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Merrill "Shadowbird" Waters
Merrillwatersav
Statistics
Real name Merrill Alistair Waters
Ring Names {{{names}}}
Height 5'11"
Weight 160 lbs.
Date of birth July 12th, 1984
Place of birth Oklahoma City, OK
Date of death {{{death_date}}}
Place of death {{{death_place}}}
Resides Lafayette, LA
Billed from {{{billed_from}}}
Trainer {{{trainer}}}
Current
federation(s)
Retired
Previous
federation(s)
WOF, HVW, XOW, XDF, EWA, UHWF, TWI
Handled by {{{handler}}}
Win/Loss Record {{{winloss_record}}}
Debut June 2005
Retired {{{retired}}}

Merrill Alistair Waters, also known as "Shadowbird", "Shadow Dragon", "the Shadow Warrior" and "the Dark Soldier", is the owner of Twilight Wrestling International. He has also wrestled in Wrestling Online Federation, High Voltage Wrestling, Elite Wrestling Association, Ultimate Havoc Wrestling Federation, and Xtreme Online Wrestling. He is currently retired from wrestling, pursing a musical career with his band Red Shift. He is a former WOF and HVW World Tag Team Champion as part of the Black Velvets with Dan "Cypher" Kilburn and a one-time UHWF Platinum Champion. He is the creator of two signature matches, the Shadow Cylinder and the I-40 Street Fight. He currently resides in Lafayette, Louisiana. His entrance theme is Reborn by Stone Sour. His primary finisher is the bridging-chinlock Sharpshooter he calls the Epilogue.

Life and History

Life before Wrestling

Merrill was born on July 12th, 1984, in a hospital to Elizabeth Janice Dawson and Joseph Albert Dawson as part of a set of twins. The couple could not afford to take care of both children at the time, so the eldest, Merrill, was put up for adoption. Merrill was shortly adopted by relatives of Elizabeth's, her brother Richard Waters and his wife Diana, but he was mostly raised by Elizabeth's brother Roger (whom, as Merrill is quick to point out, is not the Roger Waters of Pink Floyd fame).

For the first eleven years of his life, Merrill had a normal childhood. Not knowing his brother or his real parents, he grew up under the care and guidance of his uncle, as his adoptive parents were workaholics. Everything changed not long after his eleventh birthday, when Merrill chanced to find the adoption papers and his birth certificate in a trunk in the attic. This apparent betrayal by his "parents" stung Merrill to his core, and his entire personality shifted. The only person to notice, Uncle Roger, immediately put Merrill in karate lessons in hopes that it would stem the growing resentment. If anything, the martial arts only served to further Merrill's darker tendencies and imbue him with a sense of superiority. Merrill began to dream disturbing dreams, filled with shadowy creatures calling him to a dark destiny: to reveal to the blinded world the existence of the reality of the Shadows, the darkness that exists in all people.

At first, the dreams scared him to no end, and he ran from the calling, but the more such dreams came to him, the less he found he was able to resist. By the time he had reached high school, he had "fully given himself over to the Shadows", a change marked most notably by a change in attitude and a new penchant for black and silver. During this time, he had many relations with girls in his school, but he generally treated them all as if they were living dolls, to be played with and then cast aside. He was a terror to his teachers, avoiding suspension and expulsion only because his principal was afraid of him. He regularly got into fights, but he never lost a single one. Due to his fearsome influence, he attracted many would-be friends, whom he all scorned, perceiving their insincerity. There was one boy who sincerely looked up to him, though...Darius Xandros Falcos, Merrill's first true friend.

Upon his sixteenth birthday, Merrill took and passed his driver's test. It was not long after that he attended a party and ended up severely drunk. The party was only a few blocks from his house, and he thought he could drive the relatively short distance home. This proved to be very incorrect. He quickly found himself in a car accident, and although he was amazingly uninjured, there was one fatality: the younger sister of his brother. Merrill was arrested, stripped of his license, and imprisoned for the next four years under charges of DUI as a minor and involuntary manslaughter. The time in juvenile hall only hardened Merrill's dark persona, and by the time he was released, he was feared by adult guards and fellow inmates alike.

Early Wrestling Career

Not long after his release from prison, Merrill found a poster advertising a small indy promotion hosting a show in Oklahoma City. He attended out of curiosity, and was enthralled by what he saw. At one point in the show, a heel wrestler made an open challenge to any member of the audience and selected Merrill by chance. Merrill confusedly entered the ring, and the challenge went underway. Five minutes later, the challenge was over, with Merrill victorious by way of an armbar submission that nearly dislocated the man's shoulder. The fans were ecstatic...but the promoter was furious that his top heel was nearly put out with an injury. Merrill remarked to the promoter, "That's your top guy? No wonder you're doing shows in high school gyms." The promoter then offered Merrill a job, but Merrill flatly refused.

Merrill did keep in shape, however, and as word of him spread all over the OKC indy wrestling scene, he began to work one-offs in various shows around the city. He also received training during this time in various styles, most notably high-flyer and technical; he taught himself the nuances of hardcore during a short stint in a local indy promotion known for its extreme matches. Before long, he was hearing the call of higher-profile feds, and he made preparations to enter what was then the developmental territory of the Wrestling Online Federation, High Voltage Wrestling. However, he heard about his brother James Dawson working in another developmental territory called Southern Cross Wrestling, and he made arrangements to work a one-off there against his brother, who blamed Merrill for the death of his sister. The result of this match was a dirty win for JD, who used a low blow, chair shot, and the tights to get the three-count over his brother. James snapped after the match, attacking his own girlfriend, but Merrill himself escaped intact after confronting his brother in the ring. Merrill then made preparations to begin his career proper in HVW.

HVW (the first run), WOF, and XDF

Not long after Merrill joined HVW, he became friends with Dan Kilburn, also known as Cypher. The two both became fast rising stars in HVW, with Merrill winning his first three matches in HVW, including a win over Dustin Diablo. In addition, he and Cypher allied themselves with each other, forming the Black Velvets. Not long after, HVW was disbanded, and all the talent brought up to the WOF roster. At the Downward Spiral 2005 pay-per-view event, Merrill was involved in the HVW Battle Royal, where he was eliminated eighth. His partner Cypher won the Battle Royal and number one contendership to the newly created High Velocity Championship.

Their mettle as a tag team was yet to be tested, but they got their chance at the first WOF Destruction they were featured on in late October 2005. The Black Velvets defeated The Guerreras to crown new WOF Tag Team Champions after Fyr & Ice were stripped of the belts following an incident in FTW. That same show saw Merrill eliminated from the High Velocity tournament by Jae Millz. The Black Velvets continued their domination, defeating the Kings of War both in a non-title tag match and in singles competition, with Merrill besting Trevor B and Cypher defeating Bishop. In fact, Merrill's only non-win during his tenure in WOF was a no-contest against Inferno when the returning Blood Reign interfered, something which Merrill has never forgotten.

During his time in HVW and WOF, and also into his tenure in the Xtreme Online Wrestling federation, Merrill was brought over to compete and help out with his friend Cypher's Duel Monsters federation, XeroCreative Dueling Federation. XDF was a unique combination of sports entertainment and card battling, a mix Cypher referred to as "dueling entertainment", and the concept intrigued Merrill enough to interest him. During his tenure in XDF, Merrill served as interim General Manager and as a duelist. He even competed in wrestling matches, winning an exhibition bout against his tag partner and defeating his brother in a lumberjack match. Yet towards the end of his tenure there, things began to change in XDF. Many people within XDF disliked the pro wrestling style of the show and how things were run backstage, and Merrill himself was distressed over his lack of dueling skills despite his popularity with XDF fans. Merrill was quoted as saying, "You take the entertainment out of XDF, and all you'll have is a glorified dueling league. Certainly no place for someone who can't duel worth a crap." He ended his dueling career by handing then-General Manager Sakura Hyotei his deck, minus his prized possession, his Red Eyes Black Dragon card. However, before he left, he inexplicably stole his own deck, acting as if possessed. This foreboding note ended his run in XDF.

Similarly, at the WOF Apocalypse 2005 PPV, although the Black Velvets retained their tag titles, Merrill began to feel some dissention in the air, caused by the closing moments of the Patriot Games PPV in which Jonny B broke character to fire "Wildcat" Lynn Brewster as the result of a political dispute. In addition, during the months leading up to Apocalypse, Merrill had wanted to end his feud with his brother in WOF, but then-co General Manager Nathan Yager insisted on making detrimental changes to the special match Merrill had designed for the feud's end. Disgusted by all of this, Merrill left to help build another wrestling promotion started by one of his friends from XDF, even though he still held the tag titles with Cypher after HVW split from WOF and took the tag belts with it. As such, the Black Velvets are universally recognized as never technically having lost the WOF/HVW Tag Championship.

XOW and the Shadow Cylinder

Not many records from Merrill's time in XOW have survived, but what is known is that his brother followed him to XOW and cost him a shot at the XOW World Championship in a fatal four-way. At Love's Worst 2006, one of the last shows that XOW had, Merrill unveiled what he had created in WOF and was waiting to use in the final battle against his brother: the Shadow Cylinder. The Shadow Cylinder was created during a moment of madness, and it featured an open-top circular cage 28 ft. in diameter and 15 ft. high. The match was contested under hardcore rules, with all weapons encouraged highly. There was no pinfall, no submission, and no escape. The match could only be won by knocking the opponent out for a count of 15 (extended from the typical Last Man Standing rules of 10 due to the use of weapons). The match's biggest spot was when Merrill scaled the structure and delivered his patented Dimension Moonsault onto JD from the top. Both men were counted down for 15, and so the first one up would be declared the winner. By sheer force of will, Merrill pulled himself onto his feet long enough to be declared the winner, after which he collapsed from exhaustion and pain. Before the cage was lifted so that paramedics could take both men out on stretchers, Merrill was able to tell his brother that he was sorry before he passed out. Not long after Merrill went out with injuries, the XOW collapsed, catastrophically taking most of its history down with it.

During his time in XOW, Merrill was also reunited with his old friend Darius, now wrestling under the name "The Astral Falcon" DX Falco (the DX is from Darius Xandros, not a take-off of the WWE stable). Merrill took Darius under his wing as his protege, molding him into a potential super star. Unfortunately, DX's career in XOW was also short-lived, as he left not long after the last XOW PPV.

The Road to Recovery

Merrill was out of wrestling with the injuries from the Shadow Cylinder for three months. During that time, Merrill overexerted himself one day dueling the shadow of his own doubt and fell into a coma for three days. During the three days, Cypher, JD, DX, and Merrill's only true girlfriend in high school, May Winters, kept vigil over their friend. When Merrill awoke, he realized an idea for a return to wrestling. While Cypher was taking care of his own career in other promotions, Merrill worked hard to rehabilitate himself and began developing plans for a stable involving himself, DX, and JD, with May as his manager. He reinvented himself as the Dark Soldier, a general in the war against ignorance and fear. With his brother and friend behind him and his girlfriend by his side, Merrill prepared to reenter HVW as the leader of the Dark Soldiers.

Return to HVW

Merrill and the Dark Soldiers debuted in HVW just before the Mistakes and Glories 2006 pay-per-view in late May. Merrill's first match after his injury was at the PPV, teaming with his brother JD against the legendary Feral Destruction. Feral Destruction won that match, pinning JD in the middle of the ring, and the frustration on Merrill's face was more than apparent. Nevertheless, he began to refocus on regaining the HVW Tag Championship with his longtime friend and partner, Cypher. Unfortunately, due to family issues, Cypher was unable to show up at the June 18th edition of HVW Shockwave, not even giving Merrill prior notice. Merrill was obviously sore about it, and his quest to personally regain the tag titles was at an end.

Merrill decided to take a step back and manage his brother and friend to the tag titles, but he was distracted by a takeover of the Dark Soldiers by a former analyst for the XOW, Carter O'Neill. Carter continued being a thorn in his side until, in a fit of rage, Merrill attacked Carter. Heath immediately placed Merrill under a one-month suspension, and Merrill planned to make a big return at the Meltdown event. However, during that time, JD and DX lost out of the tag tournament to the eventual winner, Magick Spiral (Odin Knyght and Blood Reign), and Carter revealed that he, not Joseph Dawson, was the real father of Merrill and James. He had taken over the Dark Soldiers in an attempt to mold them into being like him, but after realizing how individualistic and stubborn Merrill was, Carter started to concentrate his efforts on Darius. He seemed to be succeeding, until Carter was ousted from HVW by General Manager Heath Lancaster, who found out that Carter had hired a bogus psychologist to claim that Merrill was a danger to himself and everyone around him. In a last ditch effort, he used Merrill's sudden disappearance to claim that Merrill had committed suicide, which had the detrimental effect of leading to the real suicide of Merrill's friend DX. In truth, Merrill had simply taken some time off, telling no one but Lancaster, and was retraining himself for another go at singles competition.

Merrill returned yet again in November, having his first match back on the November 5th edition of Aftershock, the same day that Cypher made a brief return to HVW. Despite this, Merrill publicly announced that he and Cypher were done as a tag team and that they would not team again any time in the foreseeable future. Merrill's new serious attitude was evident in his return win against Sterling Wolfe, causing Wolfe to tap out to the Epilogue submission hold. It was three weeks later that Merrill found himself in a No. 1 Contender's match for the Extreme Championship against the dangerous Jonathan Chaos. The fans had voted the stipulation to be a ladder match, and Merrill proved to be a fearsome foe for the Eleventh Plague. In the end, however, Chaos proved victorious. Dejected, Merrill decided to make a hard choice and help HVW's new developmental territory, the Elite Wrestling Association. He made the move over and found himself reunited with his old foe, Nathan Yager.

EWA and UHWF

Prior to the HVW pay-per-view Last Stand 2006 on Christmas Eve, Merrill was shooting a promo outside of a nightclub where he and his band had been performing. Gunshots were fired out in front of the club, and Merrill rushed to the scene. His girlfriend and rhythm guitarist, Beatrice Allen, was shot and killed by accident. Blaming himself for her death, Merrill went into the showcase battle royal featuring six of EWA's superstars determined to destroy all his opponents in proxy of her murderer. He was unsuccessful, being eliminated second. The winner was Andrea Mero. His luck didn't improve over the holiday, and he ended up on the losing end of a triple threat versus Jackson Bowker and the Scorpion at the first Breakdown. Shortly before the 2/12 edition of Breakdown, Merrill expressed a desire to concentrate on UHWF career and agreed to put Jackson Bowker over for his last EWA match. Despite his clear explanation of his reason, his decision still caused Nathan Yager a great deal of annoyance, despite their problems with each other.

For several months, Scotty Bishop had asked Merrill if he wanted to join UHWF, but Merrill, distracted by other things, never took up the offer. But after many times being an exclusive superstar in various federations, Merrill decided it was time for a change. Facing with having to wait until the new year to begin his EWA career, he called up his old friend Scotty Bishop and asked if there was still a spot open for him in UHWF. Bishop answered that "there's always a spot open" and that he would be honored to have Merrill join the UHWF roster. Merrill decided to take up Bishop's long-standing offer and rejoin his friends in order to be able to compete and stay in shape for his impending run in EWA.

This proved to be a good move, and on his first Blood Zone, he gained a decisive victory over Blitz Commando and Dice Morgan in a triple threat match. After the match, the young Morgan presumed to challenge Merrill to a Shadow Cylinder match; Merrill, having set his mind on greater matters, emphatically declined, punctuating it with a fierce assault and an Eclipse submission in the middle of the ring. Dice got a modicum of revenge on the next show, pinning Merrill in a tag match where he was partnered with Greg Venom and Merrill was partnered with Sickle. It should be noted, however, that it took Sickle turning on his partner and interference by Scott Stonewall. As a result, Merrill was granted a title match at Valentine's Day Massacre against Stonewall in what Merrill called an I-40 Street Fight. However, because of a confrontation backstage between Merrill and the New Breed, Merrill was booked to first face his friend and former partner Cypher on the 2/12 edition of Blood Zone.

When 2/12 rolled around, Stonewall first challenged Merrill to take the Street Fight onto its namesake in Memphis, Tennessee, to which Merrill later consented. That night, Merrill faced off against Dan Kilburn in the main event. Dan gave his former partner everything he had, determined to either make sure Merrill was ready for Stonewall or end his career if he wasn't. As it turned out, Merrill was ready, using his brain to turn Dan's berserker tactics against him and surprising him with a schoolboy roll-up. Merrill celebrated his victory with his old friend in the middle of the ring to close the show, and it appeared almost as if they had never separated. Merrill headed into Valentine's Day Massacre with a great deal of momentum from his 2-1 start, ready to face off against Stonewall in Memphis. He made his entrance in style, driving an Oklahoma Department of Transportation truck up to the makeshift ring area on a stretch of I-40 in Memphis. After a long, brutal, bloody affair, Merrill finally employed a sledgehammer in his patented Eclipse submission hold to defeat the larger man and win his first ever singles title. At last, things were looking up for the new Platinum Champion.

A Champion At Last

Shortly after winning the Platinum title, Merrill defended it on the 3/12 edition of Blood Zone against two competitors, "Iceman" Rainer Wilz (who was one half of the team that vacated the WOF Tag Team Championships before the Black Velvets won them) and Greg Venom. Merrill successfully retained his title, forcing Venom to pass out to the Epilogue submission. He had earlier promised Iceman a one-on-one match if he were the odd man out, and true to his word, the match was booked for the Crossfire PPV Event on April 23rd. After the match, though, Clyde Wilson gave Merrill the next two weeks off, and he was absent from the Spring Dash event and not scheduled on the following Blood Zone.

When he returned, his attitude was noticeably erratic going into a tag match with Venom as his partner against Nature's Rage. Merrill attacked Venom at the close of the match and hit him with the Shadow Roll, then forced Iceman to pin Venom. Rainer confronted Merrill after the match, but Merrill had no answers even up to Crossfire. Even though Merrill had promised an honorable, respectful match (and even upgraded the match to a submission match to suit Iceman's expertise), Merrill's sincerity was in doubt even up to the time for his entrance. However, as Merrill debuted with a new look and a new theme, it was obvious that Merrill's demeanor had pulled a full 180. He delivered on his promise of an honorable match, shaking hands with Iceman before and after. At the end of the night, after a match that had the crowd of the edge of their seats the whole time, Merrill locked in the grapevine armbar submission with which he had won his first independent match and successfully retained his title. After the match, he and Iceman were seen talking backstage, although about what is unknown.

Match record

(Note: XOW and XDF are not included, as all records from those promotions were lost.)

SCW

Overall - 0-1-0 June 2005 - James Dawson def. Merrill Waters (pinfall)

EWA

Overall - 0-2-0
Breakdown 2/12/07 - Jackson Bowker def. Merrill Waters (submission)
Breakdown 1/29/07 - Jackson Bowker def. Waters, Scorpion (Triple threat, pinfall)

HVW

Overall - 5-3-0
Last Stand 12/24/06 - Merrill Waters eliminated second in EWA Showcase Battle Royal
Shockwave 11/26/06 - Jonathan Chaos def. Merrill, Ladder Match (Extreme title No. 1 Contendership)
Aftershock 11/5/06 - Merrill def. Sterling Wolfe, submission
Shockwave 6/18/06 - Black Velvets (Cypher/Merrill) vs. Eric Herrera and Sean Philbrick No Contest
Mistakes and Glories 5/21/06 - Feral Destruction def. Dark Soldiers (JD/Merrill), pinfall
Shockwave 10/2/05 - Merrill def. Adam McMichaels, pinfall
Shockwave 9/18/05 - Merrill def. Dustin Diablo, pinfall
Shockwave 9/4/05 - Merrill def. Krystian, pinfall

WOF

Overall - 4-2-1
Apocalypse 12/18/05 - Black Velvets (c) def. Kings of War (Bishop/Trevor B) to retain, pinfall
Destruction 12/4/05 - Merrill def. Trevor B, pinfall
Destruction 11/20/05 - Merrill vs. Inferno No Contest
Destruction 11/6/05 - Black Velvets (c) def. Kings of War (non-title)
Destruction 10/23/05 - Jae Millz def. Merrill, pinfall
Destruction 10/23/05 - Black Velvets def. the Guerrera Brothers, pinfall to win WOF Tag Championship
Downward Spiral 10/8/05 - Merrill eliminated 8th in HVW Battle Royal

UHWF

Overall - 6-4-0
Grand Slam 6/?/2007 - Wilz over Merrill (Ultimate Submission match; Waters loses Platinum title) Blood Zone 6/4/2007 - Wilz over Merrill (Shadow Cylinder; series tied 1-1) Blood Zone 5/?/2007 - Merrill over Wilz (Scaffold Match; 1-0 in Best of Three Series) Crossfire 4/23/2007 - Merrill (c) retains over Wilz (submission match)
Blood Zone 4/9/2007 - Nature's Rage def. Venom/Waters; pinfall (Venom)
Blood Zone 3/12/2007 - Merrill (c) retains over "Iceman" Rainer Wilz, Greg Venom in a Triple Threat; submission (Venom)
St. Valentine's Day Massacre 2/26/07 - Merrill def. Scott Stonewall (c) in an I-40 Street Fight (submission, won Platinum Championship)
Blood Zone 2/12/07 - Merrill def. Dan "Cypher" Kilburn (pinfall)
Blood Zone 1/29/07 - Dice Morgan/Greg Venom def. Waters/Sickle; pinfall (Waters)
Blood Zone 1/15/07 - Merrill def. Blitz Commando, Dice Morgan in a Triple Threat; pinfall (Morgan)

Wrestling Information

Gimmick

Merrill uses a "brooding genius with a sense of humor" gimmick when he wrestles, as his personality has often been described as "a strange cross between Raven and Christian Cage". He has a very strong mean streak when riled. As the owner of TWI, however, he has more of a business-like manner, making decisions based on his own sense of logic and rationality.

Wrestling Attire

Black karate pants, white t-shirt, silver beret, sunglasses, white leather jacket with silver wings along the sleeves

Wrestling Style

Highflier/technical/hardcore hybrid

General Moveset

  • Running splash into corner
  • Clothesline
  • Release German suplex
  • Dropkick
  • Snap suplex
  • Neckbreaker
  • Baseball slide
  • Tornado DDT
  • Standing enzuigiri
  • Standing DDT
  • Elbow strikes
  • Inverted DDT
  • Cuffing blow to the back of the head (just to annoy)
  • Ridge-hand chops
  • Sideslam
  • T-bone slam
  • Headscissors

Signature Moves

  • Wheel in the Sky - Reverse enzuigiri
  • Van Terminator
  • Missile Dropkick
  • Absolutely Curtains - Springboard moonsault into inverted DDT
  • Dark to Light (chokeslam set-up into side Russian legsweep)

Finishers

Primary/Submission Finisher - Epilogue (modified Sharpshooter into a bridging chinlock)
Alternate Submission Finisher - Black Days (drop toe-hold into STF)
Set-Up/Secondary Finisher - Twilight Neckbreaker (running aerial cartwheel into a neckbreaker)
Alternate Set-Up Finisher - Shadow Roll (sunset flip over a leaned-over opponent into a Stunner)
Special Finisher - Dimension Moonsault (Corkscrew Moonsault that swings out from the turnbuckle as well as over during rotation)
Hardcore Finisher - Midnight Blue Splash (450 Splash into a table)
Alternate Hardcore Finisher - Fire on High (450 Splash into a flaming table)
Hardcore Submission Finisher - Eclipse (Epilogue with a kendo stick)
Alternate Hardcore Submission Finisher - Caught in a Trap (Black Days with kendo stick/katana sheath)

Previous Themes, Titles, and Accomplishments

Entrance Themes

  • Merrill's first theme in WOF was Brain Damage/Eclipse by Pink Floyd.
  • Merrill's second entrance theme in WOF, and his only theme in XDF, was Lights Out by the Newsboys.
  • As part of the Black Velvets, Merrill used the entrance theme Black Velvet by Alannah Myles.
  • Upon returning to HVW, Merrill used the song Rise by Origa both for himself and for his stable the Dark Soldiers. It is from this song that he takes his catch phrase "Stand or Die".
  • For a time in HVW and UHWF, Merrill had used Atmosphere by Shinedown as his theme.
  • Upon opening TWI, Merrill decided to use Land of Confusion by Disturbed as his wrestling and administrative theme.
  • When he returned to active wrestling and ceased being the General Manager of TWI Nightfall, Merrill took Reborn by Stone Sour as his wrestling theme.

Titles and Accomplishments

  • Merrill is the founder and owner of Twilight Wrestling International.
  • Merrill is a one-time UHWF Platinum Champion.
  • Merrill is a one-time WOF/HVW World Tag Team Champion as part of the Black Velvets.
  • The Black Velvets are technically undefeated, and they never lost the HVW/WOF Tag titles.
  • Merrill has never won or lost by disqualification or count-out.
  • In tag situations, Merrill has never been forced to submit.
  • Merrill is 2-1 in matches of his own design (Shadow Cylinder and I-40 Street Fight).

Contributions to the Industry

Merrill has created three unique matches and created six and a half variations on one of them. The first match, the Shadow Cylinder, has been employed once in its raw state; none of its variations have yet been employed. The second of his personal signature matches, the I-40 Street Fight, has been employed once. Merrill has only been defeated once in these matches, a loss to "Iceman" Rainer Wilz in a Shadow Cylinder as part of a Best of Three Platinum Championship Series (Wilz later bested Merrill in an Ultimate Submission match to win the title). Merrill also created the Royal Shootout match for use in TWI, particularly to determine the first Supernova Champion at TWI New Dawn 2007.

Trivia

  • Merrill's favorite Duel Monsters card is the Red Eyes Black Dragon.
  • Merrill's ringname is derived from the legendary firebird, the Phoenix. He originally started out on the indy circuit as the Dark Firebird, but he later morphed it into "Shadowbird".
  • Merrill is an avid gambler and is on par with poker professionals such as Chris "Jesus" Ferguson and Joseph Hachem.
  • Merrill has won several poker tournaments, but he considers his best hand to be a close loss against the legendary Doyle Brunson.
  • Merrill's favorite Hold 'Em starting hand is Seven-Deuce offsuit.
  • Merrill's favorite casino game is Blackjack. It is also his best game.
  • Merrill is the only known person in professional blackjack able to shut up "Hollywood" Dave Stanton with a single glare.
  • Merrill was formally trained in vocal performance and has a wonderful baritone singing voice. Which, naturally, he uses to sing in his rock band Red Shift.
  • Merrill is also a fair guitarist, although as he is quick to point out, he "ain't no Jimi Hendrix."
  • Several of his signature moves and finishers are codenamed after various Pink Floyd and Electric Light Orchestra songs, although one of his signature moves is named after a Journey song.

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