Ex-WWE Star Recalls Vince McMahon Pitching Controversial Gimmick To Him

Vince McMahon

A former WWE star has shared how Vince McMahon got his attention and created a porn star character that had “never been done before”.

Sean Morley joined WWE in 1998 and would gain fame working under the name Val Venis and has admitted it didn’t take long to agree to the role offered by Vince McMahon.

The character would debut on Raw the night after WrestleMania 14 in the first of a series of vignettes that showed Venis working on the set of adult films, and his life away from the camera.

The vignettes quickly became popular with WWE fans, none more so than the May 4th edition of Raw as famous porn star Jenna Jameson appeared on screen with Venis.

Morley admitted that the scenes with Jenna Jameson were shot at the home of Bruce Pritchard and how Bruce’s wife was not too happy at hosting Jameson.

“The Jenna Jameson vignettes were shot in Bruce Prichard’s house.ā€

“I don’t think his wife was too pleased about having Jenna Jameson in her house, but it is what it is. I didn’t know about any of this until after the fact.”

Two weeks later Val Venis had his first match on Raw, and in July his first PPV match at Fully Loaded defeating Jeff Jarrett. Venis’ entrance music was a play on adult film soundtracks but fans would go wild when they heard the opening line of “Hello Ladies”.

Morley (Val Venis) was a guest on Stories with Brisco and Bradshaw and discussed how Vince McMahon first shared the idea of portraying a film star, and how he didn’t need any convincing once McMahon explained the character was not just any film star, but an adult film star.

“I had just returned from a two-week camp [WWE tryout] back to Mexico.ā€

“It was 7 am in the morning in Mexico City, my phone rings and it was Vince McMahon. He says, ‘I got Vince Russo on speakerphone with me, we have this character for you, and we want to run it by you and see if you’re comfortable with it.’

“Vince McMahon says, ‘This character’s name is Val Venis.’ When he spelled the last name, I was like, ‘That’s kinda odd.’ He says, ‘Val Venis was a former film star-turned-pro wrestler.’ In my head, I’m thinking Hulk Hogan and Jesse Ventura had already done [movie star gimmicks], and how the hell was I to play a Hollywood actor better than those guys?”

“Actually, Val Venis was a former adult film star-turned-pro wrestler. Now he’s got my attention! I’m like, ‘This sā€“t ain’t ever been done before.’ He laid out the basics of the character, but he didn’t have to twist my arm ā€” working with hot chicks on a massive WWE stage … are you kidding me?”

Venis would go on to become a Two-Time Intercontinental Champion, European Champion, and partnered with Lance Storm to secure the World Tag Team Championship.

But before he agreed to the role, Vince McMahon wanted to give Morley time to think it over and ensure that he would be “comfortable”.

“‘Take at least 24 hours [to] contemplate this character. I need you to feel comfortable with it. Because if you don’t feel comfortable with it, it’s not going to work,'”

Val Venis WWE

Vince McMahon “Constantly” Pushed Val Venis To Create

Throughout the Attitude Era, WWE Superstars were encouraged to push boundaries with their on-screen characters and despite being asked to make sexual innuendo’s, Morley feels that Vince McMahon did his best to try and keep the jokes innocent to the younger audience.

“Vince would constantly push the idea to me that, ‘When you create these jokes, they have to be constructed in a way where the adults will understand it, but the kids will be like, ‘Why is everyone laughing?’ What’s so funny about it?’ To me, that’s a little bit [an example] of Vince exhibiting morality in his product, which I didn’t think about until several years after the fact. That was something that constantly stuck in my head.”

Venis would join the group Right to Censor, as part of a parody following complaints made by the Parents Television Council, before returning back to his towel swinging ways as The Big Valbowski in 2002.

H/t to WrestlingInc