ClickWrestler of the Week - 10/29/09 - Evan Bourne
Our resident philosopher profiles the high-flying Raw superstar that rose from the indy circuit to become one of the most exciting stars on the top show in wrestling.
Evan Bourne left the comfort of ECW and moved to the much larger Raw brand, a few months back. Since arriving there, he has been a thorn in the side of several heels on the Crimson Brand. Evan is this week's Wrestler of the Week for never failing to thrill audiences with his aerial moves and solid wrestling skills.
A solid background:
Unlike many wrestlers, Evan Bourne started out as an amateur wrestler in St. Louis, where he grew up. During his teens, Evan (Matt Korklan) began to train with the local Gateway Championship Wrestling organization. Matt became the first male to get a wrestling license in Missouri before reaching the age of 18. His early career was carefully watched by local officials, who wanted to make sure the minor was not injured while performing. Matt had his first professional match , under the name Lance Sydal, on October 20, 2000. Last week would have begun Matt/Evan's 10th year as a pro wrestler. Lance Sydal didn't last long as a ring name for Matt. He would abandon the entire identity, in favor of just being known as Matt. He worked in GCW as part of a face stable known as Operation: Shamrock. Matt's group feuded with the dominant heel faction known as the Ministry of Hate. Matt began to get offers from other indy organizations and decided to expand his options.
The birth of Matt Sydal
As Matt began to venture beyond GCW, he knew that he needed more of an identity. He went back to his old ring name and combined it with his given first name to create...Matt Sydal. After just over 3 years in the business, Matt won his first title on January 17, 2004, when he took the IWA Mid-South Light Heavyweight title from J.C. Bailey. He would hold the belt until June 26, when he was defeated by Delirious. About a month later, Matt moved to NWA Midwest where he took their X-Division title on July 30th. He would drop that title to Delirious, as well. Matt would then team with female superstar, Daizee Haze, to face Delirious and Ms.Chif. In one odd mixed tag match, Daizee pinned Ms Chif to win herself the women's title and the X-Division title for Sydal. Sydal would face many future TNA and WWE stars during 2004 and 2005, including A.J. Styles, C.M. Punk and Chris Sabin. His matches against Styles brought him to the attention of Jeff Jarrett, who owned TNA. Sydal was given a run in the fledgling company. He was featured in Victory Road 2004, as part of a 20-man X-Division "Gauntlet for the Gold" match for the X-title. Sydal spent a year as a jobber for the company before heading over to Ring of Honor.
ROH and MTV
In 2005, Sydal's star started to shine. He won the 5th annual Ted Petty Invitational and then took a position in Ring of Honor. Sydal, along with Daizee Haze, actually worked together in ROH, starting in the summer of 2004. After his time in TNA, Sydal returned to ROH to join the stable known as Generation Next. Daizee and Sydal would eventually split in late 2005, as Daizee joined the heel faction known as The Embassy. Sydal would team with several partners, including Samoa Joe and A.J Styles, to try and take the ROH World Tag titles from Austin Aries and Roderick Strong. He would come up short, each time. Sydal finally took the tag belts from Chris Hero and Claudio Castagnoli with partner Christopher Daniels. They would drop the belts to Jay and Mark Briscoe. Sydal began to turn heel during the tag title reign, making the final turn after losing the belts. He joined Larry Sweeney's group of wrestlers known as Sweet and Sour, Inc. The group contained many of the men that Sydal had feuded with over his time in the organization. During this time, both WWE and TNA showed interest in having him join their organization, full time. Sydal would eventually join WWE but he had a couple of stops to make first.
In the spring of 2006, Sydal did a tour of Japan with the upstart group known as Dragon Gate. In addition to the numerous Japanese stars that he would fight, Sydal also squared off against men like Jack Evans and Roderick Strong. The matches between Evans and Sydal came to the attention of executives at MTV, who were looking to create a new wrestling promotion. The former music only channel had worked with the WWE, in the past, with the Heat program. When WWE and MTV ended their relationship, some within the MTV organization felt that a wrestling show was still a viable option. They created the ill-fated Wrestling Society X. Sydal was tapped, along with Evans,to help launch the company. Sadly, the group went under in less than 3 months. The WSX programs were released as a box set (which I have in my collection). Sydal then decided to take the WWE's offer.
A new star is Bourne
After Wrestling Society X closed up shop, Sydal finally decided to take the offer from WWE. He was sent to OVW to train in the WWE style of wrestling. He wrestled in OVW from October, 2007 until March, 2008, when he was transferred to FCW. He feuded with T.J. Wilson (Tyson Kidd) in Florida and really impressed the scouts for the three brands. He was given a one-shot try-out under his Matt Sydal ring name in CW. He was an instant hit and the WWE decided to keep him on ECW, at least for the moment. There was one change coming for Sydal, his name. As often happens, the WWE forced Sydal to abandon his long term identity for the new Evan Bourne moniker. Evan used two signature moves: The Shooting Star Press (later renamed Air Bourne) and a modified Thesz Press where he used the double Flying Knees to send opponents to the ground (often called Evan Sent). Evan would feud with most of the heels on ECW, including the much larger Kane. Evan would save Rey Mysterio from a brutal beatdown by the Big Red Machine and a short-lived feud was set in motion. After that feud died down, Bourne was selected by the fans to go after the ECW title, then held by Matt Hardy. Hardy would defeat Bourne with a Twist of Fate but many fans felt it was only a matter of time before Bourne took the belt. That dream would get derailed, just two days later (October 29, 2008), when Bourne suffered a devastating ankle injury after a bad landing. Bourne would be out of action for five months, as the ankle required surgery.
He returned to ECW on March 17, 2009, defeating Jamie Noble. Bourne was then placed in a "David vs Goliath" feud against the ginormous Mark Henry. Bourne actually won the lion's share of their matches. Bourne even defeated WWE Hall of Fame star, Tony Atlas, who served as Mark Henry's manager. Mark would get a final victory over Bourne before both men were drafted off ECW to Raw. Since arriving on Raw, Bourne has gone back to a jobber role in the company. He's lost to Jack Swagger, The Miz and several other stars. He did get a non-title win over then-US champion, Kofi Kingston. Evan is possibly looking to challenge U.S. champ, The Miz, in the near future but he will have to wait until Jack Swagger finishes the current program over the US title.
Evan Bourne/Matt Sydal has been a solid competitor for nine full years. His high-flying style has been compared to the likes of Rey Mysterio, Jushin "Thunder" Liger and Brian Pillman. If he can avoid injury, Evan has a good chance to take either the United States or Intercontinental championship with a short amount of time. He is one of the best of the next generation of WWE stars. To check out Evan/Matt in action, just go to ClickWrestle.com and search for Matt Sydal. Also, don't forget to check out all the photos and the match biography of Matt/Evan over at OnlineWorldofWrestling.com.