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Wrestling / Montel Vontavious Porter

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The streetwise wrestling businessman with a master plan.

"1,2, You hear the clock tickin'?
Tick-tock, You about to stop livin'
Tick-tock, I want you to remember me
Tick-tock, but the dead don't have no memory."
— "I'm Comin'", his WWE entrance theme

Hassan Hamin Assad (born Alvin Antonio Burke Jr, October 28, 1973) is an American professional wrestler from Liberty City, Miami, Florida who is best known for his work in WWE from 2006-2010 as Montel Vontavious Porter, or simply MVP. He debuted in the Florida independent scene in 2002 as Antonio Banks, where he wrestled in Full Impact Pro, Future Of Wrestling (where he won the tag team titles with Punisher), Coastal Championship Wrestling (where he won the heavyweight title belt) and made several brief stops at TNA. Later he had a run in the Puerto Rican IWA until in 2005, when he signed a developmental deal with WWE and was assigned to Deep South Wrestling in Georgia, where he developed the MVP gimmick, an arrogant, self-obsessed athlete based on Rod Tidwell and Terrell Owens. He debuted on SmackDown in 2006 as Porter, with the storyline of holding out for a big contract and eventually obtaining it. Over the course of his WWE run, he would hold the WWE United States Title twice and the WWE (SmackDown!) Tag Team Titles once with Matt Hardy. He left WWE to compete in New Japan Pro-Wrestling until he left in 2013. Then went on to return to TNA in early 2014. He's also won the IWR Tag Team Titles, the infamous Ironman Heavymetalweight Championship belt and the All Pro Wrestling Universal Heavyweight Title. He returned to WWE in 2020 after a surprise appearance in the Royal Rumble which, despite initially seeming to be a one-off, turned into a full time return as the leader of his new Power Stable The Hurt Business.

"Never troped a millionaire? Then read on further"

  • Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better: He and Matt Hardy spent a lot of time trying to prove this to each other, even while tag team champions. MVP would usually cheat in the contests.
  • Ascended Meme
    • For a long time, the WrestleCrap message board would routinely insist that what WWE needed was a character based on obnoxious football prima donna Terrell Owens. That wish was finally granted with MVP. His entrance even included an NFL style inflatable tunnel.
    • Then subverted when MVP turned face, becoming much more like the good-guy, inspirational kind of athlete from a tough background.
      • Outright lampshaded in his "I'm Comin'" theme, which includes the words "cocky like T.O."
  • The Atoner: Not for anything done as a professional wrestler (MVP is an unapologetic jerkass pretty much all of the time) but the man's professional wrestling career itself was brought upon by his correction officer.
  • Avenging the Villain: Managed to make Hiroshi Tanahashi tap out in a tag match after Satoshi Kojima's loss at A New Beginning took him out of the heavyweight title picture. MVP's own issues with Yano, new enemies for Kojima and an opportunity to be the inaugural holder of a new title belt prevented him from chasing Tanahashi beyond this.
  • Badass Longcoat: His entrance attire in New Japan Pro Wrestling.
  • Bash Brothers: Antonio Banks and Punisher didn't just work as a tag team, they also supported each other's individual efforts to the best of their ability.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: MVP felt he was not getting over because he did not have good enough competition. So Theodore Long gave him Kane. He did get over afterwards, but it came at a price.
  • Big Damn Heroes
    • Stopping the debuting Lance Archer from attacking Satoshi Kojima.
    • He and Manabu Nakanishi took a beating from Takayuki Iizuka and Toru Yano to protect their usual target, NJPW commentator Shinpei Nogami.
  • Big Entrance: His NFL entrance was even bigger at Wrestlemania 23, where he had an entire cheer leading squad.
  • Big Guy, Little Guy: At 6 foot, 260 lbs, Antonio Banks wasn't exactly little but next to the 6'11, 302 lbs Punisher, he often looked that way. MVP was also much smaller than Mark Henry.
  • Boring, but Practical: He brought his Drive-By Kick, a much more simple and brutal finisher than his Playmaker, in order to break his legendary losing streak.
  • Braids of Action: Though they were not always visible as he sometimes had a hat or dew rag over them. Toru Yano eventually destroyed them in NJPW.
  • Canon Name: His real name became this (or, as he calls it, his "government name") in TNA as of Bobby Lashley's exit promo from the BDC, playing to the implication that his MVP name is actually a street moniker ala 50 Cent.
  • Celebrity Cameo: In MacGruber.
  • Chain Pain: With his necklace, should the referee fail to remove it.
  • Character Catchphrase:
    • Antonio Banks would hold up three fingers and say "Read Between The Lines!"
    • When hosting the V.I.P. lounge, "Big things popping, little things stopping." This is a bowdlerized reference to southern USA rapper TI(P). In TNA he's since said much closer to the original line in reference to his intentions to take over the show. "Big things popping, Dixie's B.S. stopping!"
    • One word: "Ballin'!"
  • Continuity Nod: His initial return to TNA as the "investor" counteracting Dixie Carter's regime was outright confirmed to follow up from him earning back the high-paying monetary perks of his SmackDown contract at the end of his WWE run. Since then he's been portrayed as a tactical businessman in addition to his international baller status, including in his return to WWE.
  • Cool Teacher: His were Cash Money Alex Gibson (who works at Coastal Championship Wrestling's Bodyslam University and The Spot in Florida) and Norman Smiley. Banks himself trained one third of the NWA's Vandalz, Johnny Vandal.
  • Delicate and Sickly: His condition, though it has not so become a part of his gimmick it has affected his use in some angles, since he has to get periodic checkups for his heart, which is said to beat abnormally fast. note 
  • Despotism Justifies the Means: Turns out he invested in TNA mainly to have control over something after failing in the political side of wrestling. After seeing Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling lose his team he reasoned being partial owner of TNA and its Director of Wrestling Operations was not enough and now wants to rule everything—hence the formation of a new team with Bobby Lashley and Kenny King with the intent of getting him the World Heavyweight Title belt.
  • Divide and Conquer: When the wrestlers of TNA tried to unify against him when he was Director Of Wrestling Operations, MVP's response was to simply put them in matches under threat of them being fired if they refused to compete against each other. It took a Deus ex Machina called "The Board Of Directors" to dethrone MVP.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: His second WWE theme, though they never bothered to play the whole thing. Ironically the remix NJPW did contained more of the original song despite having a completely different title and extended samples from Godzilla movies. He's also released several rap singles on iTunes, including one of two other rap themes he's used in NJPW, as well as both themes (solo and BDC) he used in his return to TNA.
  • Drunk with Power: Bully Ray initially criticized MVP for being such a stickler for the rules MVP did not techincally have to follow as TNA's director of wrestling operations. Yeah, be careful what you wish for Bully.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: The Power Ranger, thanks to his rather unorthodox outfit (which he wore to cover up a Malcolm X tattoo). JBL spared no expense in mocking him for it in his debut.
    • Thing is, the outfit's pretty clearly supposed to be based off the Under Armour line of athletic apparel, making it literally the most practical wrestling costume in history. He even lampshaded this on Twitter here:
    "I always found it odd that people find MY wrestling attire "odd" but men wrestling in PANTIES is just fine."
  • Enemy Mine
    • He did not like Mr. Kennedy at all, but they were both feuding with a Brother of Destruction, so they decided to team up to help their chances. Why they thought this would be of any help (it just resulted in the Brothers teaming up too, and they worked better together) is a question for the ages. They also had a mutual dislike of general manager Theodore Long, which was egged further on by JBL.
    • He was not good friends with Shelton Benjamin either but they were willing to team up against Triple H, who encouraged it believing the two of them were too Genre Blind to be a threat. Eventually they became much more solid friends, partnering up in New Japan in a team called "Black Dynamite".
  • Engrish: His NJPW theme, "Most Valiantly Person". Just the title though, the lyrics are just MVP vocals to a remixed beat with some sampling. Also, the initial name for his team with Shelton Benjamin, "World Greatest Tag", not World's, World. They eventually switched to "Black Dynamite".
  • Expy
    • Equal parts Rod Tidwell and Terrell Owens.
    • To Masahiro Chono as the "Lord Of War" in the Wrestling Retribution Project
    • Becomes one in name and function to "Chief Operating Officer" Triple H as TNA's "Director of Wrestling Operations". Unlike Trips though, MVP had to claw for the position even after footing the bill rather than being appointed by the board of directors and having backup from the boss's daughter. Like Triple H, he has to deal with a bearded underdog babyface champion. Unlike Trips again, who repeatedly attempted to obstruct Bryan's rise to the top using his executive power and only inserted himself into things as a wrestler as a last resort after months of Bryan's and the fans' persistence, MVP quickly moved to affirm Young's climb to the top once he saw it happening as he perceived the plucky underdog Showtime EY to be easy pickings compared to the always-connected Magnus.
    • The role was also similar to Savio Vega's role as Director Of Wrestling Operations in The World Wrestling League, which makes sense when you remember TNA is a WWL affiliate. The difference being MVP, gradually drifted toward a heel turn where Vega went the other way.
    • His power trio with Kenny King and Bobby Lashley instantly racked up comparisons to Trips' Evolution stable (earning itself memetic titles such as "Black Evolution" or "The Nation of Evolution"), but closer examination of their motivations ("Money, power, and respect is the key to life"), as well as MVP's own refusal to make it about the three's race, reveals that it's more of a composite match for Christian's Coalition meets G Unit. With the later developments of Lashley as champion, the Beat Down Clan Power Stable, and the clash between MVP's megalomania and Lashley's honor resulting in Lashley being kicked and becoming an enemy of the stable, more similarities can be drawn between the whole MVP/BDC storyline and Ring of Honor's SCUM.
    • To Paul Heyman, their both managed Powerhouse Wrestler Heyman managed Brock Lesnar and MVP managed Bobby Lashley later betrayed them. Heyman betrayed Lesnar align with Roman Reigns and MVP betrayed Lashley align with Omos.
  • Facial Markings: Well, a rebreather rather than paint or anything and he eventually stopped (as you can see).
  • Finishing Move:
    • As Antonio Banks, he used the Malicious Intent (a spinning back kick, Word of God inspired by Eddy Gordo) and the TTB, meaning Take it To the Bank or Tribute To Benoit (arm trap crossface).
    • As MVP, he first debuted the Playmaker (overdrive), later adding the Drive-By Kick (shining wizard into a big boot, the Masahiro Chono style kenka kick) and the Play of the Day (leaping reverse STO).
    • After leaving WWE, he also added a trio of submissions: Irreversible Crisis (scissored armbar crossface, usually after the Playmaker), Oyasumi (jumping arm takedown into keylock) and TTB (not the same move than the Antonio Banks version, but a crucifix neck crank).
  • Foreign Wrestling Heel: While he was brought into NJPW by a Japanese man, NOSAWA Rongai, his self proclaimed "Ghetto Strong Style" and "Black Godzilla" moniker (Togi Makabe's finisher is the King Kong Kneedrop, but Godzilla is bigger than Kong) invoked this trope. All his signature spots still got face like pops with the crowd though and then they began chanting "MVP" to the opening beat of his entrance music so he was a face again before too long.
  • Fun with Acronyms: MVP. Lampshaded by Chris Jericho on a Smackdown segment ahead of WrestleMania XXIV, who pointed out that he got lucky to be named Montel Vontavious Porter instead of Zachary Ignacious Taylor, Luther Octavious Samson Ernest Rogers or Jeremiah Antonio Cleavon Kelsey Albert Smith Schwartz.
  • The Ghost
    • His contract negotiator.
    • He himself was this for two weeks as the TNA investor.
  • A God Am I: Downplayed, when called a visionary by Bobby Lashley, MVP likens himself to a god but then backtracks and settles for prophet. Still, he reasons whatever he says happens. However, retakes reversed it again to god.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: He was the longest running United States champion in the history of the belt's WWE ownership but after he dropped the belt to Matt Hardy WWE decided to give him a losing streak that lasted over five months, not just losing singles matches but also being the one to get pinned in tag team matches and championship scrambles. Because of his poor showing Theodore Long decided not to pay him the bonuses that were supposed to be in his contract and even took away his inflatable tunnel. Eventually fans started to feel sorry for him and happily cheered when he finally got a (Triple H-assisted) win over The Big Show (the joke being Trips would be allowed into the Royal Rumble if MVP could win a match). Afterwards his face turn was official, the bookers allowed MVP to win on his own, and he largely recovered his monetary perks before (and even after) leaving the company.
  • Insult Backfire: When the Impact Zone chanted "Sellout" at him MVP said they were right, since he had sold out arenas all over the world, including the one he was currently in.
  • Jerkass Jock: As a heel.
    • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Face. He still is cocky, still uses his incredibly unnecessarily showy elbow drop and the probablyshouldbeillegal cheap shot but can otherwise an agreeable guy if you can tolerate these things.
  • Jobber: What his early TNA appearances amounted to.
    • Came Back Strong: Has gained much more credibility heading into his second run there. This is lampshaded in the chorus of his theme song.
      "Stronger than ever, here to make an impact!"
  • Jobber Entrance: He and Kenny King got one before a Handicap match against Bobby Roode, though they lost by disqualification because Lashley ran out to attack Roode.
  • Kiss of Death: Mafia version, non-fatal. When Lashley rejected the Beat Down Clan after they helped him get back the TNA world title, MVP gave him this as the signal for the others to attack him.
  • Latex Space Suit: His most common form of ring gear.
  • Malcolm Xerox: Defied, despite how easy it would have been with his Malcolm X tattoo which the bookers instead opted to have him cover up. He converted to Islam while in prison, thus explaining his real life name change though he has since moved away from it and is now a non believer toward religion in general (except Dudeism). This becomes even more poignant with the formation of his "Money, Power, and Respect" stable in TNA, as the extent to which he has acknowledged the ever-growing "Black Evolution" meme that came about as a result has been to openly reject the idea of race being his motivation when brought up to him on Twitter.
  • A Man of Wealth and Taste: Guess it comes with being "the highest paid free agent in sports entertainment." When he was a face the heels would mock him for being "new money" or otherwise bring up his not so luxurious roots.
    • Reality Subtext: WWE does refer to its talent as free agents, even in cases where they probably should not. And for that matter, so does TNA.
  • Martial Arts Headband: He has a few with his logo on them.
  • Meaningful Name: Miami is a big part of his gimmick. One of his Finishing Moves, also known as the Play of the Day, is called the "305," which is one of the city's area codes.
  • Money Song: Pretty much all his themes.
  • The Napoleon: Before coming to TNA and WWE, meeting up with guys like Monty Brown and Bobby Lashley, Antonio Banks was used to being one of the larger men on the roster, and it shows, even as a face. Most noticeably, his style of wrestling includes a lot of big boots, clotheslines and throws in a style normally applied by much larger men. He eventually incorporated more technical and jumpy moves to make it less apparent though.
  • No-Sell
    • In WWC he was part of the running gag of no one selling the chops of Orlando, Eddie or Carlito. He even unzipped his body suit to give the former a better shot at the 2011 Euphoria.
    • In NJPW, notably he no sold two consecutive German suplexes in a match with Togi Makabe (but then, it is NJPW. Makabe himself no sold about ten forearms from MVP). By contrast he probably oversold in WWE, notably gripping his head after his own suplexes sometimes.
  • Odd Friendship: With Sherri Sheppard of the Barbershop films and The View. The story was that they took each other to prom, well after their time in high school. (Sherri felt she couldn't get a date because she was black and MVP could not go because he was in prison).
  • One-Steve Limit
    • Primetime Elix Skipper had a finishing move called "Play Of The Day", but it was an overdrive rather than an STO, variant. The same move that is MVP's "Play maker". They both worked in TNA too.
    • Fans tend to spell out his entire name when referring to his NJPW run to avoid confusing him with The Most Violent Players, them being his rivals Togi Makabe and Toru Yano.
  • Passing the Torch: To Kofi Kingston after he was defeated by him for the United States championship. Rather than be bitter or even hassle him over a rematch clause, as MVP believed he was ready to be a world champion.
  • Power Stable
    • Nosawa Rongai, who had to take a break from wrestling following an arrest, used his American connections to get MVP to replace him as a member of Kojimagun with TAKA Michinoku and Taichi, who were in turn lead by Satoshi Kojima. MVP abandoned the group when Minoru Suzuki took it over and renamed it Suzukigun, staying loyal to Satoshi Kojima.
    • He and Kenny King joined with Low Ki and Samoa Joe in TNA, adding to their alliance with Bobby Lashley to form The Beat Down Clan. Unfortunately, Lashley rejected the crew a week later.
    • Terror Squad with D Money, Marce Lewis, Montego Seeka and Nytronis A'Teo in Imperial Wrestling Revolution.
    • The Hurt Business in WWE, reuniting with good friends and former teammates Shelton Benjamin and Bobby Lashley. Later on he also recruited Cedric Alexander.
  • Put on a Bus: Asked for his release because he didn't like how he was being booked. Proceeded to head for Japan.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Becomes this when he becomes the investor of TNA, at first. As soon as Dixie Carter is removed from television he filled in her role as the evil boss, except he is worse because MVP can wrestle too.
  • Screaming Warrior: More so as a heel but often the Drive-By Kick was accompanied by him yelling.
  • Shaped Like Itself: Ran two heel Power Stables called the Beat Down Clan and the Hurt Business.
  • Signature Move: An overshot running big boot to the corner (miss that leaves his leg caught on the top rope optional) and an elbow drop preceded by a mock basketball shot "ballin!" called Ballin' Elbow. As a face he also had what Michael Cole called "Great Throws". In NJPW he also had a European uppercut-lariat combo.
  • Silence, You Fool!: His feud with Chris Jericho was based around the fact Jericho just would not stop talking.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The Black Dynamite Theme has one to Shelton Benjamin's WWE theme, "Aint No Stoppin Me Now" and samples of Booker T's infamous WCW promo.
    • When he showed up at the 2020 Royal Rumble, he wore a Black Panther costume specifically inspired by the film version.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: To Randy Orton on his Raw debut.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Pretty much a natural with a gimmick such as his.
  • Steven Ulysses Perhero: All the more so during his budding feud with tag team partner Matt Hardy. Who would have ever guessed a man with his initials would argue that he was the more valuable player?
  • Tag Team
    • In NWA Florida, he was in a team with "The Black Nature Boy" Scoot Andrews and Vordell Walker called NWA, as in the rap group. In WWE he was with Mark Henry in what was unofficially tagged the "World's Strongest Tag Team", though he would later call it "Power Ballin". In New Japan Pro Wrestling he was one half of "Black Dynamite" with Shelton Benjamin.
    • Terror Squad used the Free Bird Rule after becoming tag team champions in Imperial Wrestling Revolution.
  • Take That!: In January 2015 on the Beat Down Clan's first night with a name, when Lashley refused to be a part of the fully-established stable, MVP asked if Lashley wanted to go shucking and jiving and singing gospel music.
  • Talk Show with Fists: "The VIP Lounge".
  • Tattooed Crook: When he was a face, Miz would make frequent mention of MVP's criminal history.
  • Tick Tock Tune: Both of his WWE entrance themes, though his first makes more use of it, it cuts out in "Baller's Anthem". (He can really use "Baller's Anthem" anywhere he wants but is most known for using it in WWE; NJPW also got away with using "I'm Comin" during a USA tour.) Also, his TNA return theme "Return of the Ronin", though it cuts in and out there too.
  • Too Many Halves:
    "I am half-man, half-amazing, half-tag-team-champion…I'm so great, I'm the only man on Earth with three halves!"
  • Traumatic Haircut: Received one from Toru Yano in New Japan Pro Wrestling.
  • Unrelated Brothers: With a wrestler in Booker T's PWA promotion in Texas: Victor Imperial Porter.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: He was not present for Mark Henry's "Hall Of Pain" rampage on Smackdown, where Henry referenced Porter's (presumably failed) efforts to help Henry prove his naysayers wrong.
  • Ur-Example
  • Villain Has a Point: He talked very much and very loudly about what a great TNA World Heavyweight Champion Bobby Lashley was and did everything he could to make sure Lashley stayed champion. He also said Lashley was only champion in the first place because his knee was injured and that he still had a title shot once he was healthy again. This was true but probably did a lot to erode away the trust he had been building up from Lashley up to that point.
  • Villain Team-Up: Briefly his alliance with Kenny King and Bobby Lashley expanded to include Dixieland in TNA. It almost immediately fell apart though when the "undefeated" Ethan Carter III cost them a multi-man tag team match.
  • Villainous Valor:
    • Entering 2007 after the Inferno match with Kane, he was willing to continue wrestling even when it was clear he had not fully recovered from his burns, even when he could not put on his regular getup because it hurt the burnt area too much, even when one of the faces, Vito, deliberately targeted his seared flesh. This was a stark departure from his initial heel gimmick. (Oh, he was still a whiny, shortcut taking bastard but he had never shown that kind of determination or pain tolerance before.)
    • Despite suffering a knee injury during his time in TNA he continued to appear with his boys, directing traffic for Kenny King and Lashley and even coming back to the ring before being fully healed (albeit under protest).
  • Writing Around Trademarks: Can't use the full Montel Vontavious Porter name in TNA because WWE owns it, however he can get away with simply "MVP" since it's a pretty common acronym and he created the gimmick.

"I'm coming! Nobody could stop! Ain't nobody could hold me! Nobody control me!"

Alternative Title(s): MVP