Who here likes to gamble? I?m sure those of you that do have heard the term ‘sure thing? many a time. It tends to refer to an occurrence or event that is supposedly guaranteed to happen, only to fall flat and cost a lot of people a lot of money.
Well here is a sure thing. A sure thing I would happily stake my parents on. John Morrison will be a World Champion before the end of the year.
Now I?m not expecting that declaration to send jaws crashing to the floor, Morrison has of course been groomed for superstardom since his Summer drafting to Smackdown last year. But amongst the main event calibre matches against the Rey Mysterio’s, Edge’s and Chris Jericho’s, as well as the Intercontinental Title run, there’s one recent happening that has caused me to believe that John Morrison will be carrying round something a little heavier than Intercontinental gold this year.
Rock Star: The Story of John Morrison. Those seven words brought me to this realisation that a new name will be added to the pantheon of greats to be bequeathed the honour of being World Champion. The ?E? has already gambled on Sheamus barely six months into his run on the main roster, and CM Punk has held a World Title on each brand in his three short years with the company. So Morrison, with roughly five years of national exposure to his name, looks set to see in the new decade with a bang.
However, it’s not just a World Championship that the former Nitro is to be bestowed. It’s superstardom. Not just anybody is granted a biopic DVD release. Punk’s is nowhere to be seen, Randy Orton is yet to see his face grace the shelves of stores around the world, as is, remarkably, Chris Jericho. So there must be a reason why Morrison has jumped to the head of the queue.
Since his split from The Miz last year, the ?E? have made no secret about the fact they have huge hopes for Morrison. The opponents he’s been booked against reflects this. He is regularly given prestige matches against the best talent on Smackdown and the commentary teams are hardly short on hype either. A DVD chronicling his relatively short career is the next logical step in Morrison’s journey as it effectively lays the foundation for the next stage of his career. His route to the top is now being thrust into the spotlight in much the same way Shawn Michaels? ?Boyhood Dream? story was back in the mid 90’s. Also, Morrison relinquishing the IC Title was hardly a de push strategy on the part of creative either. They?re just getting him into position to launch him not just through the glass ceiling, but to completely obliterate it.
A lot has been said over the past couple of years about the lack of new stars coming through the ranks in the WWE. Senior members of the roster have publicly bemoaned the lack of work ethic within the rookie ranks on more than one occasion. So when a guy like Morrison comes along with a great look, charisma to boot and a ton of raw tools all ready and waiting to be sharpened, he’s hardly going to be ignored.
However, despite said great look and charisma, is John Morrison actually ready or deserving of such a monumental push?
Let’s just chart his career back to 2005 when he and Joey Mercury formed MNM and captured the WWE Tag Team Titles. They were undoubtedly a successful heel tag team who gained some pretty impressive heat in a short space of time. However, a substantial amount of the heat and interest in the team was down in no small part to their rather eye catching valet Melina. Any valet who can execute THAT entrance so well is bound to peak a crowd’s interest in a team. Then in the May of 2006, MNM went their separate ways and Nitro found himself on Raw. He traded the IC Title with Jeff Hardy throughout the rest of the year and then found himself back at square one.
He meandered within that same square for half the year before being catapulted into the ECW Title picture following the Benoit tragedy. Suddenly, Johnny Nitro was ECW Champion. Even more suddenly, he was John Morrison and the face of the brand. However, disappointingly, off screen Morrison did something he shouldn?t have and the title hopped to CM Punk.
More meandering led Morrison to the Miz and MizMo was born. It would be this pairing that established both members as ones to watch for the future, and following several slammy awards and a healthy Tag Title reign, not to mention a hilarious WWE.com exclusive weekly webcast, the arrogant duo went their separate ways and suddenly the brash, cocky Morrison was a babyface, for no apparent rhyme or reason.
Since this turn however, it can?t really be said that Morrison has done enough to warrant being on the crest of such a great push. He’s had no real feuds to speak of, just a series of matches with various opponents. His turn was all too sudden. We weren?t given a reason to cheer him, it just sort of happened. Ok The Miz gave him a cheapshot when they were drafted apart, but is that justification enough for a face turn? Bearing in mind neither guy would be on the same brand following that?
The fact is, Morrison looks set to be pushed strongly as a babyface. Yet for the entire duration of his WWE career up until about six or seven months ago, he’s played the heel, and a pretty great one at that. Morrison suited being a heel because of his look and the way he carried himself. The arrogance was natural and lord knows he knows how to pout. Suddenly turning him and saying ?ok you?re a good guy now, run with it? is counterproductive for a guy with no experience in that realm, especially when he’s on the cusp of the greatest push of his career.
Morrison should have been patiently turned over a course of months. And he should have been turned for a reason. Why am I supposed to cheer John Morrison nowadays? Because he only fights the bad guys? Well why is he fighting them exactly? What personality change did he undergo upon his return to Smackdown that made him want to be a crusader for all things good and righteous? He’s still extremely wet behind the ears in the land of the babyface and being a solo artist full stop. His previous solo adventures may have brought Titles but impressive matches and feuds they didn?t. At least not on a regular basis.
Of course Morrison isn?t a complete carry job and is undeniably talented. But the basics of striking and knowing how to pace a match still look like a lost art to him. Is his glass ceiling high? Of course it is, but this push needn?t be the rush job it looks like being. Give him ring time with the likes of Finlay and William Regal. Have them school him in the art of face punching and simple, yet effective wrestling. Cut down the over reliance on flashy moves and have him learn how and when to use them. Give him feuds! Personal fueds, blood feuds, feuds where we can at least see his personality and other sides to Morrison we have yet to see.
Of course Morrison has been around long enough to warrant a Title push. John Cena’s WWE career was only three years old when he became the face of the company, whilst Sheamus and CM Punk are both testaments to the fact that the WWE likes to gamble on fresh talent. However, the release of this DVD says to this writer that creative aren?t planning a simple World Title reign for the ex Nitro. When this indeed proves to be the case, I hope for the sakes of everyone involved, that Morrison is ready.
Until next week, it’s arrivederci from me,