Source: Matt Fowler of IGN.com
IGN: First off, I have to ask. Who’s your pick in the NCAA Tournament?
Matt Morgan: Awesome question. Dude, it was Kentucky. Now it’s honestly anybody’s game. Duke is the number one seed but I don’t trust them winning at all. I just don’t. It’s not going to be Butler either, I don’t think. It’s either going to be Michigan State or West Virginia.
IGN: It had to be awesome back when you actually got to play in the Tournament?
Morgan: That’s a funny story actually. I was a freshman [at Monmouth University] obviously, and our team was good but we weren’t the best team in the Northeast conference. Rider was. And Mount St. Mary’s was. We were like the third best team all year and then we got into the Northeast conference tournament time and the winner of that received an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. So were playing in the Northeast conference versus Mary in the semi-finals to get to the Northeast conference finals. We’re down three points and our 2-guard gets fouled in the corner shooting a three pointer with three seconds left in the game. He hits the three and then goes to the foul line and drills a free throw and we win by one.
We get to the Northeast conference finals now and we’re playing Rider who’s the best team in the conference with the automatic bid on the line and our swingman, Quincy Lee, he goes ahead and takes the ball to the basket with five seconds left, throws up some horrible shot but luckily gets fouled. We’re down one point. He goes to the free throw line and drills both free throws. Swish swish! And they get the ball, throw up a full court shot, they miss it and we won the tournament. So it was really exciting to get to the tournament to be honest with you, and we were all over ESPN. And it was awesome. And then we get to the tournament and we played Marquette in the first round and they had Aaron Hutchins, Amal McCaskill and another guy and they were really really good. Much better than us. And they killed us, by like twenty. But it was fun to be able to say that you actually played in the NCAA tournament and actually got some minutes. I didn’t score, but at least I got in as a freshman, which was cool.
IGN: How did you make the transition from all the sports you were playing to becoming a professional wrestler? Was wrestling something you always wanted to do?
Morgan: I’ve been a fan forever quite honestly. Since I was six years old. My story, and what got me interested was Andre the Giant versus Big John Studd? The battle of the two giants. That’s what got me hooked. So, as a kid I always watched it. But it’s not like football, basketball or baseball where if you’re good at it people were constantly recruiting you. I got recruited to go to a certain high school. I got recruited to go to a certain college. For basketball, baseball and football. But for wrestling it wasn’t like that so I didn’t know there were such things as wrestling academies or schools like there are everywhere now. I didn’t know about that. And I was out at Chaminade University in Hawaii in this point in time when I was trying to look up on the internet how these guys got into wrestling. Like, how did The Rock get into wrestling? How did Stone Cold get into wrestling? What were their stories? How did they get recruited? And eventually I came across the The Monster Factory in New Jersey and I saw they trained The Big Show and some other big, tall wrestlers. So I called them and I said “Hey, my name’s Matt Morgan. I’m six foot eleven and I’m three hundred and eighty pounds” – which I was at the time. And I told them that I was looking to get into pro-wrestling and the guy just laughed at me and hung up. He said “Kid, you know how many times people call me and say that they’re seven foot, four hundred pounds?” And he hung up on me. So I thought ‘so much for that.’
So I got started on the Island with a company called Pro-Wrestling Hawaii and it was a really small indie federation. And this guy told me to go down to Waikiki Beach, which was embarrassing, and he’s teach me how t lock up and bump and all that stuff. But he told me I had to bring $500 dollars with me. I said “Oh god, I don’t have that kind of money” and then he said “well, then I can’t train you.” My coach wound up loaning me the money for it, but I had to work it off doing chores and things like that around the college campus to earn it. And I also bounced in the evening. I went down to Waikiki Beach, to one practice where he showed me how to lock up and then I never heard from this guy again. He took my money, and supposedly something like fifteen to twenty other guys’ money as well, and split. I went to his apartment, with a couple of these other guys, and we were gonna kill this guy. We were going to beat him all over the Island. But he was nowhere to be found, his cell phone was shut off and everything. I was pissed. $500 dollars to me back in college was like a bazillion dollars. For a collegiate athlete that was a lot of money. So I had a very stale taste in my mouth about independent wrestling. I didn’t trust anybody.
IGN: How did you get started in the WWE?
Morgan: Once I graduated, I moved back to Connecticut and honestly I was getting offers to go up and try out with the Toronto Raptors as well as the Pacers. You know, my whole life I was pretty much thinking football and basketball and so I thought here was my chance to really go cash in on it and make some money off it. The problem was that I really wanted to do wrestling at this point there was no “ifs, ands or buts” about it in my own mind. This is what I wanted to do. I’d been getting ripped off here and there. I knew this is what I wanted to do. It was in the pit of my stomach. I just didn’t know how to go about it. I was working for Enterprise Rent-A-Car in Stamford and I was doing that for college credit. So here I am in Stamford, literally a football throw away from Titan Towers – and I used to drive by there as a kid all the time. So long story short, here I am a block away from Titan Towers and one night I was at a night club and one of the guys from WWE Magazine came in there. He saw me at the door, because I bounced at night as well, and he just looked at me and said “Dude, you ever thought about becoming a wrestler?” I asked him what kind of opportunities he had and he goes “I’m going to get you into the Titan Towers gym and I’m just going to walk you right up to Vince McMahon himself and just let him look at you. I know he’s going to like you.” And I started getting nervous about the thought of meeting Vince right away. And the guy says “if we can match you up in the gym on the right night that Vince is in there then it could all work out.”
IGN: So you met up with Vince at the gym?
Morgan: Man, I went to that gym in WWE headquarters every single Friday night for about three months hoping to bump into him. But for the first three months I kept missing him. You know, he’d come in earlier or later, but I kept missing him. Eventually though, I bumped into him and introduced myself and you know he was really cool and he gave me some good advice. Eventually he introduced me to Tom Prichard, who at that point was the head of developmental, and he was talking to me about Tough Enough and things like that. And I asked him “until Tough Enough comes along what do I do for training?” Because I really wanted to get started. And then he told me that he didn’t want me starting on the indie scene because he said that he’d have to un-train me for the mistakes that some of the knuckleheads were going to be training me towards. It would be harder to un-train the mistakes I would learn that it would be to take me as a lump of clay and start me from scratch. I didn’t understand it then, but now I totally understand. I’m glad I did not go the independent route first because he was right. I would have developed a lot of bad habits early on if I had done that.
IGN: And how did the “Blueprint” moniker come about?
Morgan: In OVW, there was a guy who wasn’t with the WWE at all. His name was Kenny Bowen; one of the managers there. And I was doing a promo one night and I was going to wrestle Kane. It was the biggest match of my career up to that point at the Six Flags Pay Per View type show that OVW would put on every summer. They’d bring in all these WWE stars. So I had to cut a promo on that match in the middle of the ring with Jim Cornette interviewing me. And Cornette was saying “people all over the world are buzzing about how Matt Morgan is going to be the next, next big thing.” And looked at him and I said “Jimmy, I’m not going to be the next big anything. I’m gonna be the first. I’m going to be the first walking talking living jumping breathing athletic giant that this sport has ever had. And at the end of the day you’re going to find out that you’re looking at the very next blueprint of the perfect giant.” And Kenny Bowen told me that I should just call myself “The Blueprint” because it was awesome.
IGN: TNA is dropping their show back an hour this Monday, to 8pm. Do you think that Impact, if it does well, should stay at 8?
Morgan: Yes, 8 o’clock this coming Monday. For the people that are reading this, it’s going to be at 8. Because of the March Madness Tournament. But that’s a great question. I’m not opposed to moving to 8, to be honest with you. But it’s not my decision. Obviously the people that are in charge know a lot more about this than I would. I’m not the head of a major national cable network or else I could give you a better answer. But in my opinion I think that it wouldn’t be a horrible idea to get a jumpstart on a show that starts at 9 o’clock that’s opposing us. Because it worked before. But then the other side of me says that it’s pretty cool to go head to head directly at 9 o’clock and just see what happens. The competitive athlete in me likes that a lot and I like the confidence that our owner has in us to be able to do that. No matter what the ratings come out to be. Whether they’re horrible, or they’re not as good as what people thought they might be, she still sticks with us. That’s pretty cool. Either way, I don’t care to be quite honest with you. I just like being live. I don’t like doing live and taped. In my opinion I’d like doing live every single Monday. I think there’s something to it. There’s more excitement in the air when we do it live than as opposed to being pre-taped. There’s just much more added excitement for the wrestlers.
IGN: Now, you’ve gone back and forth now in TNA, from heel to face, a couple times now. Are more naturally a heel? You always seem to have a got a pretty big ego. Is it hard to keep you good?
Morgan: No, I’m cocky. I’ll admit it point blank. I’m straight up cocky and arrogant. When it comes to sports. Not, like, when it comes to charity, or when it comes to helping a kid who fell off his bike on the side of the road. No. I’m a good person when it comes to that. But when it comes to sports, whether it’s ping pong, pool, badmitten, anything you can think of – I think I can beat you at it. And while I’m doing it I will talk trash the entire time I’m playing you. And don’t let me beat you, because if I beat you I’ll hold press conference about it and brag about how I just whipped your ass in badminton. I’m bad like that. I’m like a white T.O. And that’s where a lot of the persona comes from. In college, oh my god, people hated guarding me. Hated it. Because I would not stop flapping my gums. In wrestling, it shouldn’t be any different because that’s who I am as an athlete. I’ll admit it. Unfortunately for some people they may not like it. But I don’t try and hide it anymore.
I used to try and hide it when I first started in TNA as a babyface right before I started up with Abyss as a tag team partner. I really tried to play to the fans and give them high fives and stuff like that. But that’s not me. That’s not Matt Morgan. And then in this run when I was a babyface, I didn’t do that as much. I didn’t go and try to give high fives as often. I was still overly braggadocios during that period and the cool thing was that the fans were starting to come along with it a bit and that’s what made me babyface. And to be quite honest, I as working against a bigger villain in Kurt Angle – the Lex Luthor of TNA at that time. And I was going against a gang. It was one against six guys in the Main Event Mafia so there was no choice for the crowd but to cheer me. They wanted to see these old guys get their asses kicked. But I didn’t stray away from my roots or from who I am. And I’m glad I didn’t because my character was very grey. It could go back and forth at the drop of a dime. As exhibited with me and Hernandez. I still don’t think I did anything wrong. Here was this guy who was trying to steal my shine. Week after week. I won the titles by myself and two seconds later I see this guy trying to steal my shine. No, it doesn’t work that way.
IGN: Do you know what’s going to happen to the Tag Titles now that your partner is gone?
Morgan: Of course I know what’s going to happen. I’m going to hold these titles all by myself and be the one-man Tag Team Champion of the world. Rightfully so. I won them. I’ll defend them. Why not? I’ll admit it right now; I’m the worst tag team partner in the world. I don’t like sharing my shine. I do not.