John Randall Hennigan (born October 3, 1979) is an American professional wrestler and actor, who is best known for his work in WWE where he was better known by his ring namesJohn Morrison and Johnny Nitro. Since leaving WWE, Hennigan has been pursuing an acting career.
After signing with WWE, MNM was called up to the SmackDown! roster and on their debut in April 2005, Hennigan and Mercury went on to win the WWE Tag Team Championship. When their third and final reign ended in May 2006, Hennigan and Melina turned on Mercury. Hennigan and Melina were let go from the SmackDown! roster and debuted on the Raw brand. During his time with the brand, Hennigan competed in singles competition and won the WWE Intercontinental Championship twice. In June 2007, Hennigan was drafted from Raw to the ECW brand. During that time, he won the vacant ECW World Championship once; Hennigan went on to headline multiple pay-per-views for WWE, occasionally in world championship contention. He formed a partnership with The Miz in late 2007, with the two capturing the WWE Tag Team Championship and the World Tag Team Championship on separate occasions. They split in April 2009, and Morrison returned to SmackDown, where he won the Intercontinental Championship for the third time in September 2009. In November 2011, Hennigan left WWE, and began wrestling overseas and on the United States independent circuit.
On March 1, 2004 Morrison debuted on the Rawbrand under the ring name "Johnny Blaze". His gimmick was that he was the apprentice and assistant of the Raw General Manager, Eric Bischoff. The next week his name was changed to "Johnny Spade", and three weeks after that it was changed to "Johnny Nitro". The Nitro name, which finally stuck, was a reference to WCW Monday Nitro, the flagship show of World Championship Wrestling for which Bischoff had previously worked. To drive the point home, he began using the Nitro theme as his ring entrance music. Nitro acted as Bischoff's apprentice and assistant until June, when he was sent back to OVW. To explain his departure, Hennigan lost a match on the June 7 episode of Raw against Eugene, which carried the stipulation that upon his loss, he also lost his job.
MNM and Intercontinental Championship reigns (2004–2007)
In addition, Hennigan was featured in a sporadic feud with John Cena throughout 2006. The feud was unique in that it also involved non-wrestler Kevin Federline, who appeared on the October 16 episode of Raw. Federline was then, in storyline, trained by Nitro for a match with Cena, which he won after interference from Umaga.
A few weeks after getting the title, Nitro's name was changed to John Morrison and his gimmick was tweaked to be even more conceited and self-aggrandizing—in addition to being modelled after Jim Morrison (1943-1971), the legendary frontman of the 1960s rock band The Doors, to whom Hennigan bears a strong physical resemblance. After defeating CM Punk again at The Great American Bash, he began taking part in a "15 Minutes of Fame" segment on the weekly ECW on Sci Fi television program, where if a wrestler could either defeat him or last 15 minutes without being defeated, they would earn a title shot. The first wrestler to do so was CM Punk, which set up another match between the two at SummerSlam. Morrison won by illegally using the ring ropes for leverage. The next week, Punk again became the number one contender; this time, however, Punk won the championship. Hennigan was then suspended for thirty days for violating WWE's Wellness Program, renewing his feud with Punk upon his return, as well as competing against The Miz for the number one contendership to the title.
Afterwards, they started a feud with Cryme Tyme (Shad Gaspard and JTG) through each team's Internet show, which then transitioned to matches on Raw and at Cyber Sunday. After winning the Slammy Award for Best WWE.com exclusive earlier in the day, Morrison and The Miz won the "Tag Team of the Year" Slammy Award on the December 8, 2008 episode of Raw. On December 13, Morrison and The Miz won the World Tag Team Championship from CM Punk and Kofi Kingston at a Raw live event. Morrison and the Miz engaged themselves in a feud with The Colóns (Carlito and Primo), who were the reigning WWE Tag Team champions which resulted in both teams defending their respective championships successfully in separate matches. Their feud culminated in a tag team lumberjack match at WrestleMania XXV where both titles were on the line, but it was The Colóns who would unify the championships with a win. As part of the 2009 WWE Draft on April 13, The Miz was drafted to the Raw brand to split up the team, and, as a result, Miz attacked Morrison.
On April 15, 2009, Morrison returned to the SmackDown brand as part of the 2009 Supplemental Draft. In Morrison's first match back for the brand, on April 17, he defeated R-Truth. On the May 1 episode of SmackDown, Morrison engaged in a backstage fight with Chris Jericho, after Jericho slapped him, thus turning into a face (fan favorite character). At Judgment Day, Morrison defeated Benjamin in a rematch. On June 19, John Morrison lost a critically acclaimed match against Edge, in which the commentators described it as a "third main event". On the July 31 episode of SmackDown, Morrison had his first World Heavyweight Championship match against champion Jeff Hardy, but failed to win the title. On the September 4 episode of SmackDown, Morrison defeated Rey Mysterio to win his third Intercontinental Championship. At the TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs pay-per-view, Morrison lost the Intercontinental Championship to Drew McIntyre.
On April 26, Morrison was drafted to the Raw brand as part of the 2010 WWE Draft, and lost his first match back for the brand later that night to Jack Swagger. Later that week, in his final match on SmackDown, he lost to Cody Rhodes. On June 1, Morrison announced that he would be mentoring Eli Cottonwood in the second season of WWE NXT. Cottonwood, however, was the second person eliminated from the competition, and was eliminated on the July 27 episode of NXT.
On January 30, Morrison participated in the Royal Rumble match at the Royal Rumble event and despite not winning, he had a stand-out moment which was praised by critics as "arguably the spot of the decade" when Morrison was knocked off of the ring apron and performed a cat leap onto the barricade to avoid having his feet touch the floor and then went on to precision jump onto the ring steps and re-enter the ring. On February 20, Morrison participated in the Raw Elimination Chamber match at the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view event but was eliminated by CM Punk. During the match Morrison climbed to the top of the cage while inside the cage before dropping to deliver a crossbody on and eliminate Sheamus. At WrestleMania XXVII, Morrison teamed with Trish Stratus and Jersey Shore guest star Snooki in a mixed tag match to defeat the team of Dolph Ziggler, Michelle McCool and Layla.
Morrison posing on the ring turnbuckles in 2011.
Morrison participated in a five-man gauntlet match for the number one contender's spot for the WWE Championship on the April 11 episode of Raw, but was eliminated by R-Truth. The next week on Raw, Morrison challenged R-Truth to a match later on in the night, with the stipulation that if Morrison won, he would take R-Truth's place in the steel cage match at Extreme Rules. Truth accepted, and lost the match, making Morrison the new number one contender. At Extreme Rules, R-Truth interfered in the match, attacking Morrison and preventing him from winning the match. The next night on Raw, Morrison was attacked by Truth again, prior to a scheduled match between the two which did not happen as a result. Hennigan then underwent surgery to correct a legitimately pinched nerve in his neck.
Morrison initially returned on the June 13 episode of Raw, but R-Truth attacked him again prior to their scheduled match, re-injuring him. Morrison returned again on the July 25 episode of Raw, attacking R-Truth. At SummerSlam, Morrison competed in a six-man tag team match, teaming with Kofi Kingston and Rey Mysterio to defeat R-Truth, Alberto Del Rio and The Miz. The following night on Raw, Morrison defeated R-Truth in a Falls Count Anywhere match to end their feud. At Night of Champions, Morrison competed in a Fatal-4-Way match for the WWE United States Championship, also involving Alex Riley, Jack Swagger and Dolph Ziggler, in which Ziggler successfully retained his title. Morrison then challenged Rhodes for the Intercontinental Championship twice, first on the September 26 episode of Raw in a 10 man battle royal and later at the Hell in a Cell pay per-view but failed to win on both occasions. Following this he then went on a losing streak, lasting a number of weeks. On the November 7 episode of Raw, Morrison picked up his first victory in three months, over United States Champion Dolph Ziggler in a non-title match, ending the losing streak. He faced Dolph Ziggler for the WWE United States Championship at Survivor Series but lost via pinfall.
On Morrison's last advertised WWE appearance on the November 28 episode of Raw, Morrison faced his former tag team partner The Miz in a Falls Count Anywhere match. The Miz won the match by delivering his Skull-Crushing Finale maneuver on the steel stage. This was used as an injury angle to write Morrison off television, as Morrison was stretchered away after the match. The next day, WWE acknowledged the end of Morrison's contract, and moved his profile to the alumni section of its website. In a video published on December 9, 2011, Hennigan claimed that he was taking time off to heal and retrain for a possible return to wrestling in the future.
Independent circuit (2012–2014)
After leaving WWE, Hennigan began using his real name for wrestling shows. On his first post-WWE wrestling appearance, Hennigan rekindled an old feud facing off against Shelton Benjamin in the main event of the World Wrestling Fan Xperience (WWFX) Champions Showcase Tour in Manila, Philippines on February 4, 2012. Hennigan won the match to become the inaugural WWFX Heavyweight Champion. On August 12, 2012, Hennigan appeared at Juggalo Championship Wrestling's Bloodymania 6 event, defeating Matt Hardy and Breyer Wellington in a three-way match. On January 25, 2013. Hennigan would make appearance as John Morrison once again at Dragon Gate USA's Open the Golden Gate, defeating Akira Tozawa in the main event of the show. On February 22, Morrison defeated five other men to become the NGW World Champion at Next Generation Wrestling's first show. Hennigan took part in the WrestleMania weekend, wrestling for the Pro Wrestling Syndicate. On April 4, Hennigan defeated Elijah Burke and on April 5, Morrison defeated Japanese legend Jushin "Thunder" Liger in an "International Dream Match" at a Pro Wrestling Syndicate (PWS) event.
On April 19, Hennigan defeated again Sami Callihan in a no count out, no disqualification falls count anywhere match at a 2CW event in Rome, NY and the next day, he defeated Kevin Steen at 2CW's first iPPV (Living on the Edge VIII), in Watertown, NY. On June 21, 2013, Hennigan defeated Carlito Caribbean Cool in FWE Welcome to the Rumble II, winning the FWE Heavyweight Championship. The next day, Hennigan defended the title against Too Cold Scorpio at House of Hardcore 2. On September 6 and 8, Morrison wrestled against WWL World Heavyweight Champion Black Pain for the title, but he was defeated both times. On October 12, 2013, at FWE Grand Prix, Hennigan defeated Matt Morgan, retaining the FWE Heavyweight Championship.
In 2009, Hennigan, alongside Maryse, were interviewed on "Eurosport". In 2009, Hennigan appeared on two episodes of Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?, which were both aired on September 29. Hennigan is the subject of a WWE DVD, called John Morrison – Rock Star, which was released on February 16, 2010. The DVD covers his career from his name change to John Morrison up until his Intercontinental Championship win in September 2009. He appeared on an episode of Destroy Build Destroy on March 3, 2010. Hennigan was on the cover of Muscle & Fitness in June 2010, with the issue also featuring an interview and photo shoot.
^"OVW results – April 23, 2003". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2007-04-08. "Matt and John from Tough Enough III were shown sitting ringside.. They said that they have been continueing their training here in OVW.. [sic]"