Source: Tom Herrera of Fan House
Some pro wrestling stars may not be able to take the heat, but Matt Morgan savors every second the fans boo him. In an exclusive interview with FanHouse, the TNA tag team champion makes it clear what kind of reaction he wants to draw from the crowd. Jeers, slashed tires, broken windows, it’s all fair game to “The Blueprint.”
In anticipation of TNA Impact’s one-night move to an earlier timeslot (this Monday, 8PM ET on Spike TV), Morgan talks to us about what it really takes to be a legitimate heel, his past working relationship with D’Angelo Dinero, and how he feels now that his former partner Hernandez is no longer in the picture.
FanHouse: Heading into Monday night’s iMPACT, what’s the future of the tag team titles now that Hernandez is out of action indefinitely?
Matt Morgan: Now that Hernandez is out of the picture, rightfully so, because I don’t share my shine with nobody, we’ll continue to defend these titles.
So would someone like the Motor City Machine Guns …
Come on Tom, you’re supposed to ask, ‘Hey Matt, who’s this “we”?’ Hernandez is hurt. Who’s this we? Well, the we is me, the one-man army of the tag team division, Matt Morgan.
Would you ever defend the titles in a handicap match or will there be a fill-in partner or something like that?
I don’t consider it a handicap because, again, these midgets that are in this division, or the rest of this company for that matter, they could get on each other’s shoulders for all I care and try to have chicken fights, I’m still gonna be taller than them. So I don’t see why it would be considered a handicap match when it’s considered 2-on-1 and the guys are all the same size, so it’s definitely not a handicap match. I’m a friggin’ giant. It’s to my advantage. I’ve held on to these titles single-handedly. I won most of, if not all the matches single-handedly without Hernandez’s help.
Do you think it was inevitable that you would be going it alone? You always seemed more like a singles wrestler, it seemed kind of awkward to see you in a tag team.
Exactly. I agree with you, wholeheartedly. I am not a tag team wrestler by any stretch of the imagination. I am a singles wrestler and I always will be. It just so happens that I’m finally reaching my potential, and through that TNA has put me in situations for a title belt. It’s just recently, it’s been in the tag team division, and I’ve shown how good I am. I just happened to win a match where the tag team titles were on the line and now I’m the tag team champion. And I’m gonna go ahead and defend them by myself.
You see what I’m saying? When I eventually get a rematch for the heavyweight title, and if you do the match, that will be on the way, too, because last time I checked I beat the crap out of A.J. Styles the last few times we fought each other. I guaranteed victory in one of those matches and I wound up winning anyway. Any match you put me in, I’m gonna win. Whether it’s for the heavyweight title, the tag team title, hell you can have it for the X Division belt and I’ll be the champion. So it’s just a matter of TNA, in my opinion, being foolish enough to book me in a tag team match, thinking that whoever I tag with we would just roll over and lose. No. No matter what match I’m in, I’m in it to win it, and that’s why I’m the tag team champion. So now they’re stuck. Now I’m, if you will, I can’t think of a better word than this, but I’m c**kblocking the rest of the tag team division from those titles, and there’s nothing anyone — 3D, Beer Money, Motor City Machine Guns, Generation Me — there’s nothing any of them can do about it. They’re not better than me.
Can you describe some of the differences, since you’ve obviously spent some time in WWE, of how it’s been wrestling for TNA and what’s the atmosphere been like in your time there?
You hear this all the time, it’s becoming so redundant, but the locker room attitude is a lot different, it’s a lot better, it’s a lot more relaxed. It’s a lot more … ‘Hey Matt, we want you to go out there for two minutes and talk about this … How would you say this? How would “The Blueprint” Matt Morgan go out there and say, you’re the best in the world at what you do, and no one’s gonna take these tag titles off you, how would you say that?’ That’s how they go about it at TNA. In WWE when I did my stupid stuttering character, I couldn’t get one word wrong on the exact verbiage on the sheet of paper they would give me, the script. I couldn’t get any word wrong. It had to be identical to what was written for me. And a lot of the time when that happens, and I still watch WWE to follow my boys, to see my friends, a lot of it sounds rehearsed. It sounds extremely rehearsed sometimes, because they go through it just like we do, the day goes by so friggin’ fast, where you get there at 1 o’clock in the afternoon and you got roughly five minutes to memorize a script, and boom, they’re doing their pre-takes with some of these guys. Well, they only have 45 minutes to memorize that.
They didn’t take into account, ‘OK, am I sounding rehearsed right now, or am I sounding like myself when I’m saying this?’ Am I using words that I would use or am I just using words that these writers would write for me that they’re using? And when that happens, you see it right on the camera, a lot of the time when it comes up, a lot of these guys aren’t making the words theirs. Not all of them, but most of them. Chris Jericho, when he talks, I can tell that’s Chris Jericho talking. When The Miz talks, you know Miz is talking, that those are his words that he would use. But not all of them, unfortunately, and it should be like that. I think with TNA, once you garner a certain amount of trust with the writing team, they really start to trust you and give you bulletpoints to hit. And now I’m at a point where they just give me bulletpoints to hit because they trust me to be The Blueprint. They don’t know The Blueprint more than I do, because it’s me 24/7. I respect that they respect that. I like that a lot. So at least in TNA, I think it was more of a connection with our characters per se. You know 9 out of 10 times what our characters are about as soon as you hear them talk or see them get to the ring, usually.
So it really comes down to the creative freedom. I look at another guy like Desmond Wolfe or even D’Angelo Dinero, it seems these guys, instead of maybe being forced into a character, they’re allowed to help develop it a little bit?
A 100 percent. I pitched The Blueprint to TNA a long, long time ago. We haven’t looked back since. I sent them some of the stuff I was doing on the indies, and showing them The Blueprint character from there, or my old stuff from OVW (Ohio Valley Wrestling) when I worked with [Jim] Cornette down there, and they thought it was awesome. They thought it was funny the stuff I’d say, but I was also good at generating heat. I’ve always been good at that. And they really wanted that, they wanted that character, they loved it, Jeff Jarrett thought it was awesome. And they wanted me to continue doing it once I transitioned out of the bodyguard role for TNA, they wanted me to do that character full-force. So I gave it to them, and we haven’t looked back since.
How do you feel about someone like Dinero even getting a shot at the title at the Lockdown pay-per-view? You’ve had experience working with him, coming up together at OVW, and now it seems like both of you have found your groove in TNA.
Wow, you’re the first person to ask me that. Great question. I started maybe a half a year ahead of him in OVW. I was his very first angle he worked in OVW. I was the big, menacing champion heel, and he was the upcoming, upstart baby-face. And I had fans in OVW slashing my tires after the show, throwing milkshakes on the windshield of my Navigator. Everything you could think of. It was like being set back into the ’70s and 80s. It was a great wrestling crowd to be in front of. They loved to hate us, and then they loved to love the baby-faces. So Dinero was their beloved baby-face, they loved him, and they hated me. He was the first one to come in and upset me for my title. I had almost a year run as the champion I think, and here he came out of left field, no one had really heard of him at that point, and he upset me for my title — and the crowd loved every single minute of it.
We became very good friends through working with each other. He was very brand new to the business, I had only like six months, maybe eight months of experience on him at that point. So we talk about that quite a lot, because we both know we have a money angle when the time comes, versus each other in TNA. So I’m ecstatic for him to finally headline a pay-per-view for Lockdown, I think he’ll definitely run with the ball. I think he’s the kind of guy that if you give him the chance, he won’t run 100 yards, he’ll run 101 yards. I really believe that. And I think there’s a lot of money between me and him to be made. We’re both good friends on the side as well, and when you have that, plus you have a history of starting out together, we wanna see where we’re at now … now that we’re both hitting our stride, we’re both hitting the ground running finally, we’re both being ourselves most importantly, that’s the opportunity to make the most money possible. It’s when we’re not trying to be squares jammed into that circle hole, so to speak, of characters. We’re not being B-rated actors, we’re not acting at all. I’m really “The Blueprint” Matt Morgan. I’m an arrogant pr**k. I don’t make any bones about that. I’m an arrogant a**hole, I have no problem saying that. I’m the best in the world as an athlete. There’s never been a 7-footer that can touch me when it comes to being an athlete, I’ll tell anybody that.
The Pope (D’Angelo Dinero), he’s very confident, I’ll always call him a pimp. He calls himself The Pope but he’s a pimp, let’s be real. He’s a pimp from the streets. We have nothing in common character-wise. There’s a lot of money to be made with those two personas, trust me. The setup of those matches could be hilariously fun to deal with, as far as the promos that would go into that angle. I look forward to it, I can’t wait for it.
You may joke around about the arrogant a-hole bit, but it’s something that I feel, true heels…
Tom, I swear, as God as my witness, I’m not joking about it. I will play you in ping-pong, pool, badminton, and I will talk s**t the entire time we’re playing. And then when I finally beat you Tom, I’ll hold a press conference of how I kicked your ass in badminton! I’m a s**t-talker.
But you know, in wrestling today, it seems the whole idea of being a heel is very hard for some people. You have guys who it comes naturally to, and others not so much. Do you think there needs to be more of that want to be the bad guy? …
Tom, seriously, that’s a great question. I agree with you wholeheartedly, 1,010 percent. Wait until you see the heat I’m gonna start getting as a heel now, because I believe … I don’t want to be the heel that comes down and tried to be the cool heel, because that’s a problem in our business. So many heels, this is almost like the logic they’re using and the formula they’re using. They come out, they do all these fancy-dancy moves, they wear this to the ring or they wear that to the ring because they want to be perceived as cool, and then they wonder why they’re not getting heat. They say all these funny lines or they do things that are funny on the microphone, or they do things that just don’t generate heat.
They wanna be good-looking, they’re doing so many things that are counter-productive of getting legitimate — ‘I hate your guts, I’m gonna slash your tires and punch you in the face Matt Morgan’ — heat. In my opinion, I think they do understand that, they just don’t wanna be the heel. So they have almost like a formula in their mind of, ‘OK I’ll try this heel stuff for six months,’ I’ll try to be the cool heel and say these funny, cool things, and when I don’t get heat I’ll just go back to the writers and say, ‘Look, they’re cheerin’ for me, bro. I don’t get it. I think you’re missin’ the boat on this. I’m a baby-face, bro. I can’t do anything to get heat out there, I’m just so over.’ That’s what a lot of our guys nowadays as heels are doing. Instead of just going out there and doing whatever it takes to make them boo you. It’s easier to be booed than cheered, so I don’t get the logic of it, unless it’s an ego problem, and people just don’t want to get booed and really want to be cheered.
Me? I want to get booed. I want you to want to lynch me at the end of the show. That’s what I want, you know? Anything it takes to make that happen. Look at my match with Hernandez. I did one move the entire match — one move — which was the Carbon Footprint bicycle kick against the side of the ring post, and there were people crying. From one single move, they hated me. That night when I left that building, these are the same fans that usually file in and out every single week that usually cheer me … they wanted to strangle me. When I drove away, bottles or something like that, I didn’t stop to check, but something hit the back of my car. The fans were not happy. And I want more of that. I’m addicted to that. I’m a heat junkie. I want them to break my window. I’m being honest with you, I want them to do more of that. I want them to up the ante, I don’t care, I’ll whip anybody’s ass.
Were there any heels you looked up to, or tried to embody, and said to yourself ‘Wow they really knew how to draw major heat’ when you were on the rise?
Oh, good golly. I could go back to the … you know, Jim Cornette always gave me a bunch of DVDs and his backstreet videotapes of good heels when I first started. But, honestly I liked Big John Studd’s gimmick when he was in WWF and he was always telling everybody he was the real giant, even though he was like five inches shorter than Andre, it was plain to see. It was so obvious he wasn’t the real giant. Little things like that. Or Bobby Heenan. He was awesome at generating heat. There’s just so many people out there, I don’t wanna not mention the right people and not give them credit, but there’s tons of them out there. Just know that I’ve been watching it from early on, from even the ’50s. Cornette had DVDs and tapes put together for me of the great heels, the great heel promos of all-time, for me to watch when I was studying in OVW at that point. Anyone you can think of, I’ve seen it on tape somehow.
I’ve even seen Don Leo Jonathan, an overly athletic big man, that’s one of the guys I can look back to and say, ‘Hah, he was a really athletic big guy.’ He wasn’t just some big neanderthal who dragged his knuckles on the ground portraying himself as an athlete. He was an athlete. He was an awesome athlete, way back, I’m talking about the golden age of wrestling. I’ve seen ’em all … Ric Flair, you can take a little bit from everybody. But the ultimate idea at the end of the day is to generate heat by any means necessary, and a lot of our guys nowadays are too cool to do it. Hell, I’ll do it. Fine, no problem. Move to the side. I’ll step up and I’ll show you how to get heat.
I know you’ve got some NCAA tournament history when you played for Monmouth in 1996. Who do you like out of this year’s Final Four? Who’s gonna take the title?
No, I don’t like any of them! I wanted Kentucky to win. I’m not happy with this year. I’m happy with some of the upsets, just not Kentucky being upset. I like John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins, I really like DeMarcus Cousins a lot. He just got All-American honors this year and he’ll be a top-five lottery pick in the NBA. That kid is a stud. But for the teams that are remaining, Michigan State, every time I bet against them, they always beat my teams in the brackets, so I think either Michigan State or West Virginia. I know Duke’s the No. 1 seed and they’re supposed to be the better team out of the four of them, but I think come tournament time, the teams get better as they get momentum on their side. And I think Michigan State is the best team in the country when that happens. So I think it’ll be Michigan State or West Virginia that win the whole thing.
Now, on the same night of the NCAA tournament championship game, TNA Impact is moving to an 8PM timeslot on Spike TV for that Monday. Is that a permanent move at all?
Yeah, that’s a monster draw for ratings, especially anytime you have a potential title game with Duke. So we’re gonna start at 8 o’clock this Monday alone, and then the following Monday it’ll go back to its normal 9 o’clock schedule, from that point forward. So it’s just for this Monday only it’ll start at 8 o’clock.
So it really had more to do with avoiding any possible conflict with the NCAA tournament title game which starts around 9:20 PM, rather than a strategic shift to avoid going head-to-head with WWE Raw.
Yes, absolutely, it’s only because of the NCAA game. My opinion is it’s cool to start at 8 o’clock. The athlete in me would rather start at 9 o’clock and go head-to-head against Raw because I’m very competitive. Win or lose, I’m ultra-competitive. But as far as smart business sometimes, I don’t see what’s wrong with starting at 8 o’clock, because there’s no other wrestling show on at that time, so wrestling fans are going to clamor to Spike TV an hour early. And it’s imperative for us to come up with something from 8 to 9 o’clock, especially around the 8:55 marker let’s say, to hook our fans to stay on our channel and not go over Raw when the 9 o’clock hour hits. We have a leg up starting at 8 o’clock this Monday, in my opinion, so I think it’s a smart decision all the way around.
Source: Tom Herrera of Fan House