Brian Kendrick is unquestionably one of the most immediately recognisable names set to compete in WWE’s Cruiserweight Classic tournament. Kicking-off on June 23rd, Kendrick joins an esteemed group of 32 wrestlers representing a multitude of different nations and wrestling styles.
From Mexican luchadores to British technicians, the Classic is a truly global affair and Kendrick, along with fellow WWE alumnus Tajiri, will bring an audience who remember his two eventful runs with the company.
Once a record-breaking Tag Team Champion with Paul London, Kendrick’s most notable singles spell came in 2008. Repackaged as “The Brian Kendrick” and with the debuting Ezekiel Jackson his bodyguard, Kendrick found success as a sleazy rockstar heel, maneuvering his way into multiple title opportunities and winning a new army of fans in the process.
While Kendrick achieved reasonable success throughout his run, he’ll ultimately go down as WWE’s biggest “missed opportunities” of the 2000s. Released in 2009, Kendrick had the look, skills, and charisma to go much further as a singles act, and whatever the reason for his departure, it’s a shame he didn’t get an opportunity to prove it.
While most of his professional exploits are well-known, Kendrick is an interesting and complex character with some notable personality quirks.
Here are 10 things you didn’t know about him...
9. Kendrick And Daniel Bryan Go Way Back
Brian Kendrick met Daniel Bryan (wrestling as “American Dragon” at this point) shortly after moving to Texas to train with NWA Southwest, then at the Shawn Michaels Wrestling Academy. It was here that Kendrick acquired the now-infamous “Spanky” monicker (the origins of which you probably don’t want to know), and in October 1999, he wrestled his debut match against Bryan himself.
Their connection doesn’t end there, though. Kendrick and Bryan both wound-up in Memphis Championship Wrestling under WWE developmental contract, and their in-ring relationship continued. In September 2000, Kendrick defeated Bryan for the MCW Southern Light Heavyweight Championship, before teaming with Dragon to capture the company’s tag belts a few weeks later.
MCW folded not long after, but Bryan and Kendrick continued to meet on various jaunts across the independent circuit, with the most recent bout coming on a 2009 Pro Wrestling Guerrilla show.