Alvin Burke, Jr. also known as Hassan Hamin Assad (his adopted Muslim name) (October 28, 1973), better known by his ring name Montel Vontavious Porter or MVP is an American professional wrestler currently signed to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) on the RAW brand. He currently holds the distinction of having the second longest WWE United States Championship reign within the WWE, originally being the longest reigning champion before his record was broken by Dean Ambrose in 2013.
Professional wrestling career
Assad first entered professional wrestling after completing 9½ years of an 18½ year prison sentence for armed robbery and kidnapping, which he started at the age of sixteen. Assad entered the professional wrestling business through the help of a corrections officer in his prison who also worked as a wrestler in the independent circuit. After being trained by former professional wrestlers "Soulman" Alex G and Norman Smiley, Assad made his wrestling debut in 2002. He worked for many different companies on the independent circuit using the name Antonio Banks, including appearances with Full Impact Pro (FIP) and Future of Wrestling (FOW), where he won the latter's Tag Team Championship with Punisher. He also made sporadic appearances for Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA), and wrestled on the April 20, 2003 episode of TNA Xplosion. He appeared again for TNA on the August 6, 2004 episode of Impact!, with Sal Rinauro as his tag team partner, losing to America's Most Wanted (Chris Harris & James Storm). He also wrestled for Coastal Championship Wrestling (CCW) and Elite Wrestling Entertainment in 2005, competing against wrestlers like Jerry Lynn and D'Lo Brown. In CCW, he won the Heavyweight Championship on August 20, 2005, by defeating Blackhart and Bruno Sassi in a three-way match.
World Wrestling Entertainment (2006-2010)
Burke made his on screen debut in World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) under the ring name Montel Vontavious Porter (MVP), an arrogant athlete who is full of himself. He first appeared on SmackDown on August 4, 2006 and feuded with Kane. He then began long feuds with Chris Benoit and Matt Hardy. On May 20, 2007 at Judgment Day MVP defeated Benoit to win the WWE United States Championship. MVP moved on to Matt Hardy and claimed that he was better than Matt at anything and challenged Matt to many different competitions. One on one basketball games, arm wrestling, a boxing match and more. MVP competed in the Money in the Bank ladder match at WrestleMania XXIV but was not able to get the win. On April 27, 2008 MVP battled rival Matt Hardy at Backlash for the WWE United States Championship. MVP lost his title to Matt Hardy after holding it for nearly a year. MVP then started feeling like he was unappreciated on SmackDown and let everyone know how he felt, even SmackDown General manager Vickie Guerrero. MVP wanted to renegotiate his contract but continually felt disrespected by Vickie.
On the July 25, 2008 edition of Smackdown during the VIP Lounge Jeff Hardy was MVP's guest. MVP got real personal with Hardy by bringing up his house that burned down, Jeff's dog and Jeff Hardy's overall character. This led to a feud between the two. They battled it out on August 17, 2008 at SummerSlam and MVP was able to get the victory.
On April 13, 2009, MVP was drafted as the first overall pick to the Raw brand as a part of the 2009 WWE Draft Lottery. As a result of being the reigning WWE United States Champion, he transferred the title to Raw for the first time in history.
On the June 1, 2009 edition of Raw MVP would lose his United States Championship to Kofi Kingston. In a show of sportsmanship, MVP handed over the belt to Kofi before leaving the ring.
On the July 6, 2009 episode of Raw MVP had Jack Swagger as his guest on the VIP Lounge. MVP called Swagger a fraud for getting the automatic count out against Randy Orton in his debut on Raw last week. Swagger called out MVP for spending time in prison, saying he's the fraud pretending to be an MVP athlete. Swagger said if anyone is the MVP on Raw it's him. This began a feud between MVP and Jack Swagger.
MVP faced Jack Swagger on August 23, 2009 at SummerSlam. In the match MVP hit a running boot followed by his Playmaker to take the pinfall on Swagger.
MVP then starting feuding with Chris Jericho after MVP used brass knuckles in a match when MVP teamed with Mark Henry against Jericho and Big Show. The brass knuckles were thrown in the ring to MVP by Floyd Mayweather who used brass knuckles to knock out the Big Show at WrestleMania XXIV.
As part of the 2010 WWE Draft Lottery, MVP was drafted back to the SmackDown brand. He made his SmackDown return on the April 30 episode, interrupting CM Punk's promo, and later teaming up with Rey Mysterio to defeat Punk and Luke Gallows. On June 1, MVP was announced as the mentor of Percy Watson for the second season of WWE NXT. His rookie Watson was unable to win the NXT Season 2 as, Kaval emerged the winner. MVP was announced as part of Team Mysterio, teaming with Rey Mysterio, The Big Show, Chris Masters and Kofi Kingston to face Team Del Rio (Alberto Del Rio, Tyler Reks, Jack Swagger, Drew McIntyre and Cody Rhodes) at Survivor Series. At the pay-per-view, MVP was the first man eliminated in the match by McIntyre, who was aided by Del Rio holding MVP's foot down so he couldn't kick out. MVP's last match with the WWE aired on December 3, a day after his announced release, teaming with Kaval in a losing effort against Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler; afterward, he and Kaval were attacked by Kane.
On December 2, 2010, Burke requested and was granted a release from his WWE contract.
New Japan Pro Wrestling (2011-2013)
In 2011, Burke signed a one year contract with New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW), pursuing his noted passion for puroresu. TMZ reported that Burke's prior convictions had made it difficult for him to acquire a visa but that he would be debuting in February. In storyline MVP was brought in to the promotion by NOSAWA Rongai, who wanted him to join the heel stable Kojima Office, led by Satoshi Kojima. In his debut match for the promotion on February 20, MVP teamed with fellow Kojima Office member Taichi to defeat Togi Makabe and Tomoaki Honma in a tag team match by making Honma submit to his Take it to the Bank crossface. On March 6, MVP entered the 2011 New Japan Cup, used to determine the new number one contender to the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, defeating Karl Anderson in his first round match. On March 19, MVP suffered his first loss in New Japan, when he was defeated by Togi Makabe in the second round of the New Japan Cup. The following day, MVP achieved a major victory when he tapped IWGP Heavyweight Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi out with the TTB in a tag team match, where he teamed with Satoshi Kojima and Tanahashi with Hirooki Goto.
In May 2011, MVP took part in New Japan's first tour of the United States. On May 13 in Rahway, New Jersey, he entered the tournament to determine the first ever IWGP Intercontinental Champion, defeating Kazuchika Okada in his first round match. The following day in New York City, MVP defeated Tetsuya Naito to advance to the finals of the tournament. On the third and final day of the tour in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, MVP defeated Toru Yano in the finals to become the first IWGP Intercontinental Champion. On June 18 at NJPW Dominion 6.18, MVP made his first successful defense of the IWGP Intercontinental Championship by defeating Toru Yano. After the match, Yano attacked him and cut his hair. The two would face each other in a third title match on July 18, where MVP was once again victorious. After the match MVP was attacked and challenged by Yano's Chaos stablemate Masato Tanaka. In August, MVP took part in the 2011 G1 Climax, where he managed to win six out of his nine matches, but a loss to Karl Anderson on the final day of the tournament caused him to narrowly miss advancing to the finals. On October 10 at Destruction '11, MVP lost the IWGP Intercontinental Championship to Masato Tanaka, ending his reign at 148 days. MVP received a rematch for the title on December 4, but was again defeated by Tanaka, following interference from his stablemate Yujiro Takahashi. On January 4, 2012, at NJPW 40th Anniversary Tour ~ Wrestle Kingdom VI In Tokyo Dome, MVP teamed with Shelton Benjamin, making a special one-time appearance, to defeat Tanaka and Takahashi in a tag team match. MVP reunited with Benjamin on June 16 at Dominion 6.16, where they defeated Karl Anderson and Tama Tonga in a tag team match. In August, MVP took part in his second G1 Climax tournament, where he won four out of his eight matches and failed to advance to the finals. In November, MVP took part in the 2012 World Tag League, where he teamed with Shelton Benjamin under the tag team name "Black Dynamite". MVP and Benjamin finished their tournament on December 1 with a record of three wins, one over the reigning IWGP Tag Team Champions Davey Boy Smith Jr. and Lance Archer and three losses, failing to advance from their block. On January 4, 2013, at NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 7 ~ Evolution ~ In Tokyo Dome, MVP teamed with Akebono, Manabu Nakanishi and Strong Man in an eight-man tag team match, where they defeated Bob Sapp, Takashi Iizuka, Toru Yano and Yujiro Takahashi. On February 26, MVP announced that he had parted ways with New Japan and would be next focusing on a television project with Lionsgate Television. He later explained his reasons behind leaving the promotion, saying that he wanted to stay closer to his home in addition to just "recharging the batteries".
Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (2014-2015)
The Beat Down Clan (2014–2015, 2019)
At the January 30, 2014, tapings of Impact Wrestling, Assad returned to TNA using the MVP name, revealing himself to be the storyline "investor" responsible for signing The Wolves and counteracting Dixie Carter's agenda in recent weeks, establishing himself as a face. On the February 13 episode of Impact Wrestling, MVP made his in-ring debut, defeating Rockstar Spud. The following week it was announced that MVP would captain a team to face a team captained by Bobby Roode in a Lethal Lockdown match at Lockdown. The head of the winning team, either MVP or Dixie Carter, gains complete control over TNA. On March 9, 2014, at Lockdown, MVP gained total control of wrestling operations in TNA as his team defeated Team Dixie.
On the May 8th edition of Impact Wrestling, after telling Young how "proud" he was of him, MVP attacked Eric Young and announced himself as the #1 contender to the TNA World Heavyweight Championship, turning heel again in the process. However, TNA announced on Friday that due a torn meniscus, MVP was deemed medically unfit to compete, removing him from the match in the process. According to PWInsider, the original plans were to crown MVP as champion. On the June 19th episode of Impact Wrestling, MVP and Kenny King helped Lashley win the TNA World Heavyweight Championship from Eric Young, but firing Earl Hebner in the process. On June 26 episode of Impact Wrestling, he was relieved of his duties as Director of Wrestling Operations by Earl Sullivan Armstrong, Board of Directors Representative as MVP attempted to fire Bobby Roode, and MVP's replacement as Executive Director of Wrestling Operations was revealed to be Kurt Angle. On September 18, 2014, at the tapings for the October 28 edition of Impact Wrestling, Lashley lost the World Heavyweight Championship to Roode. Lashley regained the championship on January 7, 2015 with the help of MVP and King, but also from three new members Samoa Joe, Low Ki and Roode's friend Eric Young. On the following night's tapings of the January 16, 2015 episode of Impact Wrestling, Lashley refused to become a part of this new group and decided to leave, but was attacked by the other members and with MVP saying that the title belongs to the BDC.
On January 2015, MVP formed a new group, the Beat Down Clan with King, Samoa Joe, Low Ki, and Eric Young, helping Lashley to regain the championship from Roode. MVP attempted to present Lashley as the centerpiece of the Clan as well as a "founding member" (officially establishing the MVP-Lashley-King trio as the foundation of the BDC as a faction). However, Lashley turned on them and the Beat Down Clan attacked him. At Impact Wrestling: Lockdown 2015, Team Angle (Kurt Angle, Austin Aries, Gunner, and Lashley) defeated The BDC (MVP, Samoa Joe, Low Ki, and Kenny King) in a Lethal Lockdown match. On February 27 broadcast of Impact Wrestling, MVP faced Lashley for the title, but was defeated. In April, The Beat Down Clan started a feud against the newly formed The Rising (Drew Galloway, Eli Drake and Micah), having several matches between the stables until the June 24, 2015 (aired July 1) episode of Impact Wrestling, where The Beat Down Clan defeated The Rising in a 4-on-3 Handicap match, forcing The Rising to dissolve. On July 17, 2015, MVP officially left TNA. He was reportedly released in the fallout of a contract dispute between TNA and Lucha Underground. MVP had pushed for TNA to sign Hernandez, even though he was at the time still under contract to Lucha Underground. When Lucha Underground contacted TNA, they released Hernandez and were forced to re-edit all segments he had been involved in at the past tapings.
On September 13, 2019, he made an appearance for TNA, now known as Impact Wrestling at their Operation Override Twitch special. In the match, he challenged for WCR's World Class Championship against the champion Chavo Guerrero Jr. Due to the disqualification finish, the two had a rematch at the following night's Victory Road Impact Plus Monthly Specials.
Independent circuit (2013–2019)
MVP has made frequent appearances for Tommy Dreamer's House of Hardcore (HOH) promotion. He wrestled at the second and third events when the promotion was starting up in 2013. After his stint in TNA, MVP defeated Moose at House of Hardcore XVI in August 2016 in his return to the promotion. He went on to appear at nine straight shows for the promotion in 2017, wrestling the likes of Jack Swagger, Tommy Dreamer, Billy Gunn and Matt Cross among others. At December 1, 2018, he made his most recent appearance for the promotion, defeating Big Cass at HOH 51.
He announced on March 31, 2016, that he would be joining Lucha Underground. However, days later, on April 8, he announced his release from the company due to inadvertently violating terms of his contract by interviewing members of the roster for his podcast. On October 10, 2016, MVP defeated Jody Kristofferson for the All Pro Wrestling (APW) Universal Heavyweight Championship. MVP fought Rob Van Dam for the PCW Ultra Heavyweight Championship on March 24, 2017 in a losing effort. The following day, MVP lost the APW Universal Heavyweight Championship to Luster The Legend. His June 22, 2018, return to APW resulted in a loss to Penta El 0M.
In early 2018 MVP wrestled two matches for Booker T's promotion Reality of Wrestling. On February 25, 2018, he won a battle royal for the Big League Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship, a title he still holds. In March 2018 he wrestled in Istanbul, Turkey for Turkish Power Wrestling in the main event. He debuted for AAW Wrestling on August 4, 2018, in a match where he beat Eddie Kingston.
During early 2019 he wrestled most frequently for World Class Revolution (WCR), a promotion based out of Oklahoma. Also during 2019 he wrestled for Oakland's Hoodslam Wrestling and Alberto El Patron's new Mexican promotion Nación Lucha Libre.
Major League Wrestling (2017–2018)
Due to his podcast on Court Bauer's MLW Radio Network, MVP was chosen as one of the wrestlers for the newly relaunched Major League Wrestling (MLW). He appeared at their first show since 2004, One Shot beating Sami Callihan in a no-disqualification match October 5, 2017. He also joined the company as an agent, producing talent promos and matches. In February 2018, MVP participated in the tournament to crown a new MLW World Heavyweight Champion, the first one since the promotion's revival. He was beaten in the first round by Tom Lawlor. Two months later he made his debut on their new weekly program MLW Fusion in a match against Callihan, that MVP lost. MVP continued his feud with Callihan by defeating one of Callihan's partners Leon Scott by DQ on the June 8 episode of MLW Fusion. On July 1, 2018, MVP revealed he had parted ways with MLW and MLW Radio. His final match for the promotion aired on July 6, 2018. It was a Boiler Room Brawl that was won by Sami Callihan ending their feud.
Ring of Honor (2019)
On January 25, 2019, MVP made a return to Ring of Honor (ROH) at their Road To G1 Supercard show in Houston, Texas. This was his first appearance for the company since one match in 2005, where he wrestled as Antonio Banks. At the show he debuted as a surprise partner of Kenny King, reforming the Beat Down Clan. They would go on to defeat the team of Willie Mack and Colt Cabana advancing them in the Tag Wars tournament. The winners of Tag Wars were set to receive a ROH World Tag Team Championship title shot at ROH's 17th-anniversary pay-per-view and a spot in the Crockett Cup tournament. However, MVP and King lost in the semi-finals of the tournament to Brody King and PCO.
Return to WWE (2018–present)
Sporadic appearances (2018–2020)
On January 26, 2020, at the Royal Rumble pay-per-view, MVP was a surprise entrant in the Royal Rumble match, where he was quickly eliminated by Brock Lesnar. The next night on Raw, MVP had a match with Rey Mysterio, which he lost. Following this, MVP took to Instagram to thank his fans as he considered his impending retirement. On the February 10 episode of Raw, MVP brought back The "VIP Lounge," with his guest being 2020 Royal Rumble winner Drew McIntyre. During the segment, MVP turned heel by insulting the fans, and tried to advise McIntyre, after which he was attacked by McIntyre. The following week, he faced McIntyre in a losing effort.
On February 17, MVP announced that he was hired by WWE as a backstage producer, while still being an on-screen performer. On the April 20 episode of Raw, MVP faced Apollo Crews to qualify for the Money in the Bank ladder match, but he was defeated.
Hurt Business (2020–present)
At Money in the Bank, MVP was scheduled to face R-Truth but was replaced by Bobby Lashley who quickly defeated Truth. In the following weeks, Lashley would align himself with MVP as he challenged Drew McIntyre for the WWE Championship at Backlash.At the event, Lashley was unsuccessful in capturing the title due to an altercation between MVP and Lana at ringside that distracted Lashley and allowed McIntyre to retain his championship. The following night on Raw, Lashley had a rematch against McIntyre for the WWE Championship in a tag team match that also involved MVP and R-Truth, but he lost again when the latter pinned MVP. On the June 22 episode of Raw, MVP hosted the VIP Lounge with Apollo Crews where MVP would offer Crews his services but Crews turned him down stating that he doesn't need him. Lashley would then attack Crews from behind after his match with Shelton Benjamin and put him in his full nelson hold. On the June 29 episode of Raw, MVP beat Apollo Crews in a non-title match. The following week on Raw, MVP unveiled a new United States Championship design and proclaimed himself as the "real" United States Champion. At The Horror Show at Extreme Rules event, Crews did not appear for their scheduled match, so MVP did more or less the same thing, and declared himself as the champion. The following night on Raw, MVP and Lashley, now known as The Hurt Business, officially recruited Shelton Benjamin into their group.
In August 2007, Assad was diagnosed with Wolff–Parkinson–White syndrome, a rare condition that causes the heart to beat faster than normal. The condition was discovered during his tenure with WWE, when he had undergone a routine check-up in accordance with WWE's Talent Wellness Policy, which otherwise would have gone undetected until it was too late.
Assad has acquired numerous tattoos through his life, including a portrait of Malcolm X on the upper left portion of his chest, the sarcophagus of King Tut and the pyramids on his left upper biceps, the words "Monte Cristo" with the phrase "the best revenge is living well" in script on his right forearm (both references to the book The Count of Monte Cristo), the Eye of Horus on the back of his left arm, and a star on his right shoulder. He also has a number of homemade gang-related tattoos that he had done when he was a teenager.
Assad has stated that he was a video game fan growing up, and that the finishing maneuver he used on the independent circuit, the Malicious Intent, was inspired by a similar move performed by Eddy Gordo from the Tekken series. He has been a fan of Manchester United FC since he was 13, naming Eric Cantona as his favorite player. Despite his earlier conversion to Islam, he has since described himself as an atheist and "infidel".
Assad practices Brazilian jiu-jitsu, in which he gained the rank of purple belt after winning the gold medal at the Houston Open in the Masters 3 Ultra Heavyweight Division. He also won gold in the Open Division at the Houston Open, and silver at The World Master Jiu-Jitsu IBJJF Championship in the Masters 4/Male/Purple/Ultra-Heavy Category.
- Finishing moves
- 305 / The Play of the Day (Leaping reverse STO) - WWE (2010–present)
- Drive-By Kick (Running big boot to the opponent's face while using their knee for leverage - WWE
- Malicious Intent (Spinning Handstand Capoeira Kick) - independent circuit
- Playmaker (Overdrive)
- TTB - To the Bank (Crucifix neck crank)
- Arm trap crossface - independent circuit
- Signature moves
- Ballin' Elbow (Running delayed elbow drop, with theatrics, usually preceded by a facebreaker knee smash
- Dragon Screw
- German Suplex
- Bridging Fisherman's Suplex
- Facebreaker knee smash
- Face Wash (Running Big Boot to a seated opponent in the corner)
- Player's Boot (Running big boot to a standing opponent in the corner)
- Snap overhead Belly to belly suplex, sometimes to an oncoming opponent
- Snap scoop powerslam
- Three-quarter facelock followed by multiple side knee lifts to the opponent's head
- Theme music
- "Get Back" by Ludacris (FIP)
- "Move Bitch" by Ludacris (FIP, ROH)
- "I'm Comin" by Silkk Tha Shocker (WWE) (August 4, 2006–October 15, 2010)
- "VIP Ballin'" by Mickael, Cyclone, Baby Bash and T-Pain (WWE) (October 21, 2010–December 3, 2010)
- "Most Valiantly Person" by New Japan Pro Wrestling
- "Return of the Ronin" by MVP (TNA) (2014-2015)
Championships and accomplishments
- Coastal Championship Wrestling
- CCW Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- Future Of Wrestling
- FOW Tag Team Championship (1 time) - with Punisher
- Southern Championship Wrestling Florida
- SCW Florida Championship (1 time)
- World Wrestling Entertainment
- New Japan Pro Wrestling
- IWGP Intercontinental Championship (1 time)
- IWGP Intercontinental Championship Tournament (2011)