Hailing from St. Louis, Missouri, Matthew Joseph Korklan, better known as Matt Sydal (aka “The Vision”), has made a solid mark on AEW going Air Bourne and reaching for the stars!
Born March 19th, 1983, Sydal’s first outing was representing his High School Wrestling team, before soaring onto the independent scene around the start of the new millennium.
From 2004 to 2007, Sydal improved his wrestling pedigree in Ring of Honor, facing future legends such as; AJ Styles, Austin Aries, KENTA and Christopher Daniels; the latter with whom he partnered to obtain the ROH World Tag Team Championship.
Moving up to the big leagues, Sydal would prep himself for the WWE, first suiting up in its developmental promotion, Ohio Valley Wrestling in 2007, ultimately becoming the OVW Heavyweight Champion before WWE severed ties with the promotion in February 2008.
Making his debut in 2008 as Evan Bourne, Sydal would spend his first year on the ECW brand, wowing audiences with his daring maneuvers and providing a mainstream introduction to his finisher, the “Air Bourne” (Shooting Star Press), a move that earned him the Slammy Award for Finishing maneuver of the Year and Best Maneuver Award from the Wrestling Observer Newsletter in 2008.
A year later, Sydal was drafted to Raw where he would spend the rest of his tenure as a mid-carder, occasionally challenging for the US title, and by 2011, Sydal would finally earn WWE gold by winning the tag team championships with future WWE Champion, Kofi Kingston.
Going by the team name Air Boom, this enthralling duo would have a successful five-month run, before losing the belts in 2012.
After suffering a motorcycle injury, Sydal was out of action for over a year and after making a full recovery, would make a one-off appearance on NXT, defeating Sami Zayn before his departure from the WWE.
In 2014, Sydal made his return to Ring of Honor and would spend the next three years transferring from ROH to PWG (Pro Wrestling Guerrilla).
From September 2015 to August 2016, Sydal progressed to New Japan Pro Wrestling where he would win the NJPW Junior Heavyweight Tag Team title twice with Ricochet.
Sydal’s next chapter would be in Impact Wrestling; Winning the X-Division title by beating Japanese wrestler, Taiji Ishimori, defending his championship against veterans Petey Williams, Eddie Edward and Brian Cage. He would even gain the Grand title from Ethan Carter.
After making his mark on every mainstream promotion, Sydal took the next step, debuting on AEW, participating in the Casino Battle Royale at the All Out PPV. Since then, he has continued his mission, taking on some of the promotion’s top dogs.
One of the most exciting and enduring mid-carders, this prolific Buddhist and yoga advocate continues to bring excitement and enlightenment to wrestling fans.
With his diverse backstory covered, let’s shoot for the stars by counting down Matt Sydal’s Top 5 AEW Wrestling Matches! (in descending order)
5. Vs. Brian Cage – AEW Dynamite 59 (Nov. 11, 2020)
At their last encounter in Impact Wrestling, Brian Cage was the one to come out on top with the X-Division title around his waist. So, this was Sydal’s chance at redemption.
Despite the difference in size and strength, Sydal more than made up for his stature demonstrating versatile abilities, fearless approaches and cunning maneuvers, not willing to give Cage (aka “The Machine”) the slightest chance of building a comeback.
There were moments when it seemed things couldn’t get any worse for Sydal, yet he was able to turn the table with some explosive counters, keeping “The Machine” at bay.
However, “The Vision’s” luck could only last so long, as Cage’s endurance ultimately triumphed, catching Sydal’s daredevil assault in mid air and connecting with the Drill Claw for the pinfall win.
True to the history between these two warriors, the energy and nerve on display was intoxicating, resulting in a gruelling fight for victory.
4. Vs. Dante Martin – AEW Dark 92 (June 4, 2021)
During the main event of an episode of Dark, Sydal was scheduled to face newcomer, Dante Martin in a new blood vs. veteran-style match-up.
The first half of the match had Sydal dominating the new kid on the block, even displaying his selection of wrestling holds, transitioning from one lock to another.
The nineteen year-old Dante however managed to overcome his lack of grappling experience with wild acrobatics and dogged determination.
Less than a year into his career at AEW, Dante proved to be a tricky adversary for the veteran, rewarding the fans with an action-packed and engaging spectacle along with a glimpse into what would be a serious future contender in AEW.
Despite a valiant effort from this young talent, Sydal’s experience outshone Dante’s here but the thrilling dynamism between these two athletes truly showcased the essence of their wrestling prowess, and in Dante’s case, he was only just getting started…
3. Vs. CM Punk – AEW Rampage 10 (Oct. 15, 2021)
Since making his triumphant return to the wrestling scene, CM Punk has been on a historic rise back into the mainstream, and on the fourth match of his AEW run, Matt Sydal would meet the straight edge star head on.
It had been ten years since these two had met in the ring, and everything in this match from their showdown, to their action tells you the amount of respect these two former WWE superstars have for each other.
Punk was already as impressive going into this match, but Sydal was not going to make this bout easy for him, resulting in a back-and-forth extravaganza with both men laying hard blows, wild, high-flying maneuvers and swift counter attacks.
Although Punk would be the one to pick up the win with his GTS (Go To Sleep) signature, Sydal definitely held his own against the former WWE Champion in a trial of fire that highlighted the best of both men.
2. Matt & Mike Sydal & Dante Martin vs. Kenny Omega & Matt & Nick Jackson – AEW Dynamite 98 (Aug. 11, 2021)
This six-person tag team match revealed some of the most electrifying high-flyers the promotion had to offer, giving the fans a riveting, fast-paced encounter, pitting The Elite, AEW Champion Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson) against the Sydal brothers, Matt and Mike, accompanied by an up-and-coming star in the form of Dante Martin.
The Elite were by far the more aggressive pack, but the Sydal brothers and Dante’s combined athleticism and ingenuity helped them to escape some very tight spots, performing some daring comebacks, making The Elite eat their words.
The biggest highlight was Dante Martin’s impressive performance, and once he was given the tag-in, he held nothing back, showcasing some effortless acrobatics and sheer tenacity in the face of his enemies, even countering Kenny Omega’s signature techniques; the Tiger Suplex and the One Winged Angel.
It would take a sharp knee to the face and a second One Winged Angel to put out the flame though, securing victory for The Elite, but the sheer drive and vigor from all parties and a star-making performance from Dante made this six-person tag even more significant, not to mention memorable.
1. Vs. Kenny Omega – AEW Dynamite 78 (Mar. 24, 2021)
In one of his toughest challenges to date, Sydal took on the AEW World Champion, Kenny Omega in a non-title bout.
Despite being out-gunned by the “Best Bout Machine’s” deadly arsenal, Sydal put on a valiant effort, enduring some of Omega’s most vicious techniques, firing back with some impressive counters whilst sharing some stunning strikes of his own. Overall he gave the champion a taste of his own medicine.
There were moments where Sydal even came close to pulling off an upset, but the champion’s versatility and speed outweighed Sydal’s efforts, closing the curtain with the One Winged Angel.
No matter the outcome, these two incredible athletes put on a heart-pounding display of wit, passion and adrenalin.
In spite of his mid-card status, “The Vision” had the honor of facing one of the greatest wrestlers of our time, and anyone with the fortitude to take on the “Best Bout Machine” is almost always guaranteed one hell of an elevation as well as an ovation!