David Taylor had a breakout year on the Senior Freestyle scene in 2013. He started out hot: in his first freestyle event of the season, the '13 US Open, he took down Ryan Morningstar and match favorite Nick Marable before losing his finals bout to the best wrestler in the world, Jordan Burroughs. He progressed from there: at the '13 World Team Trials, he took out Moza Fay before losing a very winnable semi final match to Kyle Dake. He would rebound by beating Ryan Morningstar (again), Trent Paulson and Andrew Howe, whom he teched. Great tournament for the Magic Man.
....2014: The Magic Man Got Better...way better.
Watch Taylor's matches from 2013 vs Now and you'll notice one key difference in Taylor's game: he's become a world-class counter wrestler and scrambler. Taylor's starting to score when OTHER people initiate the action. He's also establishing himself as the best scrambler in any match he enters. This wasn't the case in 2013: 1. we figured Taylor couldn't win "the big one" unless he was on the atttack the whole time; 2. Taylor would lose very winnable matches by getting outscrambled by game competitors (eg. his WTT match vs Dake, his University Worlds match vs Tsargush).
2013 DAVID TAYLOR
Taylor vs Burroughs: 2013 US OPEN
Match Breakdown: Burroughs gets in on two leg attacks within :45 seconds. He had no trouble finishing either. Taylor then fires off a safe attack or two from the collar before Burroughs eventually snaps Taylor, gets to a leg and finishes. Near the end of the 1st period, Taylor finally stops a nice shot from Burroughs and works to a pushout. Taylor starts to turn it on in the 2nd period and really starts to battle Burroughs off his legs. We see a great scramble near the end of the match and Taylor actually gets in the same crotch lift position we saw him score with at the 2014 US Open.
Takeaway: we see a hint of things to come but overall, Taylor wasn't at JB's level here. He couldn't figure out ways to score, offensively or defensively.
Taylor vs Dake: 2013 World Team Trials
Match Breakdown: Dake and Taylor spend most of the first period hand fighting, battling in and out of ties. No big takeaways after the first, but Dake does get for himself a pushout point. Almost a minute into the 2nd period, Dake throws Taylor by from his underhook and a scramble ensues. Dake capitalizes here and exposes Taylor for 2pts. Taylor does battle throughout the exchange though and manages a takedown to make it a 4-2 match. With :45 seconds left, Taylor gets in deep on a single and finishes for two but Dake produces a scramble from the situation and gets a reversal to make it 5-4 Dake. Taylor is once again deep on a leg at the end of the match, but Dake once again outscrambles Taylor #FTW.Takeaway: Taylor simply couldn't win the scrambles. Also, it seems that Dake is the physical aggressor here: he's the one getting the pushouts, Taylor's in deep on singles twice but can't finish cleanly.
2014 DAVID TAYLOR
Taylor vs Burroughs: 2014 US OPEN
Take Notice Of: The subtle adjustments Taylor makes with his hips when Burroughs gets in on a single leg. Also, Taylor seems to have gotten bigger, thicker physically. I didn't think it in 2013, but now Taylor seems like a giant 74kg'er to me.
Taylor vs Hasanov: 2014 BEAT THE STREETS
Take Notice Of: Taylor's overall body awareness and ability to create a scramble from a very compromising position (check 2:00 into the 1st period), his counter offense: he scores twice after 2x World Medalist Hasanov initiates the attack...very Dake-esque of him.