Best known to US fans as Montel Vontavious Porter or simply his initials, MVP is a 9-year veteran who competed for several years in WWE before joining New Japan in early 2011. After starting out as a brash, cocky self-centered heel when he debuted he later changed his gimmick to more of an inspirational story centered around his tough upbringing-before his wrestling debut, he spent 9 1/2 years in jail for armed robbery & kidnapping, starting at only 16. But he got into wrestling thanks to one of his corrections officers, who was also an indy wrestler. He debuted in 2002 and worked in the indies until 2005, including a couple appearances in TNA Wrestling. WWE then signed him and assigned him to the developmental territory Deep South Wrestling, where he debuted as Antonio Banks before developing the MVP persona.
MVP debuted in WWE in 2006, assigned to the Smackdown brand and signed to “the largest contract in SD history”. His ring gear, modeled as an athletic suit, often got him “Power Ranger” chants from crowds. He would eventually get the better of Chris Benoit in their feud and win the WWE US Title, but was soon diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome, a heart condition that causes the heart to beat faster than normal. Still, his US title reign lasted nearly 1 year-at 343 days, it is the 3rd-longest US Title reign ever (including the title’s WCW days). MVP was drafted to Raw during his reign in 2009, which is when his gimmick change happened from very cocky & brash to more inspirational and focused on his rough upbringing. He stayed on Raw for about a year, then was returned to Smackdown in the annual Supplemental Draft. He stayed until December 2, 2010, when he was released upon request.
After his WWE release and expiration of any no-compete clauses, MVP signed with New Japan, although the process was a little bit rocky-because of his prior criminal convictions, it’s hard for him to get visas and he is prohibited from travelling to certain countries. This did hinder the process of getting a visa to work in Japan but he was eventually able to and signed a one-ywear deal with the promotion, making his New Japan debut in February 2011. The storyline behind his debut was that NOSAWA Rongai brought him in to make him an ally of then-heel Satoshi Kojima. He would be up-and-down his first month but score maybe his biggest win in wrestling ever in March 2011, submitting IWGP Heavyweight Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi in a tag team match. He then entered the 2011 New Japan Cup, beating Karl Anderson in the tournament before losing to Makabe. He thenparticiated in New Japan’s US tour in May 2011, winning a tournament to become the first-ever IWGP Intercontinental Champion. He is currently aligned with Kojima and possibly Makabe in their rivalry with Minoru Suzuki. He will compete in New Japan through at least early 2012 and possibly longer.
Stats & Info:
Real name: Alvin Burke Jr.
Weight: 252 pounds/114 kg
Experience: 9 years
Finishing move: TTB (Take It To The Bank)
Current affiliation: New Japan
1-time IWGP Intercontinental Champion
1-time WWE Tag Team Champion
2-time WWE US Champion
1-time CCW Heavyweight Champion
1-time FOW Tag Team Champion
2011 IWGP Intercontinental Title Tournament
Ranked #23 in 2008 PWI 500
2007 Wrestling Observer Newsletter Most Improved Award
2008 Wrestling Observer Newsletter Most Underrated Award