Wrestler of the Day – March 7: Val Venis

Hello ladies. And gentlemen. Today we have Val Venis.

Val got his start in Canada before quickly moving to Puerto Rico. He and Shane Sewell (you might remember him as a wrestling referee in TNA) formed a tag team called the Canadian Glamour Boys but eventually split, leading to a feud. From some time in 1997 in the WWC.

Glamour Boy Shane vs. Sean Morely

Shane immediately scores with a dropkick and a Cactus Clothesline puts both guys outside. Sean gets punched in the face but comes back with a right hand of his own as the brawling continues. Morely hammers away against the barricade but gets whipped into the steel before they finally get back inside.

It’s Morely in control by stomping away in the corner, allowing I believe Ricky Santana to get in some cheap shots from the floor. A hard clothesline takes Shane down and Sean tosses him outside. Back in again and we hit the sleeper on the Glamour Boy but he fight sup and counters into one of his own. Sean rams him into the corner for the break but runs into a powerslam for two.

Shane pulls Morely out of the corner but gets caught in a wicked German suplex for two. A regular suplex is countered into a rollup for two by Shane but Sean comes right back with a running neckbreaker. Shane grabs a loose dragon suplex for a near fall but walks into a powerbomb for two.

Morely loads up a chokeslam but gets countered with a Stunner for two. There’s a middle rope elbow from Shane and both guys are down. Sean slams him and hits the top rope splash but Shane is up again. Two fisherman’s suplexes gets two each on Morely but the third is enough for the pin. That’s quite the finishing sequence.

Rating: C. Not bad here but I’m not sure about that finish. Is it really a finisher if you just keep doing the same move over and over until you get a pin? Morely looked good and it’s clear why he would get a big time job soon. Shane felt like he was just trying to keep up with Sean out there but he would become a huge deal in Puerto Rico over the years.

Morely would be hired by the WWF in early 1998 and become the character he was most famous as: porn star Val Venis. His first feud was with Japanese stable Kai En Tai but we’ll skip over that and jump to Summerslam 1998 and Val’s first title shot against European Champion D’Lo Brown.

European Title: Val Venis vs. D’Lo Brown

Brown is defending and there’s no story to this that I remember. It has a sixty minute time limit, just in case the lower midcard title match in the opening slot pushes going Broadway. Since we’re in MSG we have the old school set with the entrance opposite the cameras instead of off to one side. This is Venis’ first title shot and D’Lo is doing a gimmick where he’s from a different European city each time with tonight being Helsinki. He’s also part of the Nation of Domination here but only has his chest protector for an advantage here.

Brown shoves him into the ropes to start and they slap hands. The champion also slaps Val’s face to tick him off as JR tells us about Austin destroying a hearse which may have had Undertaker or Kane inside. Brown hits a standing splash with the chest protector for added impact to take over. A splash misses in the corner though and Venis takes over with a Russian legsweep. After a quick breather on the floor, Brown comes back in to run the ropes but he gets caught in a spinebuster. A newcomer named Edge is watching in the crowd.

Venis misses a splash and gets caught in a belly to back suplex to give Brown control again. Val comes back with an overhead t-bone suplex but walks into a clothesline followed by a legdrop for two. A leg lariat and a middle rope elbow gets the same and Val is holding his back for some reason. Brown follows up on the injury with a Texas Cloverleaf but lets it go after only a few seconds. Did he learn submissions from No Mercy? Brown misses a middle rope senton and both guys are down. The fans are much more into this than you would expect them to be.

Val hits some running knees to the ribs and a backdrop for no cover. He tries a high cross body but gets caught in a Sky High (lifting powerbomb) which gets a delayed two count. Brown hits a quick DDT but dives off the middle rope into a powerslam for two. A butterfly suplex sets up the Money Shot (top rope splash) but Brown gets his knees up.

The fans LOUDLY chant for D’Lo but he can’t get Val all the way up for a powerbomb. Another try is good for a running Liger Bomb but the Low Down frog splash misses. Val finally rips off the chest protector and puts it on himself before going up top. The referee tries to pull him down and crotches him, earning a toss from Val for the DQ.

Rating: C+. I was digging this until the lame ending. The problem here was the match built up over fifteen minutes and then hit a brick wall with a referee crotching a guy on the top and then complaining that the guy was hurt. That’s not a satisfactory ending to a match with that long of a build, but at least the build was good.

Val’s next feud would be with Dustin Runnels over Dustin’s wife Terri. That was Val’s schtick for a long time: stealing wrestlers’ girls and making porn movies with them. Here’s their showdown from Breakdown 1998.

Val Venis vs. Dustin Runnels

 

Val has Terri come out with him, basically wearing underwear and a dress with one button holding it together. A quick spinebuster puts Dustin down but Val gets his face slammed into the mat to put him down. Dustin powerbombs Val down and pounds away but Venis rakes his eyes. They head outside where Val clotheslines him inside out and the match goes back inside.

 

Dustin scores with a backdrop and fires off more right hands in the corner but gets caught by some knees to the ribs and a Russian legsweep. Venis gyrates his hips (with Terri doing the same) before punching Dustin in the face over and over. We hit a camel clutch for a bit with Dustin screaming for Terri. Back outside and Runnels is dropped face first onto the announce table. They head inside where Dustin gets two off a belly to back suplex, only to get distracted by Terri and put in a chinlock.

 

The announcers try to figure out who to blame for the marriage falling apart with JR reminding us that Dustin walked out on his family just a few months ago. Dustin fights up and hits a quick DDT for two, only to get caught on the top rope. Val looks to set up a superplex but instead dumps Dustin over the top and out to the floor, sending him face first into the apron.

 

Val heads to the floor as well but gets distracted by Terri’s leg right in front of Dustin. Venis teases leaving but sneaks back in for a rollup for two. Dustin hits his bulldog for another near fall, despite Venis screwing up by not moving an inch. The crowd is confused but Val comes back with a powerslam and some elbow drops, followed by the Money Shot for the pin.

 

Rating: D. This wasn’t very good at all with a lot of boring non-action and a really bad botch with that two count. Dustin continues to fall even further into his black hole as Venis is on the rise so to speak. The solution of course was to bring Goldust back for the ultimate revenge, which was probably the best idea for everyone concerned.

Val’s next title shot would be at St. Valentine’s Day Massacre against Intercontinental Champion Ken Shamrock. This feud would be over Ken’s sister Ryan.

Intercontinental Title: Ken Shamrock vs. Val Venis

Ken is defending. Lawler almost loses his mind over seeing Ryan in a short, strapless white dress. For the sake of clarity, I’ll only refer to Ken as Shamrock here. Ken charges into the ring and the fight is on immediately. It’s Val in early control though with some right hands and a clothesline to the back of the head to put Shamrock down. Shamrock sends him into the corner to take over and whips him across the ring into the other corner.

Ken pounds on Val on the mat and gets glared at by Billy to give Venis a breather. Back in and Val gets a quick suplex for two before firing off knees to the chest. A butterfly suplex puts Shamrock down again and Val bends him over his knee to work on the back. They head outside again where Val works on the back again before taking it inside for a camel clutch. Ken comes back with some right hands but gets caught in a double chickenwing rollup for two.

We hit the chinlock on the champion for a bit before Val hits a knee to the ribs for a VERY delayed two count. Shamrock grabs a DDT for a slightly faster two but Billy just stops before counting three. Val charges into an elbow in the corner and a powerslam gets two but Val kicks out before Billy can stop. Venis grabs a fisherman’s suplex and Billy makes very sure to get a good angle before counting.

A Russian legsweep puts Ken down and it’s time to grind a bit. Shamrock hits a quick hurricanrana and a belly to belly to set up the ankle lock but Ryan pulls Val’s hands to the rope. Ryan slaps Ken in the face and Billy punches him for good measure. Back inside and Val grabs a quick small package for the fastest three count ever for the pin and the title.

Rating: C-. This wasn’t bad but it was much more about the angle than the match. That would be the case for the Intercontinental Title for months to come and the title would suffer as a result. It also didn’t help that the stories never got a proper payoff because of some screwy changes in booking right before Wrestlemania.

The title reign would only last about a month but that was often the case with the Intercontinental Title around this time. After nothing special for most of the year, Val would have a match against Mankind at No Mercy 1999.

Val Venis vs. Mankind

Random much? Venis has a copy of Foley’s book, which really did rock. Venis was given a way too solid push around this time and this is no exception. Foley is shown in the back helping Rock on the stretcher. We start on the floor of course. There’s not much to talk about here. Mankind pulls Mr. Rocko out of Val’s tights which is as stupid as you would think it is. We hit the floor for awhile and the Claw is on.

Val breaks it by slamming Foley’s head into the post. Nicely done. So Foley has a head injury. Val, using intelligence, goes for THE HEAD. Are you paying attention people? Using simple things like that can make a match that much better. This is a better match than I was expecting. Val hits an elbow to the back of the head and Foley isn’t moving at all. Money Shot misses. Double Arm DDT gets two. I’m liking it. Both guys have socks. Mankind grabs the mouth and Val grabs Foley’s balls. Ok then. That knocks Mankind out…for the pin? What the….heck? Holy head scratcher Batman. Foley gets Rocko back to end this.

Rating: B-. The story made sense here is nothing else. That’s the biggest thing it has going for it I guess. Foley continues to job for everyone. I still say that he’s the best jobber of all time. Still though, this was a pretty good match that worked well enough given what was going on in it.

Val would pick up the European Title at Armageddon 1999 but lose it a few months later. After returning from a back injury, Val would shed the porn star gimmick and also shedding his hair while gaining Trish Stratus as a manager. This would prove to be a success for him as he would pick up another Intercontinental Title. He would defend that title at Fully Loaded 2000 against former champion Rikishi inside a cage.

Intercontinental Title: Rikishi vs. Val Venis

We’re in a cage here. Fink makes sure to point that out despite the BIG FREAKING CAGE around the ring. Apparently Tazz cost Rikishi the title a few weeks ago for reasons unexplained. Also Venis beat up Scotty, which apparently justifies this being in a cage. Trish is Val’s manager here and is dressed in her more traditional attire here, meaning she still looks great. Apparently Rikishi gave Trish a stink face to start this.

Lawler asks if you can imagine someone putting their fat in her face? There’s a bit of wishful sounding in his voice there. Lawler isn’t sure if this is no holds barred. Seriously? He follows this up by asking what happened to that long hair Val had? Ross: “well King I would assume he got it cut.” I love Ross at times. They’re rare but they exist.

Rikishi, ever the Rhodes Scholar, tries to climb over the top instead of going through the door like anyone with a freaking mind. Why do faces have to have so much stupid pride like that? Val takes over with some bad shots to the cage. To be fair though he’s having to deal with something that has its own gravitational force.

He hits a low blow to block a stink face and then hits a weird looking move that I think was supposed to be a bulldog but turned into more or less a forearm to the back of the head. I think it was a semi botch by one of them but I’m not sure. Rikishi of course does his inside out bump.

Val, also an idiot, goes up the cage as well instead of through the door. My goodness how hard is it to just walk through the freaking thing? They fight on the top rope which Val wins, but with Rikishi down in the position for Val’s finisher, does he go for it? Of course not. Why should he when he can walk the ropes and hit an elbow instead? Val almost gets out but is caught by the fat that blocked out the sun.

They mess up badly though as Rikishi’s head is hurt by ramming it into the cage. He’s a Samoan so therefore his head can’t be hurt. Come on now people don’t you know your stereotypes yet? Val is bleeding and thankfully we don’t go to black and white to hide that. A Banzai Drop gets two as Val gets his foot on the ropes. Great, so in a match with no rules and where anything goes, the ropes are still allowed to break things up. That makes sense.

Thanks to Trish again ignoring all racial stereotypes and slamming the door on Rikishi’s head, the Money Shot gets two. Lita bounces down to the ring and whips Trish with the belt and rips her top off. The beating goes to the back as somehow this is less pointless than modern wrestling. We then get the spot of the night as Rikishi goes up top, and I mean to the top of the cage and dives off, completely crushing Val.

Do Samoans have a fetish for jumping off cages or something? This looked completely amazing and on the replay they mess up worse than I’ve ever seen as the camera totally misses Rikishi. I mean you see no wrestlers and only cage the whole shot. It’s rather funny actually. Since the referee is down from an earlier bump though, there’s no one to count. As Rikishi goes for the door, Tazz comes down and nails him with a camera so Val can pin him.

What the heck man? What’s the point in a huge bump like that unless you change the title with it? That’s just stupid. Oh yeah it’s a Rikishi match so it’s not supposed to make sense. How this guy would become top heel in about 3 months baffles me to no end.

Rating: B-. The match was fine, but seriously, what was the point of the huge spot if Val keeps the title? I know that’s what happened in MSG back in the 80s, but that was legendary whereas this was more or less forgotten a few weeks later. I don’t get it at all. The match was your run of the mill cage match otherwise though as I still hate pins in one of these. It’s not that hard to find a way for one of the guys to get out is it? That bump was INSANE though.

Venis would join up with the Right to Censor and get in a feud with Smackdown commentator Tazz and the APA, culminating in a six man tag at Wrestlemania X7.

Right to Censor vs. APA/Taz

The RTC is a censorship group with Val Venis, Goodfather and Bull Buchanan with Steven Richards outside. They censor stuff, the other three don’t like it, let’s fight. Oh and Jackie is with the good guys but no one cares about her. It’s a big brawl to start with the RTC getting destroyed very quickly. We start with Faarooq vs. Buchanan with Bull hitting the climb the rope clothesline for an early two. Off to Taz who gets kicked in the head and triple teamed by RTC.

Venis comes in with some knees to the ribs for two before it’s off to Goodfather. He continues the destruction of Taz including the non-Ho Train for no cover. There’s the hot tag to Bradshaw as the beating shifts. Venis gets caught in the fallaway slam as everything breaks down. A double spinebuster crushes Venis and there’s a belly to back superplex for good measure. Goodfather misses a charge in the corner and Bradshaw kills him dead with the Clothesline for the pin.

Rating: C-. This is pretty easily the worst match of the show and it’s certainly not bad at all. This was short and almost sweet which is what it was supposed to be. The idea here was to have the censors get beaten up by the Texan and give the fans a good feeling which is exactly what happened. Not a good match or anything but it’s completely watchable.

Soon after Val would have to take a long stretch of time off to recover from hip surgery. After returning to TV at the 2002 Royal Rumble, Venis would start calling himself the Big Valbowski and do nothing of note for a few months before getting hurt again. He would return again in early 2003 as Chief Morely, the new Chief of Staff for Eric Bischoff. Val would be given one half of the Tag Team Titles when Lance Storm’s partner William Regal was injured. They would defend them against Rob Van Dam and Kane on Heat prior to Wrestlemania XIX.

Raw Tag Titles: Kane/Rob Van Dam vs. Lance Storm/Chief Morely

The Dudleys are in champions’ corner for no apparent reason. Kane shove Storm to the floor to start and Van Dam kicks Morely’s head off. Van Dam hits a nice flip dive to take out the champions and Kane adds a plancha of his own to pop the crowd. We take a break and come back with the champions in control of Van Dam and Morely grabs a sleeper. Van Dam counters into one of his own but gets caught in a Blue Thunder Bomb.

Rob avoids a splash and makes the tag off to Kane who cleans house with a tilt-a-whirl slam for two on Storm. There’s the top rope clothesline for two more as Morely makes the save. Everything breaks down with the challengers in control and there’s the chokeslam to Storm. RVD loads up the Five Star but Morely shoves him off the top. The Dudleys lay out Storm with the 3D before dropping an elbow on Rob to give Lance the pin.

Rating: D+. Just a quick match here which had some strange booking decisions. Kane and Van Dam would take the titles the next night on Raw, so why not just switch them here to fire the crowd up before the show starts? The tag division was really starting to die around this point and having two sets of titles just didn’t work.

After this Val would become a jobber to the stars and a Heat mainstay. One of his matches though was against a guy you might have heard of in January 2005.

Val Venis vs. Ric Flair

Venis takes him down with a shoulder block and commentator Ivory is already getting on my nerves. Flair gets caught in a hammerlock and armbar before a backdrops puts him down. Ric bails to the floor after a slam and comes back inside for a poke to the eye, drawing a HUGE pop from the crowd. Venis tries to chop with Flair and is almost immediately punched down.

The knee drop has Venis in trouble and we suddenly have no commentary. I’ll bump the rating up for that alone. More chops have Flair in control but Venis comes back with another backdrop and a clothesline for two. Val pounds away in the corner and hits ten quick clotheslines to give us the Flair Flop. Venis fires off more corner punches but Flair falls down into a chop block as only he could get away with. Another chop block sets up the Figure Four to give Flair the win.

Rating: C. This was Flair 101 and it still works well enough. The most notable thing here though was Ivory driving me insane on commentary. That screachy voice was bad enough but when the best comment she can have is “It looks like Ric Flair is in control now.” That’s the kind of commentary that’s good for radio but gets annoying on television.

During this stretch Val would face lower level guys and jobbers, but would occasionally be given a wrestler who the company was looking at to see what they could do. That’s quite the honor when you think about it. Here’s the most known example of Val doing this, from May of 2005.

Val Venis vs. CM Punk

They trade hammerlocks to start until Venis runs him over with a shoulder and armdrag. Punk snaps up and tries a rollup to give us a stalemate. They shake hands but Punk runs him over with a clothesline and kicks at Val’s leg. CM slaps on a leg lock but Venis comes back with chops in the corner, only to have his leg wrapped around the post. Punk cranks on the leg even more but Val kicks him away.

Val hits a backdrop but hurts his knee. He fires off clotheslines in the corner and gets two off a neckbreaker. The Blue Thunder Bomb gets two for Val but he can’t hit a fisherman’s buster. Punk snaps the knee back and puts on a half crab. Val makes the ropes and hits a half nelson slam followed by the Money Shot for the pin.

Rating: C-. I could see why Punk got a job out of this. Oddly enough he put on a better performance than the seasoned Venis who only sold the knee a little bit. That kind of stuff gets on my nerves in wrestling. If someone works on the knee, you need to do more than holding your knee after doing your regular stuff. The injury should change your offense, not just slow it down.

That’s about it for Morely in WWE as he just did Heat matches and the occasion match on Raw before being released in January 2009. He would show up on Impact on January 4, 2010 as an adult film producer. After people got done rolling their eyes at this gimmick being resurrected, Morely fought Christopher Daniels at Genesis 2010.

Sean Morely vs. Christopher Daniels

Remember, even though Morely is wearing a towel and coming out to porn music, HE ISN’T VAL VENIS! Brooke gets Morely’s towel. Three times the camera has been on her in less than 30 minutes now. Daniels is the heel here and cuts a bland heel promo before the match which doesn’t work well at all since the fans aren’t buying it. Fourth shot of Brooke.

Daniels in the long tights works much better. Has that thing on his shoulder ever been explained? I don’t think it has been. I’ve always liked Morely. He’s a guy you can almost guarantee a good match out of which is so rare in modern wrestling. Daniels hooks a triangle choke to appeal to the MMA fans out there. Apparently Morely is a true pro. I thought they were all pros.

You can wrestle in TNA as an amateur? They’ve never heard of Mass Transit have they? Morely hits a Blue Thunder Bomb which is one of my favorites in No Mercy so I’m liking this more and more every second. I’m still not sold on a match being made for no apparent reason and then having a PPV match of it 3 days later but then again I’m no professional.

A clothesline is called an STO. That’s expected I guess but still, that wasn’t even close. The Best Moonsault Ever misses and Sean goes for the splash. Since that’s too easy though it doesn’t work, although he hits it a few seconds later which draws Brooke Hogan shot #5.

Rating: C+. Again, not bad at all. Morely is a guy that you can certainly depend on for a good match and it worked well here. Again though, why is this on PPV? Why were they even fighting? That was never explained which is a common theme on this show I think. Also, Morely hasn’t wrestled on the main stage in years and he can beat last month’s world title challenger? That makes perfect sense right?

Val Venis is a very smooth wrestler but he got dragged down by his gimmick. It’s very similar to Terry Taylor in that regard: there’s excellent talent there but at the end of the day, you can’t get past the gimmick. His earlier work is his best when the era fit his character, but later on he was at his best as a jobber to the stars who could make anyone look good. When Venis is on, it’s hard to find a bad match from him which is rarer than you would think.

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1 comment

  1. Killjoy says:

    I remember seeing the CM Punk/Val Venus match all the way back in ’05. I didn’t know who he was, but I just thought the name was cool.