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WRESTLING COLUMNS

The History of Val Venis
January 8, 2006 by Thomas Covenant


When Val debuted in 98 in WWE as a "porn star", a lot of effort was put into establishing his risqué gimmick, as the attitude era-style in your face booking was in full force.

From Venis envy, to the Money Shot, right up to the Kaientai feud, Val was being heavily pushed as a legit ladies man, as well as a guy that could get it done in the ring.

Yet what was he allowed to do" He has FOUR singles titles with WWE, yes, FOUR. Over 10 years of work with the WWE (Including development), and he's won 4 titles. So what is it I find so odd about that fact" Watch the guy in the ring. Watch him against Lance Cade this week on WWE.com. Then read this column, it all goes full circle.

He has everything needed to be a top wrestler in the WWE, or anywhere else. He has a deep and established repertoire, with numerous signature moves, from the reverse figure four, the fisherman's suplex, the flying splash, the Venis grind punches (A very People's elbow/Knuckle shuffle-type move, IE, very marketable), etc.

In addition, his mannerisms are just as recognizable as anything HHH or Cena does, from the hand shaking, the crowd appeal before the towel removal, the licking of his thumb, etc. Val Venis is a very recognizable, marketable wrestler.

Back to the title wins, let's examine if any of them mean anything in the end. Here is a list of the wins in order of chronology, with notes from me:

February 14th, WWF NO Way Out: Venis vs. Shamrock

This was part of the stupid Russo-era Ryan Shamrock angle, which was supposed to end with Ryan getting with Ken, in a romantic sense, but Ken was disgusted by the angle, and ended up leaving over it. Val's win was a plot device to turn Ryan on Ken, nothing more. He lost the title a month later to Road Dogg on March 15th, with no real build up or feud to account for it.

December 12th 1999, WWF Armageddon: Venis vs. Brown vs. Bulldog

Venis wins the Euro title off Bulldog with not much of a buildup, besides a match on Raw the week before against D'lo, and the Bulldogs short Euro championship run, there was no rhyme or reason for this title win. He did have it for almost 2 months, until Kurt Angle took it off him at am un-televised event, only to turn it over to Jericho at Wm2000.

July 5th, 2000 WWF Un-televised event: Venis vs. Rikishi

Venis won the IC title, but turned it over to Chyna of all people in late August (August 27th) somehow (I can't find a record of how, if anyone else knows, please reply to fill in this gap) to further the Chyna push that resulted in the infamous "Good Housekeeping" match.

2000 and 2001 for Val were low points in his career, from the ridiculous Right to Censor angle, to his terrible accident while weightlifting, where gym equipment fell over on him, resulting in Val fading off of the card. During this time, he almost lost his job, due to a new direction for the WWE, a more "realistic" and less controversial time. This was the time when the most important issue was if Billy Gunn should be "The One" or "Mr. Ass", an echo of the later "Big Valbowsky" debacle, where announcers were banned from using the name Val Venis.

From November 18th 2002 to May 5th 2003, Val was part of one of the COOLEST angles EVER, with the Chief Morley persona. Now he was in essence the practical Manager of day-to-day operations for Raw under Bischoff, and was using his real name, and a very realistic character. He was able to develop many new moves here, and put focus on underused ones, such as the reverse figure four. This angle in MY eyes should have been the time to elevate Val to the main event, altering his character to a more Ric Flair/Recent HHH-style one. I mean, Val was basically doing a more realistic, and kayfabe version of the "MacMahon-Helmsley Era" angle, where this time it wasn't about HHH using his real life situation of control as a gimmick. Chief Morley was a super believable angle.

This also resulted in his holding his only tag title in WWE, with Storm, which came about due to the injured Regal. Morley joined Storm's anti-American stable on March 10th, tagging with Storm against D-Von Dudley. It wasn't until the 24th that Morley was officially recognized as a tag champ, he never won the title, he replaced the injured Regal.

From there, after Storm's de-push, which started with Booker T, and then Goldberg squashing him in early May 2003, Val just kind of faded away. He made an appearance in a singles match on February 23rd to lose to Orton on Raw, but besides that, Val's presence in early 2003 wasn't felt very strong.

From there, it's been almost exclusively Heat appearances for Venis, right up to the present. Why do I feel that was a mistake" FIRST off, Val and Storm are arguably two of the most OVER wrestlers in Canada, I can attest to that PERSONALLY, having been blessed with getting to see them team here in Newfoundland as massive babyfaces, winning with a Storm-executed Hart Attack (MARK out moment!!). During both the tagging with Storm, and even more so, the earlier "Chief Morley" persona, Val had EVERY ability to move up the card to the main event. Great in-ring work, great selling (Watch him sell the leg against Cade on wwe.com, its awesome!), and his new shaved-head look is fantastic.

In summary, Val Venis is a great talent that was around 13 years of ring experience, and hes being wasted giving wins to other wrestlers that will likely be gone, while Val will still be around. Why is Val still on the roster" Because like Holly, he is a great talent that WWE knows they cannot allow to slip away. Imagine Val in a Chief Morley-style angle with TNA" Jarrett has a past with Val, and so does Christian. MONEY in the bank there, two ready made feuds, AND name recognition for TNA. How much would TNA have to spend to get Val from WWE" I am no insider, but I doubt WWE is paying him anymore than they are Funaki, so that's not a lot.

Christian/Venis tag team anyone"

by Thomas Covenant ..


James Derek wrote:
I was first interested in reading this article because I too liked Val Venis and enjoy reading '"History of..." wrestlers as articles have previously been written about Nash, Hall, Hart, Michaels, etc., however, this article irked me for several reasons. Certain things may seem nit-picky, but I felt that they needed to be pointed out: You say Val has won 4 singles titles, even to put it in bold, but the tag title is not actually considered a singles title so it actually makes it 3 singles titles. You seem to balk at this record, but the past ten year's of wrestling, number of title reigns do not mean much, and they are certainly not a merit of one's work. Roddy Piper was one of the best wrestlers of all time, and if you're going to measure his WWF career by title reigns, he has a single three month Intercontinental Title reign. Also, his second IC Title win and his loss of the European Title were written as "untelevised events" when they actually took place at Smackdowns and the loss to Chyna was in an intergender match at Summerslam 2000 where Val teamed with Trish to take on Eddie Guerrero & Chyna where the winner of the fall would become IC Champion and Chyna pinned Trish, however, this did not lead to the "Good Housekeeping" Match, as that was in October of 1999, almost a year earlier. (Chyna's eventual loss was "accidentally" to her boyfriend Guerrero.) At the time you claimed Val was injured from the gym equipment, that was not in 2000-01, it was actually in 02, and although Billy Gunn was being given a new name in the 2001 period, that was not the "hot issue" for the WWF, they were in the middle of a small Invasion angle with WCW/ECW, check it out, it flopped but was somewhat important, while Val was actually sent to HWA for a tuneup after a different injury. The gym injury that happened it 02 was when Val was already on Smackdown after the draft and he was only doing some random tagging, while Billy Gunn was tagging with Chuck Palumbo. The Chief Morely character was in fact successful and a good idea, but main event" I don't think so, and how does that reflect the McMahon,(not spelled MacMahon) Helmsley era" When Venis was tagging with Storm (a great team by the way), Storm was long done with his anti-american stable as the UnAmericans split in October with Regal and Storm tagging and Chris Jericho and Christian tagging while Test went on his own. As for your dates of officially recognizing Morely as a tag champ, he stripped Regal and awarded himself the tag title in the same promo on March 24th. After Bischoff fired him, Austin reinstated him as Val Venis (you forgot to mention) and he has done little since then because he is older, there is no storyline for him, and there is younger, better talent. As for Storm, his career is over as he was injured a while back and his retirement match was with Jericho at ECW: One Night Stand. As for him now, he is a jobber for new talent and his shaved head look is moronic as he looks like Kane. A jump to TNA would do very little for the company as viewers are not going to turn on their TV for Val Venis. Christian was another story because he was one of the most over guys when he made his shocking departure from the WWE. Christian, at this point does not want to be tagging again, especially with old Val Venis. It could have been a very good column on an interesting Attitude-Era wrestler, but it was full of chronological errors and non-logical storyline dreams. -
Tyler Snap wrote:
Loved your article Thomas, I too notice the contributions wrestlers like Venis, Holly, and Funaki make in the ring each and every week. They go out there and lose to guys who are up and coming, guys honing their skills. Or, they lose to Triple H in order to make Hunter seem more dangerous for his up coming fued. In your column you suggested Venis and Funaki don't make very much for their performances. I believe your mistaken. High profile jobbers are not new to pro wrestling (i.e. Iron Mike Sharp, Virgil Special Delivery Jones, THE BROOKLYN BRAWLER) and have very important jobs. Making guys look good. For this they get paid extremely well, I mean The Brooklyn Brawler has a front office job! And I'm sure many of the other profile jobbers have been assured at least road agent spots. Performers like Venis, Funaki, Nova (He'll never be Simon Dean to me), and Holly have no reason to complain as their paychecks easily match that of the top tier performers, because that's what they all are, performers putting on a show. And in the world of pro wrestling, someones gotta win, and someones gotta lose. And these guys lose with the best of em.
Landon Beck wrote:
I agree with you. I'm a huge Venis fan, and in my opinion he is the most under-utilised, under-appreciated and under-rated wrestler on the WWE roster. He makes Heat worth watching, though!
Wattrvn wrote:
Val Venis lost the IC title to Chyna at Summerslam 2000, in an intergender tag match with screwy rules. Chyna defeated Val's tag team partner Trish Stratus and, for some reason, won Val's belt.
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