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Matthew Bloom

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Matthew Jason "Matt" Bloom (November 14, 1972) is a retired American professional wrestler signed to WWE and working as a commentator on its NXT brand under the ring name Jason Albert. Between 1997 and 2004, Bloom wrestled for World Wrestling Federation/Entertainment under the ring names Prince Albert, Albert, and A-Train. During his time in the promotion he became a one time WWF Intercontinental Champion. After leaving WWE, Bloom, adopting the ring name Giant Bernard, began working for New Japan Pro Wrestling, where he became a two-time IWGP Tag Team Champion, holding the record for the longest reign and the most defenses with Karl Anderson as Bad Intentions. Bernard and Anderson are also former Pro Wrestling Noah's GHC Tag Team Champions.

Early career (1997-1999)

Bloom wrestled his first match in 1997, facing Tim McNeany. He briefly wrestled as Baldo, a gimmick given to him by referee Freddy Sparta that saw him wear a fur rug to the ring.

After being introduced to talent scout Tom Prichard by George Steele, Bloom was hired by the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). After receiving supplementary training from Dory Funk, Jr., Bloom was assigned to the Power Pro Wrestling (PPW) developmental territory in Memphis, Tennessee, where he wrestled as Baldo. While wrestling in PPW, Bloom won both the PPW Young Guns Championship and the PPW Heavyweight Championship, and engaged in a feud with Memphis mainstay Jerry Lawler.

World Wrestling Federation / Entertainment (1999–2004)

Bloom debuted on WWF television on the April 11, 1999 episode of Sunday Night Heat, saving Droz from a beating at the hands of Big Bossman. Bloom was named Prince Albert, and formed a short-lived trio called "The Pierced Pals" with Droz and Key. He acquired the persona of Droz's personal tattooist. Droz and Albert continued to team together until Droz was paralyzed in October 1999, at which point Albert became the protege of the Big Bossman. The duo separated following the debut of Bull Buchanan, who formed a tag team with the Big Bossman.

In March 2000, Bloom, now commonly known as Albert, was recruited by Trish Stratus to form a tag team with Test. The tag team, known as T & A, competed in the tag team division throughout 2000, feuding with rival tag teams such as the Dudley Boyz and the Acolytes Protection Agency. In December 2000, the team separated after Bloom attacked Test under the orders of Stephanie McMahon Helmsley.

In April 2001, Albert formed a stable known as X-Factor with Justin Credible and X-Pac. On June 28, 2001 in New York City, New York, Bloom defeated Kane (with help from Diamond Dallas Page) to win the WWF Intercontinental Championship. He lost the WWF Intercontinental Championship to Alliance member Lance Storm on July 23, 2001 in Buffalo, New York after several interferences. In July 2001, Credible left X-Factor and joined The Alliance. Albert and X-Pac continued to team until November 2001, when X-Pac was injured.

In late 2001, Albert adopted the nickname "The Hip Hop Hippo" and began teaming with Scotty 2 Hotty. Upon the introduction of the Brand Extension, both Bloom and Hotty were assigned to the SmackDown! brand. The tag team disbanded on April 4, 2002 when Albert attacked Scotty after the duo failed to defeat Billy and Chuck for the WWF Tag Team Championship.

Subsequently, he was not featured in any high profile feuds until December 2002, when he joined forces with Paul Heyman and The Big Show, and was renamed A-Train after Heyman's suggestion. A-Train and Big Show lost to The Undertaker at WrestleMania XIX. A-Train feuded with The Undertaker, whom he wrestled at SummerSlam, and Chris Benoit, whom he wrestled at No Mercy. At Survivor Series, he wrestled alongside Lesnar in a ten-man Survivor Series match. He competed in the 2004 Royal Rumble match, but was eliminated by the eventual winner, Chris Benoit. When Benoit decided to compete against Triple H for the World Championship on the Raw brand, General Manager Paul Heyman held a SmackDown! style Royal Rumble where the winner would meet Brock Lesnar for the WWE Championship at No Way Out. He was eliminated by Eddie Guerrero, who went on to win the match. The alliance with Lesnar ended in March 2004 when Bloom was drafted to the Raw brand. A-Train debuted on Raw on June 7. On June 21, he suffered a torn rotator cuff. Before returning from injury, he was released from his WWE contract on November 1, 2004.

Bloom holds the distinction of wrestling in both the first match on Jakked (against Ken Shamrock) and the last (against Hugh Morrus).

Independent circuit (2004-2005)

Following his release, Bloom wrestled for the Impact Zone Wrestling independent promotion under the ring name Train.

All Japan Pro Wrestling (2005)

In March 2005, Bloom began wrestling for the Japanese All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW) promotion, adopting the ring name Giant Bernard, a reference to fellow gaijin Brute Bernard. He went on to join the Voodoo Murders stable alongside fellow WWE alumni Chuck Palumbo and Johnny Stamboli. On October 18, 2005, Bloom unsuccessfully challenged Satoshi Kojima for the AJPW Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship.

New Japan Pro Wrestling (2006–2012)

In January 2006, Bloom left AJPW and joined the rival New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) promotion. In April 2006, he defeated Yuji Nagata in the finals of the 2006 New Japan Cup. As a result of his victory, Bloom received a shot at the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. He unsuccessfully challenged IWGP Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar on May 3, 2006 in Tenjin, Chūō-ku, Fukuoka.

In July 2006, following the vacation of the IWGP Heavyweight Championship by Lesnar, Bloom entered a tournament for the title, losing to Hiroshi Tanahashi in the tournament finals. In August 2006, Bloom took part in the 2006 G1 Climax tournament, losing to Hiroyoshi Tenzan in the semi-finals.

On March 11, 2007 in Nagoya, Bloom and Travis Tomko defeated Manabu Nakanishi and Takao Ōmori to win the IWGP Tag Team Championship. At the February 17, 2008 New Japan show, they lost the IWGP Tag Titles to Togi Makabe and Toru Yano. Following Tomko's departure for Total Nonstop Action Wrestling on a full-time basis, Bernard began teaming with former World Championship Wrestling wrestler Rick Fuller in another powerhouse tag team. On September 5, 2008, Bernard and Fuller betrayed Shinsuke Nakamura and Hirooki Goto to align themselves with Togi Makabe's Great Bash Heel stable.

In addition to wrestling for NJPW as Giant Bernard, Bloom also wrestled for the NJPW affiliate, Wrestle Land, as Rusher Road, a member of the "Roads" stable, until the brand's closure.

In 2009, after betraying Togi Makabe, Bernard and the rest of GBH left the stable to join Shinsuke Nakamura and form the new stable known as CHAOS. Bernard formed the tag team Bad Intentions with CHAOS partner Karl Anderson and together the two of them went on to win the 2009 G1 Climax Tag League, defeating Apollo 55 (Prince Devitt and Ryusuke Taguchi) in the finals of the tournament on November 1. They went on to challenge for the IWGP Tag Team Championship, but their match with the defending champions Team 3D (Brother Ray and Brother Devon) ended in a double countout. In April 2010 both Bernard and Anderson left CHAOS, when the stable turned on them.

Through New Japan's working agreement with Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre, Bloom did his first tour of Mexico in May 2010 under the ring name Gigante Bernard. He managed to win back-to-back six two out of three falls tag team matches in two straight falls, before losing his final match of the tour on June 11 via disqualification. Upon his return to Japan, Bernard and Anderson defeated the teams of Blue Justice Army (Yuji Nagata and Wataru Inoue) and No Limit (Tetsuya Naitō and Yujiro Takahashi) in a three-way elimination match on June 19 to win the IWGP Tag Team Championship. Bad Intentions made their first successful defense of the IWGP Tag Team Championship on July 19, defeating the Blue Justice Army and No Limit in a three-way "Dogfight". In late October Bad Intentions entered the 2010 G1 Climax Tag League, where, after three wins and two losses, they finished second in their block and advanced to the semifinals, where, on November 7, they were defeated by the eventual winners of the whole tournament, Yuji Nagata and Wataru Inoue. On January 4, 2011, at Wrestle Kingdom V in Tokyo Dome, Bad Intentions successfully defended the IWGP Tag Team Championship in a three–way match against Beer Money, Inc. (James Storm and Robert Roode) and Muscle Orchestra (Manabu Nakanishi and Strong Man). On May 3, Bad Intentions defeated No Limit to make their seventh successful IWGP Tag Team Championship defense, tying the all–time record for most defenses, set by Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Masahiro Chono. Bad Intentions made their record breaking eight successful IWGP Tag Team Championship defense on June 18 against Pro Wrestling Noah's Takuma Sano and Yoshihiro Takayama, and in the process also became the new GHC Tag Team Champions. After the main event of the show, Bernard challenged Hiroshi Tanahashi for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, but was challenged back by Tanahashi, who wanted a shot at the IWGP Tag Team Championship with the man he had just defeated, Hirooki Goto. On July 3 Bernard and Anderson successfully defended the IWGP Tag Team Championship against Tanahashi and Goto. On July 18 Bernard failed in his attempt to win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship from Tanahashi. On July 23, Bad Intentions made an appearance for Pro Wrestling Noah, making their first successful defense of the GHC Tag Team Championship against the team of Takeshi Morishima and Yutaka Yoshie. On September 9, Bad Intentions became the longest reigning IWGP Tag Team Champions in history by breaking the previous record of 446 days, set by Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Masahiro Chono in 2003. Bad Intentions made their second GHC Tag Team Championship defense on October 31, defeating Go Shiozaki and Shuhei Taniguchi at a Pro Wrestling Noah event. During New Japan's 2011 G1 Climax Tag League, Bad Intentions suffered their first tag team loss in a year, when they were defeated by the Complete Players (Masato Tanaka and Yujiro Takahashi), but still managed to win their four other matches and advance to the semifinals of the tournament. On November 6, after defeating the Billion Powers (Hirooki Goto and Hiroshi Tanahashi) in the semifinals, Bad Intentions was defeated in the finals of the 2011 G1 Climax by the Suzuki Army (Minoru Suzuki and Lance Archer). On November 12, Bad Intentions made their tenth successful IWGP Tag Team Championship defense against Archer and Suzuki. On January 4, 2012, at Wrestle Kingdom VI in Tokyo Dome, Bad Intentions lost the IWGP Tag Team Championship to Ten-Koji (Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Satoshi Kojima), ending their record-setting reign at 564 days. On January 22, Bad Intentions lost the GHC Tag Team Championship to Akitoshi Saito and Jun Akiyama.

Return to WWE

Return as Tensai (2012–2013)

On March 17, 2012, it was reported that Bloom had re-signed with WWE. Bloom publicly denied the signing; however, on the March 19 episode of Raw, he appeared in a vignette under the new ring name Lord Tensai (天災). On the April 2 episode of Raw, Bloom made his WWE re-debut as Lord Tensai, where he was accompanied by his follower Sakamoto before defeating Alex Riley. In the following weeks, Tensai went on a winning streak, scoring pinfall victories over lower card wrestlers and even main stars including John Cena and WWE Champion CM Punk.

On the May 21 episode of Raw, Tensai dropped the "Lord" portion of his ring name and his Japanese outfit worn during his entrance. Following this, Tensai began losing much more frequently throughout the rest of 2012, beginning with John Cena ending his winning streak before he also suffered a loss to World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus. His losing streak caused Tensai to often vent his frustrations by abusing and attacking Sakamoto, who eventually ceased appearing with Tensai. On the June 29 episode of SmackDown, Tensai defeated Justin Gabriel to break his losing streak and also qualify for a spot in the World Heavyweight Championship Money in the Bank ladder match at Money in the Bank, though the match was ultimately won by Dolph Ziggler. Over the next three months, Tensai's losing streak resumed, as he lost to the likes of Tyson Kidd, Sin Cara, Randy Orton, and Ryback. Tensai finally ended his losing on the October 5 episode of SmackDown, defeating Big Show by disqualification after Sheamus interfered. However, he would be back on losing end the following week, after being defeated by Sheamus. On November 18 at the Survivor Series pay-per-view, Tensai took part in a traditional five-on-five elimination tag team match, but he was the first man eliminated from his team. In December, Tensai was reduced to a comedy act, with Santino Marella calling him "Fat Albert" before proceeding to defeat Tensai.

Tons of Funk (2013)

On the January 28, 2013 episode of Raw, Tensai was forced to wear lingerie while participating in a dance-off with Brodus Clay. Two days later on WWE Main Event, after being mocked for his lingerie dance, Tensai defeated Titus O'Neil in a singles match. Clay came out to support Tensai during the match and Tensai danced with Clay after the match, signalling a face turn. Following this, Clay and Tensai formed a tag team and they went on to defeat established teams such as Primo and Epico, Heath Slater and Jinder Mahal of 3MB and Team Rhodes Scholars (Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow), with the latter match taking place during the pre-show of Elimination Chamber on February 17. On the March 22 episode of SmackDown, Tensai and Clay were defeated by Team Rhodes Scholars in a tag team match after an interference from their associates The Bella Twins. and Clay announced their official tag-team name "Tons of Funk" on the March 27 episode of Main Event, where they accompied The Funkadactyls (Cameron and Naomi) to ring in a losing effort to The Bella Twins with Team Rhodes Scholars in their corner when Nikki pinned Naomi after an interference by Cody Rhodes. The two teams were originally booked to face each other in an eight-person mixed tag team match on April 7 at WrestleMania 29, but their match was cut due to time constraints. The match instead took place the following night on Raw, where Tons of Funk and The Funkadactyls emerged victorious. After nearly a month of in-ring absence, Tons of Funk returned on June 6 episode of Superstars, defeating Primo and Epico. On June 24, Tensai and Clay competed in a triple threat tag team match to determine the number one contenders for the Tag Team Championship against The Usos and 3MB which was represented by Drew McIntyre and Jinder Mahal. The success of the team has waned, with Tons of Funk losing more often. At TLC, Tensai, along with The Funkadactyls, left Brodus Clay during his match, hinting a break up. The next night on RAW, Brodus refused to tag Tensai in a tag match against Ryback and Curtis Axel, causing Tensai to lose. After the match, Brodus attacked Tensai, ending Tons of Funk.

NXT and retirement (2014-present)

After Tons of Funk disbanded, Bloom was taken off television and, in January 2014, began working in WWE's developmental territory NXT as a commentator under the new ring name Jason Albert. On August 7, Bloom stated he decided to retire from in-ring competition and announced that he would begin working as a trainer in the WWE Performance Center.

Personal life

Bloom was married to Farah Louise on September 3, 2005. The couple had a daughter in early 2012. At one point, Bloom had 28 body piercings, the first of which he received at the age of fourteen.

In wrestling

  • Entrance themes
    • "What 'Chu Lookin' At?" by Uncle Kracker (2001; used while a part of X-Factor)
    • "Derailed" by Jim Johnston (2003-2004)
    • "Shrine" by Jim Johnston (April 2, 2012 – June, 2013)
    • "Somebody call my Momma" by Jim Johnston (January 28, 2013 – June, 2013; While teaming with Brodus Clay)

Championships and accomplishments

  • Impact Zone Wrestling
    • IZW Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
  • Elite Xtreme Wrestling
    • EXW Tag Team Championship (1 time) - with Spanky
  • Power Pro Wrestling
    • PPW Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
    • PPW Young Guns Championship (1 time)

See also

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