Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: Albany Daily News. Posted by Ryan Frost
Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Ryan Frost
The Red Rooster in WWE
Currently Known For:
1988 - 1993
August 12, 1955
The Red Rooster in WWE
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If you look up “The Red Rooster” on Google, you won’t see anything about poor Terry Taylor for several pages. While his career has certainly been something worth noting in professional wrestling’s long history, his one gimmick that achieved cult status among diehard fans has sort of been forgotten by time. Before that, he was an up-and-comer in the world of wrestling that had played college football at the small Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina, but didn’t have NFL dreams.. Advertisements:
Taylor started out like many did in the late 1970s and early 1980s in the regional territories, making a name for himself before getting signed by the NWA and winning the World Junior Heavyweight Championship. He worked his way up the ladder under his regular name (though his real name was Paul Taylor) and won the top title with the company. This attracted the attention of other promotions such as UWF and WCCW, ultimately leading to his signing with the WWF.
Taylor started off as Scary Terry Taylor for a brief period before he was paired up with legendary manager Bobby “The Brain” Heenan and given the gimmick of The Red Rooster. At first it wasn’t too bad when he was playing the heel (bad guy) since he was simply wearing red, but it was when he turned face (good guy) that things got silly.
At that time, they dyed part of his hair red and put it up into a comb to make him look more like a rooster. His movements even resembled that of the bird, and it became difficult to watch after a short period of time. Within a year, Taylor and his gimmick were resigned to playing the role of a jobber, losing to bigger stars in the WWF on a consistent basis. He would end up leaving in 1990, and headed to WCW.
His named was changed to Terrence Taylor, and he would eventually pair up with Greg Valentine to become United States Tag Team Champions, but then he came back to WWF in 1992 as Terrific Terry Taylor. Taylor would bounce back and forth between promotions, and by the mid 1990s was mostly working as an interviewer that would have the occasional match.
Taylor was with WCW at the time the company was bought out by WWE, and he made his way over for a fifth stint with the company, also working backstage as an agent that would help set up matches. This would only last for 10 months, however, and he found himself out of the WWE once again. It seemed at the time that Taylor was destined to have 100 different stints of working with the world’s largest wrestling promotion.
Taylor finally seemed to find some stability, but it wasn’t with either of the companies that employed him so many times. Instead, it was with the newer promotion Total Nonstop Action Wrestling that had tried to fill WCW’s role as WWE’s biggest rival. While there, Taylor worked in several positions that included on-air interviewer, trainer to younger stars, an agent and ultimately the Head of Talent Relations.
It would be nearly eight years for Taylor with TNA, but then he suddenly left the company to the surprise of many fans. People were wondering why Taylor would leave what seemed to be a stable position, especially when there weren’t as many high paying jobs out there. It turned out that some of the former (and current) TNA wrestlers weren’t happy with Taylor, and the company was facing several injury-related lawsuits.
Dean Broadhead, the company’s Chief Financial Officer was the one that made the decision, and completely wiped out most of the front office looking to make a major change. Some had joined the side of Taylor while others were very critical. It’s unlikely that we’ll ever know the exact reason that Taylor left TNA, as the company still maintains that he left on his own terms.
Perhaps lending some credence to that notion was the fact that Taylor’s wife had become ill with cancer, and passed away just two months after he left TNA. Within the next year, Taylor had also filled an open position with WWE (once again). This time around, he was put in charge of developing young talent as a trainer with the NXT brand, which develops future WWE superstars so that they’re ready for the big stage.
Taylor is one of the two trainers of the highest level of the training course that the WWE puts their developmental wrestlers through. The other just happens to be Shawn Michaels, a Hall of Famer that many consider the greatest to ever step in the ring. It’s clear that the WWE thinks highly of Taylor to put him in that position alongside Michaels.
One of the things that Taylor teaches his students is how to embrace a gimmick or story that they’ve been given. Looking back on The Red Rooster, Taylor said that “It was 10 years ahead of its time. In 1990, people weren’t ready for a guy that looked like a school teacher to mohawk his hair and paint it red. Not to mention clucking around, bobbing my neck like a pigeon. When Vince McMahon told me what he wanted...I just plain didn’t get it. Now I do, and I am in a position to try and get young guys to do things they don’t understand. It’s almost poetic.”
Now at 62 years old and with two children, Taylor doesn’t see himself leaving WWE anytime soon in his latest stint that has lasted for more than five years. “As long as (wrestling) will have me,” he said. “I don’t know anything else and really don’t want to. My greatest joy is finding young hungry talent and giving them an opportunity. It’s a beautiful thing to watch grow.” As for the Rooster, he says “If I had a chance to do it all again, I wouldn’t change a thing.”
After all, Taylor says when it comes to The Red Rooster, “Nobody remembers me, but they all remember The Red Rooster, so Vince was right.”