Ring of Honor has been breeding ground for talent since its inception and has seen many talented performers come and go, but someone who has been a stalwart for the company over the last ten years is the Big Dawg, Rhett Titus.
Titus began training with Ring of Honor in 2006, under the tutelage of Austin Aries and eventually Daniel Bryan. In fact, Aries has still has an impact on him today, as Titus has adopted a vegetarian life.
“I’ve been eating chicken like five or six times a day and I always felt some type of way about that. One day I watched the What the Health documentary and decided to try it for a little bit. Then I read Austin Aries’s book [Food Fight: My Plant-Powered Journey from the Bingo Halls to the Big Time] and that definitely reassured me”.
The initial switch was made easy when he newfound tag team partner Will Ferrara joined him as well. “He watched the same documentary and went completely vegan for a whole month. But little Willy gets aggravated easily and it’s worse when he’s hungry”.
Interactions like those, when his buddy Ferrara is irritated, are what led to the duo pairing up and amplifying the squabbles between them in a comedic tag team. “Early on when I met him I found that were certain ways to get him all riled up”. Titus continued, “when you’re on the road for days or weeks at a time, you’ve got to find a way to entertain yourself and little Willy would go off the hinges- it keeps me sane watching him get so angry.”
The partnership worked it’s way into Titus’s Youtube Show. “People started seeing these and thought they were really funny. People would never see Will act that way in real life because he tries to be reserved, but I was able to pull this out of him because I knew what buttons to press”.
A promoter saw these videos and put the two together on a show that Cary Silken saw first hand. He immediately suggested that the two bring the act to Ring of Honor. “Fast forward six months later and here we are-The Dawgs. Joe Koff even pulled me aside and said that he really liked what we are doing together as a team”.
Titus counts himself as the creator of #LilWillyWednesdays, a weekly jab at his friend and partner. Before Ferrara came along, Titus would needle his friend Grizzly Redwood until he left the company on the same weekend that Ferrara started. With Titus’s wife and fans joining in on the fun, Ferrara actually closed his Facebook account to prevent Titus from finding old pictures of him. “He acts like he doesn’t have pictures on Google that I can hop on and grab at a moment’s notice”.
His wife has not just been a source of support in having fun with his partner, but in all aspects of his career as well. Despite having to deal with missed birthdays and an intense travel schedule, she has been through it all with him. “She been really supportive through everything. She really sees the desire and motivation. She sees the ups and downs and how I still stay focused. She definitely appreciates it and is one of my biggest supporters for sure”.
No stranger to tag team wrestling, Titus has been paired up with many partners over the years and has developed a reputation as being a tag team specialist. In a ROH alone this year, he has had five different tag teams partners, from old friends like Kenny King and Will Ferrara to newer acquaintances like Shane Taylor. Although he is a tag team specialist, he also enjoys the challenge of being a singles wrestler as well. “I like singles matches as well because you are out there on your own. You have no safety net-you have to dig deep. The last three or four minutes of the match is coming and you’re tired and you have to go to that next level, which is really cool because you find out a lot about yourself”
During his time with the company, Titus has been privy to many great moments in the company, as both a competitor and an onlooker, with the best seat in the house. “I had a ringside seat from 2005 until the middle of 2008. Aside from the UK shows and maybe another random one, I was there for it all. I saw Samoa Joe versus Kobashi, the first Ladder War where they hung Jay Briscoe up and Jimmy Jacobs cut that promo. Daniel Bryan’s back to back 60 minute matches, the Summer of Punk-it was great stuff. I try to tell our students now that random people shouldn’t be doing ringside security. You should be there-this is how you learn by seeing the greats out there.”
A graduate of the ROH dojo, Titus now has the roles reversed, as he plays the role of a mentor as a teacher to the ROH stars of tomorrow. “I never really look at myself in that way. Everytime I go there I think about fond memories of training there myself and all the great times I had there. I am still as hungry as the first day I was there. I may have more experiences, but I’m still as hungry as they are.” Titus continued, “but it’s really cool to help these guys along, you remember where you were at their age and you were coming into wrestling.”
Looking forward into 2018, Titus stays grounded while having desire for bigger and better things. “I like to put my shoes on one at a time, but I would like to be contenders for the tag titles or find a third guy and go for those six man title belts-that’s definitely a possibility, a third Dawg, who knows. I would definitely like to sniff around and maybe go down to CMLL or New Japan. It would be really cool and that’s definitely on the priority list.”
No matter what path he may choose, it is clear that Rhett Titus is part of Ring of Honor’s past and of its future as well.
You can catch the full interview over at Running Wild Podcast or by clicking below.