Before I say anything about the success of John Morrison being unparalleled by any other Tough Enough graduate, let me make myself clear. Tough Enough ran for three seasons. The $1,000,000 Tough Enough segments that ran on Smackdown instead of MTV was horse of a completely different color, and in my mind, there is a wall clearly partitioning the silly contests held during that competition and the training and drama that transpired within the Tough Enough house in the three preceding years. That being said, John Morrison is unquestionably the biggest star to be birthed by WWE’s original reality series. The Miz is the result of something else entirely.
Over the past five years, Morrison has been part of two of the most successful tag teams of the decade, held the ECW Championship, and worn the Intercontinental Title on more than one occasion. He’s risen continuously up the card since his debut, with virtually no regression to speak of at any time. Today, he looks poised to take the next leap in his already impressive career and establish himself as a bona fide main event player. How and when will the WWE allow the former Tough Enough contestant to shine at his brightest potential? More on that after the jump.
John Morrison has always been pegged as a future main event star. When MNM dissolved, there was a wide consensus that he’d be pushed up the card as a singles wrestler, and to an extent, he was. When he was alligned with Miz in one of the better heel tag teams of this generation, Morrison was almost universally acknowledged as the member of the team more likely to experience a breakout into the singles scene. He’s always been the Shawn Michaels of his teams, never the Marty Jannetty. During his tenure in those partnerships, you’d be hardpressed to find anybody who would even debate the matter.
Yet, here we are in 2011, and one of Morrison’s Jannetties is wearing the WWE Championship belt, a title that has thus far eluded the subject of our discourse. I do not mean to slight the Miz, but it is surprising that he’s ascended the card quicker than his former Dirt Sheet companion. When will John Morrison’s time come?
To be honest, I expected him to be blazing his road to a WrestleMania main event right now. I was of the belief that Morrison was the favorite to win the Royal Rumble, an event that would have propelled him to a WWE Championship match at WrestleMania with the Miz. It’s always a surreal, exciting moment when a wrestler wins their first WWE Title at WrestleMania, and there are many who felt (or still feel), like Morrison could have done just that at this year’s big event. In doing so, he would have joined an exclusive list featuring the likes of Randy Savage, The Ultimate Warrior, Yokozuna, Shawn Michaels, Steve Austin, and most recently, John Cena. Chris Benoit, Batista, and Rey Mysterio Jr can be added to that club if you include the conjured World Heavyweight Title that was introduced in the post-branding WWE Universe. Any way you slice it, the collection of guys to accomplish this feat is elite, and it usually cements them a spot in the main event scene for years to come.
But it was not to be, as Alberto Del Rio won the Royal Rumble and is now in line to receive a title shot at WrestleMania against Smackdown Champion Edge. So what’s in store for John Morrison? It’s hard to stay. There is still a chance that he could win the Raw Elimination Chamber in a few weeks and become the number one contender to challenge Miz at Mania. This currently appears unlikely, however, as it looks like that distinction will belong to John Cena. Most other top tier talent is already involved in programs of their own that will culminate at the annual spring Pay-Per-View, leaving Morrison the odd man in terms of a high profile singles match. If there is a Money in the Bank ladder match at this year’s WrestleMania, that could prove to be the fate of Morrison heading into the show. Should he win it, is it possible that he cashes in on that very night to carve his name onto the aforementioned list? Time will tell.
Regardless of what happens at the Elimination Chamber and beyond, John Morrison should be wearing the WWE Championship sooner than later. He’s been wildly popular for some time now, but recent five-star matches with Sheamus, Daniel Bryan, and the Miz have made a strong case for his ascent up the card to be accelerated. If his current push doesn’t result in a memorable, chill-inducing title win, WWE will have dropped the ball on Tough Enough’s crown jewel.