“Look, I love nursing, and I love taking care of people and it’s a career that will afford me a life, but man, being in front of that crowd…” James trails off.
“To be able to have that physical outlet, that ability to relieve my stress by going out there and playing a character I’m nothing like, especially as a heel, to be able to go out and say the things I wouldn’t normally say, and to play this arrogant, cocky bastard, really, is…fun. Because it’s not who I am as James Morgan, the man.”
“When it comes to wrestling, I always wanna be involved. If I live to eighty-years-old, I still wanna be involved somehow. At that point, if I need to slowly bow out from being your main event guy, to being your mid card guy, to being your opening match guy, to running part of the backstage, being creative, to setting up some of the chairs, to just being a fan and supporting wrestling.”
Having now gone through the intense pain, and continuing to push through months of sometimes agonizing physical therapy, and particularly given James’ unique perspective, perhaps better understanding the bodily risks and harm involved in this art form more than most of his peers, one might suspect that James might be a little gun shy, that his eagerness return to a potentially dangerous form of entertainment might be dampened. To hear James explain it, not only is that far from the truth, but the reality of the situation is quite the opposite: he’s chomping at the bit, and has perhaps never been more eager to get inside the ring in a more participatory way since he first started training.
“Sometimes not being logical about [life] is important,” James says. “When I tell people I’m a professional wrestler, I either usually get, “that’s cool! I’ve never met a professional wrestler!’ or they give me a funny look and it’s all, ‘it’s fake, right? It’s fake. Tell me it’s fake.’ So I show them my x-ray. Doesn’t look so fake THEN, does it?”
“In a way, ignorance is bliss. So, when I lace the boots up, it’s not ‘James Morgan, the R.N.’ It’s James “The Main Event” Morgan going out there to hopefully entertain, and I have to not think about injury too much or else I’ll go out there and get hurt. It’s got to be relaxed, I know I’m capable of it, I’ve done it for a long time, it’s like riding a bicycle, it just hurts more. But it’s something that, even though you have that internal ignorance of, ‘what am I doing? I could be dead at the end of the match,’ you also have to take it very seriously. A lot of people’s perceptions when you say ‘professional wrestling’ is, ‘well, is it MMA or professional wrestling? Because MMA is real and professional wrestling is choreographed.’ Well yeah, sure. There’s no secret about that. It’s just another form of entertainment. We’re telling a story with our bodies, and at the same time, I will defend it to the death. Because it’s something that I love, that I’m passionate about, it’s allowed me to fulfill some dreams. I’m a featured performer on television. It took me twelve years to get on television! I’m not on every week, but that’s o.k. I know my place. I got to wrestle in the main event on television with my dad sitting in the audience. That was pretty cool. I went to an autograph signing for Tommy Lasorda, and somebody recognized me. ‘Hey! You’re James Morgan! I saw you on T.V.’ Someone asked ME for an autograph! Someone wanted me to scribble my name down on an object, on some piece of paper, on my own photo! That’s pretty awesome!”
James Morgan is fiercely passionate about nursing, and what he can do to help people, including giving back by teaching the next generation of would be nurses. However, James Morgan is perhaps more passionate about professional wrestling, as is evidenced by the fact that if forced to choose, one or the other, nursing would have to wait, broken collarbones and all.
“Nursing will always be there. There will always be sick people. If I leave for a while, I’ll be able to come back. Whereas in wrestling, that opportunity may not come around more than once. My body may not allow me to do it later on. So yeah, if someone said, ‘you’re gonna go, and you’re gonna be a part of this tour for a month, or a couple weeks, or occasionally we’ll book you throughout the year,’ hey, do I need to take a day off or do I need to leave my job for a little while? But that’s the cool thing about nursing. If I leave wrestling, wrestling might be there, but that spot may not be because there will be someone more than happy to take it. If I get hurt in wrestling, and it’s a big risk; I’ve already been hurt in wrestling a couple of times where it put my nursing career on hold for a little bit, you just hope it’s not permanent. But, I can still teach with a broken arm. May not be able to start an I.V., but I can teach and tell someone how to start an I.V.. So yeah, if that opportunity came up, and in this day and age there are so many people out there who call themselves professional wrestlers whether they are or not, and they might get that spot. So if someone offers it to me, something I’ve worked hard for, yeah, I’ll take it. May not be the popular decision as per the logical side, but especially as you get older you think, ‘man, I wish I would have done THAT.’ And this goes from seeing a show, to anything in life. If this going to affect me in a negative way, or is it a 50/50 chance? I won’t know unless I try it. There will always be sick people, there will always be nurses that call off, there will always be nurses who get burnt out…a spot will open up. It may not be the exact spot I want it to be, but hey, it’s a job. I know I can get back to that spot. Might take some time, but it won’t be a, ‘aw man, I’ve left it forever, there’s no turning back.’ Wrestling will only last so long. The entity of professional wrestling will last forever I believe. It’ll be different than it is now, but my physical ability to do it won’t always be there. My passion will still always be there, but that spot may not always be.”
Thankfully, (any much to Imrie’s delight), nursing will not be going anywhere anytime soon for James Morgan, as he was just accepted into the Doctorate Program for Nurse Practitioning and Acute Care at Brandman University. He figures that making the jump to RN to Nurse Practitioner will open up more avenues and allow this self-professed Renaissance Man to spread is helping reach even further, affording him the luxury of learning and doing more. Perhaps, James hopes, even offering one more avenue by which to claim a job with one of the big professional wrestling companies in a backstage role.
“[Would that] be enough? I can allow it to be. I would love to have more, even in a backstage role. Maybe I will run into Mike Tenay and be like, ‘hey, you guys need a backstage nurse?’ The majority of the medical staff they (WWE, TNA) have on staff are athletic trainers, not nurses, but as a nurse practitioner with a doctorate there is more of a provider role, so I could suture someone up after they juice.”
James also harbors no ill will toward young Escondido, (who apologized to James immediately following their match in the dressing room that night), for the in-ring mishap that has led to James’ convalescence. On the contrary, he considers him, as he does all of his fellow professional wrestlers, a “brother.”
“It’s a brotherhood. No one who has never stepped into a wrestling ring could understand the brotherhood of a wrestling group. When people say, ‘Oh, I’m a fan I’ve watched it,’ even people who are ‘smartened up’ to the business as they say, you don’t really know, because you don’t see the true injuries once the adrenaline wears off, you don’t see the true rivalries, the egos, man the egos..but at the same time, you don’t see that brotherhood. And I’ve been saying, ‘brother’ for a long time now, and I don’t say it because Hulk Hogan says it. I consider you my brother because you get it, you understand. Sometimes you’re in the ring with a guy and you’re like, ‘this guy’s a douche’ as a man, but as a wrestler, he’ll protect me. When I got hurt, the guy didn’t mean to do it, but it happened. But a lot more injuries would happen with what we’re doing if the guys weren’t professional in there, if they weren’t considered a brother. But by the same token, from a family stand point, you have siblings that you hate. Siblings that you don’t get along with, but at the end of the day, they’re family. I have my wrestling family that I support, and they support me, so when I say, ‘brother’ I mean it.”