Matt Bloom has had a storied career in wrestling that has seen him compete all over the world, and he is an established veteran of the business who perhaps does not get the credit he deserves for the work he has put into the industry over his eighteen year career. He has played many different roles with WWE, performing for the company both inside and outside of the squared circle. His newest challenge to date sees him take over the role of head NXT trainer from disgraced and controversial former head trainer Bill DeMott, who resigned from his role last week following an e-mail leaking online that was too damaging for him to continue in his role. So what qualifies Matt Bloom for a run as the man responsible for helping train WWE's next generation of superstars? And how did he get to this point?
Bloom began his career training under the legendary Killer Kawolski, and was signed to a contract by WWE in 1999, where he was initially paired with Darren Drozdov as his Droz's personal tattoo artist, until Droz suffered an injury that left him paralyzed and forced him to retire from in-ring competition. It was there that Albert as a character first then proved he was more than just a sidekick, as he would be paired with Test to form the tag team T&A, managed by Trish Stratus. The team would never have a tag team championship reign, but at the time had notable feuds with teams such as the Dudley Boyz and the Acolytes. Unfortunately, the team was broken up after Test would turn on his partner under the orders of Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley. Albert would then go on to be part of the tag team X-Factor, which featured X-Pac and Justin Credible. Sadly the only memorable thing about them was Uncle Kracker sang their entrance music, but during this time Albert would win his first and only championship in WWE, as he captured the Intercontinental Championship from Kane.
Following the eventual demise of X-Factor, and a failed attempt at becoming the Hip Hop Hippo with Scotty 2 Hotty, Albert would begin working with Paul Heyman and Big Show, which would see Heyman persuade Albert to change his name to A-Train. A new gimmick meant new ring attire for Albert, which would lead to the now infamous "shave your back" chant being heard on a weekly basis. The two would team up at Wrestlemania 19, where they would lose to the Undertaker, before they would go their separate ways. It's fair to say Albert's WWE career was a mixed bag in terms of success, but overall he never really got further than the mid card. His first run would come to an end on 1st November 2004, after his contract was not renewed following a torn rotator cuff injury. Albert was always seen as a big monster during his first run, but was never given the kind of character to allow him to stand out from the pack. However that would all change after he left WWE.
Many superstars leave WWE, and they either try to make a success of themselves, or many simply fade into obscurity and are soon forgotten. If I'm honest I would have expected Albert to follow the path of the forgotten star, but to his credit Bloom turned his career around and became a bigger star than he had before. He would begin wrestling for All Japan Pro Wrestling, under the name of Giant Bernard. He would only stay with the company a year before joining New Japan Pro Wrestling in 2006, where Bloom would eventually rocket to success. His first big moment came when he and former WWE star Tyson Tomko would team up and become the IWGP Tag Team Champions. The two would hold the titles for almost a year before Tomko left to join TNA Wrestling. Not to be forgotten though, Bloom would form a tag team with Karl Anderson, known as Bad Intentions, who would go on to win the IGPW Tag Team Championship and hold the titles for an incredible 564 days. Their run would come to an end in January 2012, as Bloom was destined for a return to WWE.
Bloom would return to WWE under the character of Lord Tensai, a main event monster who would go on an unbeaten run that would see him defeat not only lower card names, but main event stars at the time such as John Cena and WWE Champion CM Punk. Sadly for Tensai, his character did not get over as the monster creative had hoped, and he would go on to drop the Lord from his name and head on a huge losing streak for the remainder of 2012. Things would go from bad to worse for the Tensai character, when in 2013 he was forced to humiliatingly wear women's lingerie during a dance off with Brodus Clay. The two would go on to form the entertaining team, known as Tons of Funk, and would become a fan favourite until the two would part ways after a heel turn from Brodus Clay. This would spell the end of Bloom's run on the main roster, as he would soon head down to NXT, where he would become a commentator under the name of Jason Albert. He would subsequently go on to announce his retirement from the ring in August of 2014, and would go on to become a trainer at the WWE Performance Centre.
I'm sure like every wrestler retires from in ring competition he misses it, and this is now his opportunity to step into the ring and give back to the business, while passing on his eighteen years of experience. While Bloom has never been a world champion in any of the major promotions, his in ring talent is something that cannot be denied. While the Tensai character was not a success as WWE hoped, Bloom still managed to make a success of himself in the company, and showed he had matured and improved since his initial run in the company. Bloom is a well liked and respected name backstage, who WWE as a company know they can rely on to help breed success into the stars of tomorrow. He was trained by one of the best in the industry himself, and his years of experience are bound to make Bloom a name who can make a huge impact on the lives of the next breed of talent. What WWE has lost in controversy under the DeMott regime, they will now gain many more positives from their new head trainer, which will hopefully allow the performance centre to flourish and bloom (no pun intended) into the high standard centre of excellence WWE dreamt of.