Pro-Wrestling Johnny B Badd Article Page
Last updated 16 September 1999
EDITOR'S NOTE: Marc Mero, who as the colorful "Johnny B. Badd" was one of WCW's most popular performers, left the company suddenly last month following a dispute with WCW senior vice president Eric Bischoff. Several days later, he signed with the rival WWF. The events leading to Mero's departure from WCW are examined in the second of a series.
Marc Mero, early in his WCW stint as Johnny B. Badd, made it clear to company officials that he wasn't happy with the wrestler's flamboyant characterization.
"One of the things that I do is speak at a lot of schools and churches about what Jesus has done in my life and about staying away from alcohol and drugs and being a positive role model. I found it really hard dressing and acting the way WCW had me acting and wearing make-up.
"I don't ever want to be a stumbling block for a young child. Children have enough problems with their gender today not to have to have a role model who dresses in ridiculous outfits and wears make-up."
Tension, however, between Mero and WCW began to mount again earlier this year with the introduction of The Diamond Doll (Kimberly Falkenberg) as Mero's valet after "winning" her from real-life husband Diamond Dallas Page (Page Falkenberg).
"It's against everything I believe in," Mero told The Torch. "You don't treat a woman like a possession or an item. But I agreed to do it."
The beginning of the end of Mero's five-year relationship with WCW came when he was asked to attend a NASCAR event in Atlanta on March 9 involving WCW's racing team and work in driver Steve Grissom's pit crew. It was the same day as Mero's daughter's eighth birthday party.
"Now I've done more P.R. than anybody in WCW because they know I never say no to it," Mero told The Torch. He said he told WCW public relations chief Alan Sharp that it was his daughter's birthday, and he had rented a gymnasium with 25 children invited. Mero asked for the day off and thought the matter was settled - until he received a call from Eric Bischoff.
"He (Bischoff) said, 'If someone ever calls your house and says for you to be somewhere, you be there. You say, 'Yes sir, what time?' I said, 'Eric, no problem. I'll be there.' He said, 'No, Johnny, I don't want you there.' And he said goodbye and hung up."
"We have a major financial commitment to racing," Bischoff told The Post and Courier. "Johnny should have been smart enough, as a businessman, to realize that we have a chance of winning this thing every time we go out because our driver's doing pretty well. He should have been smart enough to realize that if we were to win this race, based on the first race of the year (Grissom won Goody's 300 in Daytona to start the '96 season), that we're going to take out a full-page color ad in USA Today. And Johnny's going to be there. But instead he was trying to find an excuse to get out of it. And that's just not a professional approach to this business."
Bischoff said that although the two parted on bad terms, he wouldn't shut the door on Mero's chances of ever returning to WCW.
NEXT WEEK: Johnny B. Badd leaves that character behind forever and re-emerges in the World Wrestling Federation - with a valet known as Sable (real-life wife Rena) - under the name "Wildman" Marc Mero.
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