John Morrison (wrestler)

John Morrison
Johnny Impact Alpha 1 alt (cropped).jpg
Morrison as Johnny Impact in February 2019
Birth name John Randall Hennigan [1]
Born (1979-10-03) October 3, 1979 (age 39)[2]
Los Angeles, California, U.S.[3]
Alma mater University of California, Davis
Spouse(s)
Taya Valkyrie ( m. 2018)
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) John Hennigan[4]
John Morrison[4][2]
Johnny Blackcraft[5]
Johnny Blaze[2]
Johnny Impact[6]
Johnny Mundo[7]
Johnny Nitro[4][2]
Johnny Onyx[8]
Johnny Spade[4]
Johnny Superstar[9]
Johnny Ultra[10]
Billed height 6 ft 1 in (185 cm)[11]
Billed weight 215 lb (98 kg)[11]
Billed from Los Angeles, California[12]
Trained by Supreme Pro Wrestling[8][13]
Al Snow[2]
Bill DeMott[2]
Ivory[2]
Ohio Valley Wrestling[2]
Debut 2002[4]

John Randall Hennigan[1] (born October 3, 1979)[4][2] is an American professional wrestler, actor and traceur, who currently wrestles for Impact Wrestling under the ring name Johnny Impact, where he is the Impact World Champion in his first reign. He is best known for his tenure in WWE where he used the ring names John Morrison and Johnny Nitro. He is also known for wrestling in Mexico's Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide and Lucha Underground under the ring name Johnny Mundo, and under various names on the on the independent circuit.

Hennigan was the winner of Tough Enough III, a televised competition that would award the winner a WWE contract, and was assigned to their then developmental territory, Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW), to continue his wrestling training. Hennigan was called up to the SmackDown! roster in April 2005 and on his debut match, Hennigan (as a part of MNM) won the WWE Tag Team Championship. In the main roster, Hennigan won the ECW World Championship once, the Intercontinental Championship three times, and is a five-time world tag team champion (one World Tag Team and four WWE Tag Team Championships).

After leaving WWE in November 2011, Hennigan began wrestling overseas on the independent circuit before finding success in lucha libre wrestling promotions Lucha Underground and Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide. In Lucha Underground, Hennigan won the main event of the debut episode, as well as the first ladder match and steel cage match in the promotion's history. He is also the second Triple Crown Champion, having held the Lucha Underground, Gift of the Gods and Trios Championship once each. In AAA, he was the promotion's first-ever triple champion, holding the AAA Mega, Latin American and World Cruiserweight Championships simultaneously. He also (with partners Chavo Guerrero Jr. and Brian Cage) won the 2016 Lucha Libre World Cup. Hennigan also signed with Impact Wrestling in 2017. He headlined the promotion's 2017 and 2018 Bound for Glory events and won the Impact World Championship once.

Professional wrestling career

World Wrestling Federation/Entertainment/WWE

Before getting into professional wrestling, Hennigan attended the University of California, Davis studying both film and geology.[14] 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.[8] After failing his audition for Tough Enough 2,[15] a competition in which the winner earned a World Wrestling Federation contract, he was accepted as a cast member for Tough Enough III in 2002, eventually becoming the co-winner with Matt Cappotelli.[16] For winning, Hennigan was awarded a developmental contract and assigned to their developmental territory, Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW), to continue his training.[17] Hennigan competed in the Acolytes Protection Agency's invitational Bar Room Brawl match at Vengeance in July 2003.[2] 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.[2]

On March 1, 2004, Hennigan debuted as a heel 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.[18] The next week his name was changed to "Johnny Spade",[19] and three weeks after that it was changed to "Johnny Nitro".[20] 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.[21] Nitro acted as Bischoff's apprentice and assistant until June, when he was sent back to OVW. To explain his departure, Nitro lost a match on June 7 episode of Raw against Eugene, which carried the stipulation that upon his loss, he also lost his job.[22]

Nitro (left) won three WWE Tag Team Championships with Joey Mercury (right)

Upon his return to OVW, Nitro was put into a feud with his former partner Matt Cappotelli. During the course of the feud Melina was brought into 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.[23] MNM wrestled in OVW for around a year, holding the OVW Southern Tag Team Championship once, before losing the titles to Cappotelli and Johnny Jeter in January 2005. They were soon called up to the main SmackDown! roster in April that same year.[2][24]

In their debut match on the main roster, MNM won the WWE Tag Team Championship from Rey Mysterio and Eddie Guerrero.[25][26] 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.[2][27] They won the titles again in a four-way match defeating The Mexicools, William Regal and Paul Burchill, and LOD,[2][28] but lost them to Mysterio and Batista days before Armageddon in December.[2] Due to help from Mark Henry, MNM defeated Mysterio and Batista in a rematch on December 30 to win the championship for the third time.[2][29] They began a rivalry with the team of Paul London and Brian Kendrick that lasted over three months,[30] until they dropped the championship to London and Kendrick at Judgment Day in May 2006, with the storyline leading to Nitro and Melina suddenly turning on Mercury after the match, breaking up the group.[31] Later that night, Melina and Nitro were booked off the SmackDown! brand by having the General Manager, Theodore Long, "fire" them.[32]

After MNM's split, Nitro achieved success as a singles competitor, winning two Intercontinental Championships and the ECW World Championship

The next week, Nitro, along with Melina, debuted on the Raw brand in a loss to WWE Champion John Cena.[33] Nitro was immediately placed in the WWE Intercontinental Championship picture, beginning his first reign at Vengeance in June after defeating champion Shelton Benjamin in a triple threat match also involving Carlito.[32] Nitro held the belt for four months, feuding with several challengers before losing it to Jeff Hardy on October 2 episode of Raw.[34] Nitro then engaged in a feud with Hardy. 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.[35] The next week, however, Hardy won the title back.[36]

In addition, Nitro was also in a sporadic feud with John Cena throughout the second half of 2006. The feud was unique in that it also later involved non-wrestler Kevin Federline, who appeared on October 16 episode of Raw.[37] Federline was then, in storyline, trained by Nitro for a match with Cena, which he won after interference from Umaga.[38]

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.[39][40] 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.[41][42] 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.[43] MNM lost to The Hardys at the Royal Rumble, and again at No Way Out in February which ended the feud.[44][45] MNM continued on and off as a team until Mercury was released from WWE in March 2007.[46]

Without Mercury, Nitro's association with Melina was played down as she began competing for the WWE Women's Championship.[47][48] Nitro was paired up with Kenny Dykstra,[49][50] until the 2007 WWE Draft, during which Nitro was sent to the ECW brand and Dykstra was sent to SmackDown!.[51]

Johnny Nitro made his ECW debut on June 19 with a win over Nunzio,[52] and few days later, on June 24, at Vengeance: Night of Champions, he won the vacant ECW World Championship in a match against CM Punk, making it his first world championship in WWE, when he was called upon to replace the missing Chris Benoit due to a "family emergency".[53]

A few weeks after getting the title, Nitro's ring name was changed to "John Morrison" — being modeled after musician Jim Morrison, to whom Nitro bears a strong physical resemblance.[54] After defeating CM Punk again at The Great American Bash,[55] 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,[56] which set up another match between the two at SummerSlam. Morrison won by illegally using the ring ropes for leverage.[57] The next week, Punk again became the number one contender;[58] this time, however, Punk won the championship.[59] Morrison was then suspended for thirty days for violating WWE's Wellness Program,[60] renewing his feud with Punk upon his return, as well as competing against The Miz for the number one contendership to the title.[61][62][63]

From 2007 to 2009, Morrison teamed with The Miz, winning the WWE and World Tag Team Championships

Though rivals, Morrison and The Miz faced the dysfunctional tag team of Matt Hardy and Montel Vontavious Porter on the November 16 episode of SmackDown! for the WWE Tag Team Championship in a winning effort, marking Morrison's fourth WWE Tag Team Championship.[64][65] At Survivor Series, Morrison and The Miz were both defeated by CM Punk in a triple threat match for the ECW Championship.[66] 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.[13] On July 4 episode of Smackdown, Morrison lost to Jeff Hardy who re-debuted on Smackdown after the 2008 WWE Draft. 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.[67]

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.[68][69][70] 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 December 8, 2008 episode of Raw.[71] On December 13, Morrison and The Miz won the World Tag Team Championship from CM Punk and Kofi Kingston at a Raw live event.[72] 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 on the WrestleMania XXV pre-show where both titles were on the line, but it was The Colóns who would unify the championships with a win.[73] 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.[74]

After Morrison was separated from The Miz and drafted to SmackDown, he won his third Intercontinental Championship

On April 15, 2009, Morrison returned to the SmackDown brand as part of the 2009 Supplemental Draft.[75] In Morrison's first match back for the brand, on April 17, he defeated R-Truth.[76] On the May 1 episode of SmackDown, Morrison engaged in a backstage fight with Chris Jericho, after Jericho slapped him, turning face in the process. Later that same night, Morrison defeated Shelton Benjamin, beginning a feud between the two. On the May 7 episode of WWE Superstars, Morrison lost a match to Jericho after a distraction by Benjamin.[77] Morrison continued to score victories over Benjamin in singles and tag team matches before defeating him at Judgment Day.[78] Morrison would soon become wildly popular with fans. On the June 19 episode of SmackDown, Morrison lost a critically acclaimed match against Edge, in which the commentators described it as a "third main event". On the July 31 episode of SmackDown, Morrison had his first World Heavyweight Championship match against Jeff Hardy, but failed to win the title.[79]

On September 4 episode of SmackDown, Morrison defeated Rey Mysterio to win his third Intercontinental Championship. Morrison then began a feud with Dolph Ziggler after losing a non-title match to him by countout, but he would successfully defend the title against Ziggler Hell in a Cell and again on the following episode of SmackDown. The feud between Morrison and Ziggler continued throughout the next month, with the two wrestling to a double countout for the Intercontinental Championship on the November 13 episode of SmackDown and Morrison retaining the championship in a two-out-of-three falls match the following week to end the feud. At Bragging Rights, Morrison was defeated by his former tag team partner then-United States Champion The Miz in an interbrand Champion vs. Champion match. Their rivalry continued after both were announced as opposing team captains for Survivor Series, where Miz's team defeated Morrison's team. Morrison then went on to feud with SmackDown newcomer Drew McIntyre, who defeated Morrison in a non-title match on the December 4 episode of SmackDown, thus earning a championship opportunity against Morrison.[80] At the TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs pay-per-view, Morrison lost the Intercontinental Championship to McIntyre, ending his reign at 103 days. He received his rematch on the first SmackDown of 2010, but was disqualified when McIntyre shoved him into the referee. He challenged McIntyre for the Intercontinental Championship again on the January 29 episode of SmackDown in a No Disqualification match, but lost, ending their feud.[81]

In the following weeks, Morrison began a friendship with R-Truth. He later won an Elimination Chamber qualifying match and participated in the eponymous match for the World Heavyweight Championship, but was eliminated by The Undertaker.[82] 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.[83] Later that week, in his final match on SmackDown, he lost to Cody Rhodes.[84] On June 1, Morrison announced that he would be mentoring Eli Cottonwood in the second season of NXT.[85][86] Cottonwood, however, was the second person eliminated from the competition, and was eliminated on July 27 episode of NXT.[87] Morrison then went on to participate in the main event of SummerSlam in which he and six teammates (John Cena, Edge, Chris Jericho, R-Truth, Daniel Bryan, and Bret Hart) were victorious in a seven-on-seven elimination tag team match against The Nexus.[88]

In October 2010, Morrison began a feud with Sheamus after he helped Santino Marella earn an upset win during a one-sided match against Sheamus. Within the following weeks, Morrison continued to save Marella from attacks by Sheamus. At Survivor Series, Morrison beat Sheamus.[89] In November, Morrison entered the 2010 edition of the King of the Ring tournament, defeating Tyson Kidd, Cody Rhodes, and Alberto Del Rio. Morrison lost to Sheamus in the final round.[90][91] He continued to feud with Sheamus and defeated him in a WWE Championship number one contender's ladder match at the Tables, Ladders & Chairs pay-per-view on December 19.[92] Morrison received his WWE Championship match on January 3, 2011 episode of Raw, but lost to reigning champion The Miz in a falls count anywhere match.[93]

Morrison at WWE Tribute to the Troops in December 2010
Morrison's highly-acclaimed spot in the Royal Rumble match

On January 30, Morrison participated in the Royal Rumble match at the Royal Rumble event and despite not winning, he had a stand-out moment which was praised by critics as "arguably the spot of the decade" when Morrison was knocked off of the ring apron and performed a cat leap onto the barricade to avoid having his feet touch the floor and then went on to precision jump onto the ring steps and re-enter the ring.[94][95] On February 20, Morrison participated in the Raw Elimination Chamber match at the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view event but was eliminated by CM Punk. During the match Morrison climbed to the top of the cage while inside the cage before dropping to deliver a crossbody on and eliminate Sheamus.[96][97] At WrestleMania XXVII, Morrison teamed with Trish Stratus and Jersey Shore guest star Snooki in a mixed tag match to defeat the team of Dolph Ziggler, Michelle McCool and Layla.[98]

Morrison participated in feuds for various championships before departing from WWE in 2011

Morrison participated in a five-man gauntlet match for the number one contender's spot for the WWE Championship on April 11 episode of Raw, but was eliminated by former ally R-Truth.[99] The next week on Raw, Morrison challenged R-Truth to a match later on in the night, with the stipulation that if Morrison won, he would take R-Truth's place in the steel cage match at Extreme Rules. Truth accepted, and lost the match, making Morrison the new number one contender.[100] At Extreme Rules, R-Truth interfered in the match, attacking Morrison and preventing him from winning the match.[101] The next night on Raw, Morrison was attacked by Truth again, prior to a scheduled match between the two which did not happen as a result.[102] Morrison then underwent surgery to correct a legitimately pinched nerve in his neck.[103]

Morrison initially returned on June 13 episode of Raw, but R-Truth attacked him again prior to their scheduled match, re-injuring him.[104] Morrison returned again on July 25 episode of Raw, attacking R-Truth.[105] At SummerSlam, Morrison competed in a six-man tag team match, teaming with Kofi Kingston and Rey Mysterio to defeat R-Truth, Alberto Del Rio and The Miz. The following night on Raw, Morrison defeated R-Truth in a Falls Count Anywhere match to end their feud. At Night of Champions, Morrison competed in a Fatal-4-Way match for the WWE United States Championship, also involving Alex Riley, Jack Swagger and Dolph Ziggler, with the latter of whom successfully retaining his title. Morrison then challenged Cody Rhodes for the Intercontinental Championship twice; first on the September 26 episode of Raw in a 10 man battle royal and later in a singles match at the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view, but lost on both occasions. Following this, Morrison went on a losing streak, lasting a number of weeks.[106] On the November 7 episode of Raw, Morrison picked up his first victory in three months, defeating United States Champion Dolph Ziggler in a non-title match. He then challenged Ziggler for the championship at Survivor Series in a losing effort.

In his last advertised WWE appearance on the November 28 episode of Raw,[107] Morrison faced his former tag team partner The Miz in a Falls Count Anywhere match; Miz won the match by delivering the Skull-Crushing Finale on the steel entrance stage, giving Morrison a kayfabe injury. This was used to write Morrison off television, even being stretchered out of the arena after the match.[108] On November 29, WWE acknowledged the end of Morrison's contract,[109] and moved his profile to the alumni section of its website.[12]

In a video published on December 9, 2011 via Hennigan's personal YouTube channel, Hennigan claimed that he was taking time off to heal and retrain for a possible return to wrestling in the future.[110] In 2015, Hennigan revealed on Stone Cold Steve Austin's podcast that WWE wanted him to sign another three-year contract, but due to a neck injury, residual pain and creative frustrations, he decided to not renew his contract, wanting "more control over [his] time".[111]

Independent circuit (2012–present)

After leaving WWE, Hennigan began wrestling on the independent circuit under his real name, as well as his previous ring name John Morrison.[112] 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.[113] On January 25, 2013, Morrison appeared at Dragon Gate USA's Open the Golden Gate, defeating Akira Tozawa in the main event of the show.[114] 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.[115]

Morrison competing in a ladder match in April 2016

On June 21, 2013, Hennigan defeated Carlito Caribbean Cool in FWE Welcome to the Rumble II, winning the FWE Heavyweight Championship.[116] The next day, Hennigan defended the title against Too Cold Scorpio at House of Hardcore 2.[117] On October 12, 2013, at FWE Grand Prix, Hennigan defeated Matt Morgan, retaining the FWE Heavyweight Championship.[118] On March 11, 2015, Hennigan lost the FWE Heavyweight Championship to A.J. Styles.[119]

On June 28, 2016, it was announced that Hennigan would make his debut for Pro Wrestling Guerilla in the company's annual Battle of Los Angeles tournament.[120] He won his match against Matt Sydal in the first round,[121] but was eliminated by Ricochet in the quarter-finals.[122]

On January 28, 2017, Morrison won a tournament at a 5 Star Wrestling event for the 5 Star Wrestling Championship, defeating Moose, Drew Galloway, and Rey Mysterio to win the title.[123] On February 8, 2018, he lost the title against Jake Hager after over two years as champion.

On September 22, Morrison reunited with former MNM tag team partner Joey Mercury after ten years, defeating Reno Scum.[124]

Lucha Underground (2014–present)

In September 2014, it was reported that Hennigan had signed with the El Rey network's new television series, Lucha Underground,[125] where he wrestled under the ring name Johnny Mundo.[7] 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.[126] 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.[127] 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.[128]

On January 7, 2015, Mundo participated in a 20-man "Aztec Warfare" battle royal for the Lucha Underground Championship. He was the second luchador to enter the ring, but was the last man eliminated by Prince Puma who won the Championship. King Cuerno attacked Mundo on the February 4 episode, beginning a feud between them; the second installment took place on the episode which aired March 11, where Mundo and Cuerno wrestled in a Steel Cage match, which was won by Mundo. On May 13, Mundo turned heel when he attacked Alberto El Patrón in his match against Hernandez, throwing him through the window of Dario Cueto. Mundo subsequently tossed El Patrón back into the ring, giving Hernandez the win.[129] On the June 17, episode of Lucha Underground, Johnny Mundo unsuccessfully challenged Prince Puma for the Lucha Underground Championship in an Iron Man match. On August 5, 2015, at Ultima Lucha, Mundo defeated Alberto El Patrón after an interference by his girlfriend Melina Perez.[130]

On the February 3, 2016 episode of Lucha Underground, Mundo faced Killshot in a winning effort. After the match, Mundo taunted Lucha Underground Champion Mil Muertes, only to be confronted by Cage.[131] Mundo defeated Cage on February 24, after interference from the debuting Taya, subsequently becoming Mundo's valet.[132] On the May 25 episode of Lucha Underground, Taya revealed to PJ Black and Jack Evans that their partner Fénix was injured by Mundo. As Mundo revealed himself as Fénix's replacement for their match, Black and Evans allied with the two. Later that night in the main event, Mundo, Black and Evans defeated Rey Mysterio Jr., Prince Puma and Dragon Azteca Jr. to win the Lucha Underground Trios Championship, the first championship for each in Lucha Underground.[133] The week after, Mundo, Black and Evans, now collectively billed as Worldwide Underground, retained their championships in a rematch via disqualification.[134][135] Worldwide Underground lost their titles to Aero Star, Drago and Fénix at the third and final part Ultima Lucha Dos, which aired on July 20.[136]

On the October 26 episode of Lucha Underground, Mundo defeated Sexy Star to win the Lucha Underground Gift of the Gods Championship after he knocked out Sexy Star with brass knuckles while the referee was unaware.[137][138] On the November 23 episode of Lucha Underground, he cashed in his Gift of the Gods Championship on Sexy Star before defeating her to win the Lucha Underground Championship, becoming the second Triple Crown Champion in Lucha Underground history.[139] On the December 21 episode of Lucha Underground, Mundo successfully defended his championship in a rematch against Sexy Star inside a steel cage. He lost the title to Prince Puma at Ultima Lucha Tres.[140]

Mundo made his return on the season premiere competing Aztec Warfare entering at number 11. Mundo eliminated Ricky Mundo and Daga before getting eliminated by Marty Martinez after being attacked by the Reptile Tribe.

Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide (2015–2018)

On May 24, 2015, Mundo made his debut for Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide (AAA) at the Lucha Libre World Cup event representing Lucha Underground as a member of "Team TNA/Lucha Underground" alongside TNA wrestlers Matt Hardy and Mr. Anderson. They finished in second place, losing in the finals to the "Dream Team" (El Patrón Alberto, Myzteziz and Rey Mysterio Jr.).[141]

On June 4, 2015 in the main event of Verano de Escándalo, Mundo established himself as a rudo and teamed with El Mesias and Pentagón Jr. losing to Myzteziz, La Parka and Rey Mysterio Jr.[142] On September 27, Konnan announced Mundo as an official member of the rudo stable, La Sociedad, while he subsequently stepped down as the leader of the group.[143] On October 4, at Héroes Inmortales IX, Mundo unsuccessfully challenged El Patrón Alberto for the AAA Mega Championship, when he was defeated by disqualification.[144] After Alberto left AAA, Mundo was scheduled to face Rey Mysterio Jr. for the vacant AAA Mega Championship at Guerra de Titanes, but after the matches of the event were officially announced, neither Mundo nor Mysterio were featured for the event.[145] Mundo participated in the 2016 Lucha Libre World Cup as a member of "Team Lucha Underground" alongside Chavo Guerrero Jr. and Brian Cage, defeating "Team Mexico Leyendas" (Blue Demon Jr., Canek and La Parka) in the quarter-finals,[146] and "Team Mexico International" (Rey Mysterio Jr., Dr. Wagner Jr. and Dragon Azteca Jr.) in the semi-finals. Mundo's team won the tournament defeating "Team AAA" (Pentagón Jr., El Texano Jr. and Psycho Clown) in the finals.[147]

Mundo, wearing USA-themed ring attire, in a match against Pentagon Jr. in June 2016

After adopting an "anti-Mexico" attitude and teaming with El Mesías and Hernandez to defeat El Texano Jr., El Hijo del Fantasma and Pentagón Jr., Mundo challenged the latter to a match at Triplemanía XXIV for the AAA Latin American Championship, to which Pentagón accepted.[148][149] At the event, on August 28, Mundo defeated Pentagón to win the Latin American Championship, marking his first championship in AAA and becoming the first non-Mexican to hold the title.[150] On October 2 in the main event of Héroes Inmortales X, Mundo successfully defended his title against Garza Jr.[151] On March 19, 2017, at Rey de Reyes, Mundo defeated El Texano Jr. and El Hijo del Fantasma in a three-way match to not only retain the Latin American Championship, but to also win Texano's AAA Mega Championship and Fantasma's AAA World Cruiserweight Championship.[152] In his first AAA Mega Championship defense, on June 30, Mundo successfully retained his title against Texano.

In July 2017, Mundo and his fiancée Kira Forster, known as Taya, were involved in controversy with AAA and its Director of Talent Vampiro, which led to Taya's departure from the company. According to Wrestling Observer, AAA asked Mundo to turn in Taya's Reina de Reinas Championship for a photo shoot the day prior to an event on July 1. A few weeks later, Vampiro addressed to the live crowd that Forster was stripped of the title due to not appearing to defend her title, despite not being scheduled to appear.[153]

On August 26, at Triplemanía XXV, Mundo successfully defended his three championships against Fantasma and Texano in a Tables, Ladders and Chairs match. On October 1 at Héroes Inmortales XI, Mundo wrestled in three matches, retaining the Mega Championship against Rey Wagner, but losing the Latin American Championship to Fantasma in the annual Copa Antonio Peña battle royal, and the World Cruiserweight Championship to Lanzelot in a ten-way match, ending his triple championship reign at 196 days.[154]

On January 26, 2018 at Guerra de Titanes, Mundo lost the AAA Mega Championship to Rey Wagner, ending his reign at 314 days.

Impact Wrestling (2017–present)

Johnny Impact wrestling Eli Drake at Bound for Glory

In August 2017, despite not being signed to the promotion at the time,[155] Hennigan appeared for Impact Wrestling at some live events.[156] On August 17, a video package was shown at Destination X revealing Hennigan's ring name as Johnny Impact.[6] He made his televised in-ring debut on the August 24 episode of Impact!, participating in a Gauntlet for the Gold match for the vacant Global Championship, ending in the final three before being eliminated by eventual winner Eli Drake. On the September 14 episode of Impact!, Johnny Impact defeated Low Ki to become the number one contender to the Global Championship at Victory Road. After the match, Impact was brutally assaulted by Drake and Chris Adonis. The week after, Impact defended his number one contender status in two matches, defeating both KM and Texano in the same night.[157] At Victory Road, Impact failed to win the championship against Drake. Johnny Impact continued his feud with Drake for the Global Championship and wrestled him in the main event of Impact Wrestling's biggest event, Bound for Glory, losing the match after an interference from a returning Alberto El Patrón. The rivalry culminated in a match on the January 25, 2018 episode of Impact!, where Impact and El Patrón were involved in a three-way Last Chance Six Sides of Steel match for the Global Championship, in which Drake retained his title.[158]

After Drake lost the renamed Impact World Championship to Austin Aries, Impact began pursuit of Aries's championship, facing him at the Impact Crossroads special, where he lost again. On the April 19 episode of Impact!, Johnny Impact was attacked and injured by Kongo Kong, which was performed to write him off television in order to film for reality television show Survivor.[159]

Impact returned at Slammiversary XVI, when he won a four-way match against Fenix, Taiji Ishimori and Petey Williams.[160] On the September 6 episode of Impact, it was announced that he would face Aries at Bound for Glory for the Impact World Championship. He was later attacked By Aries, Killer Kross and Moose.[161] At Bound for Glory, Impact defeated Aries to win the Impact World Championship for the first time in his career. Throughout the following weeks, Impact successfully defended his title against Fénix, Killer Kross and Matt Sydal. At Homecoming, Impact defeated Brian Cage to retain his championship.

Professional wrestling style and persona

Morrison performing Starship Pain, a split-legged corkscrew moonsault

Hennigan was described by WWE as having "lightning-fast offense", "high-risk aerial expertise", and "incredible agility".[12] He is known to utilize a split-legged corkscrew moonsault, dubbed Starship Pain, as a finishing maneuver. During his singles run as Johnny Nitro, he used a standing shooting star press as his finisher.[162] After transitioning to his John Morrison character, Hennigan began using a corkscrew neckbreaker dubbed Moonlight Drive, in reference to the song written by Jim Morrison.[163][164] He also prominently used a superkick as a finisher in 2008 during a feud with D-Generation X, as a way to mock Shawn Michaels' Sweet Chin Music maneuver.[165][166] Hennigan is a practitioner of parkour and often incorporates it into his wrestling style, giving him the nickname "The Prince of Parkour".[12][167] He also has a background in breakdancing, gymnastics, and martial arts.[168]

Alongside his team MNM, Hennigan debuted on WWE television as Johnny Nitro, presenting himself as an arrogant wrestler with "elite Hollywood status".[169] After winning the ECW World Championship in 2007, he changed his ring name to John Morrison and his gimmick was tweaked to be even more conceited and self-aggrandizing[170] — in addition to being modeled after the aforementioned Jim Morrison, the legendary frontman of the 1960s rock band The Doors, to whom he bears a strong physical resemblance.[54]

Other media

In 2009, Hennigan and Maryse Ouellet were interviewed on Eurosport.[171] In 2009, Hennigan appeared on two episodes of Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?, which were both aired on September 29.[172][173] Hennigan is the subject of a WWE DVD, called John Morrison – Rock Star, which was released on February 16, 2010.[13][174] The DVD covers his career from his name change to John Morrison up until his Intercontinental Championship win in September 2009.[13][174] He appeared on an episode of Destroy Build Destroy on March 3, 2010.[175] Hennigan was on the cover of Muscle & Fitness in June 2010, with the issue also featuring an interview and photo shoot.[176]

After leaving WWE in 2011, Hennigan started to pursue acting as a career and as a way to improve his promo skills. In 2013, he co-starred in 20 Feet Below: The Darkness Descending with Danny Trejo.[177] Hennigan also appeared as a cameo in the first episode of Video Game High School's third and final season. Hennigan portrayed "The Hammer" in the wrestling themed Air Bud spin-off Russell Madness.[178] In 2015, Hennigan signed on to play the lead role in the action horror film Diablo Steel.[179]

Hennigan is also a frequent collaborator with comic book-based film producers Bat in the Sun Productions, appearing in two episodes of their well known Super Power Beat Down series; playing as Casey Jones against Kick-Ass in episode 13,[180] and as Winter Soldier against Nightwing in episode 19.[181] Hennigan portrayed Eternal Warrior in the web series Ninjak vs. the Valiant Universe, produced by Valiant Entertainment and directed by Bat in the Sun.[182][183]

In 2016, Hennigan, Rey Mysterio, and King Cuerno appeared on ESPN to promote the second season of Lucha Underground.[184]

Hennigan was a contestant on the 37th season of Survivor, Survivor: David vs. Goliath where he was originally part of the Goliath tribe and later Tiva before making it to the merged tribe Kalokalo. He finished 12th and became the second member of the jury after the former members of the Goliath tribe were blindsided at tribal council; two contestants used hidden immunity idols, causing Hennigan to be eliminated despite only having three elimination votes, as Christian Hubicki, who received seven, was immune.[185]

Hennigan's performance as a contestant and the episode of his elimination received critical acclaim. Chris Chase of USA Today praised Hennigan for being "true to everything we’ve seen from him this season, [and] a class act after his shock defeat".[186] Writing for People, former Survivor contestant Stephen Fishbach highlighted that "in a tribal council that was meant to take out the Davidest David [Christian Hubicki], it was really the Goliath of the Goliaths [Hennigan] who fell. How perfectly Biblical."[187] The show’s executive producer and host Jeff Probst was "so impressed" with Hennigan, describing him as "the guy who catches the winning touchdown pass in the final moments of the Super Bowl, and then, instead of some crazy celebration, he casually tosses the ball to the ref, kisses his wife and hugs his kids", alongside stating that he would "absolutely" have Hennigan back on the show.[188]

Filmography

Film
Year Title Role Notes
2012 Legion of the Black Lead Shadow Creature
2013 20 Feet Below: The Darkness Descending Razor
2014 Ascent to Hell Roman
Hercules Reborn Hercules
2015 American Justice Officer Reid
Russell Madness The Hammer
Stormageddon Adam
2017 Boone: The Bounty Hunter Boone Also co-writer and executive producer
Dave Made a Maze The Minotaur
Sharknado 5: Global Swarming Rodolfo Television film
Never Leave Alive Rick Rainsford
2018 Strange Nature Sam
Television
Year Title Role Notes
2002 WWE Tough Enough Contestant/Himself Winner
2009 Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader? Himself 2 episodes
2010 Destroy Build Destroy Himself 1 episode
2013 NTSF:SD:SUV:: Sammy Episode: "A Hard Drive to Swallow"
2014–present Lucha Underground Johnny Mundo
2016 Shameless Cody Episode: "Hiraeth"
Bajillion Dollar Propertie$ Brash Roderick Episode: "Predator Party"
2017 Days of Our Lives Goon #2 1 episode
Baby Daddy Ryan Davidson Episode: "Ben Rides a Unicorn"
GLOW Salty Johnson Episode: "Pilot"
The Last Ship Ares 3 episodes
The Guest Book Steve Episode: "Story Four"
2018 Survivor: David vs. Goliath Contestant/Himself 14 episodes (8 as a contestant, 5 as a juror)
Miz & Mrs. Himself 1 episode
Web series
Year Title Role Notes
2014–2016 Super Power Beat Down Casey Jones (episode 13), Winter Soldier (episode 19) 2 episodes
2014 Video Game High School Crazy Napalm Suit Episode: "OMGWTFPS!?"
2016 Free Play Himself Episode: "Lucha Libre with Johnny Mundo"[189]
2017 Haus of Pain Himself Documentary[190]
2018 Ninjak vs. the Valiant Universe Eternal Warrior 6 episodes

Personal life

Hennigan was born in Los Angeles, California in a neighborhood called Westchester and grew up in Palos Verdes Peninsula, where he attended high school.[3][191] He graduated from the University of California, Davis in 2002 with a film major.[192] Hennigan is good friends with fellow professional wrestlers The Miz, Zack Ryder, Dolph Ziggler, Jeff Hardy, and Randy Orton.[13][193][194][195]` As a result of his friendship with WWE Superstar The Miz, Hennigan appeared in the first season of Miz and Mrs.

Hennigan was involved in an on-off relationship with former WWE Diva and on-screen manager Melina Perez from 2003 to 2015. The pair met during the auditions for Tough Enough III, in which Perez was cut and Hennigan eventually won.[196] Since 2016, Hennigan has been in a relationship with Taya Valkyrie,[197] to whom he got engaged to on June 14, 2017.[198] They were married on June 1, 2018.[199]

Championships and accomplishments

Johnny Impact in 2019 with the Impact World Championship
Morrison in 2009 after winning the WWE Intercontinental Championship for the first time as John Morrison, and third time overall
Morrison posing with the WWE Tag Team Championship in 2008