Pros and Cons of John Morrison Joining WWE Raw, SmackDown and NXT
While a surprise return on Raw or in the Royal Rumble would have made for a cool moment, it's hard to blame WWE for wanting to capitalize on all the buzz surrounding The Shaman of Sexy at the moment. He departed Impact Wrestling over the summer following a successful stint there and stayed silent on his future plans.
Morrison would have fared well for himself wherever he wound up, but it is exciting for fans of his to see him back home in WWE after so long. Considering he didn't leave the promotion on the highest of notes, this return run will allow him to show the world how far he's come since then.
The former intercontinental champion was always close to reaching that next level but fell short whenever it mattered most. During his time away from the WWE bubble, he became the complete package as a performer by honing all areas of his skill set and battling the best that Impact, Lucha Underground and AAA had to offer.
WWE has changed drastically over the last eight years, and the possibilities are endless for what he can do now that he's back. Raw, SmackDown and NXT are all fine landing spot for him, but for every pro, there is a con, and these are the best and worst of every situation he'd be presented with on each of those brands.
Raw Pro: Highest Amount of Exciting, Unprecedented Matches
Creatively, Raw isn't much better now than it was before the 2019 WWE Draft, but the latest roster shake-up did leave the flagship show with an exciting crop of Superstars to build around.
In addition to notable names such as AJ Styles, Seth Rollins, Randy Orton and Rey Mysterio, Raw boasts plenty of up-and-comers including Ricochet, Humberto Carrillo, Cedric Alexander, Andrade, Aleister Black, Buddy Murphy and Drew McIntyre, among others.
WWE is in the process of building up many of those exciting athletes, and in the meantime, fans have been treated to some sweet matches on Monday nights, including Black vs. Tony Nese, Andrade vs. Alexander, Styles vs. Carrillo, and McIntyre vs. Akira Tozawa.
Needless to say, John Morrison could have amazing matches with all of those men (and in some cases, already has).
Although promos have never been his strong suit, Morrison has always been gifted between the ropes thanks to his skills in parkour and beyond. Before Rollins was ripping it up on Raw, Morrison was performing moves that left fans in awe and helped him stand out from everyone else.
Seeing as how he has history with Mysterio and Ricochet from Lucha Underground, the rekindling of those rivalries would be just as compelling as him clashing one-on-one with Styles for the first time ever on a major stage.
From an in-ring standpoint, there's no better place for Morrison to be than on Raw.
Raw Con: Easy to Get Lost in Shuffle Among Fresher Faces
The amount of unprecedented and must-see matches John Morrison can have with the Raw roster are limitless, yet that doesn't necessarily mean he'll be booked with importance from the get-go.
With so many Superstars fighting for television time at the moment, it's going to be a tall task for him not to get lost in the shuffle. It's safe to assume that WWE will want to focus on those fresher faces and not make his push a priority.
Carrillo and Alexander are prime examples of this. Both of them took AJ Styles to his limit as United States champion in multiple great matches, but once they were defeated decisively, they were knocked down a few pegs and haven't been the same since.
Although Raw is three hours in length, the show already seems to have a solid core of competitors who are being built around at the moment with not much room for anyone else. Morrison's return to Raw would be fun at first, but chances are it would fizzle out fast, much like The Street Profits after they debuted.
He'd likely be relegated to the midcard scene as a result of Brock Lesnar being the current WWE champion. That'd be a perfectly fine role for him, but WWE not wanting to feature him at the expense of other guys who have many more years ahead of them is understandable.
SmackDown Pro: More Room to Grow
John Morrison is no stranger to SmackDown. It was where he debuted in 2005 as one-third of MNM and spent a year coming into his own as a singles competitor from 2009 to 2010.
Historically speaking, the blue brand was where Morrison did his best work, specifically during that latter period. He had countless quality matches with Jeff Hardy and CM Punk, vied for the World Heavyweight Championship, defeated Rey Mysterio for the Intercontinental Championship and had memorable feuds with Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre.
He was afforded many more opportunities on SmackDown than he ever was on Raw, and that hasn't changed too much a decade later. SmackDown certainly has its faults (which we'll get into momentarily), but he has a better shot of obtaining main event glory there than anywhere else in the company.
Aside from "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt (who has been unbeaten since the summer), Morrison poses a threat to just about everyone else on the SmackDown roster. He could conceivably be placed in a program with Shinsuke Nakamura over the intercontinental title or wage war with Daniel Bryan and Roman Reigns to prove he still has what it takes to be a top talent.
Of course, it'd be impossible for Morrison to sign with SmackDown and not interact with his longtime tag team partner The Miz in some form or fashion. Regardless of whether they're reuniting or feuding with each other, the "Dirt Sheet" duo must cross paths eventually.
All things considered, SmackDown just might be the most logical landing spot for The Shaman of Sexy, assuming he can survive the show's stagnant creative process...
SmackDown Con: Blue Brand's Creative Direction Is at an All-Time Low
Somehow, SmackDown has been worse off since its move to Fox two months ago. The episodes are more forgettable than they've been in recent memory, and none of the feuds seem to be clicking going into next week's TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs pay-per-view.
Look no further than this week's installment, which featured two ridiculously dumb segments. The first saw Elias spank Drake Maverick in an attempt to impress Dana Brooke, while the other consisted of King Corbin and Dolph Ziggler pouring dog food over Roman Reigns' head.
The show was almost embarrassing to watch at times, and anyone who wishes nothing but the best for John Morrison upon his eventual return to TV should want him as far away from the blue brand as possible.
"The Fiend" Bray Wyatt has been a part of SmackDown for just over two months and already feels less special than he was on Raw. No one else, except for maybe Daniel Bryan, comes close to being on his level, meaning that Morrison won't be immune to the bad booking on the brand, either.
Although he has a ready-made rivalry waiting for him with The Miz, it's more likely he ends up in a program with Corbin and puts him over in the end. There's no reason for him to be utilized as a stepping stone at this stage of his career, but that may be exactly what WWE has in mind for him.
NXT Pro: Where Superstars Go to Reinvigorate Their Careers
When PWInsider (h/t Marc Middleton of Wrestling Inc) originally reported months ago that John Morrison was on his way back to WWE, some fans suggested the idea of him going to NXT. The only time he ever spent on the black-and-gold brand was during its days as a wacky competition show, as he was long gone from the company before it turned into what it is today.
It isn't uncommon for stars who made a name for themselves on the main roster to also find success in NXT. Finn Balor, for one, recently returned to NXT and has been lighting it up as a heel by going after Johnny Gargano, Matt Riddle, Tommaso Ciampa and Adam Cole.
Granted, Balor previously had ties to NXT, but Drew McIntyre started from scratch when he re-signed with WWE in April 2017. It was the perfect place for him to remind fans how much he'd grown as a performer during his absence by working with Robert Roode, Killian Dain, Andrade and Roderick Strong.
Morrison wouldn't have to win the NXT Championship like McIntyre did, but he'd be an excellent addition to the roster, nonetheless. Assuming Balor doesn't become the No. 1 contender to the title in the foreseeable future, he and Morrison could make magic together.
Plus, just imagine the type of feud Morrison could have with Velveteen Dream once he's cleared to compete. He could lend legitimacy to the less-experienced members of the NXT roster while putting on awesome matches to boot.
NXT Con: Roster Is Already Star-Studded Enough
Keith Lee signed with NXT in June 2018 and didn't compete on a TakeOver special until WarGames III last month. Basically, the black-and-gold brand's roster is so stacked with star power that it's difficult for anyone who isn't established to score consistent television time these days, even with two hours to work with on Wednesday nights.
As previously noted, Finn Balor has thrived in NXT lately since returning two months ago and finds himself at the forefront of the NXT Championship scene at the moment. Surely John Morrison wouldn't have an issue settling into a storyline, but it must be asked if Morrison is actually needed in NXT when there are so many others who could be in that same spot.
Dominik Dijakovic, Matt Riddle, Tommaso Ciampa, Kushida and others have been crushing it on the babyface side lately and are waiting in the wings for a shot at the NXT Championship. Meanwhile, the heel side of the roster is loaded with the likes of Undisputed Era, Damian Priest and Killian Dain.
Johnny Gargano and Velveteen Dream must also be accounted for despite being currently injured. In other words, there isn't a void for Morrison to fill, at least until more names are called up to Raw and SmackDown.
Besides, NXT should be focusing on building up the talent of tomorrow and giving them a proper platform to shine. Superstars such as Pete Dunne, Isaiah "Swerve" Scott and Angel Garza would be left to flounder if Morrison were to swoop in and steal their spotlight.
As cool as it would be to see The Shaman of Sexy in NXT, he might be better off back on either Raw or specifically SmackDown, especially since both brands would benefit more from having him around again than NXT would.
Graham Mirmina, aka Graham "GSM" Matthews, is an Endicott College alumnus and aspiring journalist. Visit his website, Next Era Wrestling, and "like" his official Facebook page to continue the conversation on all things wrestling.