Building A Better Clan: MVP Finds Spotlight in Return to WWE

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Photo: WWE

Montel Vontavious Porter (MVP) returned to the WWE this past January as a surprise entrant in the Royal Rumble after a decade away from the company, and not only has he found himself back behind the mic of the MVP Lounge talk show but has returned to the ring. And not only has he returned to the ring, but he is also actively recruiting a new stable to help him achieve his goals of reclaiming his legacy in WWE history, first with the new tag team duo of Brendan Vink & Shane Thorne, and now in recent weeks luring Bobby Lashley. Here’s a look at MVP’s career after leaving the WWE in 2010 a 2x WWE United States Champion and WWE Tag Team Champion.

Photo: WWE

It didn’t take MVP long to find work following his December 2010 release from WWE. In February of 2011, he joined New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW), where he joined Kojima-gun, the stable lead by the reigning IWGP Heavyweight Champion, Satoshi Kojima, that also featured Taichi, TAKA Michinoku, and Nosawa Rongai (although Rongai was the man who brought MVP to Kojima-gun, Rongai himself left NJPW before MVP officially debuted). Only months after joining the stable, Kojima was ousted as group leader by Minoru Suzuki, who renamed the group Suzuki-gun. MVP would depart the group after showing his allegiance to former leader Kojima when the latter was being beat down by the newest Suzuki-gun member, Lance Archer.

With Kojima-gun (Photo: NJPW)

That May, MVP entered the tournament to crown the inaugural IWGP Intercontinental Champion, defeating Kazuchika Okada in the opening round and Tetsuya Naito in the semi-finals. Held during a New Japan US tour, on May 15, 2011, in Philadelphia, MVP defeated Toru Yano in the finals to become the first IWGP Intercontinental Champion. He would hold the title for 148-days before losing it to Masato Tanaka at NJPW Destruction that October. MVP had great success in NJPW, making the semi-finals of the 2011 and 2012 G1-Climax Series, as well as appearing in the 2011 and 2012 New Japan Cup and the 2012 World Tag League, where he teamed with another former WWE Superstar in Shelton Benjamin. His last NJPW appearance was at Wrestle Kingdom 7 in 2013, where he teamed with Muscle Orchestra (Manabu Nakanishi & Strong Man) and Akebono to defeat the CHAOS trio of Takashi Iizuka, Toru Yano & Yujiro Takahashi, along with Bob Sapp. MVP would take the majority of 2013 off to due to “recharging the batteries,” as he told Busted Open Radio‘s Doug Mortman and Dave Lagreca in September of that year. “I love New Japan (Pro Wrestling). People that know me and know my story and know that Japanese wrestling is the apex of pro wrestling for me. To have been in Japan, to have been the inaugural IWGP Intercontinental Champions, to have been accepted in their wrestling culture and to have spent the time there was a dream come true and I needed to back up for a second, reassess the scene and decide what I wanted to do.”

IWGP Heavyweight Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi with IWGP Intercontinental Champion MVP (Photo: NJPW)

In 2014, he joined TNA/IMPACT Wrestling, debuting in January as a new “investor” in TNA and in direct competition against Dixie Carter. One of his first actions as a new authority figure was to bring in The Wolves (Eddie Edwards & Davey Richards) and at Lockdown that March, his team (The Wolves, Willow (Jeff Hardy) and himself) defeated Dixie’s team (Bobby Roode, Austin Aries, and The BroMans (Jesse Godderz & Robbie E) for control of the company. His power would go to his head and in May, he turned on TNA World Heavyweight Champion Eric Young and declared himself the #1 Contender. Unfortunately, he suffered a real-life injury that removed him from the ring, but he would instead help manage Bobby Lashley to his first TNA World Heavyweight Championship, as well as adding Kenny King as a new client. His authority figure persona would gradually decline as he was replaced by Kurt Angle in the role.

Photo: IMPACT

In January of 2015, he turned his small group of clientele into a full-blown stable, when he and Kenny King were joined by new recruits Samoa Joe and Low Ki, in helping Lashley defeat Bobby Roode for the TNA World Championship. It also saw Eric Young turn on Roode and join MVP. The next week, MVP presented his new group as the Beat Down Clan and announced that the TNA World Champion would be the group’s centerpiece. But Lashley decided against being in the group, leading the entire faction to turn on Lashley and beat him down in the ring.

Sadly, what could have been one of the most dominant stables in wrestling began to fall apart almost immediately, and most of it was due to backstage issues with the declining state of TNA’s ownership and management. Less than a month after turning on Roode to join the group, Eric Young turned again and left the group. Shortly after that Samoa Joe left TNA and ended up in NXT a few months later. Homicide returned as Joe’s replacement, followed by his former LAX partner Hernandez a month later. In early July, Low Ki also left TNA, and a week later Hernandez was pulled from TNA due to his existing Lucha Underground contract. Shortly after Hernandez’s departure, MVP also left the company, and the BDC was disbanded. They would reunite briefly in Ring of Honor in 2019, when MVP would appear as Kenny King’s mystery tag team partner at Road to G1 Special in Houston, Texas, with both wearing the BDC face masks.

Following his TNA departure in the summer of 2015, MVP would return to the indies, working throughout the US as well as in the UK, including California’s All Pro Wrestling (APW), Tommy Dreamer‘s House of Hardcore, and many others. In the fall of 2017, he would join the rebooted Major League Wrestling (MLW), as a wrestler as well as backstage producer. In July of 2018, he left MLW and returned to the indies once again.

In January of 2020, he made a one-time return to the WWE as an active wrestler when he was a surprise entrant in this year’s Royal Rumble, but his one-off turned into something more. He returned to the company the following night on Raw to face Rey Mysterio in what was thought to be his retirement match, but weeks later returned with the MVP Lounge talk show segment. Since then, he’s become the man behind the rise of Brendan Vink & Shane Thorne in the tag team division, and now he’s going back to the man he guided to two reigns as TNA World Heavyweight Champion, Bobby Lashley, in hopes of once again bringing Lashley to World Championship status. MVP has been a part of some big stables in the past with NJPW and TNA/IMPACT, and now he has his mind set on building another one in WWE, as he continues to show the world that he’s far from over. And following Monday night’s episode of Raw, it’s clear MVP has set Lashley’s sights on WWE Champion Drew McIntyre.

Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world.  WWE fan? You can check out an almost unlimited array of WWE and NXT content on the WWE Network.

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