Earlier this month, the WWE Universe learned that the Mayor of SlamTown, USA was making his return to the company where it all began. As announced via WWE’s social media channels, Morrison (real name: John Hennigan) has signed a new “multi-year contract” with WWE; and WWE is doing everything in it’s power to make his return feel important.
From “Top 5” videos of his greatest matches and moments, interviews on various shows like The Bump , and posting sneak peaks of his progress in the Performance Center. However, with all of this said WWE is keeping a lot of their plans for Morrison under wraps. As of this writing, we don’t know when he’s returning to in-ring action, we don’t know what his theme song will be (even though I’m pulling for”Ain’t No Make Believe” personally), and most importantly of all – we don’t know which brand he will be wrestling on.
Let’s see if we can figure it out his best option!
Least Likely: NXT
If you asked me this 3-4 years ago, NXT would be the obvious selection for Morrison’s first stop back to the WWE. However, with NXT being made to feel like a true 3rd brand and NOT developmental, I simply don’t see the former Shaman of Sexy going to the black and yellow brand.
NXT is currently in a ratings war with AEW’s program Dynamite on Wednesday nights, and Morrison’s addition would help win at least few weeks in a row, however Morrison won’t show up at Full Sail for one simple reason-NXT doesn’t need him.
As the last month of the rating war has shown, WWE has either kept pace or eclipsed Dynamite on a number of occasions, using their big stars of the Undisputed Era, Tommaso Ciampa, Finn Bálor , Keith Lee, Rhea Rippley, Shayna Blazer, and more; in addition to the overall crop off homegrown talents that NXT is famous for. Much gap space has also been filled by having much of the cruiserweight division on the brand as well.
While Morrison would be beloved on NXT television, he simply isn’t needed there. NXT should keep its course, highlight it’s present high profile talent, and continue cultivating its future stars.
Safe Pick: SmackDown
SmackDown is often named “The Land of Opportunity”, and no one knows this to be true more than John Morrison. One could argue that some of Morrison’s biggest moments happened on the blue brand. From his time with MNM, his multiple Intercontinental runs, and his earliest opportunities at the World Heavyweight Championship. Add in the revamped feel of Smackdown on FOX and Morrison would slide in perfectly.
At the same time, SmackDown is indeed lacking high profile faces. Roman Reigns stood virtually alone as the top face, with others like Daniel Bryan, Braun Strowman, and even the Miz only joining him very recently. If WWE wants Morrison to feel like a big star, putting him side by side with someone like Reigns on FOX would do the trick for sure.
Regardless of where he would be on the card, Morrison would add a ton of value to the blue brand, and would keep SmackDown’s status up.
Best Choice: Monday Night RAW
While SmackDown would be a comfortable spot for him, the truth of the matter is that SmackDown could survive just fine without Morrison. It’s big brother Monday Night RAW on the other hand? Needs Morrison like someone needs water in the middle of the desert.
Even with the turn of Seth Rollins, Monday Night RAW has returned to bland and stale programing . For what seems like the 9,000th time in my lifetime, Brock Lesnar is the brand’s champion and per business as usual, he is nowhere to be found. With rumors only predicting his return for the Royal Rumble for a bout against either Ricochet or Cain Velasquez…riveting.
With the red brand’s major title held hostage, (again) Monday Night RAW is left relying on Rusev and Lana’s love triangle, Aleister Black’s rise, The OC doing OC things, and Seth Rollins’ power-hungry storyline as its main anchors. While there is some general interest, RAW is no longer must see TV and one that most may have set on their DVR.
Don’t take our word for it. Just look at the ratings week by week. Even with the expected dips due to the holidays, RAW is clearly struggling to hold it’s audience’s attention; as the overall program has fallen back into its rinse and repeat ways. Even with the Royal Rumble right around the corner.
The best angle on RAW right now is Rollins’ newest character shift. Rollins has become the very “Authority” figure that he once vowed to “burn down”. Don’t be fooled. This isn’t the same Seth Rollins when he “bought in” and joined the Authority back in 2014. Rollins doesn’t have to prove his abilities to anyone, as 2019 was a stellar year for Rollins; as he has proved that he is the best worker in WWE.
Rollins is good and he knows it, and the success of this new character relies on two things: perceived legitimacy and a strong foil for him to battle. Rollins has plenty of legitimacy in the eyes of the causal fans, and his alignment with AOP makes Rollins feel unstoppable. However what he needs someone new and fresh to feud with.
Fans have seen Rollins face Samoa Joe and Kevin Owens countless times, Morrison and Rollins have never squared off in a WWE, and the two can easily put on a great program inside the ring. In addition, with the overwhelming fan support that Morrison will receive, fans will not only tune in to cheer Morrison on, but they’ll tune in to boo Rollins. In the end, the show – Rollins – and Morrison benefit.
Overall, if WWE wants to get the most out of John Morrison, RAW is where Starship Pain should land.
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