Great Ideas That Didn’t Last: ‘The’ Brian Kendrick

Brian Damage

Throughout the history of pro wrestling bookers and promoters have always tried to come up with new, creative and innovative ideas to generate interest in their product. Some ideas have not only succeeded…but flourished. Others were DOA from the get go. Then there are those ideas which initially were innovative but, for various reasons, faded away. Those are the focus of this latest series of posts titled ‘Great Ideas That Didn’t Last’.

It isn’t unusual for successful tag teams to split up and go their separate ways. It has happened to some of the very best teams. Usually, it is due to a promoter seeing big things for an individual in a team and giving that individual a major singles push. We’ve documented some of these teams splits and how one becomes the star, while the other becomes the mid carder at best. After a very lengthy reign as a co holder of the WWE tag team championship….’Spanky’ aka Brian Kendrick was being split up from his partner Paul London and placed on separate brands.

It was obvious from the get go that WWE management saw a lot of star potential in Kendrick as a singles wrestler. It was Jim Ross who compared Brian Kendrick as a hybrid between Brian Pillman and Shawn Michaels. A true compliment and fitting considering Kendrick was once trained by the Heartbreak Kid Shawn Michaels at one point. Brian had a very unique wrestling style and had good charisma. He looked like a high flyer, but was extremely versed in mat wrestling.

In 2008, Kendrick was moved to the blue brand of Smackdown, while his partner Paul London was shipped to Monday Night Raw. Brian Kendrick was repackaged and had a rocket ship placed on his back. He had new ring gear made by his wife and was placed under the tutelage of Smackdown producer Michael Hayes. He was given a bodyguard by the name of Ezekiel Jackson and was given the handle of ‘The’ Brian Kendrick.

Almost immediately, Kendrick was placed in the ring with Smackdown’s top stars like the Undertaker, Jeff Hardy and Triple H. It appeared as if WWE wanted to make The Brian Kendrick into a bonafide main event star. He was given a ton of TV exposure and his push was very strong. The announcers were all talking The Brian Kendrick up as a potential big time star.

His first real big exposure came at the WWE pay per view ‘Unforgiven.’ Kendrick qualified to enter the WWE Championship Scramble Match. The match itself was a bit convoluted where if you scored a pin during the match, you would be considered the “interim” WWE champion. You wouldn’t be considered the official champion until the allotted time ran out. Kendrick was able to score a pinfall and become interim champion for a spell. In fact, Kendrick had the longest time as the interim WWE champion during that match.

In the end, Kendrick was unable to secure the WWE title, but showcased himself as a rising star for the company. Then, in the Spring of 2009, things began to quickly unravel. Kendrick’s bodyguard Ezekiel Jackson was drafted to WWE’s ECW brand splitting up the duo. Kendrick began a quick demise down the card and was no longer considered main event material. It was reported that Kendrick had failed multiple drug tests (12 to be exact). The drug in question was marijuana.

Instead of Kendrick getting suspended, he was fined $1,000 for each offense. According to Kendrick, WWE executive John Laurinaitis confronted Kendrick over his drug use and fines and asked Kendrick what was he thinking. Laurinaitis told Kendrick he could’ve bought a car with all the fines WWE levied against him. At the time, however, Kendrick did not care…he was young, arrogant and all he cared about was himself and getting high.

Brian Kendrick would later state that he regrets his past actions. His decisions led WWE to de-push him and eventually led to his release from the company. Who knows how far The Brian Kendrick could have gone if he stayed drug free. The WWE did seem to have major plans and high hopes for him. Unfortunately, it was never fully realized.

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