Full Career Retrospective and Greatest Moments for Maven

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistJune 25, 2014

There was a great deal of unjust pressure on Maven to succeed when he debuted with World Wrestling Entertainment in 2001.

Winner of the first season of Tough Enough, he was pushed almost immediately out of the gate. Some say it was too fast, that he never had the opportunity to grow as a performer. Others say that he was never good enough, that he never improved fast enough and that he lacked charisma.

WWE Creative being unable, unwilling or uninterested in sustaining his pushes long enough may have had something to do with it.

Regardless, a man who was put over by some of the top stars in the industry early in his career faded into obscurity before being released from his contract in July of 2005.

Here, we'll relive the meteoric rise and rapid descent of one of wrestling's bright young stars. While Maven was ultimately unable to live up to expectations during the transitional period that was the 2000s, he did have some memorable moments and matches.

Read below to find out what those are.


Tough Enough Winner

For weeks, wrestling fans tuned into reality competition Tough Enough to see which of the WWE hopefuls would realize their dreams and become Superstars in the biggest sports-entertainment company on the planet.

Though the competition was stiff, Maven outlasted Harvard grad Chris Nowinski and Josh Matthews to win the men's contract, and Nidia defeated Taylor Matheny to earn a spot on the roster in the Divas division.

It was the beginning of a tradition that would last four years and turn out other notable stars like John Morrison, The Miz, Ryback and Melina (though she never made it into the televised portion of the competition).


First Feud

Maven's first feud upon debuting on the main roster was with Tough Enough trainer Tazz.

The rookie was beaten, battered and bruised by the former ECW champion, and rightfully so. He had nowhere near the experience that the grizzled vet did. and he paid dearly for stepping foot in the same ring as the Human Suplex Machine.

On the October 4, 2001 episode of SmackDown, Maven delivered a breakthrough performance. For the first time in his incredibly young career, he put his training and limited ring savvy together and upset his trainer. It was the first win of Maven's WWE career, and one that propelled him into the consciousness of the WWE fans.


Royal Rumble 2002

One does not get put over stronger than Maven did in January 2002 at the Royal Rumble. Entering the ring at a time in which Undertaker was dominant, tearing through and eliminating all competition before him, Maven looked poised to become the latest victim of the American Badass.

But then something happened that absolutely no one could have foreseen: Maven dropkicked The Phenom over the top rope and to the arena floor. The fans in Atlanta erupted, and the rookie competitor celebrated what was, to that point, the greatest moment of his career.

Then he realized that he angered the scariest, meanest, most deadly dog in the yard.

He became the punching bag for Undertaker, who beat him all the way into the arena concourse before throwing him head-first through a popcorn machine.

Sure, Maven's night ended prematurely, but it came after one of the greatest moments in Royal Rumble history.

Score one for the rookie.


First Championship Opportunity

Most WWE Superstars get their first shot at championship glory by competing for the Intercontinental, United States or even European title. On January 28, 2002, Maven challenged Chris Jericho for the WWE Undisputed Championship.

It was a major step in the right direction for the young Virginian, who had captured the attention of the audience in his first few months on WWE television.

Of course, he did not win, but he put in a strong enough showing against the great Y2J that fans became a bit more optimistic that he could one day develop into the star the company hoped he would be.


WrestleMania Debut

Maven's first title victory came on February 7 during an episode of SmackDown when he defeated The Undertaker to win the Hardcore Championship. It was a huge upset, one made possible by interference from The Rock and trainer Al Snow, but it continued to elevate the youngster.

At WrestleMania X8, he would make his debut on the grandest stage in the sport when he defended the title against Goldust. The match was awful. Maven was nowhere near ready to be in that spot, and Goldust did not seem all that willing to make him look great. 

Spike Dudley hit the ring, captured the title thanks to the 24/7 rule and escaped to the backstage area. The championship would switch hands over the course of the show, but by night's end, Maven would roll up Christian and regain the shattered, broken, demolished strap.


Survivor Series 2004

The second half of 2002 and most of 2003 were not kind to Maven. For whatever reason, WWE Creative lost focus and allowed him to descend into irrelevance as a member of the jampacked midcard. He did nothing of any importance outside of a very competitive match against Triple H on the July 13, 2003 episode of Sunday Night Heat.

Then, in November 2004, Maven found himself involved in the biggest match of his career. At the Survivor Series, he teamed with Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho and Randy Orton to take on Triple H, Batista, Gene Snitsky and Edge.

Prior to the bout, Maven was jumped by Snitsky and left lying. He was not involved in the first half of the bout but made his way to the ring late and gave it his all. He was eliminated, of course, but he injected the babyface team with the energy necessary to fight back and win.

As a result of his team's win, Maven was granted a night in which he would be the guest general manager of Raw. That night would be just 24 hours later, and with unlimited power at his disposal, Maven booked himself in a World Heavyweight Championship match against Triple H.

Never anywhere near the title picture, he would lose, but it would set the tone for the next three weeks, as the remaining members of his team had their chance at running the show.


Heel Turn

In late 2004, Maven turned heel by attacking and assaulting Eugene. It was a drastic switch for a guy who, just weeks earlier, was a member of the babyface team at Survivor Series and nearly knocked off Triple H for the top prize on Raw.

By January 2005, he was challenging Shelton Benjamin for the Intercontinental Championship.

At New Year's Revolution, he fought Benjamin for the title in a pay-per-view bout. He lost, then ordered the match restarted and lost again. Despite showing strong microphone skills as a villain, he lost a great deal of momentum following his consecutive losses to Benjamin and was teaming with Simon Dean by the spring.

Unfortunately, his stint with WWE would come to an end when he was released from his contract that summer.

Maven was a wrestler who needed more time to develop his skills than he was ever allowed. Toward the end of his stint with WWE, he proved to be a skilled talker whose talents in the ring simply did not match up. Had he been allowed to join Jim Cornette in Ohio Valley Wrestling and really learn the business before being thrown onto TV, he may have achieved much more than he ultimately did.

As it stands, he will forever be associated with a group of wrestlers who never lived up to expectations.



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