Joey Mercury

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Adam Birch
JoeyMatthewsApril2007.png
Birch in April 2007.
Birth name Adam Birch[1]
Born (1979-07-18) July 18, 1979 (age 35)[1]
Fairfax, Virginia, US[1]
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Joey Matthews[1]
Joey Mercury[2]
Joseph Mercury[3]
Billed height 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)[2]
Billed weight 191 lb (87 kg)[2]
Billed from Los Angeles, California[2]
Trained by Jimmy Cicero[1][4]
Debut October 12, 1996[1]

Adam Birch (born July 18, 1979) is an American professional wrestler, better known by his ring name, Joey Mercury. He is currently working for the professional wrestling promotion WWE, where he is also a producer. He is now more recognized for his work as the bodyguard/security of Seth Rollins and The Authority along with Jamie Noble. Together they are a sub stable within The Authority known as J&J Security. Birch is also known for his appearances with Extreme Championship Wrestling in 2000 to 2001 and on the independent circuit as Joey Matthews, one-half of the tag team The Bad Street Boys. Birch is a three-time former WWE Tag Team Champion with Johnny Nitro.[1][2][3][4]

Professional wrestling career[edit]

Early career (1996–2000)[edit]

After being trained by fellow professional wrestler Jimmy Cicero, Birch made his debut in October 1996 under the name Joey Matthews.[5] In 1997, approximately a year after his debut, Matthews began competing for the Mid-Eastern Wrestling Federation (MEWF) promotion, where he won the MEWF Tag Team Championship with Christian York.[5] Matthews defeated York on May 8, 1998, to regain the Southern Championship Wrestling Junior Heavyweight Championship in Wendell, North Carolina. Matthews and York, soon teamed up again, however, and won the Steel City Wrestling Tag Team Championship on December 20, 1998.[5] Less than a month later, Matthews defeated York to win the Independent Professional Wrestling Alliance Light Heavyweight Championship on January 9, 1999.[5]

He was also a member of the North Carolina based Organization of Modern Extreme Grappling Arts (OMEGA) run by Matt and Jeff Hardy, where he defeated York to win the OMEGA Light Heavyweight Championship on January 29, 1999.[6] He was signed to a World Championship Wrestling contract in 1999; Birch did not make any appearances for the promotion during the seven months he was signed to a contract.[7][4] A few months later, while competing in singles competition at Maryland Championship Wrestling (MCW), he once again defeated York to win the MCW Cruiserweight Championship on May 21.[5] Matthews and York soon began teaming again, and, sometimes using The Bad Street Boys as a tag team name, they won numerous tag team championships, including the Atlantic Terror Championship Wrestling Tag Team Championship on January 15, 2000 and the MCW Tag Team Championship on May 17, 2000.[8][5]

Extreme Championship Wrestling (2000–2001)[edit]

After their contracts with WCW expired in summer 2000, the Bad Street Boys joined Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW). In their first pay-per-view, the duo lost to Danny Doring and Roadkill at Anarchy Rulz on October 1, 2000.[9] They then began a feud with Simon Diamond and Johnny Swinger, whom they lost to at November to Remember, but defeated at Massacre on 34th Street.[10][11] They competed in ECW for approximately six months, until the promotion closed in January 2001 and were on the company's final pay-per-view Guilty as Charged, where they suffered a loss to Jerry Lynn and Cyrus.[12][4]

Independent circuit (2001–2004)[edit]

After the closure of ECW, Matthews and York returned to the independent circuit, where, on February 3, 2001, the Bad Street Boys defeated Rick Michaels and David Young to become the NWA World Tag Team Champions, a championship that they held for two weeks.[5] They won the MCW Tag Team Championship for the second time on November 3 by defeating Earl the Pearl and Rich Myers, and later won the Virginia Championship Wrestling Tag Team Championship on December 1, 2001.[8][5]

In 2002, Matthews and York competed in Ring of Honor (ROH), and teamed together on several occasions, before Matthews joined a faction called Special K, of which he was a member until 2004.[8][5] He also worked for various independent organizations such as Xtreme Pro Wrestling, Maryland Championship Wrestling (MCW) and Phoenix Championship Wrestling.[5] On January 29, 2003, Matthews defeated Romeo Valentino to win the MCW Rage Television Championship, but lost it four months later to Doug Delicious on May 15.[13][14][15]

On the April 14, 2003, episode of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE)'s Raw, one of WWE's primary television programs, Matthews and York teamed up to defeat Phil Brown and Pat Cusick in a dark match.[16] In the months that followed, Matthews wrestled for North America's three largest wrestling promotions, WWE, Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA), and ROH.[5] His early months in WWE saw him taking on Lance Storm and Crowbar in dark matches, and Matt Hardy, Último Dragón and A-Train on Velocity.[5][17][18] On July 19, 2003, at Death Before Dishonor, a Ring of Honor event, he teamed with Krazy K in a loss to Jeff Hardy in a handicap match.[19] In August 2003, Matthews lost to Chris Sabin on an episode of TNA Xplosion.[8]

After spending some time at the Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW) training center in 2003, Matthews made several appearances in Pro-Pain Pro Wrestling (3PW), defeating A.J. Styles, before defeating Jerry Lynn and Sabu to become the number one contender to the 3PW Heavyweight Championship.[20][21] On April 17, 2004, he defeated Raven to win the championship, a title he retained until August 21 of that year, when he lost it to Christopher Daniels in a four-way elimination match, also involving A.J. Styles and Chris Sabin.[5][22][23]

Meanwhile, Matthews was still active in WWE, and lost to Rhino and Maven on Sunday Night Heat.[24][25] He was also still competing in TNA's X Division, and in August, he took part in a 20-Man Gauntlet match, in which Petey Williams won the X Division title.[26] Afterwards, Matthews competed for Puerto Rico's World Wrestling Council (WWC), losing to Eddie Colón in September, and exchanging victories with Alex Montalvo in November.[8][5]

World Wrestling Entertainment (2004–2007)[edit]

Birch (right) with Johnny Nitro (left) and Melina (center) with the WWE Tag Team Championship in 2006.

Matthews wrestled in dark matches before being signed to a developmental deal by WWE in 2004; he moved to Louisville, Kentucky to the Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW) farm territory.[5][27][28] There he formed a faction with Johnny Nitro; along with manager Melina, they were known as "MNM".[5] MNM wrestled in OVW for around a year, winning the OVW Southern Tag Team Championship once, before being called up to the main SmackDown! roster, where Matthews was renamed Joey Mercury.[29]

In their first match for the brand, in April 2005, they won the WWE Tag Team Championship from Rey Mysterio and Eddie Guerrero.[30][31] They held the titles for three months, having successful titles defenses against the teams of Mysterio and Guerrero and Hardcore Holly and Charlie Haas, before dropping them to the new Legion of Doom (LOD) at The Great American Bash in July 2005.[32] They recaptured the titles in a four-way match defeating The Mexicools, William Regal and Paul Burchill, and LOD,[33] but lost them to Mysterio and Batista days before the Armageddon pay-per-view in December. Due to help from Mark Henry, they defeated Mysterio and Batista in a rematch on December 30 to win the Championship for the third time.[34]

They began a rivalry with the team of Paul London and Brian Kendrick that lasted over three months,[35] until the Judgment Day pay-per-view on May 21, 2006, where MNM lost the tag team title to London and Kendrick. Nitro and Melina suddenly turned on Mercury, attacking him and breaking up the group. Later that night Nitro and Melina were fired from the SmackDown' brand in storyline, to facilitate their move to Raw, where they reappeared the following week.[36][37] The legitimate reason for the team's sudden split was later revealed to be Mercury failing a WWE Wellness Policy drug test and being forced to serve a 30 day suspension.

Mercury stayed off WWE television for six months. Mercury made a surprise return on the November 27, 2006 episode of Raw, temporarily reforming MNM with Nitro and Melina to take up the also recently reunited Hardys (Matt and Jeff) "open challenge" for ECW December to Dismember.[38] The Hardys went on to win the match,[39][40] but the feud continued across all three brands (Raw, ECW, and SmackDown!),[41][42][43] and in a fatal-four way ladder match at December's Armageddon event, also involving London and Kendrick, and Dave Taylor and William Regal, Mercury suffered a legitimate injury when he was struck in the face with a ladder, breaking his nose and orbital bone. He immediately left the match and was rushed to an emergency room where he received more than thirty stitches.[4][39][44] As a result, Nitro continued the match on his own.

After missing a few weeks, Mercury returned wearing a protective face mask and his injury was worked into the angle, with both he and Nitro attempting to injure the Hardys in various ways for revenge. MNM lost to The Hardys at the Royal Rumble, and again at the No Way Out pay-per-view in February which concluded the feud.[45][46] He also wrestled in singles competition on SmackDown! until he was released from his WWE contract on March 26, 2007.[47][48]

Independent circuit (2007–2008)[edit]

Birch wrestling Xavier on the independent circuit in 2007.

Birch's first appearance after his WWE release was on April 21 for Northeast Wrestling as Joey Matthews, when he and Romeo Roselli defeated The NOW.[8] He went on to make appearances for MCW, Independent Wrestling Association Mid-South, and the New York Wrestling Connection, competing against wrestlers including Alex Shelley, Tyler Black, and Brother Runt.[49][50][51] Matthew's wrestled in All American Wrestling (AAW) in July 2007, where he lost to Eric Priest in a match for the AAW Heritage Championship.[52] He made another appearance on September 29, reuniting with Christian York, in a losing effort against the AAW Tag Team Champions, The Motor City Machine Guns (Chris Sabin and Alex Shelley).[53]

In September 2007, Matthews began working for OVW as a trainer for the intermediate class.[8] He also competed in dark matches at the OVW television tapings.[54][55] At TNA's Bound for Glory pay-per-view in October 2007, he competed in a dark match, where he teamed with Johnny Swinger in a losing effort to The Motor City Machineguns.[56] For the remainder of 2007, Matthews worked for independent promotions, including Pro Wrestling Unplugged and the United Wrestling Federation.[8][57]

Ring of Honor (2008)[edit]

On January 25, 2008, Matthews returned to ROH as the newest member of The Age of the Fall (AotF), where he partnered with Jimmy Jacobs in a losing effort against Roderick Strong and Rocky Romero of the No Remorse Corps.[58] The following night, Matthews lost to Mark Briscoe.[59] Matthews was mainly utilized in a tag team role as a member of the AotF, teaming with fellow faction members Tyler Black and Necro Butcher.[60][61] During this time, he continued to work for other promotions, and on March 12, at an OVW television taping, he defeated Jamin Olivencia to win the OVW Television Championship.[62] After successful defenses against Olivencia, he dropped the title to Tommy McNailer a month later on April 16.[8][63] He continued to wrestle for ROH until Battle For Supremacy in June, when he and Jimmy Jacobs lost to Kevin Steen and El Generico, in what was his last ROH wrestling match.[64]

In October 2008, Birch announced his retirement from professional wrestling due to injury.[8]

Return to WWE (2010-present)[edit]

Straight Edge Society (2010)[edit]

Birch broke his retirement in 2010 upon being rehired by WWE. On April 25, 2010 at Extreme Rules, Birch (wearing a mask) appeared as an unnamed member of The Straight Edge Society, helping CM Punk defeat Rey Mysterio.[65] Birch continued to interfere in Punk's matches over the following months, finally being unmasked and identified as Joey Mercury by Big Show on the July 23, 2010 episode of SmackDown.[66] At SummerSlam on August 15, 2010, Birch (renamed "Joseph Mercury"), Punk and Luke Gallows were defeated by Big Show in a three-on-one handicap match.[67] In September 2010, Birch underwent surgery on a torn pectoral muscle.[68]

In order to rehabilitate his injury, Birch began training at Florida Championship Wrestling, WWE's developmental territory. He later began working there as a trainer. Following this, he began working as a producer for the main roster.[4]

The Authority (2014-present)[edit]

Mercury appeared on the July 7, 2014 episode of Raw along with returning wrestlers Jamie Noble and Dave Finlay, separating Roman Reigns and Kane. Finlay was then speared by Reigns.[69] He made another appearance along with Noble and Finlay on the July 28, 2014 Raw, separating a brawl between Stephanie McMahon and Brie Bella.[70]

On the September 29, 2014 episode of Raw, Mercury and fellow producer Jamie Noble aligned themselves with the villainous stable The Authority. Dubbed "J&J Security", Noble and Mercury began acting as bodyguards to Authority member Seth Rollins.[71] On the November 24, 2014, edition of Raw, J&J Security wrestled the first televised matches for each man in several years, partnering with Rollins in a three-on-two handicap match against John Cena and Dolph Ziggler, which they lost despite the odds being on their side. On December 29, 2014 the guest general managers of Raw, Christian and Edge hosted Seth Rollins as the special guest on their talk show. Rollins however took out Christian with the help of Big Show and J&J Security and punced on Edge's injured neck. Rollins threatened that if Cena didn't bring back The Authority he would hit Edge with a Curb Stomp which would snap his neck since he had to retire because any further damage could cause him to become paralysed or worse. Cena, in order to save Edge, brought The Authority back to power.[72]

Personal life[edit]

During an interview in late 2007, Birch revealed that he had been using drugs since he was 15, using cocaine, crack, and heroin, and mixing it with alcohol.[73]

I've been a drug addict and alcoholic since I was 15 years old, right before I started in wrestling – so that's the better part of 15 years.

—Adam Birch, 2007

As a result of this, Birch has overdosed three times, and wrecked ten cars.[73] Birch entered rehab in 2006, and missed six months of work.[73] After his return, Birch became addicted to painkillers, due to the facial injury he suffered at the Armageddon pay-per-view in December 2006.[73] After a direct intervention by WWE owner Vince McMahon, Birch was released, and credits this with him beating his addictions.[73]

In wrestling[edit]

Birch delivering a superplex to Xavier.

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

  • Atlantic Terror Championship Wrestling
  • American Wrestling Council
    • AWC Light Heavyweight Championship (1 time)[8]
  • Dynamite Championship Wrestling
    • DCW Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Christian York[79]
  • New York Wrestling Connection
    • NYWC Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
  • Vanguard Championship Wrestling
    • VCW Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Christian Yok[84]
  • Virginia Championship Wrestling
    • VCW Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Christian York[5]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]