December 18, 2005
REAL NAME: Adam Birch
Trained by Jimmy Cicero, Adam Birch debuted as Joey Matthews in October 1996. A year after his debut, he won the first of many tag team titles with Christian York: the Mid-Eastern Wrestling Federation tag team titles. Over the next several years, Matthews and York (sometimes wrestling as the Bad Street Boys) would travel to many different independent organizations and win the tag tean titles: the Steel City Wrestling Tag Team titles on December 20, 1998, the Atlantic Terror Championship Wrestling tag titles on January 15, 2000 and the Virginia Championship Wrestling tag team titles on December 1, 2001 to name just three. On February 3, 2001, the Bad Street Boys defeated Rick Michaels and David Young to become the NWA World tag team champions, a reign that lasted two weeks.
But as frequently as York and Matthews teamed together, they also found themselves facing each other on opposite sides of the ring. On May 8, 1998, Matthews beat York to regain the Southern Championship Wrestling Junior Heavyweight title in Wendell, NC on May 8, 1998. Victories over York also netted Matthews the Independent Professional Wrestling Alliance Light Heavyweight title on January 9, 1999, the OMEGA Light Heavyweight title on January 29, 1999 and the Maryland Championship Wrestling Cruiserweight title on May 21, 1999.
In 2000, Matthews and York traveled to ECW, where they lost to Danny Doring and Roadkill at Anarchy Rulz and then lost to Simon Diamond and Johnny Swinger at November to Remember and Massacre of 34th Street.
After ECW, Matthews and York appeared in Ring of Honor in 2002, and teamed together on several occassions, before Matthews joined a faction called Special K. He also worked for various indy organizations such as Xtreme Pro Wrestling, Maryland Championship Wrestling and Pheonix Championship Wrestling.
As recently as Valentine's Day 2003, Matthews teamed with his long-time tag team partner, York, in a loss to Mexico's Most Wanted on an Xtreme Pro Wrestling card. Two months later, York and Matthews teamed up to take on Phil Brown and Pat Cusick in a dark match before a Raw broadcast.
Over the next few months, Matthews was wrestling for three of North America's largest wrestling organizations: WWE, TNA and ROH. His early months in WWE saw him taking on Lance Storm, Crowbar in dark matches, and Matt Hardy, Ultimo Dragon and A-Train on Velocity. He teamed with Krazy K and took on Matt Hardy's brother, Jeff during a handicap match in Ring of Honor in July. In August 2003, Matthews lost to Chris Sabin in NWA-TNA.
After spending some time in November 2003 at the Ohio Valley Wrestling training centre, Matthews made several appearances in 3PW where he upset A.J. Styles before defeating Jerry Lynn and Sabu to become the number one contender to the 3PW title. Then, on April 17, 2004, he defeated Raven to win the championship, a title he would retain until August 21st, when he lost the belt to Christopher Daniels.
Meanwhile, Matthews was still active in both WWE (losing to Rhino and Maven on Sunday Night Heat) and TNA's X-Divison (taking part in a 20-Man Gauntlet match in August that saw Petey Williams claim the X-Division title).
In the fall of 2004, after a short tour of Puerto Rico's WWC and a falling out with 3PW, Matthews (now known as Joey Mercury) began teaming with Johnny Nitro in Ohio Valley Wrestling. With Melina Perez as their manager, the team became known as MNM. After a victory over the Dudley Boyz in one of their first matches together, MNM went on to hold the OVW Southern tag team titles from November 10, 2004 to January 19, 2005.
Their first televised appearance in WWE came during an April 2005 appearance on Carlito's Cabana in which they attacked Rey Mysterio and served notice that they would be a team to be reckoned with in WWE. It took only a week, and a victory over Mysterio and Eddie Guerrero before they were WWE tag team champions. MNM would retain the titles against Guerrero/Mysterio, Hardcore Holly/Charlie Haas and other teams. Their first tag title reign came to an end on July 24th at the Great American Bash when they were defeated by Heidenreich and Road Warrior Animal.
MNM would battle the ill-fated team of Chris Benoit and Booker T before turning their attentions towards regaining the titles. Remaining in the title hunt, MNM would win a four-team match (which included the Mexicools, LOD, and William Regal/Paul Burchill) on October 28, 2005 and regain the tag team titles.
It appeared that MNM were headed towards a showdown against the Mexicools at Armaggedon in defence of those titles, but just days before the pay-per-view, MNM were dethroned by Rey Mysterio/Batista. MNM would regain the tag team titles, thanks to Mark Henry.
--- compiled by John M. Milner
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