RF Video Shoot Interview with Matt Morgan

This was released in January 2014

The interview was conducted by Brett Lauderdale

It runs for three hours and thirty-eight minutes long

The interview starts with Morgan being asked about Andre the Giant being his favorite wrestler. Morgan said he got hooked when he saw Ken Patera and Big John Studd try to cut his hair. He also talked about how his dad and brother were huge fans and followed suit.

He talks about his college basketball career. He started off at Monmouth and even got to play in the NCAA Tourmanent in 1996. Morgan also was a starter as a freshman. He also said he was invited to play in the McDonald’s All-American team as a high school senior.

Morgan then transferred to Chaminade University in Hawaii and started to train as a wrestler. He saw an ad on TV one day for the local promotion, Pro Wrestling Hawaii, and decided that he wanted to train. He then called the promoter, “Bonecrusher” Jeff Nunez, and had his first day of training in the middle of Waikiki Beach, with tourists all over the place. He said that it cost $500. After 15 minutes, Nunez told him that was it and to call him tomorrow but he was gone as the guy was a scammer who would train people for a day then leave and go to another island and do the same thing.

After that he moved back home and got a job back home in Connecticut at the Enterprise Rent-A-Car in Stamford, CT. Morgan said that he also got tryouts for the NBA and the NFL. Morgan said best case scenario in the NBA would be the “white guy at the end of the bench. Morgan said he stayed at Enterprise as he did an internship there and thought he could get promoted quickly at the Stamford branch. He said while there he met Tom Prichard and the Mean Street Posse and would talk to them. He also said that he met Vince McMahon’s driver and trainer as Titan Towers was just four doors down. This was right when the “Attitude Era” was taking off.

Morgan then said he met a go-fer for “RAW Magazine” who told him to work out at the gym on Friday nights at Titan Towers because that is when Vince worked out. After six months, he still had not met Vince but did run into Stephanie, Jim Ross, and his wife, who Morgan said was a sweetheart of a person. One day, he bumped into Vince and approached him briefly as he did not want to interrupt his workout, as Vince asked him about his height and weight then asked Morgan he owed it to himself and his family to tryout for the NBA before committing to wrestling. Morgan had a tryout with the Indiana Pacers coming up but said he didnt care about that as much and was a wrestling fan long before basketball. Vince also told him to get in contact with Tom Prichard if he was serious too.

On auditioning for “Tough Enough,” Morgan was waiting for the WWE to contact him and he eventually talked to Prichard and asked if he should go to a wrestling school such as Killer Kowalski’s. Prichard then told him to wait as they had something coming up (Tough Enough). He missed the deadline for the first season but the MTV producers saw his video and he got to audition for season 2.

He talks about wrestling at a higher weight at first and how he was nowhere near ready to be in the ring as he did not have the cardio. He then talks about the training and how the trainers wanted to test him as he was a big guy. Morgan said he did not get preferential treatment due to his size. He talks about his injury where he snapped his ankle and said it happened mostly due to the fact that he was overweight.

Morgan said the trainers were cool, even Bob Holly. He said that the Big Show would pull him aside off camera and give him pointers. He said that the show pushed you through a lot of tests and put your body to the limit. He never thought that his career would be over or anything like that after the injury.

He is asked about the other contestants. He said that Kenny King was picking up things quicker than anyone. He likes Jake and Hawk, saying that Jake was cool but not picking up on the training. He talks about how they were told at first that one man and one woman would win but it ended up being two females. He also said that Kenny King should have won one of the spots.

Morgan was offered a Developmental contract to report to OVW after the show in 2002. He said he was ecstatic when he got the call from John Laurinaitis then a congratulatory call from Prichard after that.

Danny Davis was the head trainer when he started. He talks about how he probably had the least experience out of everyone down there at the time. When asked if he was signed based off of potential, Morgan said yes but so is everyone else and just because you were a star on the independent scene doesnt mean you immediately bypass the Developmental system as you have to go through the WWE style of training before making it to television. He names Nova as an example as he worked for ten years and had to do the same drills as he did in OVW, noting how if you ask Nova today he would say that those drills helped him.

He is asked about the other guys with him in OVW at the time. Morgan said he was with John Cena, Batista, Shelton Benjamin, Sean O’Haire, Mark Jindrak, Lance Cade, Nick Dinsmore, Rob Conway, and Rene Dupree among others. Morgan said the locker room atmosphere was like family.

Morgan talks about being called up, saying that he was not ready at the time as he only had several months of training. He was told that he would be paired up with guys who were experienced and puts over the veterans for making the 2003 Survivor Series Team Angle vs. Team Lesnar match great.

On his team with Nathan Jones, Morgan said that they were going to remain a team but he ended up quitting. Morgan said that Jones was very quiet and during practice in OVW would just sit down and look at everyone. He also said that Jones was not prepared for the “mental ribbing” of the locker room. Morgan then talks about that and how he played sports his whole life and that kind of stuff is typically used as a weird way of getting to know you and a camaraderie builder then tells a story as a freshman at Monmouth when the whole team tied him down naked on the goalpost before the women’s lacrosse team came out to practice. He then goes back to Jones and recalls telling him that they were just messing with him and discusses how Jones spent time in solitary confinement while in Australia and struggled to adapt on dealing with people. He then recalls the day he quit when he came up to Morgan as he was warming up and shook his hand, saying he quit as he had a tear in his eye. Morgan heard that he told the office that night he was not going to wrestle and quit as Angle and Lesnar attempted to get him to stay.

Morgan stays on the subject of ribbing in the locker room and how it is not the end of the world if someone pulls a rib on you as it is a way to see if you are mentally prepared and stresses the importance of trying to have a good time on the road and keep everyone laughing when times are bad. He then tells a story of Cena pulling a rib on him during the European tour when he had the sound guy turn up the microphone so he would sound like “Alvin & The Chipmunks” when he cuts his promo on the crowd while he was doing his stuttering gimmick. Morgan also said that he made a point to no-sell the rib and kept cutting the promo as the crowd went nuts.

He talks about getting sent back to OVW in 2004. Morgan said after Lesnar and Nathan Jones quit, they had nothing to do for him. Morgan then talks about how he would have learned more on the road working house show matches with veterans, who he described as leading him through the matches. At the same time, Morgan said that he would get more ring time in OVW but the demotion did mess with him mentally a bit.

He got called back up to the main roster in 2005 and given the stuttering gimmick. Morgan confirmed that Vince came up with the idea. He also said that Vince apparently had the gimmick for a few years and was waiting to use it on someone. At first, Morgan was told that he could accept the gimmick or wait for another one to come along while waiting in OVW. Morgan then went to Vince’s office, who explained the gimmick with an analogy of a hot chick who ends up having a deep voice when she speaks, making everyone turn their heads, as the stuttering character would have that be his only flaw and would get set off when exploited. He then took the gimmick at the advice of others by saying no matter how stupid it sounded, you dont say no to an opportunity.

On the first “One Night Stand” PPV, Morgan said that he was sitting in the box with the other guys as waitresses were bringing them drinks and guys, JBL in particular, were getting drunk and screaming at Heyman’s guys. He also tells a story about how Snitsky was dared to take the shoe off of the waitress and stick her toes in his mouth and he did. When asked about the incident between JBL and the Blue Meanie, Morgan said he had no idea that happened until the next day. He recalls seeing Meanie busted open backstage but thought it was just part of the match but found out the next day at TV that it was a legitimate fight.

Morgan got released from the WWE on July 5th, 2005. He was with Carlito, who was feuding with the Big Show but Carlito got drafted to RAW and Morgan was still on Smackdown and was left with nothing to do. Morgan then talks about the stuttering gimmick and how it was on him why the gimmick did not get over as he was the one with the opportunity. John Laurinaitis told him to go to Japan and work over there and improve then they could bring him back. Morgan said that despite getting upset over being released, he got a chance to ditch the stuttering gimmick and create a character that was more like himself elsewhere.

He is now asked about his comments about being a “functioning addict” during his second WWE run. Morgan said he was addicted to painkillers and that few people knew he was an addict. He said he was always able to get them from doctors and wouldnt really abuse them in the locker room but rather behind closed doors. Morgan said he was “doctor shopping” and was getting tons of Percocets. He would go through 60 pills in about two days.

Morgan said once on tour in Japan he started to ask around for pills and that was the only time they saw him struggling. He then goes into his addiction and how he would get a rush from taking the pills and would take 40-60 milligrams every four hours for about five years of either Percocet or Vicodin.

On a tour of Italy on the Independent scene, Morgan said he was going through withdrawals and having cold sweats so he ended up knocking on guys doors asking for pills and came to a realization that he could not get through withdrawals for another night so he called his wife and asked her to set him up with the scariest, crappiest detox center she could find so it would scare the shit out of him because he thought the next point for him was jail as he felt he could have done something like write fake scripts or anything else to get his fix. He went to the Center For Drug Free Living in Orlando, FL which he said was in a shitty part of town. He was there for three weeks and detoxed off of pills and went on Suboxone. Morgan said he felt pathetic and weak at first as he could not beat a pill. He talks about listening to a story of a guy there who was a former Harvard English professor who ended up losing everything and was living underneath a bridge. Morgan also talks about how he wanted to get clean and if you go to detox and are not serious about that then it will never work. He said he learned a lot of tools to stay clean through the outpatient treator he had when he got released. He said that he found a different route to drive home so he wouldnt drive by pharmacies and switched gyms as to not get triggered. He said he stayed out of wrestling because if that was what it took to stay clean he had to do it as he did not want to return and have to deal with injuries without pills.

Morgan got into TNA as he worked a few indy shows and felt better as his cardio and blood pressure were much improved due to not being on pills. He then got a chance to be Jim Cornette’s bodyguard in TNA. He met Dixie Carter and asked if he could do PR and speak about addiction and did some stuff with D.A.R.E. Morgan talks about being proud of overcoming his addiction.

He talks about some of the workers in TNA. Regarding Abyss, Morgan said that he is an underrated big man and excellent at putting together matches and could be an agent when he retires. He talks about Beer Money and how both of them are extremely charismatic. Morgan said that Roode and Dolph Ziggler are the best bump-and-feed heels in the business today. He said that Bubba Ray Dudley was a total dick in the WWE but was helpful and a lot easier to deal with in TNA.

On his Bound for Glory match against Kurt Angle, Morgan said it was the longest match of his career and had to get into shape and lost 15lbs during training. He recalls Angle ripping into him for going through the motions at times before the match and to act like a 7-foot tall giant.

When asked if he helped Angle with his addiction, he claims that he had helped 38 wrestlers get sober throughout his career. Morgan said he wanted to do it after getting sober himself. Morgan said he referred several guys to his addiction specialists and felt that he owed it to his friends in the business, no matter how big of a name, that if he saw them in trouble he had to help them. He also talks about the WWE Wellness Policy and how the facilities they send guys to are the best on the planet.

He loved working with Ric Flair and said that he would always give out advice to guys. When asked about outside of the ring, Morgan says the stories of him being crazy outside are true but at that time in TNA Morgan was not into that scene and recalls having a beer or two with him after their match at a hotel bar while watching the NBA playoffs, saying they were both huge LeBron James fans.

Morgan is asked about bigger names coming into TNA and phoning it in as he said they would roll their eyes when that happened and how some of the vocal guys in the locker room, like Samoa Joe, would sometimes speak up to those guys.

On working with Jeff Hardy, Morgan talks about how they both turned a month before the match and talks about how they had him as a face going up against Hardy, who was a heel, saying it was an uphill battle.

When asked about Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff showing up to TNA, Morgan said he was happy to see that. On the rest of the locker room, Morgan said he is sure than some guys were unhappy and goes on how wrestling is a business filled with paranoia. He recalls Bischoff taking notes of everyone’s matches at the monitor and wanting to improve the product. He also recalls Hogan sitting them all done and asking them who they were so they could get to know their character’s better.

He said that it was Hogan’s plan for his match against Sting was to pass out in the Scorpion Death Lock instead of tapping out and they were going to work a long program after that.

Morgan puts over Hogan for being a great person and how he has a big heart. He said that Hogan gave him and his wife his suite for a New Years Eve party once. He also likes Bischoff for being up front with him.

On whether or not Bischoff lost touch, Morgan said that Bischoff is a big fan of Austin Aries and attributes his run as the champion to that so he thinks Bischoff does not what the fans like today.

He is asked if Scott Steiner is crazy as Morgan starts to laugh then tells a story during a promo where Tyson Tomko pulled up in a truck as Steiner just yelled out “Hey Ned, get my bag” for some reason.

Morgan thought that Crimson was picking up wrestling quickly but still figuring out who he was and did not get enough time to do that.

On leaving TNA, Morgan said that his leave was a 100% work as it was Bischoff’s way of keeping him fresh. He then said when he returned they never did anything with him though. He got paired with Joey Ryan and puts over his charisma and character. At this time Morgan felt frustrated as their pairing did not make sense. He also revealed that they were supposed to have a six-month long storyline and become the champions but that was switched as Hogan did not want Morgan as a comedy character.

Morgan expresses his frustration at the end of his run where they kept him off of TV to bring him back in a storyline then they brought him back and did nothing with him. He went to Dixie Carter and told her that he wanted to leave. He also said that the company was slashing its budget and thought they could save money by releasing him as his wife was pregnant with their first child and thought about being around for his kid and leaving wrestling. He is asked about Dixie and says that she has a grass-roots belief on getting to know the fans and some people do not think that is a good way to do business.

He liked going on the road as you could find out who was over as he talks about some of the guys, without mentioning names, would constantly hang out with the “marks” and buy them beers so they would get cheered at the Impact Zone.

When asked why TNA struggled to draw on the road, Morgan said it was easy to figure out as it was the marketing. He talks about how he and James Storm would play a game when they would work out at the gym closest to the arena and see fans, who would ask them why they were there and would have to tell the fans that they had a show that night. He said no one knew that they had shows because they did a poor job at promoting.

On steroids in wrestling, Morgan said he did early on in his career. He then said that Jim Ross came down to OVW and saw Morgan, telling him that he didnt look like an athlete anymore and to stop whatever he was doing and after that he never took them again. He then talks about how while wrestlers shouldnt look like roided-out action figures or anything but should look like they are able to kick someone’s ass. He then talks about how today you can look at the guys and see that they are not on the juice, something you could tell before.

He is then asked about American Gladiators as Morgan said he got the job as they were looking for a wrestler to fill a role on the show.

Morgan closes by talking about how proud he is to be a father and says that anyone watching who is struggling with addiction can hit him up on Twitter and from there he can communicate with them through direct message where he can guide you on how to receive help.



Final Thoughts: I thought Morgan was an interesting subject and I became a fan of his by the end. However, the interviewer was fucking terrible here and it made for a subpar shoot. This Lauderdale guy is clueless. From cutting off the wrestlers (He did the same in the Tracy Smothers shoot) to asking ill-timed and overall poor follow-up questions he made this dull when it should have been an interesting interview, especially with an engaging guy like Morgan. He essentially asks token questions that are designed to get the subject talking for minutes on end and instead of steering the interview along he just cuts them off as they get going.

His story about getting clean was interesting. They had a lot to work with there. But stuff like Tough Enough and his TNA career was largely glossed over and they had 3.5 hours worth of material on this DVD.

Bottom line, Morgan is an interesting guy who was willing to talk but the interviewer was unable to utilize that and it made for a stagnant interview, especially the final hour, where I was ready to tap out myself. I cannot recommend this interview but I am happy about Morgan overcoming his addiction and the fact he wants to help others is admirable.

You can purchase the interview for $15 by clicking on the link below

http://www.rfvideo.com/mattmorganshootinterview.aspx