Matthew Joseph Korklan (March 19, 1983) is an American professional wrestler, also known as Matt Sydal and Evan Bourne. He was previously signed with WWE and wrestled on WWE Raw under the ring name Evan Bourne.
Before signing with WWE, Korklan wrestled on the independent circuit for promotions such as IWA-Mid South, Ring of Honor and the Japanese promotion Dragon Gate under the ring name Matt Sydal. Korklan also had a tenure in the short-lived Wrestling Society X promotion and was featured on Total Nonstop Action Wrestling's early pay-per-view (PPV) events. Korklan is known for his high flying, lucha libre-inspired style of wrestling.
Professional wrestling career
Korklan was on his high school's wrestling team. While he was a senior in high school, Korklan began training with the St. Louis, Missouri-based Gateway Championship Wrestling (GCW) promotion. After three months of training, Korklan began wrestling for GCW on October 20, 2000, becoming the first person under the age of 18 to receive a wrestler's license in Missouri. Prior to this, Korklan had briefly performed under the ring name Lance Sydal in the Saint Peters Wrestling Organization.
In 2003, Korklan (now using the ring name Matt and forgoing a surname) formed a stable in GCW, known as Operation: Shamrock. In addition, Korklan and fellow stable member Billy McNeil formed a tag team. Operation: Shamrock maintained a feud with the villainous Ministry of Hate faction, lead by Nikki Strychnine.
Korklan debuted in Independent Wrestling Association Mid-South in November 2003, combining two of his old ring names into a new one, Matt Sydal. He won his first championship, the IWA Mid-South Light Heavyweight Championship, on January 17, 2004, defeating J.C. Bailey. Sydal lost the title to rival Delirious, on June 26, 2004. Sydal joined National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) Midwest that same year, on July 30, he defeated Justin Kage for the NWA Midwest X-Division Championship, which he also lost to Delirious after holding the belt for nearly a year. Korklan won the title back when he teamed with Daizee Haze in an intergender tag team match against Delirious and MsChif. A unique rule of the match was that the male wrestler on the winning team would be champion at the match's end. Haze pinned MsChif to win Delirious's title for Sydal. Sydal lost the title to Jayson Strife roughly four months later before leaving the promotion.
Sydal wrestled several top independent stars during his time as a regular in IWA. He lost three matches to A.J. Styles during a short-lived feud. He also faced men such as CM Punk, Chris Sabin and Nate Webb. On September 24, 2005, Sydal won the fifth Ted Petty Invitational tournament. During the tournament, he defeated El Generico, Tyler Black, and Sabin to secure himself a place in the finals. He met Kevin Steen and Arik Cannon in the final match and came out victorious. Since then, Sydal has only appeared in IWA on a few occasions, the last being in August 2007.
Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (2004–2005)
Sydal was featured on Total Nonstop Action Wrestling's (TNA) first three-hour pay-per-view event, Victory Road as a participant of a twenty-man X Division Gauntlet for the Gold match, a match where two wrestlers begin the match, and are replaced whenever one is eliminated, with the last person standing being named the winner of the contest. Sydal also was part of an online poll for the Sacrifice event. The winner of the poll would meet Christopher Daniels for the TNA X Division Championship. Sydal, however, lost the poll. During his tenure with TNA, Sydal was mainly utilized as a jobber, a wrestler who is rarely or never booked to win a match.
Ring of Honor (2004–2007)
Sydal, along with valet Daizee Haze, debuted in Ring of Honor at Reborn: Stage One on April 23, 2004, defeating his recurring nemesis, Delirious. Following a brief feud with Trent Acid, Sydal teamed with Fast Eddie Vegas as the "Air Devils" (a name voted on by the ROH fans). They only teamed once, after which Eddie turned on him on at the Third Anniversary Celebration: Part 2 on February 25, 2005, joining the villainous stable The Embassy. On August 12, 2005, Sydal and Haze joined Austin Aries, Roderick Strong and Jack Evans as the fourth member of Generation Next, a group who was in the midst of a feud with The Embassy. In late 2005, Daizee Haze turned on Sydal, leaving him and Generation Next to join The Embassy. Generation Next fought The Embassy in numerous multi-man tag matches, culminating in a Steel Cage Warfare match on December 3, 2005, with Generation Next emerging victorious.
After wrestling A.J. Styles at Hell Freezes Over, the two teamed up to challenge his Generation Next stable mates Austin Aries and Roderick Strong for ROH World Tag Team Championship. Sydal also teamed with Samoa Joe and Jack Evans to try and win the championship. Sydal went to the finals of the 2006 Survival of the Fittest event, before losing to Delirious. Sydal and Delirious brought their rivalry back to ROH as they engaged in several matches during mid-2006.
After several matches against each other throughout the year, Sydal teamed up with Christopher Daniels in another attempt to win the ROH World Tag Team Championship. The two feuded with then-champions the Kings of Wrestling (Chris Hero and Claudio Castagnoli), before winning the championship at Dethroned. Sydal and Daniels successfully defendeded their championship against the likes of CIMA and Shingo, and former champions Austin Aries and Roderick Strong, before losing the title to the Briscoe Brothers (Jay and Mark Briscoe) at the Fifth Year Festival: Chicago. During their title reign, Sydal would begin to show a cocky, villainous-like attitude. After coming up unsuccessful in attempts to win the title back along with Castagnoli, Sydal joined Larry Sweeney's villain stable Sweet n' Sour Inc., which also included Chris Hero, Sara Del Rey and Tank Toland. Sydal, who in real life was receiving offers from World Wrestling Entertainment, Total Nonstop Action Wrestling, and Dragon Gate, joined Sweet n' Sour Inc. to further Sweeney's gimmick as a "super agent". When Sydal eventually signed with WWE, it was said that Sweeney had "sold him up the river to Vince". At Man Up, Sydal wrestled his final match for ROH, losing to long-time rival Delirious.
Dragon Gate and Wrestling Society X (2006–2007)
Sydal began touring Japan with Dragon Gate in May 2006. While there he aligned himself with CIMA, Don Fuji, and Jack Evans to form the New Blood Generation International. He also became a part of CIMA's Typhoon faction. During Dragon Gate's Wrestlejam event, Sydal teamed with Generation Next stable mate Roderick Strong to win the $10,000 Tag Team Challenge.
Sydal was also part of the short-lived MTV promotion, Wrestling Society X, where he competed against the likes of Jack Evans, Scorpio Sky and the Human Tornado. There was the start of a storyline that would have him feuding with Syxx-Pac over Sydal's valet and on-screen girlfriend Lizzy Valentine, but they never actually wrestled before WSX shut down.
In the spring of 2007, Sydal returned to Dragon Gate. During his tenure there he won the Dragon Gate Open the Brave Gate Championship from Masato Yoshino, thus becoming the first gaijin to win the title. He held the title for slightly over a month, making a successful title defense against Yoshino, as well as against Austin Aries at Ring of Honor's Fifth Year Festival: Dayton, before dropping it to Genki Horiguchi.
World Wrestling Entertainment (2007–2014)
Developmental territories (2007–2008)
After becoming a free agent again following the expiration of his WSX contract and the close of the promotion, Sydal signed a developmental contract with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). Sydal made his WWE developmental debut in Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW), at the October 10, 2007 OVW taping, defeating Jamin Olivencia. In December of that year, Sydal defeated Mike Kruel to win the OVW Heavyweight Championship. It was announced on February 7, 2008 that WWE had ceased affiliation with OVW. As a result, Sydal lost the OVW Heavyweight Championship to Jay Bradley. Sydal was moved to Florida Championship Wrestling and made his debut on March 22, 2008, defeating TJ Wilson, before being called up to WWE's main roster.
Sydal made his debut for the WWE ECW brand on the June 3, 2008 episode of ECW on Sci Fi, as a face character, losing a match by count out to Shelton Benjamin after he was thrown at guest commentator Kofi Kingston. The following week on ECW, Sydal, now an official member of the ECW roster under the ring name Evan Bourne, teamed with Kofi Kingston to defeat Mike Knox and Benjamin in a tag team match. In the following weeks, Bourne defeated Matt Striker, Nunzio, and Chavo Guerrero using the shooting star press as his finishing maneuver. The move was previously banned in the WWE.
Bourne also made appearances on the Raw brand, saving Rey Mysterio from an assault by Kane. The two successfully defeated John Morrison and The Miz the following week. At Cyber Sunday, Bourne was chosen by the fans to face Matt Hardy for the ECW Championship, but lost the match after Hardy performed a Twist of Fate. Just two days later on ECW, Bourne was injured attempting a suicide senton during a six-man tag match, when he landed on his right ankle, dislocating it and tearing his deltoid ligament. After further examination, it was determined that surgery would not be necessary, but was not cleared to return to the ring. On December 8, 2008, Bourne won a Slammy Award for "Best Finishing Maneuver" for his shooting star press.
On the March 10 edition of ECW a promo was aired for Bourne's return to ECW on March 17. In his return, Bourne defeated Jamie Noble. Bourne would continue to pick up major wins following his return. He began a feud with Mark Henry in which he would score a disqualification and count out win over Henry. Bourne also defeated Henry's manager Tony Atlas, but the next week he lost to Henry via pinfall.
On June 29, Bourne was traded to the Raw brand, and made his debut that night as the first of the three wrestlers that were part of a Gauntlet match against Randy Orton, in which he was eliminated. The following week, however, Bourne defeated the United States Champion Kofi Kingston in a non-title match.
On the November 2 episode of WWE Raw, Bourne received a United States Championship match courtesy of Ozzy Osbourne and D-Generation X against The Miz which he failed to win. On the December 29 episode of ECW, Bourne made a special appearance and defeated Mike Knox in an ECW Homecoming qualifying match to advance to a battle royal where the winner would face ECW Champion Christian at the Royal Rumble for the ECW Championship. Bourne lost a match against WWE Champion Sheamus on the first Raw episode in 2010. On the January 12, 2010, episode of ECW, Bourne competed in the "Homecoming Battle Royal" but was unable to win when he was the first to be eliminated. At Royal Rumble Bourne competed in his first Royal Rumble match and entered as #2, but was eliminated by CM Punk. On the February 22 episode of Raw, Bourne teamed up with the debuting Yoshi Tatsu and Kofi Kingston to defeat The Legacy (Randy Orton, Ted DiBiase and Cody Rhodes). On the March 8 episode of Raw, Bourne defeated William Regal to qualify for the Money in the Bank ladder match at WrestleMania XXVI, which was won by Jack Swagger. Throughout May, Bourne started an on-screen rivalry with Zack Ryder, with the two exchanging victories, before ending their feud on the May 27 episode of Superstars.
The May 31, 2010 episode of Raw opened with Bourne being the victim of an assault by Edge after Bourne had challenged him for his spot in the WWE Championship match at Fatal 4-Way. Later in the show, as John Cena's scheduled tag team partner, Randy Orton, was injured by Edge before the main event, Cena chose Bourne to replace him in a match against Edge and Sheamus. Bourne pinned Sheamus to earn the victory for his team. Two weeks later, Bourne fought Chris Jericho in a match, which he won by disqualification when Jericho threatened the referee and attacked Bourne while he was in the ropes. Later that night, he assisted the rest of the Raw roster in fending off another assault by the NXT Season One rookies. At the Fatal 4-Way pay-per-view, he faced Jericho in a rematch, which Bourne won by pinfall. The following night on Raw, Jericho challenged Bourne to a third match stating that if he didn't win, he would leave WWE. Jericho defeated Bourne by pinfall. Their feud continued on the July 5 episode of Raw, where Bourne teamed up with Randy Orton to defeat Jericho and Edge. Bourne was announced as one of the participants in the Money in the Bank ladder match for the Money in the Bank pay-per-view on July 18, but he was unsuccessful. On September 19, at the Night of Champions pay-per-view, Bourne teamed up with Mark Henry in the Tag Team Turmoil match for the WWE Tag Team Championship, but they failed to win the titles when they were the last team eliminated in the match by Drew McIntyre and Cody Rhodes. On the October 11th edition of Raw, Bourne competed in a match against CM Punk to qualify for Team Raw at Bragging Rights, but was unsuccessful in winning and was assaulted by Punk after the match. This was put in place as Bourne (in reality) required shoulder surgery and will be out of action for an estimated four months.
Return from injury and feud with Jack Swagger. Air Boom, suspension and Return. (2011-present)
Bourne returned on the February 28, 2011, edition of Raw, defeating Sheamus with the Air Bourne, after Sheamus has been attacked by Triple H. On May 1 at Extreme Rules, Bourne was a Lumberjack in the WWE Tag Team Championship Match.On the May 23 edition of Raw, Bourne lost to Jack Swagger but attacked Swagger with a spinning back kick after his victory lap. The next week on Raw, Bourne beat Swagger with a quick roll up.
After his feud with Swagger ended, Bourne was pushed to team up with Kofi Kingston as part of Air Boom, winning the WWE Tag Team Championships. After 6 successful title defences, against Micheal Micilicudy and David Otugna, Primo and Tyler Reks, and Jack Swagger and Dolph Ziggler, Bourne was suspended for 30 days. Upon his return, Air Boom was put into a feud with Primo and Epico.
Suspension and injury (2012)
After losing the titles to Primo and Epico(and losing two more rematches), Evan would be supsended again due to another failed drug test, this time for 60 days. Rumors started that Bourne will be apart of Team Long at WrestleMania 28.
In March, Bourne was involved in a car accident, leading to him suffering from a broken foot.
After a year-long absence, Bourne returned on March 28, 2013, at an NXT live event, defeating Sami Zayn
He was released from the WWE on June 12, 2014.
Return to independent circuit (2014–present)
After leaving WWE, Korklan, under his former ring name of Matt Sydal, was announced as the first participant in Pro Wrestling Guerrilla's 2014 Battle of Los Angeles. On July 20 he made his in-ring return to Dragon Gate, tagging with Cima to take on Ricochet and Masato Yoshino. They came up short in the bout, when Cima tapped out to Yoshino. On August 9, Sydal made his debut for Evolve, unsuccessfully challenging Ricochet for the Open the Freedom Gate Championship. From August 30 to 31, Sydal took part in the 2014 Battle of Los Angeles. After a win over Chris Hero, he was eliminated from the tournament by Kenny Omega.
As Bourne, Korklan is featured as a downloadable superstar for WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2009 video game. Korklan is available for download on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in a pack along with other downloadable superstars and content. He also appeared in WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2010 without the need for download. He is also in WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2011.
Image Entertainment, Inc. released a DVD titled "Before They Were Stars: Matt Sydal: Bourne Is Born" on January 20, 2009, which features every match Korklan participated in Wrestling Society X as well as promos and a music video.
Both of Korklan's parents are schoolteachers. He has a younger brother Mike, who wrestles under the name Mike Sydal. He attended Parkway Central High School in St. Louis. In 2001, Korklan enrolled at the University of Missouri, studying marketing, as he was unsure whether he could earn a living from wrestling. He continued to wrestle, attending college three days a week, while wrestling mid-week and on weekends. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in 2005, and began working as a sales and marketing vice president for a small mailbox company in St. Louis, although he continued to wrestle.
Korklan cites his wrestling influences include Sabu, Super Crazy, Rey Mysterio Jr., Ricky Steamboat, Dean Malenko, Chris Jericho, Eddie Guerrero, Chavo Guerrero, Jamie Noble]], Tajiri, Bret Hart and Owen Hart.
- World Wrestling Entertainment
- "Air Bourne"
- "King of Gin"
- Entrance themes
- "Axeman" by Damian Wes, Lenny Charles and Sparky Buddha (June 10, 2008 – July 23, 2009)
- "Born to Win" by Mutiny Within and Jim Johnston (July 27, 2009 – January 16, 2012)
- "Born to SOS" by Mutiny Within and Collie Buddz (September 5, 2011 – October 3, 2011; Used while teaming with Kofi Kingston)
- "Boom" by Jim Johnston (October 7, 2011 – January 16, 2012; Used while teaming with Kofi Kingston)
- Entrance themes
- Independent circuit
- Signature moves
- Cannonball (Diving leg drop)
- Catapult followed by a corner dropkick
- Corkscrew plancha
- Cradle suplex
- Diving double knee drop to a standing opponent's shoulders
- Hurricanrana, sometimes to an opponent seated on the top turnbuckle
- Inverted leg drop bulldog into a pin
- Shining wizard to a cornered opponent
- Springboard into either a 450° splash or a corkscrew senton
- Standing moonsault
- Suicide dive
- Signature moves
Championships and accomplishments
- Open The Brave Gate Champion (1 time)
- OVW Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- ROH World Tag Team Championship (1 time)