Kazarian (wrestler) : biography
Kazarian began training with Killer Kowalski in Malden, Massachusetts in 1998, and wrestled his debut match after one month’s training, facing Freight Train Dan. After remaining at Kowalski’s school for eight months, Kazarian returned to Southern California and began wrestling on the independent circuit, primarily in the Empire Wrestling Federation, where he continued his training and teamed with Josh Galaxy as "Bad Influence".
TNA commentator Mike Tenay revealed in a late 2007 shoot interview that during a World Championship Wrestling event in San Diego, California in 2000, a fan appeared to him and boldly declared that "someday, [Tenay] will be calling one of [his] matches". That fan was none other than Kazarian himself.
Californian independent circuit (1998–2004)
In 2000, Kazarian joined Ultimate Pro Wrestling, and in March 2001 he formed a tag team with Nova known as "Evolution". On March 10, 2001, he became the first Millennium Pro Wrestling (MPW) World Champion by defeating Christopher Daniels and "Scrap Iron" Adam Pearce in a three–way dance. On May 30, 2001, Evolution won the vacant UPW Tag Team Championships. He travelled to Japan as part of the Ultimate Pro Wrestling (UPW) roster in 2002, where he faced Steve Corino, and also as part of Evolution he and Nova were defeated by Edge and Christian. He used to freestyle rap along with his close friends John Cena and Samoa Joe while the three of them were on the road in UPW.
He toured the UK, Australia and New Zealand with the now defunct World Wrestling All-Stars promotion in May 2003, where he met Glenn Gilberti and Scott D’Amore, leading to his being offered a job by Total Nonstop Action Wrestling.
Kazarian also worked for Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, and won a tournament to become the first ever PWG Champion on August 30, 2003. He held the title until February 22, 2004 when he was defeated by Adam Pearce. On July 10, 2004, he became their first 2-time champion, however, when he regained the title from Adam Pearce in a "Loser Leaves PWG" steel cage match. He would hold the title until November 13, when he was defeated by Super Dragon.
Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (2003–2005)
Kazarian joined Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) in the summer of 2003, and quickly began pursuing the TNA X Division Championship. He was part of the first ever Ultimate X match, on August 20, 2003 along with Michael Shane and Chris Sabin, which was won by Shane. Kazarian did not appear with TNA between October 2003 and March 2004.
After Chris Sabin was stripped of the title while sidelined with a knee injury, Kazarian eventually won the X-Division title on March 31, 2004, defeating The Amazing Red in a match for the vacant title. He lost the belt to A.J. Styles on June 9, 2004.
In June 2004 he and Shane formed a tag team (informally known as Shazarian) managed by Traci Brooks. They claimed to resent the fact that A.J. Styles had held the TNA X Division Championship, then the NWA World Heavyweight Championship, then had won the X Division Championship once more. This was purportedly illegal according to a previously unknown by law of the TNA rulebook, which stated that an X Division competitor who participated for the Heavyweight Championship could not return to the X Division. On July 28, 2004, he and Shane faced Styles in an Ultimate X match. Kazarian and Shane were declared co-champions when both took possession of the title belt at the same time. On August 11 they defended the title in a twenty two man Gauntlet for the Gold match. Kazarian started at number one and was one of the final three participants, but was eliminated by The Amazing Red, who in turn was eliminated by Petey Williams.
Kazarian was put in the same situation at November’s Victory Road where he entered number one in a 20-man X Division Gauntlet and was the last man eliminated.
Throughout late 2004 and early 2005, Kazarian and Shane competed in the TNA tag division. Kazarian’s contract with TNA expired in September 2004 and was not renewed, but he continued working with the company on a per appearance basis. The duo eventually began a feud with the 3Live Kru and Jeff Hammond, a NASCAR analyst who was working with TNA as a commentator. This led to a match at the Against All Odds pay-per-view on February 13, 2005 between Hammond and Kru member B.G. James and Shane and Kazarian. Kazarian was pinned by Hammond after Shane miscued on a superkick and knocked him out.