Kevin Eck of The Baltimore Sun has an interview up with TNA star Matt Morgan. Here are some of the highlights.
If he feels any pressure main eventing Hard Justice:
“When I first started when I was on Smackdown, we closed out Smackdown shows when I was part of the Team Lesnar entourage. Originally, we were supposed to be in the main event of Survivor Series that year , but for whatever the reason, the powers that be switched things up, and the Raw match [Triple H versus Goldberg] ending up main-eventing instead of us. But going into it, we were supposed to main event that. That was some serious pressure. This being a singles-style match is different. This is directly on me. I can?t hide behind Brock Lesnar and Kurt Angle and John Cena and all the other big names that were in that match when I was on Smackdown. This is directly on me, Sting and Kurt, and I wouldn?t want it any other way. This is my seventh year now in the business, and I?ve gotten the preparation for it. So to directly answer your question, I don?t feel pressure. I?ve been begging and dying for this for the last three to four years. If you don?t want it, no offense, but you really shouldn?t be doing this.”
If he felt it took too long to get in the ring for TNA:
“At first, maybe not. I?m an athlete first and foremost, before I?m a wrestler or entertainer or anything else. The athlete in Matt Morgan wanted to get out there and show everybody what I?ve improved on ? watch me talk, watch some of the moves I came up with in Japan. The athlete in me was dying to get out there and wrestle. But the problem I?ve always had with wrestling in my past was patience and just relaxing and letting things come to me when the door is finally open. You can?t necessarily force those doors open if you?re not ready. I can?t thank TNA enough, to be honest. I know it sounds corny but it’s a real emotion. I can?t thank them enough for really bringing me along nice and slow. And they stuck to their word with me from Day One. Jeff [Jarrett] and Vince [Russo] and anybody who had any creative power at the time told me, ‘You?re going to get your opportunity, but first we have to bring you along nice and slow and make the people want to see you wrestle.'”
If he was surprised by his release from WWE:
“I?m not going to lie; I was surprised. I wasn?t crying about it, but I was definitely shocked. I had just worked Big Show in Japan literally four days prior. The reason I think it didn?t work was that analogy I used before about being C-rated actors like sometimes they make us become, because they?re trying to ram that square through that circle hole. The stuttering character was a great example of that. It was a good idea. The stuttering character could have worked, and maybe it would have if I had more time at it, and maybe who I wrestled against actually would have changed people’s perception of that character. If I was wrestling Triple H and those other guys, people I think would have eventually given it time to set in. Look at Festus. People probably looked at him like, ?What the hell is this? This isn?t going to work.? But when he was wrestling Undertaker and guys like that, after a while, people started accepting it more and more. With me, unfortunately, I don?t think I had that same time frame to prove myself. I?m glad I didn?t, to be quite honest, because I would not want to be pigeon-holed as that character. I would not be proud of that.”
On working in Japan after his WWE release:
“That was the biggest confidence builder for me, because there was no guarantee of anything. I was being brought over as a big Gaijin [foreigner] as they call it, and expected to be big, strong and intimidating and do whatever I can to entertain the fans, but at the same time, their wrestling is way different. It took me a little while to adjust to not playing to the crowd and never taking my eyes off my opponent. That’s the way the Japanese audience is. They will not pop for me beating on my chest after I do a move. They will pop for weird stuff like me doing a suplex and holding a guy up in the air for 25 seconds. They don?t really pop for the intensity of my ?Blueprint? character that I have on TV now. They?ll pop for the actual move and the psychology of what I?m doing, and more importantly, for the little Japanese guy that I?m beating the holy hell out of there and giving him hope spots and showing the fighting spirit in my opponent. That’s really where I learned a lot of psychology and logic of how to work a crowd, because they?re very difficult to work.”
On his “Best of 3 Series” with AJ Styles on Impact:
“The matches that I?m most proud of in TNA are my two matches with Kurt Angle and these three matches with A.J. Styles. It’s meant a lot for my career with TNA, because A.J. is a mainstay. To me, he’s always going to be Mr. TNA. He’s the predominant babyface of our company and he’s fantastic at what he does. For me to beat him in this series 2-1 is a big step for me and it really puts me on the map and lends credibility to my character rather than just having Matt Morgan showing up in a main event for no reason at all. I had to earn it. The way we told the story with the best-of-three series with A.J. is, you don?t want to go out there and put 10 to 15 minutes in on your first match and then 20 minutes in your second match and then a half hour in your third match, because there’s only so much you can do. So if you go back and watch the tape of our first match, we did not do that much. The craziest we got was A.J.’s 450 splash, which was done on purpose. We knew we were not going to give the fans too many high spots because we still had two more matches to go. So we told a simple story of A.J. keeping me tight in a headlock and keeping me close to him instead of me being on top of him. Finally, my power prevailed and we went from there.”
To check out the full interview, click here.