The Dudley Boyz are back in the WWE and fans couldn’t be happier. Despite their return, they are missing their little brother who generated years of entertainment. That man’s name is Spike Dudley and with speculations that he could rejoin his friends soon, he’ll be featured in this week’s edition of Flashback Friday.

Before he made his way into the Dudley family, Matthew Hyson was just a small guy from Providence, Rhode Island who loved wrestling. At 5’8″, 150 lbs., the dream of becoming a professional wrestler was not in his favour but it didn’t stop him from following his dream. Leaving his job as a school teacher, Hyson trained for three years in California before making his debut in Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW).

Debuting in August 1996 with ECW, Hyson’s new persona became ‘Little’ Spike Dudley and he quickly gained popularity. Because of his size, he was almost always going to be the smaller man, which set up a few great bouts with Bam Bam Bigelow. The Flamed Wonder weighed almost three times more than Spike and was roughly eight inches taller. Despite being undersized, the ‘David vs. Goliath’ story line became an entertaining product. During a match at ECW Hardcore Heaven 1997, Bigelow dominated Dudley and actually tossed him into the crowd landing on a few fans. Despite losing to Bigelow almost every time they wrestled, he was able to gain a victory over The Flamed Wonder at ECW Born To Be Wired in August 1997.

Although one would assume that his size would deter his chance at success, it actually helped his gimmick. He wasn’t an overpowering wrestler, but he had great agility and quickness that benefited him inside the squared circle. Associating himself with his ‘brother’ Bubba Ray, it was their break up that became a bigger story line. Bubba Ray turned on Spike and joined forces with D-Von, which resulted in one of the greatest tag teams of all-time.

After his brother turned on him, he began feuding with both Bubba Ray and D-Von over the ECW Tag Team Championship. Never able to win that title with his brother, Spike teamed up with Balls Mahoney and the two not only defeated the Dudley’s but won the ECW Tag Team Championship on two different occasions. His popularity was so high that he even faced Mike Awesome for the ECW World Heavyweight Championship. Although he lost, it was a great moment in his career, because shortly after, injuries forced him out of action for a while. Returning from injury as ECW commissioner, Spike stayed with ECW until it folded.

It didn’t take long for Spike to find work following ECW’s demise. Despite his falling out with his brothers during their time in ECW, Spike came to their aid on an episode of RAW when he helped Bubba Ray and D-Von defeat Edge and Christian for the WWF Tag Team Championship.

His popularity was so high that girls were even starting to fall for him. Spike started an on-screen relationship with Molly Holly, but unfortunately, his brothers didn’t take kind to this. The Dudley Boyz put Molly Holly through a table and essentially turned on Spike. Although Spike teamed up with Kane to take down Bubba Ray and D-Von, they were unsuccessful and Molly Holly eventually left him for The Hurricane. Spike would eventually get his revenge on his brothers in 2002 when he teamed up with Tazz, defeating the Dudley’s for the WWF Tag Team Championship.

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The year 2002 was an awesome time for Spike because he captured three different titles that year including the WWF Tag Team Championship, European Championship and Hardcore Championship. Spike’s European Championship came against William William Regal when he defeated him on an episode of RAW. Despite only holding the title for a month, it was an awesome moment for his career after he beat such a legend.

With the 24/7 rule in effect for the Hardcore Championship, the title changed many times in one night when Spike won it at WrestleMania X8. Winning the Hardcore title seven more times, Spike’s title reigns would never last more than a few hours due to that rule. He’d manage to pin someone for the championship and then get pinned moments after because a match could break out at anytime.

Spike was able to get back together with his brother Bubba Ray and although they never won the tag team titles together, it was important for them to mend their relationship. Even as a hardcore wrestler, Spike was never badly injured until a spot went bad in 2003. Thrown outside of the ring, he was supposed to go through a table, but instead his feet got caught on the ropes and he smashed his head on the table causing an injury that kept him out of action.

Although the injury was severe, his return was incredible because it resulted in another title reign. Feuding with Rey Mysterio, Spike defeated him on June 27, 2004 to capture his first career WWE Cruiserweight Championship. For the first time in his career, he didn’t just win a title and lose it a day later. He actually held the title for roughly six months before losing it to Funaki in December, 2004.

Following his loss as Cruiserweight champion, it wasn’t long until Matthew Hyson was out of WWE for good. Seven months later he was released and has not returned to the company since. Hyson joined forces with the Dudley Boyz at Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) shortly after his WWE release, but like his journey before, it didn’t last long. Hyson was released by TNA roughly 16 months after he joined the company and since then, he’s only had a few sporadic independent circuit appearances.

He may not be remembered for his title reigns, but with Night of Champions taking place in two days, Spike could have wrestled that event many times if it was around in his day. If speculations and rumours end up becoming true, maybe he will get that match at Night of Champions and will reunite with his brothers to take down the New Day. Either way, Matthew Hyson had a pretty impressive career if he never steps back into the squared circle.

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