On first getting into the gym: “I put on 30 pounds of mass that summer, but I got addicted to getting bigger and busted my %$# in that weight room, loving it. With weights, it’s very simple. The more you lift, the bigger you get. You can see the progress in the mirror when you’re working out, and I loved that. […] I was a stringbean as a kid growing up.”
Getting in to wrestling: “I just loved watching pro wrestling my entire life — loved it, loved it, loved it, and everybody on the team used to call me Big Daddy Cool like Kevin Nash [who ironically played college basketball, too]. I think it’s ironic I work with him now in TNA because he was one of my favorite wrestlers growing up — him and Undertaker. I loved Nash’s cool persona.”
Meeting with WWE: “I saw Vince McMahon lifting in the gym. I went up to him, told him how much I respected him and how I loved the show and then asked him what do I do to get started in this business. He looked at my friend who wrote for WWE magazine and said â<80><9c>Where did you find this big guy? He’s huge.â<80> He asked me how big I was, how tall I was and where I went to school. I told him what was going on, and he goes you should really do your family justice and try out [basketball or football]. He couldn’t guarantee me a job. At that point, Ohio Valley Wrestling was really sizzling with John Cena, Batista, Brock Lesnar. They had a lot of talent. I said, ‘Sir, with all due respect, I’ll drive anywhere I have to, to do any developmental you need me to do. I want to learn how to wrestle the right way. ‘Tom Prichard really went to bat for me, he said to wait a little bit, and they’ll figure it out.” While waiting, Morgan worked at Enterprise Rent-A-Car.”
His MTV/WWE Tough Enough audition: “I sent a tape of me lifting in the gym, dunking a basketball and doing all the athletic things I can do and cut a promo of why I’m not some fat slop sitting on the couch who watched Tough Enough I, eating Doritos, saying, ‘I can do that. I am a guy who loves wrestling. I loved wrestling. Even if it wasn’t cool to like wrestling, I still liked it. Even the five years of funk, when it wasn’t cool to like pro wrestling because it was still in the transition from cartoon to attitude era, I still loved it. I still watched it. I hosted Monday Night Raw and Monday Nitro parties in my dorm with my basketball teammates and football players. I’m a lifelong fan.”
Will wrestling be cool again?: “It will take another big wave for that to happen again. There’s another wave that still has to hit. I’m not saying this because I work here, but I think TNA is on that course to do something different, and that’s what it’s going to take to get those college kids to have pizza and kegs in their dormitory again, watching Spike TV on Thursday nights, because they’re going to see somebody do something or act something they’ve never seen before. For me, it was the whole nWo thing. Thinking ‘Wow, this is real. That part’s real. Maybe that’s not, but this is real.’ Anytime you have that, and you can’t tell what’s real and what’s not, that’s awesome. That draws anybody. My mom was even interested during that whole [WCW/nWo] thing. It’s funny how it comes full circle. Now I work in a company with [the nWo’s] Kevin Nash, and he gives me a crapload of advice each day. I talk to him on the phone. He helps me backstage.”
On his first match ever, which was actually against AJ Styles: “God, that’s got to be the worst situation [for AJ] ever to be in — not just to get into a ring with just a big muscled, jacked-up kid, but a big muscled, jacked-up kid who’s never wrestled in his life, except to be on Tough Enough for two weeks. I could chain wrestle and bump and things like that, but I had no business powerbombing him and chokeslamming him. On the outside of the ring, he had turned his back, and I was in the ring, and he wanted me to reach over the top rope and grab him around his neck and pull him up into the ring and put him on his back, like a Baldo Bomb. I was like, ‘Oh my God. He’s really letting me do this to him.’ I was so thankful to him after the match. It came across as I looked like a freak of nature, and that’s a lot of skill on his part. During that match, I’m thinking, ‘Oh my God, that had to hurt.’ I’m [whispering], ‘Are you OK?’ A.J.’s [whispering], ‘Shut up man. I’m fine. Quit asking me.”
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