Looking very differently from his new, all business, attitude, Val Venis sits atop a stage at the end of a table opposite his stablemates Test and Trish Stratus as part of announcement that the WWF has a new home in Toronto, the Air Canada Centre.
The WWF seems to have pulled out all the stops bringing in its Canadian talent to help pump up the deal and also promote the end of summer classic: SummerSlam. The deal is for two years with the WWF getting exclusive rights to hold wrestling shows at the ACC where WWF Canada President Carl DeMarco promised the fans he was working on a trifecta of events at the ACC where he said he was working on bringing a live RAW event, Smackdown taping and a PPV to the ACC within the next 12 months. But we digress.
The press conference was turned over to the audience where several fans in attendance asked Venis about his Intercontinental Title defence for SummerSlam. One fan had asked what would happen if Stratus got pinned in the mixed-tag match at the event. The Big Valbowski replied, “If Trish gets pinned, I lose my Intercontinental title, so Trish, don’t get pinned.”
Laughter ensued from the more than 100 in attendance. But it didn’t stop there. Another fan had asked if Venis would interfere in any match ups that might occur with Stratus, to which he replied, “If my title is not on the line, then I won’t interfere but if my Intercontinental title is on the line, then you’re damn right I’ll interfere.”
After the conference, Venis was relaxing with some of the panel guests and scarfing down on gourmet sandwiches talking with media. He was sure to make time to go one on one with SLAM! Wrestling.
Some are wondering why Venis has put his popular porn star gimmick in the background especially after the popularity the schtick garnered him when he first broke into the WWF almost three years ago.
“We never really actually got rid of it,” states Venis. “Just some of the storylines.”
Venis attributes the move to the pride in his in ring ability. He says he’s wrestled for 10-years all over the world, from Europe to Japan to Puerto Rico and Mexico, and the vast majority of the time he was recognised for his in-ring ability, not his mic work. He said he felt that his in ring skills were taking a backseat to his gimmick so it was time for a change so that people could concentrate on his work rather than his one-liners.
As a matter of fact, it was the creative minds of the WWF that came up with the porn star idea. Venis just went along with the ride.
“I always felt the porn star gimmick and storylines kind of overshadowed my work,” he admits.
Some attributed his more serious ring demeanour to a possible falling out with WWF management. It was no secret that a storyline was being worked in with his sister where a feud might ensue with Edge, who is getting married to Alana Morley in real life (Venis’s real name is Sean Morley). Some said Venis balked at the idea and was punished by being placed on the lower card and not given enough mic time. Val states that’s not the case. He actually sprained his neck which limited his mobility for six months kind of forcing things to go on the back burner – and now, with newer angles, a return to an angle with his sister may upset the apple cart especially with Edge involved in the tag team division.
Still, the porn star gimmick isn’t too far away if needed to be called upon. Venis’s manager is Stratus and they have an apparent “business relationship” which Jerry Lawler often makes fun of on camera.
“I think the King is always making jokes out of everything – it’s a good thing because it creates a little controversy.”
While a return to the gimmick isn’t in the cards Venis says it’ll always be there. For now, his goals are to become the top heel in the company and to attain the title of World Heavyweight Champion. As a matter of fact, his new persona has had many Internet smarts state that he’s on the same path as HHH, who adopted a more serious attitude on the way to becoming four-time WWF champ. While Venis is going about things in a similar way, he says he doesn’t want to follow in HHH’s footsteps.
“HHH is definitely one of the top heels in the WWF, but I don’t want to get there that way. I don’t want to follow in his path. I only concentrate on one angle at a time. Right now, I’m a lot more aggressive, a lot more serious.”