Night Express?
For the first time ever ROH will be able to be seen by almost the whole nation thanks to Sinclair Broadcast Group and the whole rest of the world via www.rohwrestling.com This is not only a huge chance for ROH to present True Pro Wrestling to the world but also THE ANX to show the world true tag team wrestling. I'm super stoked everybody who will tune in on Sept 24th will leave their TV or computer a fan of Ring of Honor.
11. Creatively, do you feel pressure to raise the bar of violence, etc. in this match?
I'm willing to due WHATEVER it takes to get the win and earn the contract for the ROH tag titles in this match. At the end of the day simply put Death Before Dishonor.
12. A little over 5 years into your wrestling career, what is your most memorable accomplishment?
No matter what accomplishments, achievements, awards, or titles I could achieve I think the one I hold closest to my heart is just the fact that I'm here. I went to the ROH School in June of 2005 a 17 year old boy who just had a child a month prior and 6 months later
I made my debut for one of the top wrestling companies in the world. I worked damn hard to get to where I'm at all while supporting multiple other jobs and being a positive influence in my son's life. Somehow I've managed to make it all work when everybody told me I couldn't do it. To me that is personally my greatest accomplishment!!!
13. What are your top three goals that you have yet to accomplish, but plan to make come true in the next few years?
#3 Pro Wrestling Noah in Japan
#2 ROH World Tag Titles
#2 ROH World Tag Titles
#1 Being a guy who helps take ROH into its next era and helping expose real Pro wrestling to the masses across the nation and the world!
Thanks again to Rhett and Ring of Honor for the interview! Remember to catch Death Before Dishonor IX at GoFightLive.tv this Saturday night, live from New York City! Then next Saturday night, September 24th, be sure to tune in to the Sinclair Broadcasting Group networks for Ring of Honor Wrestling! For a list of stations carrying the show, you can click here. I was at the first tapings in Chicago Ridge, IL, and I can guarantee, you will not be disappointed!