Marc Mero (July 9, 1960) is an American retired amateur boxer and professional wrestler. He is best known for his appearances with the World Wrestling Federation as "Wildman" Marc Mero, (and later "Marvelous" Marc Mero) and with Total Nonstop Action Wrestling and World Championship Wrestling under the ring name Johnny B. Badd. In 2007 he founded the non-profit organization Champion of Choices.
Mero was born in Buffalo, New York. His parents divorced when he was eight years old, with his mother supporting him and his three siblings by working two jobs. At the age of 12, Mero began playing hockey, eventually becoming his league's Most Valuable Player. In 1973, Mero's family relocated to Liverpool, New York, where Mero played for the Mid State Youth Hockey League. At age 15, Mero began playing for the Syracuse Stars Junior Hockey Team.
Mero began playing football in his senior year, with his high school team winning the New York State Title under the tutelage of future University of Central Florida coach George O'Leary. In the same year, Mero began training as a boxer under Golden Gloves coach Ray Rinaldi. Mero went on to win four New York State titles, including the New York Golden Gloves tournament. Mero intended to become a professional boxer, but his career was sidelined after his nose was broken in an accident. He briefly pursued a Bodybuilding career, placing third in the Mr. New York State bodybuilding contest.
Starting out and World Championship Wrestling
In 1990, Mero decided to become a wrestler, traveling to Tampa, Florida to train under the Malenkos. He debuted in 1991 in the Floridian Sun Coast Professional Wrestling promotion. Several months later, Mero attended a World Championship Wrestling television taping and was given a tryout, losing to Doom in a squash match. Mero appeared with WCW as a jobber for several months before being signed to a contract by booker Dusty Rhodes. Rhodes repackaged Mero with the ring name Johnny B. Badd (as a nod to the Chuck Berry song "Johnny B. Goode") and the gimmick of a flamboyant Little Richard look-alike. He was initially a heel and managed by Teddy Long. After turning face, he was known for his "Badd Blaster", a confetti gun that he would fire before his matches. Mero won the WCW World Television Championship on three occasions.
World Wrestling Federation (1996–1999)
After leaving WCW, he signed a contract with the World Wrestling Federation, wrestling as "Wildman" Marc Mero (at the time, WCW owned the right to the Johnny B. Badd gimmick). Mero was managed by his wife, Rena "Sable" Mero, whom in storyline he "rescued" from Hunter Hearst Helmsley. On September 23, 1996, Mero defeated Faarooq Asad in the finals of a tournament for the vacant Intercontinental Championship. He held the title until October 21, 1996, when he was defeated by Helmsley.
In February 1997, Mero tore his anterior cruciate ligament, and spent six months rehabilitating. He returned in late 1997 with the new heel persona of "Marvelous" Marc Mero, a boxer-turned-wrestler. The WWF storyline had Mero becoming jealous of the fan following Sable had acquired in his absence and wanting her out of the WWF. This led to a temporary alliance with Goldust and his valet, Luna Vachon, in which the three humiliated Sable during matches, but it turned into a short feud when Goldust became physical with Sable. The storyline was resolved in a match between Mero and Sable at Over the Edge, in which Mero feigned remorse, offering to lie down and allow her to pin him, before defeating Sable with an inside cradle, which resulted in her leaving the WWF for a short time. After he dropped Sable as his valet, Jacqueline became his manager. In 1998, Mero competed in the WWF Brawl For All. Jacqueline's interventions in matches soon ended up costing Mero several victories and he ultimately fired her also.
Mero's last appearance on WWF television in the United States was on the November 30, 1998 episode of WWF Raw. He had a shot at the WWF Light Heavyweight Championship, then held by Duane Gill, and promised to retire if he couldn't beat Gill. Gill won the match with the help of the J.O.B. Squad. He wrestled one final time at the UK WWF Capital Carnage PPV six days later, losing a tag match (with Jacqueline as a reluctant partner), to Sable and Christian. In 1999, both Mero and Sable left the WWF. At the time, Mero had three years remaining on his contract, with a guaranteed salary of $350,000. Mero subsequently did not wrestle for 18 months due to various nagging injuries and a shoulder surgery.
Return to WCW (2000)
On April 26, 2000, Mero returned to World Championship Wrestling, appearing with his trainer, Ray Rinaldi, in the audience on an episode of WCW Thunder and confronting Tank Abbott. Mero opted not to return to WCW on a full-time basis due to his physical condition at the time.
XWF (2001-2002), TNA (2004-2005), and retirement
In 2001, Mero returned to wrestling in the short-lived X Wrestling Federation along with Rena Mero. They remained with the company until its closure in 2002.
In November 2004, Mero began wrestling for Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) under the Johnny B. Badd name. He appeared sporadically with the company throughout late 2004 and early 2005.
Mero retired from in-ring competition in 2005, opening and operating the Marc Mero Body Slam Training Institute in Altamonte Springs, Florida.
In January 2008, WWE and Jakks Pacific announced that Mero (as Johnny B. Badd) would be featured in their "Classic Superstars" line of action figures. This figure was eventually cancelled for unknown reasons (likely WWE management's animosity towards Mero for his comments on steroid use).
Steroid usage in wrestling
In June and July 2007, Mero commented on the Chris Benoit murder-suicide, appearing on numerous cable news programs and criticizing both the wrestling industry and World Wrestling Entertainment. In an interview with WFTV, Mero admitted to using both anabolic steroids and recreational drugs over a period of seven years and claimed that steroids had contributed to the early deaths of many wrestlers. In interviews with MSNBC and The Sun, Mero produced a list of 25 (later expanded to 31) wrestlers with whom he had wrestled and had since died, calling for greater regulation of the wrestling industry.
Mero's comments attracted criticism from WWE employees such as Mr. Kennedy, who labelled him a "goof" and a "silly bastard", and Dave "Fit" Finlay, who claimed Mero had "nothing to do with this business". On July 15, 2007, Mero attended the memorials of Nancy and Daniel Benoit in Daytona Beach, Florida. Following his comments, Mero began making appearances at schools in Central Florida and lecturing on the dangers of drug abuse and bullying; He also promotes a similar-interests website with which he is affiliated. As of April 2, 2009, he has had many appearances in schools and community colleges across Florida.
In 1992, Mero married Rena "Sable" Greek, adopting her daughter from a previous marriage. The couple separated in mid-2003 and divorced amicably in 2004.
As of July 2007, Mero required a heart valve transplant. Marc married for the second time on July 11, 2009.
- Finishing moves
- Signature moves
Championships and accomplishments
- New York State Titles
- Amateur Athletic Union
- Empire State Games
- New York Golden Gloves
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated