‘Known in another universe as Evan Bourne’.
It’s fair to say Josh Matthews isn’t the greatest commentator when it comes to subtle announcing. However, the man is right. With Matt Sydal being gone for a couple of years and the landscape of WWE changed, would Sydal fit in? Would he be a jobber? Would he be a Cruiserweight star? Why is Booker T still on RAW? All this and more will be explored as you read on.
To be quite frank, to go through the entirety of Sydal’s indie career would take up too much time, so I won’t. It started with a high school wrestling background and ended with Ring of Honor and Dragon Gate. Got it? Great. He lapped up plaudits for his unique style and eventually did what most successful indie guys do, make the trip down to Vince’s fun asylum in Conneticut (WWE).
Sydal joined OVW right at the end of its tenure, winning the OVW Heavyweight title and then dropping it within a month. He ended up in FCW and after just one match, got the big call.
He debuted on the modern day ECW (it was a bit like the old one, except for everything being different and the E being everything but extreme). Sydal went on a long undefeated run, and started generating a buzz for one thing in particular, the shooting star press.
Check out his shooting star press from the 2011 Money in the Bank by clicking here!
Sydal was injured towards the end of 2008, hindering his minor push, but he did still win the Slammy for best finishing move. As 2009 started, he found himself traded to RAW, losing the bulk of his matches in the classic WWE move of trying to get a star over by making sure he does ‘flips and stuff’, but also making sure he wins around 20% of his matches.
Click here to check out last weeks ‘If They Were In WWE Today’: Wade Barrett
Nothing of note happened in the next 2 years of Sydal’s career. He was injured, participated in some throwaway matches, but also was able to put on a match that would be consider for match of the year against Chris Jericho. Sydal was just starting to go somewhere, but that place wasn’t very clear.
Then came Air Boom. As per the norm with WWE, if you’ve got nothing for two midcarders, you put them in a tag-team. To be fair to Matt and Kofi Kingston, they took the ball and ran with it. They were over as hell and had some great matches. Despite being dealt his first suspension, they held on to the titles for 4 months. They ultimately dropped those titles to Primo & Epico on a house show. It became pretty clear why they lost the titles though, as Sydal was once again suspended. Shortly after that he was involved in a car accident and never returned to television. Despite being off of television he was technically with the company for another 3 years.
Since his departure, Sydal has had a pretty fruitful career. He had some excellent feuds on the UK scene, a great match with Johnny Gargano in EVOLVE and he is now signed to both TNA and ROH. He had a brief stint in New Japan, but never really got off the ground with that one. He’s destined for big things if he gets his attitude sorted. For now, he remains a permanent ‘what could have been’ type of guy.
So how would Matt Sydal be doing in WWE today…
To answer that question, he probably wouldn’t be anything special. Yes he was a great wrestler, but he really wasn’t any more than a lower-midcarder. With that being said, should Sydal ever come back (highly unlikely given the wellness violations), he could be that third star the Cruiserweight division is crying out for.
He’s fast, explosive and would be able to put on fantastic matches as either a heel or a face. Realistically if he did return, it’d be in a couple of years, and if the Cruiserweight division is still just about floating, he could just be the person to surge it forward with a wave of momentum. Bourne would make a great champion and figurehead for the division. It would also be a plus for him as it’d keep him from being buried on the main roster.
Sydal isn’t necessarily a missed opportunity, but more of a ‘I wonder how good he could have been’. Whether he comes back or not, fans will remember him and his crisp shooting star press, but would they be disappointed if he never came back? Probably not.