Recently, TNA’s Matt Morgan was interviewed by 102.5 The Bear and also took part and discussed; growing up with ADHD, how he get into professional wrestling and taking part it illegal street fights during college. Here are some of the highlights:
On living with the effects of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder): “I was asked to be a national keynote speaker for an organization called CHADD — that’s Children And Adults living with ADHD. In kindergarten, I got kicked out of four different grammar schools. All these teachers, principals and doctors, they all thought I had this behavioral issue because I was getting in fights and stuff like that at such a young age.
“Longer story short, a university was doing this survey to learn more about the study of ADD back in 1994 and luckily, my mom signed me up for it, found out I had ADHD. Once we found that out, we tried the pharmaceutical route. That didn’t work for me in my case specifically with Ritalin and stuff like that. We tried it for six months and it didn’t work.
“Then, we tried something called Behavior Modification, which monitored what I did on a regular basis and giving me a reward system via playing sports and stuff like that to take out this aggression and this ruthless energy that I had 24/7. Then, when it was time to get back to the classroom, I’d be able to focus. If I did good, I’d be able to play sports after school.
“So, I learned at a very young age that having a learning disability shouldn’t slow you down. In fact, if anything, it strengthened me and helped mold me into the man that I am today.”
On the sports he played growing up and what inevitably lead to his entry into pro wrestling: “(Growing up), it would have been pro wrestling but pro wrestling isn’t something that you can just go to the Boys & Girls Club and say, ‘Hey, I want to be a pro wrestler at age 8.’ Otherwise, I would have done it.
“Traditional sports is the route that I took. Where I’m from, football, baseball and basketball are all king. I was an all-state athlete in four different sports. Went on to play at Monmoth, I had a full scholarship. I was a McDonald’s All-American nominee for high school basketball. Went to to play at Monmoth and made the NCAA tournament my freshman year. I also played football there as well, I was a duel-sport athlete my first two years in school.
“Then, I transferred out to a small school in Hawaii where I just focused on basketball at that point. … I had a try-out with the Raptors and Pacers and in the NFL with the Rams. It’s funny, because with me, I swear to God as God as my witness, when it rains, it pours — good or bad. With opportunity, it’s the same thing with me.
“Here, I was about to try out with the Rams and I met an owner from a different company that was interested in me and he explained to me how you can get into pro wrestling. Up to then, I had no idea how to get into it. So, once I figured it out — there are wrestling schools and academies and stuff like that out there — that’s when I remember calling my agent and telling him, ‘Hey, I’ll do this try-out for the Rams and everything…’
“I remember him thinking I was crazy and suicidal for not trying to continue with my football career but there’s something about wrestling that I wanted to do. I just wanted to do it, I knew I should be doing it. Even when playing basketball, the most fun part about it as I got older was getting kicked out of games for setting bad screens and knocking dudes head’s off. … So, wrestling was perfect.”
On what he loves most about professional wrestling: “There’s no greater feeling on the planet than manipulating a crowd. Whether they’re booing you or cheering you. That’s the best drug on the planet. It’s the most addictive thing Ive ever had.”
On how he earned money on the side during his college years via street fighting: “This was something straight out of a Jean-Claude Van Damme movie, but I was a bouncer at a strip club in college in the summer time. I’ll never forget the owner saying, ‘Hey, would you like to make some money on the side?’ I was like, ‘Of course.’
“I remember going to the kitchen of this strip club — don’t ask me why — and these guys in these Armani-tailored suites that looked like mobsters asked me the same question. ‘How do you think you’d do in a fight?’ ‘I think I’d hold my own.’ They said, ‘Well, we’re going to see about that.’
“I was like, ‘OK.’ They told me where to meet them, what time and all that kind of thing. They put me in a limo with tint of both sides of the window so I couldn’t see where I was going. I remember what felt like a 20 minute ride. Then, we’re inside of this freaking airplane hanger where there was 20 to 30 other guys in well-to-do suits and they looked very rich, obviously.
“They were sitting there watching and my first fight was against this 300 pound Samoan guy. I was only able to do about five or six (fights) before I was done with that. I graduated from college at that point. Wow, you did your research because I don’t tell too many people that one. (Did you lose a couple?) No, absolutely not but I almost lost my first fight.
“Honest to God, I didn’t know you could use broomsticks he was a big dude. Trust me. He was like 6’4”, 300 pounds. I’m mounting him and elbowing him, elbowing him, elbowing him and the guy will not get knocked out. He will not go away, just not getting knocked out. The next thing I know, I feel this sharp, sharp pain in the back of my head. This guy grabbed a rock beside us and just smashed the back of my head.
“I’m like, ‘What the… OK. Fine.’ Once you knew that, you did what you did. Next thing you know, you’re finding broomsticks, you’re finding pipes, you’re finding things on the ground.”
You can check out the entire interview below.