If you’re a wrestling geek – and being honest here, we all are – you’ll have been watching the Cruiserweight Classic on the WWE Network. Amongst the high-flyers, strong style fighters, technical wizards and everything in between, one man stood out for me. As much as I’m a huge fan of Zack Sabre Jr. and Kota Ibushi, I was pulling for THE Brian Kendrick.
Back when the Internet Wrestling Community was an actual community and not just a buzzword, and internet speeds were the equivalent of a snail dying slowly in the sunshine, a group of wrestlers came out of the Shawn Michaels Texas Wrestling Academy, and made a splash, creating a buzz about them.
Daniel Bryan was top of the class, and he would become the American Dragon and dominate Ring Of Honor and the indies, before eventually conquering the entire wrestling world, culminating in that glorious WrestleMania 30 fairytale victory.
Of the other guys, one caught my attention. A guy going by the name of Spanky who would make his entrance to Christina Aguilera’s “Genie In A Bottle”, the very antithesis of the nu-metal and grunge music that was fast becoming the norm in the WWE and WCW which actually still existed at that time, kids.
The WWE came calling for Spanky, and using his real name of Brian Kendrick, he would bounce around developmental territories before being released without making a TV appearance. Rumour swept the internet about his conduct, including things he’s since confirmed including his general attitude being less than professional.
Kendrick still had the talent, even if he was regarded as somewhat of a loose cannon. He moved around from promotion to promotion, clocking up 3 total stints in the WWE, eventually being released every time. He would also pack in a couple of TNA runs, as well as stints in New Japan, Ring Of Honor and even ICW in the UK
Kendrick popped back on the WWE radar recently when he was spotted training Eva Marie, and actually succeeded in getting her to perform some moves competently. She even adopted his Sliced Bread #2 finisher as her own, calling it Sliced Red. Bringing Eva Marie to a level where she can at least get in the ring and compete on NXT, as she did, is a minor miracle in my humble opinion. His training stint led to him making an appearance on NXT television, and an offer to compete in the Cruiserweight Classic.
So, with Kendrick entered into the CWC and pulling the grizzled veteran card, doing anything necessary to hang with the younger guys in the tournament, he’s shown a whole new side to his persona. Daniel Bryan’s commentary was unashamedly biased towards his friend and has been a thing of beauty, really making Kendrick into a sympathetic character, despite his out and out cheating to win.
Kendrick might well be slated to be a part of the Cruiserweight Division on Raw, but for me, his path should be slightly different. With the internet on fire following Daniel Bryan’s worked shoot whatever-it-might-be with The Miz, the logical path would be for The Miz and Bryan to settle their differences in the ring. Obviously, Bryan can’t do that at the behest of the WWE, so he needs an avatar if this angle is to go anywhere.
Why can that avatar not be Brian Kendrick? The video that the WWE posted this week following Kendrick’s departure from the CWC showed him and Bryan embracing and was a really nice, feel good moment for both men. Bryan has some power on Smackdown at the moment, why shouldn’t he use it by bringing in his long time friend to try and enact some revenge on The Miz?
Watching The Miz be outheeled and outsmarted by the wily veteran, with Bryan pulling the strings from behind the scenes would work for me, as well as the redemption story of Kendrick making it back to the big time for one last run.
Once the angle is played out, Kendrick would be a great choice to tag up with someone on the upswing of their career. Maybe an NXT call up, or someone like Apollo Crews would benefit from being around Kendrick in and out of the ring. Wrestlers learn their craft not just under the bright lights of TV, but doing the house show tours and working night in and night out with people that can help them develop. Kendrick would certainly come under that category.
For Brian Kendrick to humbly and gracefully start his career again at the bottom of the heap, and effect enough change in his lifestyle to be on the brink of a return to the major leagues, just being a part of the WWE at all is a huge result. I’ll be keeping a close eye on him to see where THE Brian Kendrick story goes next.