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Matthew James "Matt" Bentley (December 10, 1979) is an American professional wrestler best known for his work in Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) by the ring name Michael Shane. He was trained by his cousin, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) wrestler Shawn Michaels, and he took the name Michael Shane as a play on his cousin's name. Additionally, Bentley utilizes Michaels' signature superkick maneuver as his own finisher.
After being trained at Shawn Michaels' Texas Wrestling Academy, Bentley competed in Japan for the Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling promotion. He also briefly worked for Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) from October 2000 to the final show of the promotion on January 13, 2001. After ECW closed Bentley returned to Japan, where he wrestled under a mask as Omega Verfian. During this time he also made appearances for both World Wrestling Entertainment and World Championship Wrestling in dark matches. He also worked as a jobber on WWE's programs Velocity and Sunday Night Heat. He is also a former Ring of Honor (ROH) wrestler, with his breakout match occurring against Paul London at the Unscripted event in September 2002, that concluded with London hitting the shooting star press off a ladder. ROH later described the match as a "match of the year candidate". He was also a member of The Group faction in ROH, with Samoa Joe and C.W. Anderson, but they were forced to disband after losing to The Prophecy at Night of Grudges on June 14, 2003. He later wrestled for Major League Wrestling, where he was managed by Francine, and returned to Japan to compete for Zero-One Wrestling.
Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (2003–2007)Edit
Bentley joined TNA in 2003. He competed in the X Division, quickly winning the X Division Championship in the first ever Ultimate X match. Later in 2003, Bentley formed a stable with Shane Douglas and Traci known as "The New Franchise". In January 2004 he lost the title to Chris Sabin in Ultimate X2. The New Franchise disbanded in April 2004 when Bentley turned on Douglas. Traci ended up staying with Bentley as a valet. In June, A.J. Styles returned to the X Division and won the championship from Kazarian. In an effort to eliminate Styles from the X Division, Bentley and Traci formed a tag team with Kazarian (informally known by the portmanteau of their last names, Shazarian). On July 28, 2004, Bentley and Kazarian defeated Styles in an Ultimate X match when they both pulled down the championship. Surprisingly, the duo was declared co-champions, a first for the X-Division Championship. They lost the title in a Gauntlet for the Gold match two weeks later. Shazarian split up in early 2005 when Kazarian left TNA and signed with WWE.
Traci quietly left Bentley in 2005 to become an assistant for TNA Director of Authority Dusty Rhodes, and later joined with Chris Sabin. In turn, Trinity became Bentley's valet. At Hard Justice, however, in a match between Bentley and Trinity and Sabin and Traci, Bentley and Traci turned on their partners and reunited. In July 2005, Bentley was forced to refrain from using the "Michael Shane" alias, which he had used for his entire career, following threats of legal action from World Wrestling Entertainment, the employers of Mike Shane, who had trademarked his name, something which Bentley had neglected to do. After going simply by the name Michael, Bentley decided to go by his real name.
After a disappearance from television due to contract renegotiations and a few matches in the X Division, Bentley and Traci turned into fan favorites, largely because of the crowd, which was doing the "Bentley Bounce" at the time. On a February 2006 edition of Xplosion, Bentley and his partner Lance Hoyt had some miscommunication during their tag team against the Diamonds in the Rough. After the match, Bentley snapped and attacked Hoyt, thus turning him into a villain. The next week on Impact! in an interview Bentley announced he was a "Maverick", and thus became "Maverick Matt". He continued feduing with Hoyt, and lost to him at Destination X. He would then wrestle a few more matches, most being 6-man tag team matches, losing every time. Bentley did not appear on TNA television for the next four months. He returned on the July 20 edition of Impact!, teaming with former partner Frankie Kazarian, who had returned earlier in the week, in a loss against The Naturals. Traci did not return with Bentley, instead becoming Ms. Brooks, Robert Roode's new valet.
On the October 26 edition of Impact!, Bentley appeared in the "Raven's Perch" section of the Impact Zone bleachers, debuting a goth look. Weeks later, Bentley and Kazarian, along with Johnny Devine, formed the stable Serotonin, with Raven as their leader. As part of the new group Bentley's name was changed to Martyr, who along with Kaz and Havok (Devine) portrayed a strange rocker type look and would not win a lot of matches - as a matter of fact, even if they won, Raven would come out, make them get on their knees and beat them with a Kendo stick (as part of a system dubbed "torture breeds success"). In August 2007, Bentley's TNA contract expired and was not renewed.
World Wrestling Entertainment (2008)Edit
On April 4, 2008, Bentley made an appearance on Friday Night SmackDown in a squash match, losing to the debuting Vladimir Kozlov.
Following his WWE appearance, Bentley temporarily left wrestling in order to create a band named "Lost in Chaos" with his friends. They are currently located in Orlando and participating in numerous gigs. The band was recently nominated for Florida's Best Band on a local rock station website.