Pulse Wrestling’s Top 100 Wrestlers of the Modern Era: #97 – Paul London

97. PAUL LONDON

AliasesEl Gran Luchadore
HometownAustin, Texas
Debuted1999
Titles HeldWWE Tag Team; WWE Cruiserweight
Other Accomplishmentswon ECWA Super 8 Tournament in 2003; graduate of Shawn Michaels’ Texas Wrestling Academy; voted Most Underrated Wrestler by Wrestling Observer in 2004

Paul London got his start in the wrestling business in 1999 by training with Shawn Michaels’ Texas Wrestling Academy. He was among a solid crop of graduates that included Michael Shane, Bryan Danielson, Lance Cade, his future partner Spanky and others.

He got his first big break in 2002 by working in Ring of Honor, usually against his fellow TWA alum like Shane and Danielson. It was in ROH where he really developed his high-flying daredevil style and had match of the year candidates with Danielson and a send-off match with Samoa Joe. His reckless style was appreciated by the ROH faithful and they would chant “please don’t die” during his better matches as a way to show their appreciation.

In 2003 London won the prestigious ECWA Super 8 tournament, then had a cup of coffee with NWA-TNA, including a X-Division Title match at the TNA one year anniversary show. By August 2003, London had signed with WWE and was sent to Ohio Valley.

He made his first real appearance on WWE television in October 2003 as a whipping boy for Brock Lesnar. By the end of the year he and old pal Spanky were a regular team, usually featured on Velocity. Shortly into 2004 Spanky left the company and London was paired with Billy Kidman, remaining the same position on the card. It wasn’t until July 2004 when they upset The Dudley Boyz for the WWE Tag Championship that London’s stock would rise in the company. Kidman and London were very reminiscent of the old Strike Force, but unfortunately their reign wouldn’t last long. Kidman would legit injure Chavo Guerrero in a match with a Shooting Star Press, leading to the subsequent banning of the SSP and an angle where Kidman became hesitant to do the move. The pair dropped the belts to Rene Dupree and Kenzo Suzuki in September after Kidman became self conscious of doing the SSP and then walked out on London. London and Kidman then had a brief feud that saw Kidman come out on top so London could take time off to fix his broken nose.

He returned in December 2004 as essentially a cruiserweight jobber. He won the Cruiserweight Title in a battle royal in March 2005 and feuded with former champion Chavo Guerrero. When he complained to Vince McMahon backstage about the use of high risk moves he found his push decreased and quickly dropped the Cruiserweight Title to Nunzio.

By September 2005 Spanky, now using his real name Brian Kendrick, had returned to the company and the pair reunited as a low card team. In the spring of 2006 the pair would receive a push, culminating in a WWE Tag Title win over MNM at Judgment Day.

London and Kendrick embarked on an almost year-long run as Tag Champions, feuding with teams like the Pit Bulls, KC James/Aaron Stevens and William Regal/Dave Taylor. Their crowning achievement as Champions was their win the four team ladder match at Armageddon that saw them beat The Hardyz, MNM and Taylor/Regal in the match that saw Joey Mercury’s face smashed. They spent most of the spring of 2007 running against Deuce and Domino and eventually dropped the belts to D & D in April 2007.

Paul London was chosen for the Top 100 because of his amazing athletic talent and aerial ability. He had legitimate match of the year candidates in the early days of Ring of Honor with other top athletes like Bryan Danielson and Samoa Joe and has since cemented his mark as a top professional wrestler through his cruiserweight battles with men like Kidman and Akio in the WWE and his near year-long Tag Championship reign with friend Brian Kendrick. The team has gone 5-0 on PPV broadcasts and are currently listed as the fourth longest reigning Tag Champions in WWE history.

London is currently teaming still with Kendrick but it is uncertain whether the team with remain together and go after the tag belts again or whether the loss will cause a split between the pair.

The entire Top 100 Wrestlers feature can be found here.