Due to the surprising success of my last Memories article, I decided I should construct a part two. The last article was about one of my favorite Superstars. This article is about my absolute all time favorite WWE Superstar, John Morrison.
It's 2001. WWE Tough Enough was entering its second season. Season One winners Nidia and Maven were having stellar careers in the WWE. Nothing to special. WWE Officials were interviewing fresh talent for Season two. I refused to pay attention to most because the show was just another reality show to me.
Despite this, some weird kid caught my attention. The guy sported sideburns like The Rock. I mean who wouldn't notice? To my surprise the kid was extremely athletic. Claiming he was in gymnastics and would often break dance. Like any other WWE Veteran, Jim Ross heard the words "break dance" and immediately thought of Booker T.
Good ol J.R. asked the guy if he could perform a spin-a-roni. He performed the break dance maneuver exceptionally well but claimed to have no prior knowledge of Booker T and the spin-a-roni. While I don't know them by name, some of the scouts felt he mocked their business.
Claiming he didn't want to wrestle but to simply show off.
Boy I would love to see what that guy would say today. I wrote the show off and never watched Tough Enough again until season four. Though John became a distant memory, I still recognized him on an episode of Sunday Night Heat. I didn't know who his partner was but was surprised to hear Al Snow say that he won season three of Tough Enough.
Surprised? I wasn't.
Hennigan bounced on and off WWE Television. Which I later found out was training time in Ohio Valley Wrestling. He returned to RAW in a backstage segment with Eric Bischoff. Kissing up to Eric and convincing him to a point where he made him his apprentice. My reaction was why in the world did he just steal Ghost Rider's name.
Donning the Johnny Blaze to Spade and finally Nitro. You know Monday Night Nitro.. WCW's flagship program and just another way to impress Bischoff. I disliked the guy. Hell, he even used the old WCW theme. Pushing the envelope.
The things he did where pointless. If not for the WCW references I would've barely noticed. One thing I do remember lingers in my mind. On an episode of RAW where HBK took on Benoit for the WHC, Nitro basically hung onto Eric like a leech. Matt Capotelli never made it to RAW and Nitro was just an extra.
What's the point of the Tough Enough show?
So Nitro's fifteen minutes of fame ended when he took on Eugene. The stipulation that if Nitro lost he would lose his job. Unsurprisingly, Eugene bested the newcomer. I figured the guy was fired. No kayfabe at all.
Ignorant to WWE's Developmental Territories at the time.
Fast forward through his return and the MNM Era. I didn't like the tag team at all and the only thing I can remember is the time they won the titles from EG and Rey Mysterio. Nitro upped his stock after defeating Shelton Benjamin and Carlito for the Intercontinental Title.
Despite Nitro winning he was just a typical scapegoat. I'm saying the WWE just put the title on Nitro so when Jeff Hardy finally won it the victory was well deserved. Other than that the mid card on RAW was in dire straits.
Nitro regained the title thanks to Eric Bischoff only to lose it back to Hardy the next week. He reformed MNM with Mercury to face the Hardy's on multiple occasions. Only to lose every single match against them. A memorable part of this feud would be when Matt and Jeff legitimately smashed Mercuries face with a ladder.
From the way it was performed it seemed as if it was a work.
Mercury was released and Nitro's relationship with Melina faded away. After missing out on WM due losing a match with CM Punk, Nitro imploded and took his frustrations out on Melina. Nitro was moved to my show, ECW and made his debut against Nunzio.
This is when Nitro became a must watch to me. It was first time actually watching a Johnny Nitro match. Difference was that it was to showcase Nitro's in ring ability. Also when he debuted the Corkscrew Neckbreaker.
The real shock came at Sunday's Vengeance Night of Champions ppv. Chris Benoit was unable to attend the event and left CM Punk without a challenger. The ECW Title was on the line and no one would've guessed Nitro would replace Benoit.
Going against my favorite WWE Superstar CM Punk, Nitro shocked me when he defeated Punk for the ECW Championship. Some believe Morrison may not have become Morrison if Benoit had lived on. Some go far as to say Morrison would've been released.
That's a little bold to say.
There's no doubting that Benoit's death played a major role in Nitro's career.
After Nitro won the ECW Title, his work ethic improved to a point where I considered him the future. He went the distance with John Cena, destroyed Tommy Dreamer, and had an upcoming match with CM Punk. That's when things took a turn for the best.
On an episode of ECW, Nitro was gone and John Morrison was now the alpha male on ECW. I didn't understand the change but I welcomed it. Hey a boost of confidence can help or hurt and in this case it helped a lot. Morrison defeated Punk in subsequent rematches but the feud wasn't over.
Punk bested Morrison in a last chance match. Though Punk won, I was more impressed with Morrison's performance. He debuted the Starship Pain and connected perfectly. Morrison disappeared from ECW programming for almost a month.
I found it strange that Morrison wouldn't exhaust his rematch clause. Until I found out that Morrison was suspended for violating the Wellness Policy. The situation made me wonder if Punk would've ever become ECW Champion. But Morrison had to pay the piper.
For the first time since becoming a pro wrestling fan, I favored a heel.
Upon his return, Morrison reignited his feud with CM Punk. ECW newcomer, The Miz prevented Morrison from recapturing the title and the duo later formed a tag team. Defeating Matt Hardy and MVP for the tag team championship. That's extremely odd.
I figured the WWE wanted to make new tag teams by pairing rivals. But for god sakes talk about complete opposites.
Miz and Morrison went onto become one of the greatest teams of the decades. Holding the tag titles for the better part of a year. Feuding with the likes of CM Punk, Kane, Finley, H, rnswoggle, and Cryme Tyme. In the process creating their webshow, The Dirt Sheet.
The Dirt Sheet trashed and parodied multiple Superstars including CM Punk and DX. The most memorable would be when Morrison dressed up as Punk and insulted him and his lifestyle.
Miz and Morrison recaptured tag team gold only to lose it to the Colons at Wrestlemania. At this point, the team had a great run. They had been together for years but it was time to split the group up. I wasn't too fond of Miz and believed Morrison would've been a World Champion by then.
The WWE answered my prayers when they split the team up over the draft. When Miz attacked Morrison I predicted a face turn was right around the corner. Who wouldn't? Morrison's wrestling style didn't fit a heel at all.
After Morrison was drafted to Smackdown, the WWE turned him face during a match with Shelton Benjamin. Before the match, Jim Ross hyped up Morrison as if he was the next big thing. Morrison dominated Shelton and bested the Gold Standard with a Moonlight Drive.
Fast forward a few months. Morrison has had great matches with Edge, Umaga, and CM Punk. Defeating World Champion CM Punk on two occasions. Teddy Long gave Morrison a World Title match against Jeff Hardy.
Despite kicking out of a Swanton Bomb, Morrison would lose the match.
Morrison later faded out of the World Title picture. Let's fast forward to Wrestlemania. So Morrison was suppose to be the Next Big Thing on Smackdown. He lost his IC Title to newcomer, Drew McIntyre. Lost subsequent rematches and teamed with R-Truth.
How far can you fall? My reaction was that Morrison must've upset Creative. It's like Creative was told to bury him like Kaval. I lost faith in Morrison becoming a World Champion but I still observed all of his matches.
Morrison competed in a squash match against ShoMiz at Wrestlemania. Instead of staying on the Smackdown! brand where he could flourish, he was drafted to RAW. Lost in the mix, Morrison began teaming with R-Truth again and sporadically feuded with Ted Dibiase.
Losing most of his matches, Morrison joined Team Cena for the match against Nexus. Despite pinning Michael Tarver, Morrison and partner R-Truth fell to Skip Sheffields mighty clothesline. After losing more matches to Nexus and Ted, Morrison officially became a jobber.
I foresaw the mistake Creative was making. Triple H was out, Miz wasn't in the main event yet, Cena was busy with Nexus. RAW was lacking main eventers. Especially with Chris Jericho weeks away from leaving the WWE again.
Creative turned Jericho leaving into a golden opportunity for Morrison. JoMo defeated Jericho in a decent enough match. Their feud continued with Morrison defeating Y2J once again. Over the course of the feud, Morrison took WWE Champion Sheamus to the limit.
Morrison's big break came against Sheamus. Morrison thwarted Sheamus attacks on Santino Marella. Sheamus blamed Santino for team Raw's loss at Bragging Rights. After weeks of Morrison stopping Sheamus in his tracks, Morrison challenged the Celtic Warrior to a match at Survivor Series.
Ecstatic I was. My hope for World Champion John Morrison was renewed. To bad it came at the expense of Sheamus but he's been Champion twice. I believed the winds of change were blowing in the WWE.
Sheamus would get revenge in the KOTR Finals. Defeating Morrison after the high cross. Just when you thought it was over he comes back again. Morrison interrupted Sheamus coronation and the segment ended with an attack on Sheamus.
After a no contest between the two on this next RAW, the RAW GM announced the two would battle it out once more at TLC.
Ladders match. It was kinda obvious who had the advantage.
Morrison defeated Sheamus and is now the No.1 Contender. Morrison beat Alex Riley and picked the upcoming RAW for his title match. No holds barred.
Now that we're up to speed.
I'm back and forth on this situation. I predicted this match would take place at the Royal Rumble. For those who want my opinion I'll give you two possibilities. Morrison defeats Miz for the WWE title only for Miz to regain at the Rumble. The Miz defeats Morrison with dirty tactics and RAW GM makes rematch for Rumble.
If not then this is a wasted push for Morrison. What's the point of a title match if it should be wasted on RAW? Don't worry, I'm not going to write up a Miz sucks and Morrison rules article. I'll quietly observe the events to come.
Like CM Punk, I've been extremely disappointed in Morrison's path this year. Though the turn around was also a great thing. Morrison has been discussed for a heel turn over the past couple of weeks. To silence Morrison haters, I would be all for a heel turn.
Let's be honest, it's more difficult to play face than heel. Morrison's mic skills are noticeably better as a heel. Whatever the decision Creative decides to make, I'm behind this guy all the way. While it won't come until later in the year, Morrison will be WWE Champion this year.
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