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Work ethic has Matt Morgan thriving
By VINCENT MAN - Timmins Daily Press


Matt Morgan at the No Surrender pay per view in September in Oshawa, ON. Photos by Mike Mastrandrea

If you were to dream up the prototypical professional wrestler, the end result would be Matt Morgan.

At seven feet tall and 300-plus pounds of muscle, the Total Nonstop Action Wrestling superstar is an intimidating specimen.

Despite his menacing size, Morgan will be the first to tell you heís not your average big man in the world of pro wrestling. And his rise to the top of the industry has not come by coincidence.

"Not to sound arrogant, but I put in a lot of work and bust my ass," he said. "I do a lot of things people donít know.

"Iím where Iím at because I watch tape. I cut promos in front of my bathroom mirror every damn day to practise my craft."

Morganís craft brought him to Timmins on Saturday as part of the latest wrestling card put on by Big Star Entertainment -- formerly Blood Sweat and Ears. The BSE Pro event at Timmins' …cole catholique secondaire Thťriault featured the TNA star in a triple-threat main event against Frankie The Mobster and Tyson "Textbook" Dux.

In front of a gymnasium full of rowdy fans, Morgan, who has been nicknamed "The Blueprint," displayed a bona-fide meanstreak, superhuman strength and uncanny athleticism, something he said he uses "every ounce of" to stand out from the other monsters of wrestling.

"Coming from playing basketball, I really have a 41-inch vertical leap," Morgan said. "Right now I can 360 dunk if you told me to. I can still jump and I wanted to add that to my moveset as a wrestler because big guys donít do anything. Theyíre used to sticking to the meat and potatoes -- 300 pounds, seven-feet tall, tackles, clotheslines, punches -- which is the way it should be.

"But with my character I want to transcend it forward so to speak and incorporate my athleticism ... along with clotheslines, punches, bicycle kicks and stuff like that, but add some finesse to it as well. I think thatís what makes The Blueprint The Blueprint."

BSE Pro representative Mike Patry said he was impressed with what he saw during Saturday nightís show.

"He has that intimidating presence because of his size, but heís quick and heís good on the mic," Patry said. "People respect that heís such an athlete for his size."

Morgan played basketball in college and made an NCAA Tournament appearance in 1996 with Monmouth University. He finished his Division I career with Chaminade University where he graduated.

"When I was playing basketball, I was a bruiser," Morgan said. "Iíd beat the crap out of people. Iíve beaten up Vince Carter, Iíve beaten up a lot of guys. I had that character.

"When I played basketball I talked a crap-load of trash. Iíd be cutting promos and interviews with the announcers of ESPN. I was always trying to be the heel and I loved it."

That love for playing the villain came apparent before he stepped into the wrestling ring in a basketball game he remembers fondly.

"I got one technical foul against UNLV playing one of these NBA guys, Keon Clark," Morgan said. "He went to dunk it and I blocked the shot off the backboard. He fell down and I landed on him and I flexed my muscles right over him with the camera watching.

"People started booing and I got the technical. People started throwing Gatorade bottles at me and Iím just doing this (gestures to 'bring it on') and flipping them off. My parents were in the stands. They must have been really proud.

"But thatís when I was like 'I love this feeling. I love being hated. This feels good.'"

Though he likens himself to a "white Shaq" and a hybrid of Dirk Nowitzki and Larry Bird who can jump, Morganís basketball career ended after college and a tryout with the NBAís Indiana Pacers. Morgan then turned to a career in wrestling and said the transition was seamless because he was "legitimately a lifelong fan."

A native of Fairfield, Conn., Morgan got his start in the business in the World Wrestling Entertainment through its reality show Tough Enough II.

From 2002-05, he learned from heavyweights such as his boyhood idol The Undertaker, Kane and Kurt Angle. He was a regular on WWEís televised shows before he was released, at which time he continued honing his craft and "paying his dues" abroad.


Abyss and Matt Morgan have been a formidable team in TNA.
His career overseas, which he said was "the best thing for my career," lasted two years and included a victory over superstar Yuji Nagata at the Tokyo Dome. Having taken "two steps back" from the WWE, he returned to North America with a big step forward signing with TNA in 2007.

Though he has made it back on to North American TV with a major wrestling brand, he makes sure he works hard to stay on top of his game.

"I just watched an hour and a half of my Kurt Angle match with Jim Cornette," he said. "From what everyone thought, it was a good match. Now, Jim Cornette, whoís like my father in this business, will rip the match apart and find the little idiosyncrosies I couldíve improved on. And thatís whatís going to keep me in the main event."

Through the years, Morgan said he has been lucky that his co-workers have been there to guide him. With his own experience, he now looks to return the favour.

"Matt was one of the guys who could come in and get his hands dirty," Patry said. "Heíll give pointers to (the wrestlers) in the locker-room.

"Heís the type of guy who wants to improve everyone around him, including himself."

Earlier this year, Morgan also landed a spot in American Gladiators as one of the featured gladiators, "Beast."

"I get to destroy, rip peopleís faces off and shove it up their you know what," he said. "Itís awesome. I can do no wrong."

Despite the success outside of wrestling, Morgan said he couldnít be happier with where his wrestling career stands.

"Iím starting to feel vindicated," he said. "When I got released from the WWE ... a lot of my fans would stick up and say they dropped the ball.

"So to come back with TNA with the mic in my hand ... itís an indication that Iím starting to get the ball in my hands.

"Itís a good situation to be in and Iím comfortable."

RELATED LINKS

  • BSE Pro Wrestling website

    This piece originally appeared in the Monday, November 10, 2008 Timmins Daily Press.