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Matthew Jason 'Matt' Bloom (born November 14, 1972) is an Americanmarker professional wrestler, currently wrestling for New Japan Pro Wrestling under the ring name Giant Bernard. Between 1997 and 2004, Bloom wrestled for World Wrestling Entertainment under the ring names Prince Albert, Albert, and A-Train.

Bloom has twenty-eight piercings, the first of which he received at the age of fourteen.

Early life

Bloom attended Peabody High School, where he earned three letters in football and basketball, two in track and field, and one in baseball. He went on to attend the University of Pittsburghmarker, where he played American football as an offensive tackle and an offensive guard.

Bloom graduated in 1996 with a degree in sign language. After graduating, Bloom briefly played in the National Football League for the San Diego Chargers. He then became a schoolteacher, teaching mathematics and English to children with behavioral problems and deaf children at Revere High School. After rewarding his three aptest students with a trip to a professional wrestling event, Bloom, who had aspired to wrestle professionally as a child, met wrestler and wrestling trainer Killer Kowalski and expressed an interest in learning how to wrestle. Kowalski invited Bloom to attend his school, and Bloom opted to leave teaching and train as a wrestler.

Professional wrestling career

Starting out

Bloom wrestled his first match in 1997, facing Tim McNeany. He briefly wrestled as Baldo, a gimmick given to him by referee Freddy Sparta that saw him wear a fur rug to the ring.

After being introduced to talent scout Tom Prichard by George Steele, Bloom was hired by the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). After receiving supplementary training from Dory Funk, Jr., Bloom was assigned to the Power Pro Wrestling (PPW) developmental territory in Memphis, Tennesseemarker, where he wrestled as Baldo. While wrestling in PPW, Bloom won both the PPW Young Guns Championship and the PPW Heavyweight Championship, and engaged in a feud with Memphis mainstay Jerry Lawler.

World Wrestling Federation / Entertainment (1999–2004)

Bloom debuted on WWF television on the April 11, 1999 episode of Sunday Night Heat, saving Droz from a beating at the hands of Big Bossman. Bloom was named Prince Albert, and joined a short-lived trio called "the Pierced Pals". He acquired the persona of Droz's personal tattooist. Droz and Albert continued to team together until Droz was paralyzed in October 1999, at which point Albert became the protege of the Big Bossman. The duo separated following the debut of Bull Buchanan, who formed a tag team with the Big Bossman.

In March 2000, Bloom, now commonly known as Albert, was recruited by Trish Stratus to form a tag team with Test. The tag team, known as T & A, competed in the tag team division throughout 2000, feuding with rival tag teams such as the Dudley Boyz and the Acolytes Protection Agency. In December 2000, the team separated after Bloom attacked Test under the orders of Stephanie McMahon Helmsley.

In April 2001, Albert formed a stable known as X-Factor with Justin Credible and X-Pac. On June 28, 2001 in New York Citymarker, New Yorkmarker, Bloom defeated Kane to win the WWF Intercontinental Championship. He lost the WWF Intercontinental Championship to Alliance member Lance Storm on July 23, 2001 in Buffalo, New Yorkmarker after several interferences. In July 2001, Credible left X-Factor and joined The Alliance. Albert and X-Pac continued to team until November 2001, when X-Pac was injured.

In late 2001, Albert adopted the nickname "The Hip Hop Hippo" and began teaming with Scotty 2 Hotty. Upon the introduction of the Brand Extension, both Bloom and Hotty were assigned to the SmackDown! brand. The tag team disbanded on April 4, 2002 when Albert attacked Hotty after the duo failed to defeat Billy and Chuck for the WWF Tag Team Championship.

Subsequently, he was not featured in any high profile feuds until December 2002, when he joined forces with Paul Heyman and The Big Show, and was renamed A-Train after Heyman's suggestion. A-Train and Big Show lost to The Undertaker at WrestleMania XIX. A-Train feuded with The Undertaker, whom he wrestled at SummerSlam, and Chris Benoit, whom he wrestled at No Mercy. At Survivor Series, he wrestled alongside Lesnar in a ten man Survivor Series match. He competed in the 2004 Royal Rumble match, but was eliminated by the eventual winner, Chris Benoit. When Benoit decided to compete against Triple H for the World Championship on the Raw brand, General Manager Paul Heyman held a SmackDown! style Royal Rumble where the winner would meet Brock Lesnar for the WWE Championship at No Way Out. He was eliminated by Eddie Guerrero, who went on to win the match. The alliance with Lesnar ended in March 2004 when Bloom was drafted to the Raw brand. A-Train debuted on Raw on June 7. On June 21, he suffered a torn rotator cuff. Before returning from injury, he was released from his WWE contract on November 1, 2004.

Bloom holds the distinction of wrestling in the first match on 'Jakked', against Ken Shamrock, and the last match, against Hugh Morris.

Independent circuit (2004)

Following his release, Bloom wrestled for the Impact Zone Wrestling independent promotion under the ring name Train.

All Japan Pro Wrestling (2005)

In March 2005, Bloom began wrestling for the Japanesemarker All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW) promotion, adopting the ring name Giant Bernard, a reference to fellow gaijin Brute Bernard. He went on to join the Voodoo Murders stable alongside fellow WWE alumni Chuck Palumbo and Johnny Stamboli. On October 18, 2005, Bloom unsuccessfully challenged Satoshi Kojima for the AJPW Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship./

New Japan Pro Wrestling (2006–present)

In January 2006, Bloom left AJPW and joined the rival New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) promotion. In April 2006, he defeated Yuji Nagata in the finals of the 2006 New Japan Cup. As a result of his victory, Bloom received a shot at the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. He unsuccessfully challenged IWGP Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar on May 3, 2006 in Tenjin, Chūō-ku, Fukuokamarker.

In July 2006, following the vacation of the IWGP Heavyweight Championship by Lesnar, Bloom entered a tournament for the title, losing to Hiroshi Tanahashi in the tournament finals. In August 2006, Bloom took part in the 2006 G1 Climax tournament, losing to Hiroyoshi Tenzan in the semi-finals.

On March 11, 2007 in Nagoya, Bloom and Travis Tomko defeated Manabu Nakanishi and Takao Ōmori to win the IWGP Tag Team Championship. At the February 17, 2008 New Japan show, they lost the IWGP Tag Titles to Makabe and Yano. Following Tomko's departure for Total Nonstop Action Wrestling on a full-time basis, Bernard began teaming with former World Championship Wrestling wrestler Rick Fuller in another powerhouse tag team. On September 5, 2008, Bernard and Fuller betrayed Shinsuke Nakamura and Hirooki Goto to align themselves with Hiroyoshi Tenzan's Great Bash Heel stable.

In addition to wrestling for NJPW as Giant Bernard, Bloom also wrestled for the NJPW affiliate Wrestle Land as Rusher Road, a member of the "Roads" stable, until the brand's closure.

Personal life

Bloom was married on September 3, 2005 to a woman called Farah. They wed at Caleo Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Besides his body piercings, he also has a signature designed tattoo written in kanji on his upper thigh. After debuting in Japan, Bloom shaved his signature body hair and added a new tribal tattoo design to his body that spans from his chest to his arms, similar to that of Tomko.

In wrestling

  • Nicknames
    • "The Wrestler Formerly Known as Prince"
    • "The Hip Hop Hippo"

Championships and accomplishments

  • Impact Zone Wrestling
    • IZW Heavyweight Championship (1 time)

  • Power Pro Wrestling
    • PPW Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
    • PPW Young Guns Championship (1 time)


External links

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