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Matt Career Set To Bloom - wrestler Matt Bloom

Albert gets to the point about his piercings, his friendship with Droz, and his role in the WWF

IF YOU EVER MEET MATT Bloom in person, with his extra-large frame and countless piercings, your basic instincts would paint a picture of a person with a frightening persona who would have no problem beating the hell out of you just for the fun of it.

Instinct proves wrong in this case, as the Massachusetts native, at 6'7" and 350 pounds, is just the opposite--a soft-spoken, highly intelligent, respectable gentleman. In fact, before becoming a wrestler, Bloom worked as a schoolteacher. However, the lure of the ring wars he had witnessed on television from a young age prompted him to go wrestling school and into a business where he is trying to catapult himself to the top.

Bloom--whose personas have included "Baldo" in the World Wrestling Federation's Memphis developmental territory, "Prince Albert," and now simply "Albert"--has never looked back.

"Working in the WWF is a dream come true," he says. "So many of my heroes came from the WWF, and I'm flattered to be in the same ring with guys who truly care about this business like I do."

But Bloom's WWF programs have not featured him in the spotlight of the main-event storylines. In his debut in 1999, he was paired with Droz (Darren Drozdov). He was then a part of T&A; with Andrew "Test" Martin and Trish Stratus. Now, Albert finds himself part of X-Factor, with Justin Credible and X-PaC.

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In the following interview, Bloom discusses what led him to the WWF, his storylines past and present, and gives insight into why he has so many piercings in his face and body.

WRESTLING DIGEST: Why did you go into wrestling instead of pursuing your teaching career?

MATT BLOOM: Because I always wanted to be a wrestler since I was a kid, but I never really knew what the path was to take. I didn't really have an option if I could go to college or not. It was something my parents pushed on me. It's the way I was brought up. You need a degree, something you can fall back on if you need it. When wrestling is done for me, I have something to do again that my degree has brought to the table.

WD: Who inspired you to become a wrestler?

MB: I used to watch World Class Championship Wrestling. I admired Bruiser Brody, the Von Erich family, and the Freebirds.

WD: How did you make the transition from fan to student to wrestler?

MB: In 1996, I was teaching kids with behavioral problems at Revere [Mass.] High School. Math and English were my two subjects. I really enjoyed that work and someday I'll probably do it again. It was an ungraded program for kids 12 through 17. Anyway, somebody who knew I was a big fan and wanted to be a wrestler told me about "Killer" Kowalski's school in Massachusetts. He felt I should give it a shot. I wound up going four days a week.

WD: Who did you face in your first match in front of a crowd?

MB: It was against a guy named Tim McNeany who worked as "the Graduate." He was a great guy who really helped me out tremendously, and I worked a lot of matches with him. Finally, George Steele was at one of the shows, and he and I became friendly. Eventually, he brought me to Titan Towers and walked me around and introduced me to the McMahon family and a lot of other people. I went on to the area where they have a ring and train people and met [WWF talent scout and trainer] Tom Prichard. We talked for awhile, and I was invited to the dojo training center. I went to four dojo camps--one week each--and then they booked me in their Memphis developmental area to refine my skills and work in front of live crowds.

WD: Who were some of the other people who went through the dojo camp at the same time as you?

MB: Test, Kurt Angle, Shawn Stasiak, Edge, Christian, Glen Kulka.

WD: What is the one thing you took from the dojo that translated into something positive for your career?

MB: They taught me all about psychology and how to put a match together and make it mean something. They really couldn't teach you how to work in front of a crowd, because there is no crowd when you're training there. But we watched a lot of films, watched ourselves, and dissected everything. I guess if I could pinpoint something, though, it would be psychology and how to work.

FRIENDSHIP WITH DROZ

WD:. How were you brought into the WWF?

MB: During 1999, I did a run-in on behalf of Droz, attacking Big Boss Man.

WD: You and Droz--who was paralyzed from an accident that occurred in the ring on October 5, 1999, while working with D'Lo Brown--became good friends. Do you still keep in touch with him?

MB: Yes. He's doing really well. He writes articles for the WWF and is going through physical rehab, and hopefully one day he'll be able to walk.

WD: Did his injury make you think differently about the risks of the business?

MB: It's scary, because you have two professionals in the ring who had a lot of training and something simple went wrong, and Droz can't really do anything from the neck down right now. It could happen to anyone. I remember talking to him in the hallways about what we were going to do later that night before the accident happened. We were going to go out, eat, and have some fun. You just never know what will happen. It was a dose of reality.


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