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John Morrison's Road to WrestleMania

Pro Wrestling

John Morrison’s Road to WrestleMania

Johnny Blaze/Nitro/Mundo/Impact/Morrison’s long, winding path to WrestleMania 36.

John Hennigan was born in October of 1979. He grew up in Los Angeles and earned a film degree from the University of California, Davis in 2002, the same year he got accepted to the third season of Tough Enough. He would go on to win that season, earning himself a WWE contract. He joined WWE’s developmental territory at the time, Ohio Valley Wrestling, where he would train for before being brought up to television.

John was given the name “Johnny Blaze,” but it was quickly changed to “Johnny Spade” before being changed once again to “Johnny Nitro.” He premiered on Raw in 2004, but it wasn’t until 2005 when he appeared on SmackDown that he truly began his main card run. Partnering up with Joey Mercury, the two had Melina (Nitro’s ex-girlfriend) as their manager. The stable (named MNM after their initials) was able to hold the WWE Tag Team Championship twice, with the second run being a fairly substantial one for a team so new. However, by 2006 the group had dissolved.

Nitro was soon introduced into singles competition. He quickly won the Intercontinental Championship and would end up tossing it back and forth with Jeff Hardy for the back half of 2006 and start of 2007. After Johnny’s second loss to Hardy, he reunited with Mercury to challenge both Hardys and feuded with them until 2007. Nitro won the ECW Championship in June of 2007. 

Shortly after, John’s last name changed from Nitro to Morrison, and went on to compete against The Miz for the ECW title. The initial friction between the two very quickly melted away by the end of 2007 after Morrison won the ECW Championship. The two teamed up together and would go on to create The Dirt Sheet. The Dirt Sheet was a collection of shorts on WWE’s website in which Morrison and The Miz would mock fellow wrestlers, with the entire thing being done in a gossip/pop culture show fashion, much like a TMZ show.

John Morrison's Road to WrestleMania
Miz and Morrison on The Dirt Sheet

The two had won the World Tag Team Championship in 2008 but lose them at WrestleMania 25. Soon after, the team was disbanded, with Miz going to Raw and Morrison to SmackDown. Morrison would soon win the Intercontinental Championship for the third time and was soon putting on extremely solid title defenses against Dolph Ziggler. He was pitted against The Miz in October of 2009, where he would lose — however, Morrison was able to score a win against him shortly after at Survivor Series.

The final two years of John’s first WWE run saw him always trying to reach for a title but never quite getting there. He did, however, have some excellent feuds with the likes of Sheamus, Ziggler, and R-Truth. However, of course his biggest feud which he never escaped from was The Miz. In his final match in WWE for several years, he had a Falls Count Anywhere match with The Miz where he lost, suffering a brutal kayfabe injury. 

John left WWE due to creative differences as well as needing to recover from injuries. He would work some independent matches here and there between 2011-2014; however, the first big promotion he was a part of after WWE came in 2014 with Lucha Underground.

John Morrison's Road to WrestleMania
Johnny Mundo in ‘The Temple’ of Lucha Underground

Hennigan was the second name to be attached to Lucha Underground, only being beaten out by Blue Demon. John initially wanted to go by Johnny World, however that was switched to Johnny Mundo (the Spanish word for “world”), as it wasn’t as clunky and made it easy to chant. He debuted in the promotion as a fairly top card draw and continued as such throughout the lifespan of the promotion. I won’t get into too much detail about his run on Lucha Underground as I believe if the term “spoilers” ever applied to any wrestling promotion, Lucha Underground would need it. 

In 2015, Mundo made his first appearance in AAA’s Lucha Libre World Cup on the team representing TNA and Lucha Underground. Teaming up with Matt Hardy and Ken Anderson, they almost won the tournament, but ended up losing to Rey Mysterio’s team. He quickly joined Konnan’s stable of heels (or as they are referred to in lucha libre, rudos). In 2016, he would team up with Brian Cage and go on to beat Rey Mysterio’s team in the 2016 Lucha World Cup, going on to win the tournament completely.

Johnny would find further success in 2016 when he beat Pentagon Jr. for the AAA Latin American Championship. In 2017 he defended the title against Texano and El Hijo del Fantasma and won, ending up actually taking both their titles, becoming the AAA Mega Champion and AAA Cruiserweight Champion on top of the Latin American Champion. He actually had multiple defenses for his titles and went on to hold all three titles together for 193 days.

Around this time, he debuted on Impact Wrestling as “Johnny Impact” and started feuding with Eli Drake. He entered the Gauntlet for the Gold to win the Global Championship and lost to Drake. He continued to try to take the title from Eli but came up short time and time again, his final attempt being in a three way cage match against Drake and Alberto El Patron. Drake would once again retain.

John Morrison's Road to WrestleMania
Johnny Impact holding his three AAA titles high.

Austin Aries ended up taking the title from Eli, which caused Johnny to shift his focus to Aries. In what was debatably a shoot, the two got in a heated Twitter exchange leading up to their championship match where John finally won the title. He defended the title multiple times, finally losing it at the Rebellion PPV. John held the belt for 197 days, making him the longest reigning champion in seven years.

During all of this time away from WWE, he also had a handful of roles in movies and TV shows. He appeared in the pilot of GLOW, was in Adult Swim’s NTSF:SD:SUV, and Sharknado 5, to name a few. In 2017 he got married to Taya Valkyrie, a fellow wrestler, who has joined him many times in the ring and in storylines.

Finally, John Morrison returned to WWE in 2020, immediately partnering up again with The Miz. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been reported that The Miz was not able to take part in the filming of WrestleMania and thus it is likely that Morrison is not competing this year in the event. However, with a long and impressive track record, it is no doubt that Morrison will continue to be a big player in WWE.

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