When John Morison departed WWE in 2011, most people, including himself, thought he would be back in just a year or two. But John ended up being away for nine years and working on various projects, both in wrestling and outside of it, before returning to WWE in 2020.
Morrison talked about what his biggest differences are between 2011 and 2020 when he joined The Chris Van Vliet Show.
"I mean, the guy that I am now, I know who I am a lot more now and I know where my sweet spot is. I didn't really understand it in 2011 and a lot of it is maturity. I mean, a lot of it is the acting classes, reading acting books, like some kind of in-depth character study type things, and then it comes down to... figuring out what it is about you that people want to see," said Morrison.
"You, specifically, why do people watch Chris? What do you have? What's your thing? If you come out and try to act like Batista and be this tough muscle guy, it's not authentic. No one's buying that. Same for me. I can't come out like Brock and be like this behemoth guy because it's not how people perceive me. So, figuring out how you're perceived and then picking the part of you that's the most interesting - I sometimes call it 'shiny' - and living in that moment in that energy all the time is the key, and it's a lot. It's very difficult. I can say that and I can know that, but it doesn't mean I can do it."
Morrison has competed in multiple WrestleManias in various types of matches throughout his career. These range from Money in the Bank matches, to Tag Title unification matches, to teaming with Snooki from Jersey Shore. Of all of those, he was asked what's his favorite WrestleMania moment.
"Got to be the moonsault with the ladder. Orlando actually – WrestleMania 24," Morrison said of the Money in the Bank ladder match, the event in which CM Punk won.
Outside of WWE, one of Morrison's most memorable matches came in Impact Wrestling at 2018's Bound for Glory. He defeated Austin Aries to win the Impact World Championship, but that match is infamously known for it being Aries' last with the company.
Aries no-sold the finish to the match and then flipped off everyone in sight after his loss which made many fans wonder if it was a work or shoot. That uncertainty amongst fans is why Morrison considers it one of his favorite matches ever.
"Yes, it's a match that I'm very proud of and it's one of my favorite matches. He might not be one of my favorite people, but it's one of the only times in my career where I feel like everybody believed in that match, including me. It felt real. It felt like the two of us had a real issue and the issue was not resolved before we went out to the ring," said Morrison.
"So, there was so much uncertainty surrounding that match. People, including myself, Taya [Valkyrie], Moose, Killer Kross on the outside – for him, we're wondering what was going to happen. And it feels like that type of situation is exactly what wrestling was in the glory days back when everything was kayfabe. Everyone thought everything was real, but that in its own way was a real authentic moment and because of that, it felt different. It's something that I still think about a lot, too. It was a really cool experience."
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit The Chris Van Vliet Show with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Mehdy Labriny contributed to this article.