Brian Kendrick, Lance Cade, Matt Bentley, and Bryan Danielson all have in common? All are graduates of the short-lived but highly successful Shawn Michaels Wrestling Academy. Trained at the Academy by Rudy Boy Gonzalez, and later by Ivan Putski and Dory Funk Jr., Paul London learned from the best. It is no wonder then, that he has since become one of the most exciting workers in the business." />

 

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Paul London

Paul London in May 2006.
Photo by Mike Mastrandrea

DATE OF BIRTH: April 16, 1980
HOMETOWN: Hartford, Connecticut (currently Austin, Texas)
HEIGHT: 5'10"
WEIGHT: 210 lbs.

What do Paul London, Brian Kendrick, Lance Cade, Matt Bentley, and Bryan Danielson all have in common? All are graduates of the short-lived but highly successful Shawn Michaels Wrestling Academy. Trained at the Academy by Rudy Boy Gonzalez, and later by Ivan Putski and Dory Funk Jr., Paul London learned from the best. It is no wonder then, that he has since become one of the most exciting workers in the business.

London paid his dues on the independent scene, where he captured various titles, such as the ETW Television Title, the FC United States Title, the FC Television Title, and the FC Hardcore Title. But it was in 2002, when London joined Ring of Honor, that he truly began to leave his mark. London joined the upstart ROH and is perhaps best remembered for what many consider to be a legendary series of matches against Michael Shane (Matt Bentley), including a breathtaking street fight match at ROH Unscripted in Philadelphia's Murphy Rec Center, the birth place of ROH. His feud with Michael Shane led to some of the best matches in ROH history.

It was only a few short months before London was competing for the ROH Title, losing to Xavier at Final Battle 2002, which many consider to be the best match of Xavier's title run. Two months later, on February 8, 2003 at ROH's Anniversary Show, London won a three-way match against A.J. Styles and Low-Ki to earn another title shot that night. He again lost to Xavier.

On April 5, 2003, Paul London won the coveted ECWA Super 8 Tournament. This tournament is considered to be one of the most prestigious honors on the independent scene. One month later on April 5, 2003 at ROH's Epic Encounter, Paul London and Bryan Danielson's battled in a two-out-of-three falls match. Without question the best match in ROH history at the time, and still ranking as one of the top five to this day, London defeated Danielson.

On May 21, 2003, London made his TNA debut, defeating CM Punk, Jason Cross, and Kid Romeo to earn a shot at the X-Division title. But before he got his title shot, he would square off against AJ Styles in Ring of Honor. This match was every bit as good as London's match with Danielson, and one cannot help but compare London to the legendary Ricky Steamboat after watching it. London and Styles wrestled to a time-limit draw. The fans gave them both a standing ovation for saving an otherwise forgettable event. Four days later, Chris Sabin defeated London to retain the X-Division title in TNA.

On July 19, 2003, at the first ever Death Before Dishonor, London, who had signed a contract with the WWE, wrestled Samoa Joe in London's farewell match in front of ROH's largest crowd to date. London did the honors and put Joe over, and in an infamous ROH moment, kissed the ROH logo in the center of the ring after saying his goodbye's to the fans.

London's in-ring ability had the WWE gushing. Sent to Ohio Valley Wrestling (WWE's developmental territory) in August, London impressed WWE officials so much that on September 15, he was invited to join the SmackDown! roster.

On October 9, 2003, London had a "try out" match against Brock Lesnar. Lesnar squashed him. In the ensuing weeks, London was paired with Brian "Spanky" Kendrick as a tag team, wrestling matches taped for Velocity. On January 29, 2004, they debuted as a tag team on SmackDown!, losing to The Bashams in a tag team title match. On the April 22, 2004 edition of SmackDown!, London wore a mask and played the role of El Gran Luchadore, jobbing to JBL. London then began teaming with Billy Kidman on SmackDown!, wrestling on television regularly. Kidman eventually turned on London, and the following week London confronted him and slapped him. They began a program which led to a match at No Mercy 2004. Kidman defeated London, who had a broken nose stemming from a match with Booker T in prior weeks, and London took several months off for surgery as a result.

London returned in December as a singles wrestler, having several incredible matches with Akio (Jimmy Wang Yang) that were taped for Velocity and Heat. At the 2005 Royal Rumble, London entered at #24 and was eliminated in vicious fashion by Gene Snitsky. London was carried out on a stretcher. On March 10, 2005, London defeated Akio on Velocity to become the number one contender for the Cruiserweight Title. The following week, London defeated Billy Kidman on SmackDown!. On March 31, 2005, Paul London got his first taste of WWE gold, winning the Cruiserweight Title in a Battle Royal. On the April 7, 2005 edition of SmackDown!, London retained his Cruiserweight Title against Kidman, but was busted open during the match.

London carried the Cruiserweight Title through to August, where he worked a program with Nunzio and lost the title to him on a match taped for Velocity (Big Vito interfered on Nunzio's behalf). In September, London wrestled Brian Kendrick in an excellent match on Velocity, and then wrestled Mr. Kennedy the following week on SmackDown!.

The WWE decided that they liked the pairing of London and Kendrick, and so one of the greatest tag teams of the current era were formed. Battling through the ranks of the tag team division, in February of 2006 London and Kendrick began an enthralling feud with MNM (Johnny Nitro and Joey Mercury with Melina), resurrecting a weak tag team scene. London and Kendrick defeated MNM on several occassions in non-title matches, until finally at Judgment Day 2006, they defeated MNM for the Tag Team Titles. MNM subsequently split up, ending the best tag team program in years.

London and Kendrick held the Tag Team titles for nearly a full year, wrestling in several amazing matches along the way -- most notably the infamous four team ladder match at Armageddon 2006, which London and Kendrick won, against all odds, to retain the titles. It was considered by many to be the match of the year. In 2007, they began to work a program with a new tag team, Deuce & Domino. This program led to the end of London and Kendrick's nearly year-long reign as champions. On April 20, 2007, Deuce & Domino defeated London and Kendrick for the titles. London and Kendrick continued to wrestle on SmackDown! until they were traded to Raw on June 17, 2007. One week prior, London drew the ire of Vince McMahon for smiling as Vince walked out of the arena only to have his limo blown up. McMahon was legitimately upset with London over the segment, as he felt it pointed to London as a suspect for the car bombing, when there were no plans to have him as part of the program.

Since joining Raw in June of 2007, London and Kendrick have not quite been the dominating force that they were on SmackDown! They did win the WWE Tag Team Titles against Lance Cade & Trevor Murdoch on the WWE South African Tour, but dropped the titles back to them on the last day of the tour. The title change was recognized on WWE.com.

London and Kendrick are indeed one of the most exciting tag teams in recent memory. They continue to rise up the Raw tag team ladder, and with such magnificent talent, it is only a matter of time before they hold tag team gold once again.

-- compiled by Mark Xamin

PAUL LONDON STORIES

  • May 5, 2013: London vs Richards: Working through a concussion
  • November 8, 2010: Fearless honesty dominates Kendrick & London shoot DVD
  • March 10, 2009: Paul London debuts new character in California
  • November 14, 2008: Mat Matters: London's talents were wasted in WWE
  • November 7, 2008: London, Palumbo released from WWE