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Rags to riches for WWE superstar

By By John Whiting

Published: 11:46AM Friday June 13, 2008 Source: ONE Sport

AUDIO: Listen to tvnz.co.nz's interview with WWE superstar MVP (3:35)

WWE superstar MVP has entertained millions of screaming fans worldwide, and his rise to the top is an inspirational story.

MVP, CM Punk and diva Natalya met the Warriors this week in a promotion of Smackdown's New Zealand tour.

After being greeted with a haka from the Warriors players, the three wrestlers mingled with the crowd gathered at Mt Smart Stadium to sign autographs, take photos and chat.

For those who don't follow wrestling, the character of MVP (Montel Vontavious Porter) is an egotistical trash talker who will beat you at any game.

And the 35-year-old, self-professed half man half amazing, wasn't shy to tell tvnz.co.nz what he's all about.

"Sometimes I have to edit myself 'cause my filter doesn't work sometimes. I say all the things I'm not supposed to say, I get in trouble sometimes," he said.

"MVP's all about making money and having a good time. I just love living life.

"Straight up ballin'. That's what ballin's about man, I'm the ballin'est wrestler of all time."

While he's now at the top of his game things weren't always rosy for the WWE superstar.

MVP, real name Alvin Burke, lived a troubled teenage life and began getting in tangles with the law as a gang member.

Then at the age of just sixteen MVP was sentenced to 18 and a half years in prison for armed robbery and kidnapping.

After serving nine and a half years of his sentence he was released, and that's when his life changed for the better.

Wrestling became his passion and instead of going back to his former life of crime MVP trained to become professional.

He made his pro debut in 2002 and worked for many different independent companies before being signed by the WWE in 2006.

Wrestling has proved to be a decision that has given him a future.

"Wrestling saved my life. When I got out of prison I got into wrestling and it became my passion.

"If I hadn't become a professional wrestler I'd probably be back in prison or dead. I would've gone back to the streets and what I was doing before and usually that's a dead end.

"Now I'm top of the world baby, top of the world."

But the meeting with the Warriors wasn't all about wrestling, it was also about the superstars getting a taste of rugby league.

MVP said he was impressed by the sport and enjoyed a long discussion with self-confessed fan Ruben Wiki.

"In all seriousness when I watch rugby league it blows my mind the physicality. In talking to Ruben to play this game for 13 years and still be at the top of your game, he's like The Undertaker to be around as long as he's been around is something. I take my hat off to him and I don't do that very often."

So how would he fare as a player in the NRL?

"Of course I could play it. My problem is I wouldn't want too give up the ball. I want the ball, give me the ball. I'd be the one coming through the middle."

"It's a demanding sport but if MVP played it no doubt I'd be the MVP every year."

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