Matt Morgan’s life has been changing quickly inside the ring and out.
The 7-footer parted ways with TNA Impact Wrestling in July and is expecting his first child with wife, Larissa, in January.
The new addition to the family was 10 years in the making and a dream come true. The couple was told by 12 different specialists and doctors they had less than one percent chance to naturally conceive a child. Despite their odds a miracle occurred at a time they were going to explore other options.
“We signed up to do IVF, In Vitro Treatment,” Morgan said. “They take my guys, put them on ice and freeze them. Then when the time is right and she is fertile, they pull her eggs out and inject my guys into her eggs and put the egg back in and hope for the best. Not a guarantee and it’s a very expensive procedure. We put about 15 grand into all these meds and injections she would have to take at home to get her eggs ready.
“Long story short, five weeks go by and waiting for her time of the month to come and then pass before we could start the procedure. We are waiting, and the funniest thing happens. Her time of the month doesn’t come. So I tell her to call the doctor, and the doctor tells her to take a pregnancy test, but obviously you’re not going to be pregnant because there isn’t a shot in hell for that. We did it because we needed to rule it out before we could proceed.
“She takes the pregnancy test, and lo and behold, she is pregnant. We just spent 15 grand on the medicine the week before. It had just gotten to our house in the mail. She was naturally pregnant.”
Even though the bundle of joy has yet to arrive, he believes fatherhood has already changed his outlook on the wrestling business. It was an influence in making the difficult decision to leave TNA after nearly six years.
“It’s me needing to be a hell of a lot more greedy and me having to do certain things to provide for my child,” Morgan said. “I’m already thinking that way, and the child hasn’t even been born yet. When I left TNA, a lot of that was having a child. It changed my outlook immediately as soon as I knew we had a kid on the way. I wasn’t planning on any of this. As soon as we knew the kid was coming, I can’t explain it. It’s just a different feeling you get.
“A set of nerves set in and asking yourself what you are going to do to provide for that kid. I’m also responsible for my mother and my wife along. Being responsible for three other dependents, you have to think more long-term.”
Morgan feels he was very loyal to the company, even during periods when friends and some colleagues in the business would wonder why.
“These were friends of mine that worked for WWE who would say to me, ‘You need to get your butt over here and quit wasting your time with TNA,’” Morgan said. “My answer to that would always be, ‘I feel loyal to this company. They were very good to me. They still are good to me. They are letting me be myself on television.’ They have control creatively and all that, but at the end of the day it’s my decision of what I do on that television. That is every wrestler’s dream. Other guys aren’t as lucky. So the loyalty was a very big factor.”
Morgan isn’t one to burn bridges and felt he left TNA on good terms.
“I was having a conversation one day with [TNA President] Dixie Carter, who is like my biggest fan on the planet,” Morgan said. “This is especially true as far as having children. That woman went above and beyond when me and my wife were struggling to get pregnant. She wanted to fly my wife out to Nashville to see a specialist that she knew of. She is just a very good human being, probably the best boss I ever had. I just ignored my other friends and colleagues [thoughts] and kept my head down and kept plugging away as far as my career was concerned at TNA.
“Once I knew my wife was pregnant, I was very excited, obviously, but the next feeling I had was, ‘Oh crap, I have to do what I need to do to take care of this child.’ It’s not just my wife and mom anymore. From that point on, it just completely changed my outlook.”
The consummate athlete was at a point where he felt he had done a lot during his time with the company. He says he was about to do a storyline that would have lasted through the summer with a ‘big name.’ The angle got pulled and the top talent he was supposed to work with was taken in a different direction. Morgan was frustrated.
“I understand why that happens, and you can’t cry over spilt milk, but for me though, that was the straw that broke the camel’s back,” Morgan said. “That was the 89th time something like that happened to me while I was working there. I had a good rapport with Dixie Carter, as well as Eric Bischoff. So I went ahead and spoke to Dixie about it. She told me to hang in there, sit back and they would get something in there for me. It wasn’t my fault, and I didn’t do anything wrong for that to happen.
“When that happened, I felt in my heart of hearts it was time to move on. That was a very small part of it. The main part was having a kid, and I’m in the prime of my career right now. The next step for me was to possibly go back to WWE.”
Morgan began his pro wrestling career in WWE and its developmental territory at the time, Ohio Valley Wrestling. He described himself as a “wide-eyed greenhorn” during his initial stint with the sports entertainment leader.
“I was a very inexperienced rookie. The first time I got called up to television was on SmackDown with Brock Lesnar and Team Lesnar,” he recalled. “I was six months in the business of just learning how to lock up and bump to being in the main event of SmackDown. So again, even with the stuttering character after that, I was still a year or year-and-a-half in the business at most. It takes big guys more time to come along and for that light bulb to go off.
“We have a different psychology. It takes a long time, some time longer than others for some guys. It took me a little while. When I started at TNA the light bulb finally hit and me clicking on all cylinders and me knowing who I was in that ring. I did what I was asked. WWE told me to get some more experience, and the door was always open.”
Morgan took everything WWE management told him to heart when he was let go and heeded their advice. He honed and improved his skills competing against some of the best all over the world. The determined star has become a well-seasoned and complete package.
“They said to go out there and get into as many big money matches as I can,” Morgan said. “They told me to go to Japan and things like that. So I went to Japan and wrestled every top name they had there. In a two-year window I was in Japan every single month. Then I moved on to TNA. Before I went to TNA, there was a time I was going to go back to WWE. For whatever amount of reasons, Jim Cornette was working with TNA and talked me into going there instead.
“I went to TNA with the same idea of thinking I needed more main event experience before I go back to WWE. I thought what better way to do that than wrestle my butt off on TNA television against some of the world’s best such as Kurt Angle. It was a booming and up-and-coming company then.
“So I did that, starting as a bodyguard and working my way up to a monster and headlining six or so pay-per-views and getting that main event experience. I didn’t really expect to become so loyal, almost to a fault at times, with TNA. I fell in love with the company. To this day I love that company and the people that work there.”
For Morgan, it was a matter of he and TNA agreeing it was time.
“When it was time to leave I think it came from both ends,” Morgan said. “TNA had that angle that didn’t go through, and I would probably have been sitting there for a while. I had just sat last summer for storyline reasons. We made it look like I wasn’t working there any longer when in reality I was. When I came back they were supposed to have this big storyline for me when I came back at the last Bound for Glory. We did whatever we did with that angle, and I couldn’t do it again, as far as sitting, especially in my prime.”
Morgan is grateful and appreciative to TNA and also for not hindering him from exploring other career opportunities elsewhere.
“People get mad and upset all the time with TNA by saying, ‘How could you let Matt Morgan leave TNA,’” Morgan said. “Well, because this is what they could have done. If TNA wanted to, they could have made me sit at home all the way until when my contract expired, which would have been next July. That would have been another year, miss a year in my prime doing nothing. A lot of companies have done that in the past. That’s a business decision, and nobody can be mad at a company for doing it.
“They could have easily done that in keeping a 7-foot, 300-pound giant on their roster that they don’t have. They didn’t. My hats off to them for letting me move on with no strings attached and being able to put my family in a better situation.”
Now the performer thinks the time is ideal for making a return to WWE. He thinks he would fit perfectly considering the current landscape and the work they do in the community.
“Right now the company’s public perception is very important to them,” Morgan said. “What they’re doing publically with the anti-bullying campaigns, anti-drug campaigns and all those things they do, especially being a kid-friendly show on top of it, I feel like I would be a heck of a representative for that company.
“Without TNA or anybody telling me to go do it, I, on my own accord, go to schools here in Orlando to talk to these kids about the dos and don’ts of drugs. I, myself, was a painkiller abuser for five years early on in my career. I’ve been sober now for seven. I’m very proud of that and don’t hide it. I know others can learn from it, so I go to schools to speak about that. I speak about my learning disability. I have ADHD [Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder]. I’m the keynote speaker for the entire subject of ADHD, where every year I go speak on the behalf of a group called CHADD [Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder].
“I speak where there are physicians, doctors, scientists, teachers, parents and kids themselves. I show them the light at the end of the tunnel, and just because you have a learning disability, it’s not a death sentence. I got kicked out of five grammar schools before I hit third grade because everyone thought I had a behavior problem. Nobody thought I had a learning disability. After we figured it out, I got nothing but honors from fifth grade all the way up to graduating college. I graduated third in my class, legitimately. That is not a work.”
Morgan believes in everything WWE does publically and how they have superstars involved in a number of good causes. He feels their charity work sets a positive example for others.
“You should embrace being a role model as a professional wrestler,” Morgan said. “When I was a kid [Hulk] Hogan, Undertaker, those were my guys and role models. Those were my super heroes. I would take that very seriously. If there are kids out there who look up to me, I don’t shy away from it. I do whatever I can to be a good example…As far as wrestling goes, I feel like I fit in perfectly because I’m in the prime of my career.
“I’m 7-feet, 300 pounds. I am drug-free. I’m steroid-free. I’m somebody they can plug in right now. I’m not saying I can’t improve, as I’m improving every day and will continue to do so. I’m somebody who is ready now.”
Aside from his aspirations in the squared circle, Morgan is pursing acting projects. He has gone on a variety of auditions, including ones for “The Walking Dead” and Disney XD shows. Morgan says he has landed about five roles three he thinks are ‘pretty big’. So whether it’s with WWE or not, we haven’t seen the last of the entertainer/wrestler on our TV screens.
• Follow Matt Morgan on Twitter @BPmattmorgan.
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