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Wherever Nitro goes, success follows
When Johnny Nitro switched from the SmackDown brand to RAW, most people thought it would be impossible for him to match his SmackDown success. In his debut match on SmackDown, he won the WWE Tag Team Championship with MNM, going on to win it three more times during his tenure there. But, after Nitro moved to RAW and defeated Shelton Benjamin and Carlito for the Intercontinental Championship at Vengeance, those doubts were erased.
While Nitro is at the forefront of success stories, history wasn't on his side. Just ask Randy Johnson. For years, as a member of the Houston Astros, the Seattle Mariners and the Arizona Diamondbacks, The Big Unit's six-foot ten inch frame and blazing fastball struck fear into batters in Major League Baseball. Then, after heading to New York to join the Yankees, Johnson's veil of invincibility dissipated, and he was never quite able to regain the dominating form of his past. His inconsistencies caused many New Yorkers to consider The Big Unit to be the Big Bust.
Another example is former WWE Superstar, Typhoon. After he left WWE in the early 1990's, he emerged in WCW as The Shockmaster. Upon his first entrance—a debacle many still consider one of the worst gaffs in the history of sports-entertainment—The Shockmaster's glitter-ridden, Star Wars Stormtrooper replica helmet hindered his vision, and instead of making a grand entrance, he stumbled through a wall and belly flopped onto the floor as his helmet rolled across the ground. The commentators, the other Superstars and the fans in attendance were, for lack of a better word, shocked. In the following months, The Shockmaster's sports-entertainment career fizzled.
So what makes Johnny Nitro so different? WWE.com spoke with Nitro in an exclusive interview to get his thoughts on his success, how he was able to beat the lag of changing brands and how it feels to call RAW home.
"Wherever I go, opportunity follows, and I take advantage of that because I'm talented," Nitro said. "Some people may have starved and saved every penny and worked 10 years to make it to WWE; I made it in here in two. And when I showed up, I won the WWE Tag Team Championship, then the Intercontinental Championship, cause that's what I do—I'm a winner."
For Nitro to use "I" is misleading. His manager, Melina, has been next to him every step of his meteoritic rise through WWE, and, says Nitro, that's something that will never change.
"Melina always has been, and always will be, by my side. Melina will never be without me, and I will never be without her," he said. "We are the Champions of RAW, and now I guess we're role models—we're locker room leaders. Everyone looks to Johnny Nitro and Melina as example of how to live, how to act and definitely how to look."
Starting out in the tag team division and claming WWE gold was certainly a jumpstart in pushing Nitro's ego into overdrive. But, now that he's achieved singles glory, he's content remaining in the singles division.
"MNM was the greatest tag team in the history of professional wrestling, and it got that way because it had the three best wrestlers in the history of wrestling—Johnny Nitro, Melina…and Joey Mercury was okay too," he said. "I can't see how we could have had a bigger impact on SmackDown—three time tag team champs, stole the show every night, and now we're doing the same thing on RAW," said Nitro. "Johnny Nitro and Melina steal the show every time we walk out through the curtain; the fan letters, the responses—not that we respond to them or read them—but there's a lot of them in our house."