From Kentucky Gentleman to World Champion: Chuck Taylor Strikes Gold

While most of the wrestling world was reeling from the news that Austin Aries had left the WWE and AJ Styles winning the US Championship at a WWE Live Event at Madison Square Gardens, out in California emerged a much sweeter story in the world of professional wrestling. After a 15 year career in professional wrestling, one of professional wrestling’s biggest indie stars, Chuck Taylor, defeated Zack Sabre Jr. at PWG‘s Pushing Forward Back to win his first World championship and becoming the new PWG World Champion.

Dustin Howard began training under Brandon Walker in his home state of Kentucky at the age of 15 in 2002. He made his wrestling debut three years later at 18, working various indie circuits in the south and Mid-West, where he helped discover and train Ricochet in Chaos Pro Wrestling in Illinois in 2003. In 2006, he moved to Philadelphia and debuted with CHIKARA under his most famous gimmick, that of “The Kentucky Gentleman” Chuck Taylor, a comedic wrestler who combined a flair for the theatric with stellar comedic timing, alongside strong psychology and technical wrestling, to become an icon with the company for over a decade. During his tenure in CHIKARA, he won the Young Lions Cup in 2007, won King of Trios in 2009 as part of FIST with Icarus and Gran Akuma, and captured the CHIKARA Campeonatos de Parejas (Tag Team titles) twice with Johnny Gargano.

In 2008, he made his debut with PWG in California, immediately entering the 2008 Battle of Los Angeles. He also wrestled in CZW, winning the CZW World Junior Heavyweight title that same year. A crowd favourite (despite being somewhat of a heel) for the majority of his career, he also worked with EVOLVE starting in 2010, becoming one of the indie scene’s most travelled and beloved workers. During a CHIKARA angle where he lost the copyright to his name “Chuck Taylor”, he began working under his first name, Dustin, and he captured the EVOLVE Tag Team titles with Drew Galloway last year. His tag team with Trent Beretta of Roppongi Vice, called Best Friends, made their debut with Ring of Honor earlier this year, where they’ve entered the hunt for the ROH Tag Team titles.

But it was last night that Dustin/Chuck Taylor shared his sweetest moment of his 15 year career. Facing off against one of the world’s most dominant wrestlers of the past few years, Zack Sabre Jr. (who also holds the EVOLVE World Championship and RevPro’s top title, the British Heavyweight Champion), Taylor finally conquered one mountain he never conquered in his lengthy career, dethroning the 489 day reign of ZSJ and capturing his first ever World Championship in a company that has helped define him since 2008.

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