John Randall Hennigan (October 3, 1981) is an American actor and professional wrestler who is currently signed with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) wrestling on the SmackDown brand under the ring name John Morrison.
Before getting into professional wrestling, Hennigan attended the University of California at Davis studying both film and geology.Upon deciding that he did not want to pursue either path, Hennigan began his professional wrestling career training at the Supreme Pro Wrestling school in Sacramento, California. After failing his audition for Tough Enough 2,he was accepted as a cast member for Tough Enough III in 2002, eventually becoming the co-winner with Matt Cappotelli. For winning, Hennigan was awarded a WWE developmental contract and assigned to WWE's developmental territory, Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW), to continue his training. Hennigan competed in a Bar Room Brawl match at Vengeance in July 2003. Hennigan and Cappotelli made an appearance on an episode of Heat in January 2004, losing to Garrison Cade and Mark Jindrak in a tag team match.
World Wrestling Entertainment
Bischoff's assistant and apprentice (2004)
On March 1, 2004 Hennigan debuted on the Raw brand under the ring name "Johnny Blaze". His gimmick was that he was the apprentice and assistant of the Raw General Manager, Eric Bischoff.The next week his name was changed to "Johnny Spade",and three weeks after that it was changed to "Johnny Nitro".The Nitro name, which finally stuck, was a reference to WCW Monday Nitro, the flagship show of World Championship Wrestling for which Bischoff had previously worked. To drive the point home, he began using the Nitro theme as his ring entrance music. Nitro acted as Bischoff's apprentice and assistant until June, when he was sent back to OVW. To explain his departure, Hennigan lost a match on the June 7 episode of Raw against Eugene, which carried the stipulation that upon his loss, he also lost his job.
MNM and Intercontinental Champion (2004–2007)
Upon his return to OVW, Hennigan was put into a feud with his former partner Matt Cappotelli. During the course of the feud Melina was brought in to the company as Nitro's ex-girlfriend and an ally of Cappotelli, only to turn on him and side with Nitro. Not long after, Nitro and Melina were joined by Joey Mercury, forming the stable MNM. MNM wrestled in OVW for around a year, holding the OVW Southern Tag Team Championship once, before being called up to the SmackDown roster in April 2005.
In their first match for the brand, they won the WWE Tag Team Championship from Rey Mysterio and Eddie Guerrero. MNM held the titles for three months, having successful titles defenses against the teams of Mysterio and Guerrero and Hardcore Holly and Charlie Haas, before dropping them to the Legion of Doom (LOD) at The Great American Bash. They won the titles again in a four-way match defeating The Mexicools, William Regal and Paul Burchill, and LOD,but lost them to Mysterio and Batista days before Armageddon in December. Due to help from Mark Henry, MNM defeated Mysterio and Batista in a rematch on December 30th to win the championship for the third time. They began a rivalry with the team of Paul London and Brian Kendrick that lasted over three months,until they dropped the championship to London and Kendrick at Judgment Day in May, with the storyline leading to Nitro and Melina suddenly turning on Mercury after the match, breaking up the group.Later that night, Melina and Nitro were booked off the SmackDown! brand by having the General Manager, Theodore Long, "fire" them.
The next week Nitro, along with Melina, debuted on the Raw brand in a loss to WWE Champion John Cena. Hennigan was immediately placed in the WWE Intercontinental Championship picture, beginning his first reign at Vengeance in June defeating champion Shelton Benjamin in a triple threat match also involving Carlito.Hennigan held the belt for four months, feuding with several challengers before losing it to Jeff Hardy on the October 2 episode of Raw.Nitro recaptured the Intercontinental Championship from Hardy on November 6 when the General Manager for the night, Eric Bischoff, restarted a match that Nitro lost by disqualification.The next week, however, Hardy won the title back.
In addition, Hennigan was featured in a sporadic feud with John Cena throughout 2006. The feud was unique in that it also involved non-wrestler Kevin Federline, who appeared on the October 16 episode of Raw. Federline was then, in storyline, trained by Nitro for a match with Cena, which he won after interference from Umaga.
In November, MNM reunited on an episode of Raw to accept an open challenge from The Hardys (Jeff and Matt Hardy) at December to Dismember, a match that they lost.MNM and the Hardys feuded across the brands throughout December, with the feud intensifying after Mercury was legitimately injured at Armageddon in a four-way ladder match. Mercury wrestled Matt on SmackDown!, while Nitro continued to feud with Jeff for the Intercontinental Championship on Raw, including a steel cage match at New Year's Revolution.MNM lost to The Hardys at the Royal Rumble, and again at No Way Out in February which ended the feud.MNM continued on and off as a team until Mercury was released from WWE in March 2007.
Without Mercury, Nitro's association with Melina was played down as she began competing for the WWE Women's Championship.Nitro was paired up with Kenny Dykstra,until the 2007 WWE Draft, during which Nitro was sent to the ECW brand and Dykstra to SmackDown!.
ECW World Champion; teaming with The Miz (2007–2009)
Hennigan made his ECW debut on June 19 with a win over Nunzio,and the next week, at Vengeance: Night of Champions, took the vacant ECW World Championship in a match against CM Punk, when he was called upon to replace the missing Chris Benoit.
A few weeks after getting the title, Nitro's name was changed to John Morrison and his gimmick was tweaked to be even more conceited and self-aggrandizing,modeled after Jim Morrison, to whom Hennigan bears a resemblance. After defeating CM Punk again at The Great American Bash, he began taking part in a "15 Minutes of Fame" segment on the weekly ECW on Sci Fi television program, where if a wrestler could either defeat him or last 15 minutes without being defeated, they would earn a title shot. The first wrestler to do so was CM Punk,which set up another match between the two at SummerSlam. Morrison won by illegally using the ring ropes for leverage. The next week, Punk again became the number one contender; this time, however, Punk won the championship. Hennigan was then suspended for thirty days for violating WWE's Wellness Program, renewing his feud with Punk upon his return, as well as competing against The Miz for the number one contendership to the title.
Though rivals, Morrison and The Miz were placed in an ad hoc team on the November 16 episode of SmackDown!, and were booked to take the WWE Tag Team Championship from the imploding team of Matt Hardy and Montel Vontavious Porter. At Survivor Series, Morrison and The Miz were both defeated by CM Punk in a triple threat match for the ECW Championship. After the defeat, the rivalry aspect of Miz and Morrison's relationship faded, as they were now portrayed as trusting friends. In February 2008, Morrison and The Miz were given a streaming segment on WWE.com named The Dirt Sheet in which they mocked other wrestlers and facets of pop culture. Morrison and The Miz co-wrote each episode of The Dirt Sheet each week, and he credits his time in college studying film with contributing to the success of the show. The team had many successful title defenses over the next few months, before dropping the titles to Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder at The Great American Bash in a fatal four-way match which also featured Jesse and Festus and Finlay and Hornswoggle. Neither The Miz nor Morrison were pinned, as Hawkins pinned Jesse to win the titles.
Afterwards, they started a feud with Cryme Tyme (Shad Gaspard and JTG) through each team's Internet show, which then transitioned to matches on Raw and at Cyber Sunday. After winning the Slammy Award for Best WWE.com exclusive earlier in the day, Morrison and The Miz won the "Tag Team of the Year" Slammy Award on the December 8, 2008 episode of Raw. On December 13, Morrison and The Miz won the World Tag Team Championship from CM Punk and Kofi Kingston at a Raw live event. Morrison and the Miz engaged themselves in a feud with The Colóns (Carlito and Primo), who were the reigning WWE Tag Team champions which resulted in both teams defending their respective championships successfully in separate matches. Their feud culminated in a tag team lumberjack match at WrestleMania XXV where both titles were on the line, but it was The Colóns who would unify the championships with a win. As part of the 2009 WWE Draft on April 13, The Miz was drafted to the Raw brand to split up the team, and, as a result, Miz attacked Morrison.
Brand switches and NXT(2009–2010)
On April 15, 2009, Morrison was drafted to the SmackDown brand as part of the 2009 Supplemental Draft. In Morrison's first match back for the brand, on April 17, he defeated R-Truth. On the May 1 episode of SmackDown, Morrison defeated Shelton Benjamin, and then engaged in a backstage fight with Chris Jericho, after Jericho slapped him, thus turning into a face (fan favorite character). At Judgment Day, Morrison defeated Benjamin in a rematch. On the July 31 episode of SmackDown, Morrison had his first World Heavyweight Championship match against champion Jeff Hardy, but failed to win the title. On the September 4 episode of SmackDown, Morrison defeated Rey Mysterio to win his third WWE Intercontinental Championship. At the TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs pay-per-view, Morrison lost the Intercontinental Championship to Drew McIntyre
In 2010, Morrison formed a friendship with R-Truth. He won an Elimination Chamber pay-per-view qualifying match and participated but lost and failed to capture the World Heavyweight Championship. Morrison and Truth defeated Cryme Tyme and The Hart Dynasty to earn a Unified WWE Tag Team Championship match at WrestleMania XXVI against ShoMiz (The Big Show and The Miz). At the event, they failed to win the championship.
On April 26, Morrison was drafted to the Raw brand as part of the 2010 WWE Draft, and lost his first match back for the brand later that night to Jack Swagger. Later that week, in his final match on SmackDown, he lost to Cody Rhodes. On June 1, Morrison announced that he would be mentoring Eli Cottonwood in the second season of WWE NXT. Cottonwood, however, was eliminated from the competition on the July 27 episode of NXT.Morrison then went on to participate in the main event of SummerSlam in which he and six teammates were victorious in a seven-on-seven elimination tag team match against The Nexus.
Main Event Push and Departure (2010-2011)
In November 2010, Morrison entered the 2010 edition of the King of the Ring tournament. He defeated Tyson Kidd, Cody Rhodes, and Alberto Del Rio en route to the final where he lost to Sheamus. He continued his feud with Sheamus in later weeks, and on December 13 edition of Raw,it was announced that will fight Sheamus in a Ladder match at Tables,Ladder & Chairs pay-per-view for the no. 1 conterder spot for WWE Championship,and he successfully won the match.
On the final Raw of 2010, he put his number one contender's contract on the line against Alex Riley. If Riley won, Morrison would no longer be the number one contender, but if he won, he would choose the time and stipulation of his WWE Championship match with The Miz. Morrison won and challenged The Miz to a Falls Count Anywhere match on January 3 but was unsuccessful.In February 2011, Morrison participated in the Raw Elimination Chamber match at the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view event but was eliminated second-last by CM Punk.At Wrestlemania he teamed up with Trish Stratus and Snooki to beat Dolph Ziggler and Laycool .
On the April 11th edition of Raw,Morrison competed in 5-Man Gauntlet match to determine #1 Contender for the WWE Championship . He was pinned by R-Truth who then became the #1 Contender alongside with John Cena. The next week on Raw, he interrupted R-Truth celebration by showing footage of R-Truth drink a bottle of water before John Cena came out.He then challenge for R-Truth's spot in the title match and successfully won the match but he was attacked by R-Truth after the match.Later that night it was revealed that the match will held inside a steel cage. At Extreme Rules, John Morrison loss the match after he was brutally attacked by R-Truth.The next night on Raw,Morrison was attacked again by R-Truth again before their match start.
On May 9, Morrison posted on his Twitter feed that he suffered a neck injury and would be undergoing surgery. He was expected to be out for 4–6 weeks, as said on WWE.com. Morrison initially returned on the June 13 edition of Raw, but R-Truth put him out of action again by attacking him before their scheduled match. Morrison returned again on the July 25 edition of Raw, attacking R-Truth.At Summerslam 2011, Morisson competed in a six-man tag-team match with Kofi Kingston and Rey Mysterio to defeat R-Truth, Alberto del Rio, and The Miz, then the next night on "Raw," Morrison picked up his first win since returning by defeating R-Truth in a Falls Count Anywhere Match. Morrison would then get great recommendations of sorts for his conpetiton in the WWE Royal Rumble and Elimination Chamber months later, looking amazing in both matches, his Main Event Push would end at Extreme Rules after R-Truth(who had recently turned heel) attacked Morrison preventing him from winning the title. After a summer of inactivity(thanks to a neck injury) Morrison returned twice(the first time Truth attacked him before he could compete). After returning a second time, Morrison would defeat R-Truth 3 times. After his feud with Truth ended, Morrison would go on a 3-month losing streak which ended in October after he defeated Dolph Ziggler. He would have his second-to-final match at Survivor Series, losing to Ziggler for the US Championship. After this event, it was announced that WWE wouldn't extend Morrison's contract due to his continuing neck problems. Morrison had his final WWE appearance on November 28, 2011, losing to The Miz when he hit a Skull-Crushing Finale on the entrance ramp. The following day, it was announced that Morrison's character would be gone. However, John Laurnitus(the VP of talent Relations and current GM of Raw) said he would re-sign Morrison after his neck was fully healed within a year. On December 2, 2011, Henigan's profile was moved to the Alumni Roster. Hennigan later announced on his Twitter he would be going into semi-retirement due to his recent neck injuries.
In June 2014, the Staff of WWE.com made an appeal to Morrison to return to WWE so that he could join the Shield and replace Seth Rollins.
Independent circuit (2012–2013)
After leaving WWE, Hennigan began using his real name for wrestling shows. On his first post-WWE wrestling appearance, Hennigan rekindled an old feud facing off against Shelton Benjamin in the main event of the World Wrestling Fan Xperience (WWFX) Champions Showcase Tour in Manila, Philippines on February 4, 2012. Hennigan won the match to become the inaugural WWFX Heavyweight Champion.
On August 12, 2012, Hennigan appeared at Juggalo Championship Wrestling's Bloodymania 6 event, defeating Matt Hardy and Breyer Wellington in a three-way match. On January 25, 2013. Hennigan would make appearance as John Morrison once again at Dragon Gate USA's Open the Golden Gate, defeating Akira Tozawa in the main event of the show. On February 22, Morrison defeated five other men to become the NGW World Champion at Next Generation Wrestling's first show. Hennigan took part in the WrestleMania weekend, wrestling for the Pro Wrestling Syndicate. On April 4, Hennigan defeated Elijah Burke and on April 5, Morrison defeated Japanese legend Jushin Thunder Liger in an "International Dream Match" at a Pro Wrestling Syndicate (PWS) event.
On April 19, Hennigan again defeated Sami Callihan in a no count-out, no disqualification falls count anywhere match at a 2CW event in Rome, New York. The next day, he defeated Kevin Steen at 2CW's first iPPV (Living on the Edge VIII), in Watertown, New York. On June 21, 2013, Hennigan defeated Carlito Caribbean Cool in FWE Welcome to the Rumble II, winning the FWE Heavyweight Championship. The next day, Hennigan defended the title against Too Cold Scorpio at House of Hardcore 2. On September 6 and 8, Morrison wrestled against WWL World Heavyweight Champion Black Pain for the title, but he was defeated both times. On October 12, 2013, at FWE Grand Prix, Hennigan defeated Matt Morgan, retaining the FWE Heavyweight Championship.
Lucha Underground (2014–2018)
In September 2014, it was reported that Hennigan had signed with the El Rey network's new television series, Lucha Underground, where he wrestled under the ring name Johnny Mundo. Mundo wrestled in the main event of the debut episode of Lucha Underground on October 29, 2014, defeating Prince Puma and winning one hundred thousand dollars, which was then taken away from him by promoter Dario Cueto, setting up several feuds. He then teamed with Prince Puma during the November 5, 2014 episode, defeating Cortez Castro and Mr. Cisco. On the November 19 episode, Mundo defeated Big Ryck by disqualification after interference by Castro and Cisco. Mundo then defeated Prince Puma and Big Ryck in the main event of the December 10, 2014 episode, which was a three-way ladder match, to finally win the hundred thousand dollars he was denied in the Lucha Underground debut. On January 7, 2015, Mundo participated in a 20-man battle royale (called "Aztec Warfare") for the Lucha Underground Championship. He was the second luchador to enter the ring, but was the last man eliminated (by Prince Puma, who thereby won the title). King Cuerno attacked Mundo on the February 4, 2015 episode, beginning a feud between them; the second installment took place on the episode which aired March 11, 2015, where Mundo and Cuerno wrestled in a Steel Cage match, which was won by Mundo.
Impact Wrestling (2017–2019)
Under the ring name Johnny Impact, he debuted in 2017 during which the company was still operating under the Global Force Wrestling brand. His debut occured on the August 24 episode of GFW iMPACT! during which he competed in a 20-man battle royal to crown the new Impact World Champion. On the September 14 episode of iMPACT!, Johnny Impact became the No.1 Contender after winning a match against Low Ki. On September 28 aired as the 2017 Victory Road special, Impact challenged the reigning World Champion Eli Drake.
The following year in 2018 the company rebranded itself as iMPACT! Wrestling. Johnny Impact returned on the January 18 episode of iMPACT!, during which he challenged for the World Championship in a three-way match against Alberto El Patrón and the champion Eli Drake. During the early months, Impact won a succession of No.1 Contender matches, earning him the right to challenge for the World Championship. On October 14 at Bound for Glory, Impact defeated Austin Aries to become the new Impact World Champion. Throughout the course of the remaining year, Impact successfully retained the World Championship against challengers including Fénix, Killer Kross and Moose. As the year wound to a close, Impact was involved in a feud with Brian Cage building towards their title match at Homecoming.
The following year in 2019, Impact and Cage returned on the January 3 episode of iMPACT! during which they lost a tag team match to The Lucha Brothers. Afterwards the former tag partners confronted each other before proceeding to brawl against one another. At Homecoming, Impact successfully retained the World Championship against Cage. He went on to successfully retain the title against challengers including Killer Kross, Moose, Brian Cage, Sami Callihan and Eddie Edwards. By April 4 at United We Stand, Impact won a No.1 Contendership match for the X Division Championship. At Rebellion, Impact's title reign ended when he was defeated by Brian Cage in a championship rematch. Johnny Impact's attempts to return to No.1 Contendership were thwarted on the May 3 episode of iMPACT! during which he lost in a three-way match against Michael Elgin and Pentagon Jr.. On July 7 at Slammiversary XVII, Impact challenged for the X Division Championship, but did not succeed in defeating the reigning champion Rich Swann. Afterwards, he was no longer listed as a member of the iMPACT! roster.
Return to the independent circuit (2019)
Officially listed as a freelance wrestler, Hennigan resumed his bookings with other wrestling promotions. After his departure from Impact Wrestling, Hennigan returned to Bar Wrestling on August 21 at Don't Talk To Me Until I've Had My Coffee, where he and his wife Taya Valkyrie team in a mixed tag match lost against The Bomb Baes (Heather Monroe & Jake Atlas). The following month on September 4, Hennigan returned to Bar Wrestling at The Wildest Ride In The Wilderness in a three-way match against Diego Valens and Luchasaurus. Two nights later on September 6, Hennigan debuted in Mondo Lucha, during which he successful defended the Mondo Lucha Championship against Isaias Velazquez. Later during the event, he lost the title to the Russian Beast.
Return to World Wrestling Entertainment (2019 - present)
On December 3, 2019 it was announced on WWE Backstage that John had signed a multi-year deal to return to WWE. Morrison made his brief return in the January 3, 2020 episode of WWE Smackdown and officially returning a week after, reuniting with The Miz.
In 2009, Hennigan appeared on two episodes of Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?, which were both aired on September 29. Hennigan is the subject of a WWE DVD, called John Morrison – Rock Star, which was released on February 16, 2010. The DVD covers his career from his name change to John Morrison up until his Intercontinental Championship win in September 2009. He appeared on an episode of Destroy Build Destroy on March 3, 2010. Hennigan was on the cover of Muscle & Fitness in June 2010, with the issue also featuring an interview and photo shoot.
Hennigan has two sisters and grew up in Palos Verdes, where he attended high school. He graduated from the University of California, Davis in 2002. Hennigan cites Shawn Michaels, Randy Savage, and Curt Hennig as his favorite wrestlers.
Hennigan is married to Taya Valkyrie.
Hi, I'm John Morrison, and if I had a nickel for everyone who looked better than me at WrestleMania... I would have no nickels.
William Blake once said the road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom. And that’s where I dwell. John Morrison is enlightened.
People Magazine offered me 15 million dollars to see a picture of me as a baby. I passed... John Morrison is not for sale.
We don't beat our bishops at the Palace of Wisdom. We have hot women who do that for us.
- Finishing moves
- The Moonlight Drive (Corkscrew Neckbreaker) - 2007-2009; used as a signature move since 2010-present
- Nitro Blast (Superkick) - 2004-2005, 2008 (As Johnny Nitro)
- Standing shooting star press - 2005-2006; used as a regular move from 2007-present
- Starship Pain (Split-legged corkscrew moonsault) - 2009-present; used as a regular move from 2007-2008
- Running knee smash to a sitting opponent - used as a finisher from 2010-present
- Signature moves
- 180° spun flare transitioned into a leg drop
- Asai moonsault
- Belly to back wheelbarrow facebuster
- Corkscrew Plancha
- European Uppercut
- Multiple kick variations
- Multiple mounted forearm smashes to a grounded opponent
- Hangman Neckbreaker
- Springboard or slingshot elbow drop
- Standing Moonsault Side Slam
- STO backbreaker followed by either a russian legsweep or a Neckbreaker
- Tilt-a-whirl DDT
- Tag teams and stables
- Entrance themes
- WCW Monday Nitro theme song (2004)
- "Paparazzi" by Jim Johnston (2005 – July 2007)
- "Ain't No Make Believe" (instrumental) (July 2007 – August 2007)
- "Ain't No Make Believe" by Stonefree Experience (August 2007–November 2011)
- Blitz & Glam by the Jetboys/Extreme Music (Lucha Underground 2016)
- Welcome To Slamtown by John Morrison (Lucha Underground 2017)
- American Luchadore by DV8 (Impact)
- Hey Hey Ho Ho by Miz and Morrison (2020)
Championships and accomplishments
- Asistencia Asesoría y Administración
- Lucha Underground
- World Wrestling Entertainment
- ECW Championship (1 time)
- WWE Intercontinental Championship (3 times)
- World Tag Team Championship (1 time) - with The Miz
- WWE Tag Team Championship (4 times) - with Joey Mercury (3), and The Miz (1)
- WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship (1 time) with The Miz
- Slammy Award for Tag Team of the Year (2008) – with The Miz
- Slammy Award for Best WWE.com Exclusive (2008) – with The Miz
- WWE Tough Enough III co-winner with Matt Cappotelli