Val Venis, the iconic character who epitomized the Attitude Era in wrestling, owes its creation to none other than the mastermind of WWE, Vince McMahon himself. In a recent interview on "Stories with Brisco and Bradshaw," Sean Morley, the man behind the adult film star persona, delved into the origins of the gimmick that propelled him to fame in the late '90s.
Recalling the moment he first learned about the character, Morley shared, "I had just returned from a two-week WWE tryout camp in Mexico when my phone rang at 7 am in the morning. To my surprise, it was Vince McMahon on the line, accompanied by Vince Russo on speakerphone.
They pitched this character to me called Val Venis, a former film star turned pro wrestler." Initially skeptical, Morley pondered how he could outshine wrestling legends like Hulk Hogan and Jesse Ventura, who had previously portrayed Hollywood actors in their gimmicks.
However, his interest was piqued when McMahon revealed the character's unique background: Val Venis was a former adult film star. Morley's reservations quickly faded as he realized the potential of such a groundbreaking character.
"This s–t ain't ever been done before," he thought. Working with attractive women on WWE's grand stage was an opportunity he couldn't pass up. McMahon encouraged him to take 24 hours to contemplate the character and ensure his comfort with it.
True to his passion for the role, Morley contacted McMahon less than a day later, giving the green light to the controversial but captivating gimmick.
Val Venis' Provocative Persona Unveiled
As the WWE machine began to build up the Val Venis character, attention-grabbing vignettes were aired, showcasing his lifestyle both on and off the set.
One particularly memorable moment featured real-life porn star Jenna Jameson getting cozy with Venis. These vignettes were filmed at the house of a WWE executive, much to the chagrin of the executive's wife, as Morley later discovered.
The Venis character was known for its s*xually charged promos, intended to irk the male members of the audience. Many of these innuendos were crafted with input from McMahon himself, who took a hands-on approach to ensure the character's success on WWE television.
According to Morley, McMahon insisted that the jokes be constructed in a way that adults would understand, while leaving the younger viewers perplexed, adding a touch of morality to the product. Looking back, Sean Morley remains grateful for the opportunity to embody the trailblazing Val Venis character, a role that played a significant part in defining the wild and boundary-pushing Attitude Era of professional wrestling.
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