The Walking Dead universe has enough love for Michael Cudlitz's portrayal of Abraham that they seem to want to see more, so its no surprise the actor was able to beat out a former pro wrestler who was told the role was his back in the day. Former WWE Superstar and TNA Impact wrestler Matt Morgan shared the story of how he almost played the character, and how the role was taken from him in what seemed all but a sure thing:
I auditioned for that part and I was all-but-told that it was mine, so I got bitchy about it and refused to watch [the show] because I didn't get it. I was at my brother's house in Boston, supposed to be there for the holidays, and I didn't pay attention to anybody because I was supposed to be memorizing my scripts, and then at the last second they pulled the carpet out from underneath me.
Understandably, Matt Morgan was a little miffed that he ignored family during the holidays to prep for a role he didn't get. While Morgan tells Wrestlinginc the role was "all but his," that might have just been his interpretation and the casting agents were on a completely different page. That said, he got far enough in the process to be reviewing The Walking Dead's scripts, so perhaps it really was an instance where the carpet was pulled out from under him.
As far as appearances go, the difference between Michael Cudlitz and Matt Morgan is fairly noticeable. Morgan has a billed height of 7 feet tall, and even if that isn't his actual height, he's still over a head taller than Cudlitz is at 6'2. What he lacks in size, however, Cudlitz made up for with a much larger acting pedigree. As for Morgan, he has five acting credits on his Wikipedia, and two of them are American Gladiator and Family Feud.
Matt Morgan apparently took the sleight rather hard and has reportedly not watched The Walking Dead since they denied him the role. While he didn't get to be on one of America's greatest shows of our generation, he did get to tag team with real-life behemoth of WWE and former UFC champion Brock Lesnar, so that's something. That said, Michael Cudlitz can also hang his hat on a wrestling achievement as well, as he was an honorary guest of Monday Night RAW back in July of 2015 and met his doppelganger Sheamus:
For other fall premieres and where to find them, visit our fall premiere guide.