By Jared "JJF" Jackson-Ferrans
Every so often, there comes a talent with the ring ability and x factor to be a high level star, that the WWE just doesn't use correctly. These are the analysations of those talents. welcome to Missed Connections.
Sometimes, everything comes together, and you get a once in a lifetime wrestler that fits the total package: Look, Charisma, Workrate, Ring Skills and Mic Skills. More often than not, these wrestlers become disappointments. The Rock was, without a doubt, one of these, and left for several years in his prime, leaving the company with a lack of star power.
Randy Orton was as well, and fell into a pattern of self destruction and personal issues that led to him losing his luster. Eddie Guerrero falls into this category, and well, we know what hapenned there. Misuse is rarely a problem, however this case is quite different. Let's look at the file.
The story begins with Tough Enough, where two young talents named John Hennigan and Matthew Cappoletti earned WWE contracts in 2002. It would be two years before we would see Hennigan, under the name Johnny Blaze, as the assistant to Raw General Manager Eric Bischoff. The next week, the name was changed, initially to Johnny Spade but later to Johnny Nitro, which finally stuck, the run didn't last, and he quickly was back in OVW until the next year.
In April of 2005, alongside former indy standout Joey Mercury and real life girlfriend Melina Perez, Nitro made his re-debut as a member of the MNM stable, interrupting Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio, who they defeated for the WWE Tag Team Championships. They lost the titles in July of that year to the bastardized Legion of Doom of Road Warrior Animal and Heidenreich, only to regain them shortly after from them in a four way. They lost them once again in December 2005 to Rey Mysterio and Batista, only to once again regain them January 2006. Ultimately, they would lose the titles for the final time to Paul London and Brian Kendrick in May, which led to Nitro being fired from SmackDown.
Nitro made his Raw return, alongside Melina, feuding with Jeff Hardy over the Intercontinental Championship, which he held briefly on two occassions, before entering a brief feud with John Cena. Following that, MNM reunited to feud first with the Hardyz, later with Paul London & Brian Kendrick once again before Nitro moved to ECW, winning the Brand's Championship, rebranding himself as John Morrison and entering a long feud with CM Punk. He followed this up entering a partnership with the Miz, becoming multiple time Tag Team Champions, before being drafted to SmackDown in 2009.
Upon arriving, Morrison quickly became a fan favourite due to his high risk offense, and captured yet another Intercontinental Championship in September 2009, only to lose it in December to Drew McIntyre. In April 2010, he returned to Raw, and outside of SummerSlam vs The Nexus and earning a shot against WWE Champion The Miz, he struggled to have high profile matches, until a major spot at the Royal Rumble, where he staved off elimination by hanging on to the barricade. A feud with R-Truth led to an unsuccessful title shot, which led to a three month losing streak. On November 2011, he wrestled his final match, ironically ending his WWE career the way 2011 had begun with such promise, a Falls Count Anywhere match with The Miz.
As I mentioned, Morrison's look is one of his biggest assets. Similar to Bret Hart, he looked nothing short of a star every time he walked through the curtain, and it made him a favorite of fans of all ages. Giving him the "Rock Star" mentality was the perfect gimmick to work with his look, and led to the best work of his career. His in ring work is another major asset, as he manages to electrify crowds on a nightly basis with his high flying style.
Now, a lot of people believe Morrison's issue was with his mic skills, but I disagree with that, as his ECW promos and Dirt Sheet episodes showed, he could speak fine when given the right material. He came off exactly as a heel should: pompous, arrogant and deluded about his own self worth. Had he continued this as a face, Morrison would have very likely been World Heavyweight Champion.
Well, if it wasn't the mic skills, what was it?
Morrison's only issue was being a natural heel who looked like a natural face, an issue that Shawn Michaels and Edge suffered from early in their careers, prior to real life events assuring that they'd stay on their preferred side. With Morrison, he seemed to struggle as a face, despite always having great support, and never seemed to break into the upper echelon of the WWE despite several title shots.
The more pressing issue was his backstage attitude, which led to his depush in 2011 and eventual release, mainly due to his relationship with the notoriously tempermental Melina. It was her comments that led to Morrison's snub of Trish Stratus at Wrestlemania, and instead of using this to further a heel run, they dropped the ball majorly.
I'm not usually in the "heel turns fix everything" camp, but in this case, re-introducing the arrogant, self-obsessed Morrison to the WWE Universe would have in fact solved most of the problems. Have him cut his promos from inside the "Palace of Wisdom", talk about how pandering the fans have kept him from reaching the lofty heights he deserves, and how he needs to be in it not for the honor, but the glory.
Another way to solve this would be, while not outright eliminating his high spots, to show a more grounded, aggressive Morrison, similar to his days in MNM and on ECW. Morrison has showed he can play the unhinged striker in the past. All they needed was to let him show that side again.
By no means did John Morrison have a bad WWE career, but with his skillset and promise, there is no reason why he shouldn't have been WWE Champion. His mic skills and backstage attitude were no worse than, for example, Randy Orton, and his ring abilities gave him a major advantage over many of his peers. He had the potential to be a star that is being realized in Lucha Underground, thankfully, but should have been on a bigger stage.
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