The Boogeyman is one of the most interesting characters in WWE history. His gimmick would have fit right in during the 1990s, but he debuted in 2005 and was used more for comic relief than being a serious wrestler.
His gimmick got over so much that WWE still brings him back time-to-time for special appearances. The Boogeyman, real name Marty Wright, first got onto WWE's radar by trying out for Tough Enough when he lied about his age. He talked more about the first day of Tough Enough tryouts when he joined The Ryback Show.
"I remember my whole thing was I was already trying to operate under Code Red operations, like this is do or die, and a train of mind that I was in, because if you recall, I had a radio set. I had some headphones on, and the funny thing about my headsets, the f---er didn't work," said Boogeyman. "I just had my headset on, pretending I was listening to music and in all actuality, I was listening to every motherf----r. What he was talking about and what they were saying about me.
"So the strategy I had there and the train of mind that I had there, I went there game face on because I knew the odds were against me. I knew I lied – I fabricated on my application just to get in – but I knew I was physically capable enough, and not only that, but I really wanted this s--t."
Boogeyman said he was 10 years younger than he really was on the Tough Enough application to circumvent WWE's cut-off age of 35 years old. He said he was 30 when he really was 40 and was cut from Tough Enough after admitting he lied. Ryback was also a part of that Tough Enough competition, and Boogeyman recalled the discussion he had with WWE higher-ups after being cut.
"The funny thing was later that evening, when they made the cuts and they said I was eliminated after that s--t, the next day or whatever, they pick the title at one night and they come back and announce who's going to do this and do that. When they told me that s--t, that was a heartbreaker. It was a heartbreak," revealed Boogeyman.
"So now, you got all these other guys getting on the f---ing bus, and if you [Ryback] recall, I didn't leave. I didn't f---ing leave. I stayed around, walked around, and I was like, 'F--k that!' So, Fit [Finlay] and [John] Laurinaitis came over to me and I addressed the issue and pleaded my case and they said, 'Well, get on the bus' and I said, 'I ain't getting on no f---ing bus. Everybody on that bus is a f---ing loser. I didn't lose! I didn't lose s--t!' And if I got on that bus and accept the fact that, 'Okay, I'm gonna sit out', F--k that!"
Boogeyman said it's in his character to not take no for an answer, and his persistence paid off as even though he was cut from Tough Enough, he would later be invited to join WWE's developmental territory, Ohio Valley Wrestling.
There, he met Beth Phoenix, who was also training at OVW. Boogeyman recalled the support he received from Phoenix.
"I'll never forget what Beth Phoenix said to me, and it was quite obvious there were some racial slurs [from others]. There were some racial references and I'm not talking about them," stated Boogeyman. "I'm just telling you the plain ass truth; I was speaking the truth. Anyways, Beth said to me, 'Marty, don't you worry.' I never forgot. I walked into the store and she says, 'Marty, don't you worry,' and she was still trying to get a contract. She was still working in developmental class, and she says 'Marty, don't you worry; don't worry about it. One day, you will have the last laugh.' I'll never forget it, and that, for her, for me to identify, I didn't even know Beth."
It was a prophetic statement by Phoenix, as Boogeyman did have the last laugh, and his laugh would actually become one of the signature parts of his gimmick. He talked about his character becoming folklore within WWE history.
"It's folklore, and I've come to realize that and accept that. And like I said, me and [Road Warrior] Animal were talking just last night, I was in Dallas and there's a new program up there getting started – SWE Fury – and Teddy Long and John Laurinaitis are running the show with a few other guys… [Animal] was talking about character, and he said, 'Man, who would ever believe you would eat worms? And you're worth it because you run with it. You made that character', and that's coming from Animal," stated Boogeyman.
As for the character itself, Boogeyman discussed when it was first created and how it evolved.
"Right in OVW. and that character has grown to the point where. I mean, as far you look at the growth of it, I first started out with two paint colors. Red and black. and it was just in there for top stages. and there you go. That's the maturity of how things work in this business," Boogeyman said before discussing the symbols of his character.
"Everything that Boogeyman does is in terms of governmental stages. Now, the characters have three layers. Tree - I started on that tree. That tree on my head, that's the tree of life, and those dots surrounding my face, black and yellow and white dots, those are the forbidden fruits that have fallen off the tree. That black around my eyes is the black owls that are looking through the night, that type of s--t. So, everything I've applied to that character has a purpose. I painted my whole face and it's a 3-hour process."
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit The Ryback Show with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Mehdy Labriny contributed to this article.