So how did a Jewish guy from New York get mistaken for an aspiring black wrestling star in the early 1990’s? Well, Marc Mero explained all when he sat down in front of the cameras for Ring of Honor for their “Straight Shootin’” series.
Filmed in October 2004, Mero tells the story of his career, of how, following an outstanding career as an amateur boxer, he decided to give the wrestling business a try after watching a show on television with some friends, friends who doubted that he had what it took to succeed in the squared circle.
After completing training, Mero’s career was fast-tracked into the spotlight. Having worked as an enhancement talent for World Championship Wrestling, then head booker Dusty Rhodes created the gimmick that would make him a star, and Mero became Johnny B. Badd. After just a handful of matches, Mero was soon earning a six figure sum.
Mero talks about his early career in WCW, how veterans such as Bobby Eaton, Ricky Morton and Terry Taylor helped during the early development of his career, turning someone who was still green around the gills into someone who was recognised for helping the cause of black wrestlers all over America. Only one slight problem there - he wasn’t black, just a well tanned Jew from New York. He also tells the story of his first pay-per-view appearance, how his proud father gathered his friends at home to watch his son in action, not knowing just what playing the character of Johnny B. Badd entailed.
From there, Mero talks about his tenure in the WWF, how he became the first wrestler to get a guaranteed contract, something that didn’t sit too well with some of the other people in the locker room. He talks about the development of the Wildman character, and how he wasn’t really comfortable with the character.
Of course, there is plenty of conversation about the career of his wife, Rena, aka Sable, how it was written into his contract that she could travel with Mero at the WWF’s expense, and how eventually she became a bigger star than him. Although many have speculated that Mero was jealous of his wife’s career, Mero denies this, saying that he was more than pleased that she became such a star.
In conclusion, while this is an interesting interview, I felt that overall that Mero wasn’t exactly a good subject for this kind of interview. Although he is a natural talker, the fact that he was more-or-less handed superstardom on a plate while others worked their way through the territories and the independent scene at the same time means that there’s no stories about working for pittance in front of the proverbial three man and a dog, and no stories about trying to make ends meet, and staying in the business just for the love of wrestling. Although Mero should be commended for the great wrestler that he is, it kind of seems like he didn’t have to do things the hard way. It really is a take-it-or-leave it kind of interview, and one that doesn’t really want to make you watch it for a second or third time. Entertaining, but also a little wanting.
With thanks to A-Merchandise for supplying a copy of this release, which can be ordered via their website, www.a-merchandise.co.uk.