John Morrison was interviewed by Brian Soscia. Here are some highlights.
Trying out for Tough Enough: “I tried out for Tough Enough season 2 originally and made it to the final casting episode and got cut by Kevin Dunn, who said all I wanted to do was run and flip and jump. It actually turned out to be the best thing that could have happened to me because I reapplied for Tough Enough season 3 and ended up making it on that show and then winning the developmental contract, going to Louisville and getting to meet the whole cast of wrestling characters that have now become my family, so to speak.”
Why did they change his names frequently, early in his WWE career: “Just classic wrestling stuff. People are wishy washy. Honestly, it was because I wanted to be Johnny Blaze. Johnny Blaze was my character at OVW. I had all these fancy fire catchphrases, call the fire department, get your fire extinguishers out, ladies. By the time you hear the thunder it’s going to be too late because the lighting will have already struck. That was all my thing. And then I debuted as Johnny Blaze and WWE promptly received a cease and desist from Marvel, who had copyrighted the name Johnny Blaze for Ghost Rider.
“It switched then to Johnny Spade, which is basically a rip off of Johnny Ace. A week later it changed to Johnny Nitro, mostly because I really did not like Johnny Spade. Johnny Nitro was an homage to Eric Bischoff, who I was his apprentice at the time. I liked that name. Basically Vince McMahon thought that Nitro reminded him of WCW and when I became the ECW Champion, like, he had a couple times mentioned to me, if you’re going to be a real star you need a real name.
“Just one day he was all, you’ve got to change your name. So I made a list of names that day, mostly movie star names. John Brando Morrison, Dean Brando Morrison, Brando Brando Brando, anyway, a whole bunch of weird things. I had a couple Johnny Hollywood type things in there too. They just eventually settled on John Morrison because they liked my look as compared to Jim Morrison. It’s what they went with and it’s what I’m known as now.”
Who came up with MNM: “MNM, that idea was just me, Joey and Melina putting our heads together. I can’t remember exactly who came up with just dubbing it MNM. That was something that the three of us together really made happen. Melina sketched our first pair of tights on a piece of white paper. Another wrestler named Mike Taylor designed the first pair of tights which then went on to become crazy because I drew Julia, the seamstress at WWE is super talented and she made it her own.
“We started our own promo videos at OVW and I went to school for film, so I was editing all these MNM promo videos together and submitting them to talent relations at the time. At one point they wanted to have me, Melina and another wrestler called Chris Cage come up because they didn’t like Joey. The team just wasn’t the same without Joey Mercury. So they eventually just ended up taking our whole gimmick that we’d been doing at OVW in developmental and putting it on TV. It was really the best thing that could have happened for all of us.”