As previously noted, WWE Hall Of Famer Steve Austin was joined on The Steve Austin Show by retired professional wrestler and motivational speaker, Marc Mero.
Among many other things, Mero discussed how he got his successful Little Richard gimmick in WCW as Johnny B. Badd. Mero told Austin how the former Golden Gloves boxer got his Little Richard character for Johnny B. Badd. According to Mero, he thought he was being called to then-WCW booker, the late great Dusty Rhodes's office because of an altercation with 'Hacksaw' Butch Reed. Instead, Mero was pitched the Johnny B. Badd character.
"Dusty Rhodes was the booker then, so I go into his office and I start, I go, 'hey Dusty,' once I realized my mistake, I said, 'Dusty, first of all, I am so sorry about the match!'" Mero remembered, "he goes, 'what are you talking about?' And he goes, 'kid, did anybody ever tell you you look like Little Richard?' I thought he meant the wrestler. I go, 'Little Richard, isn't that the…' I said, 'I never heard of a wrestler named Little Richard.' He goes, 'no! Little Richard, 'a whop bop b-luma b-lop bam bom!''"
Apparently, Rhodes was the first person to ever tell Mero that he resembles Little Richard.
"And, Steve, nobody in my life had ever told me I look like Little Richard, do you know what I mean?" Mero said, "and he just saw this gimmick on me. He goes, 'I think I've got a gimmick for you!' And the next thing I know, I'm thinking, Steve, the first thing I thought was, 'oh my gosh, I get to dress in the [talent] dressing room!'" Mero added, "I never heard that in my life, but, obviously, once I had the thin moustache, and did my hair, and the outfit, the talk, and everything like that, obviously, then I go, 'damn, I am Little Richard!'"
On the subject of his departure from WCW in 1996 in favor of WWE, Mero indicated that he always saw WWE as the major leagues and on top of that, McMahon gave everything Mero wanted in a contract, including airfare for Sable.
"Vince McMahon, I told him what I wanted and he gave me exactly what I wanted. And then I said, 'Vince,' I asked him for a big signing bonus. He gave me that and everything. Then I thought, 'do you know what? I'll ask him to let my wife fly everywhere I fly,' now, Steve, not even thinking she was going to be my valet or anything." Mero continued, "so I said to Vince, 'Vince, there's one more thing I want and I'll sign the deal.' He goes, 'I gave you everything you wanted!' I go, 'I need one more thing and I'm signing the deal.' He goes, 'what's that?' I go, 'I want my wife to fly everywhere I fly.' And he goes, 'I have never heard that before.' He goes, 'most guys are trying to get away from their wife!' I said, 'Vince, but hear me out for a second. How about… she's a really pretty girl - how about we use her for my valet?' He goes, 'oh, let's just worry about you right now.' He goes, 'but I'll fly your wife everywhere you go.' But he agreed to it, right?"
Mero recalled McMahon's reaction to meeting his ex-wife, Rena Lesnar, formerly known as Sable in WWE. Mero divulged that McMahon wanted a television role for Sable immediately upon meeting the blonde bombshell.
"So [McMahon] sends me a ticket to Stamford [Connecticut] to sign my contract and talk about what the character is going to be and so forth. So he sends me a ticket and back then it was a paper ticket. I said, 'well, Vince, you just sent one ticket. My wife flies everywhere I fly.' He goes, 'to sign a contract?' I said, 'Vince, she goes everywhere I go,' so sure enough he sent the ticket too for Rena, my ex-wife. And we fly in, and we walk into Vince's office, and he sees her. He goes, 'I've got to put her on television.' And that's how it started. And so, he gave us a list of these names for her and we came up with the name, Sable. And that's how it was started." Mero added, "[McMahon] said she would be my valet to walk me to the ring."
Mero talked about how he got everything he wanted in his WWE contract from Vince McMahon. Interestingly, Mero claimed that WWE wanted to sign him because McMahon assumed that WWE would have been able to present Mero as some variation of the Johnny B. Badd gimmick.
"Vince even talked about putting the strap on me right away," Mero shared. "I mean, it was incredible! Here's the thing that people don't understand: Vince thought that they would be able to do some version of the Johnny B. Badd character. That's what he was interested in. So when we sit in the meeting and all-of-a-sudden Vince realizes I can't do anything - this is when the lawsuits are going forward back and forth because everybody is stealing each other's wrestlers and it was a crazy time back then too - so Vince realizes, 'okay, we can't do anything with the Johnny B. Badd character, so what are we going to do?'"
Additionally, Mero indicated that he had trouble connecting with the 'Wildman' character.
"We're sitting in this meeting and they said, 'what about using your real name?' I said, 'well, Marc Mero is kind of a boring name.' And I don't know how it came up, I don't remember exactly, but it was 'Wildman' Marc Mero. And I said to Vince, I go, 'what is a wildman?' And he goes, 'well, can you do a Tarzan yell?' I said, 'I don't got a very strong voice.' Steve, I can't yell very good and I tried. I ended up doing something like [voice cracks in high pitched yell]. Anyways, like, Ric Flair had the 'woooo' and I could not do the Tarzan yell, okay? So they start doing drawings of this 'Wildman' Marc Mero and I was like, 'what am I, from the jungle? What am I?'" Mero asked. "So I never really connected with what 'Wildman' Marc Mero was because I was still doing the same moves that Johnny B. Badd was doing and it was still kind of the same gimmick. "
And that's the bottom line… If you use any of the quotations that appear in this article, please credit The Steve Austin Show with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.