For years John Morrison has been considered a hot prospect by WWE fans. He has the look the company likes, an athletic ring style with a repertoire of moves unique within the company, an intriguing aspect to his character in the parkour stuff he does, and a loyal group of fans. While his promos aren’t the best they’re not the worst either.
So why, with an ever-shrinking group of established main event talent to rely on, has the ‘Shaman of Sexy’ not yet reached the top of the card? How has the Miz, the man once considered a project for Morrison, become WWE champion while the ‘Guru of Greatness’ chugs along in the upper mid-card?
It’s simple: WWE is as much about having the physical skills, talking skills, and marketable looks as it is about doing and saying the right things at the right times. It’s about playing politics. That’s not to say that anyone who agrees with Vince McMahon and Triple H will become a main event star, but it does help them to be looked upon favourably and provide an edge over rivals.
The political side of the business is an area Morrison has not yet mastered. The most recent example came with his snub of Trish Stratus (popular amongst wrestlers and management) at the behest of his girlfriend Melina, because Melina felt Stratus did not deserve a spot on the WrestleMania XXVII show. A politically smart individual would have realised that was an instance in which business had to come first and diplomatically told Melina this. In snubbing Stratus Morrison angered his peers and came close to costing himself a pay-per-view main event (WWE originally booked R-Truth v Cena v Miz for Extreme Rules before changing their minds and swapping Truth for Morrison).
Melina has been the cause of similar situations before. There are also rumours that she is continually unfaithful to him with other members of the roster, notably Batista. Should that affect Morrison’s chance of promotion? Of course not. But this is a company run by Vince McMahon, who takes things very seriously. The chairman reportedly feels that the ‘Prince of Parkour’ allowing Melina to cheat on him means he’s “not a real man.” Manliness matters a great deal to Vince. He’s also said to feel that Morrison couldn’t beat anyone in a real fight. This is clearly beside the point because Morrison’s style is more about his athleticism than being tough (and because he’s a wrestler and not a cage fighter). But it doesn’t matter, this is Vince’s opinion and it creates another obstacle for JoMo to overcome.
How is Morrison to advance then? He could start by distancing himself from Melina. She’s been detrimental to his prospects already and if the cheating rumours are to be believed he’s better off without her for more than just career reasons.
As far as changing the boss’s opinion of him that won’t be as easy or quick, but it can be done. If Morrison introduced a few more striking moves and brawling into his routine it would surely find favour with higher ups. That’s the style main eventers tend to work so Morrison needs to prove he can fit in. Polishing his verbal skills and updating his ring gear (preferably something with less fur) would help his cause too.
The upcoming Draft Lottery could give Morrison a boost to the top. For years Edge was the face of SmackDown and his retirement has left a slot begging to be filled at the top of the SmackDown pecking order. Morrison could work very well in that spot, given time: it’s not really about being a heel or a face, it’s more about being someone the fans can rely on to deliver a good match in the ring or encourage them to give the desired reaction during an interview. He’s been with the company long enough to get the crowd reactions, he just needs to be given the chance to show he can succeed in main event programs.
I’m interested to see if he gets moved next Monday. I think that if he does it will signal that WWE are looking for him to step up and prove he can become “the guy”. I like JoMo. I think he’s talented and young enough to have many successful main event years ahead of him. If he can overcome his political problems and prove he can be relied upon I think we’ll see him attain the position he deserves.