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The 'Where are they now?' feature sees us look at familiar faces in sport who have gone off the radar somewhat over the years.
For the first in the series, we're branching into Wrestling; the Attitude era in particular.
The Attitude Era was a period in WWF (now WWE) between 1997 and 2002 where just about anything happened. The company weren't PG at the time which enabled Stone Cold Steve Austin to drop as many f-bombs as he wanted, Sable was able to flaunt herself, DX were telling people to "Suck it" while Vince McMahon was pretty much able to do whatever he wanted on-screen (after all it is his business).
The change in approach, while incredibly controversial and at times politically incorrect, made WWF must-see television and eventually resulted in Vince McMahon ousting Ted Turner's WCW in the Monday Night Wars. A lot of the stuff we saw on a weekly basis would never, ever be allowed in the current climate as times have changed.
One of the gimmicks that would undoubtedly not be accepted in today's world is Val Venis; a guy who was pretty much a wrestling porn star. He teared off his towel, whirled and twirled and provided the most creepy, innuendo-filled catchphrases - after all there's even one in his name. The female fans absolutely loved him, as was evident by the amount of screaming heard as he entered the ring.
He also had the best wrestling theme song ever produced.
Venis debuted in 1998 following a series of weird vignettes, his first big angle involving him having an affair with Yamaguchi-San's kayfabe wife Shian-Li Tsang. As a result, the all-Japanese Kaientai stable tied him up backstage and attempted to castrate him, the actual phrase being "Choppy choppy your pee-pee". If there's one storyline to sum up the Attitude Era, this is definitely the one.
But Venis continued his trend of sleeping with people's wives when he showed his new 'movie' that featured him in bed with Terri Runnels, wife of Dustin Runnels, aka Goldust. She became his on-screen girlfriend as part of the feud, then he binned her when she said she was pregnant. The Attitude Era was absolutely bonkers.
The Big Valbowski wasn't satisfied with sleeping with people's wives though, and branched out to wrestler's wives - his next 'film' titled 'Saving Ryan's Privates' featuring Ryan Shamrock, the kayfabe sister of Ken Shamrock; the world's most dangerous man.
This feud brought him his first Championship in WWF when he beat Shamrock via involvement from special guest referee Billy Gunn to win the coveted Intercontinental Championship. His reign lasted one month but it wasn't too long before he had more gold in the form of the European Championship, this time pinning the British Bulldog in a triple-threat match.
Kurt Angle dethroned him as Champion after two-months. After a neck injury left him sidelined for quite some time, Venis had a second reign with the Intercontinental Championship upon his return when Trish Stratus became his manager and he joined forces with Test and Albert.
Venis changed his ways later in 200 when he became a part of the Right to Censor faction; the group that wore shirt and pants and had the most annoying theme music of all time. Stevie Richards, The Godfather, Ivory, Bull Bachanan and the Kat were all part of the group, with the idea being to parody Parents Television Council ho was protesting the level of violence and sexual content in WWF programming and threatening to boycott several of their sponsors.
The stint with RTC wasn't too productive and soon the group disbanding, leaving Val to get back to his ways and starting thrusting his hips about again. In this run, he was largely used to put over other talent but did get a very brief (literally one day) run with the tag team titles when paired with Lance Storm.
One of the young talents that he did work with was CM Punk, who wrestled Venis in a tryout match and then ended up getting a contract with the company.
He was eventually released by WWE in 2009 and had a short run in TNA where he referred to himself as "an adult film producer" rather than "an adult film star".
But the bulk of his post-WWE career has actually been out of the ordinary, even for him. He is campaigning for cannabis to be legalised and refers to himself as "The Kaptain". Big Val also founded his own medicinal marijuana business and enjoys what he is doing, if his Twitter is anything to go by. He legally sells weed from his Health 4 Life Dispensaries based in Arizona.
Venis, real name Sean Morley, even goes as far as saying that WWE superstars should be allowed to take marijuana. He suffered a devastating concussion back in 2005 when hit with a brutal chair shot at the hands of Triple H and feels as though cannabis would help wrestlers with brain injuries, even if chair shots are banned these days.
When speaking on the matter, he said:
"WWE is like the NFL, who is starting to explore the usage of marijuana as medical for the NFL players and I was hoping that WWE would stand up and take the lead on that. It's WWE that's lost more talent with these pills and it's one of those things that WWE could easily stand up and say we understand Cannabis is against Federal Law, however we've lost a lot of athletes to these big pharmaceutical drugs and if athletes want to use Cannabis we are not going to punish them for it."
SUBSCRIBE TO MY YOUTUBE CHANNEL https://t.co/qbBwnA1v9p FOR AWESOME CANNABIS RELATED VIDEOS! https://t.co/VB9XyNZNNt
- TheKaptainsShow (@ValVenisEnt) September 27, 2016
It's certainly a bizarre career change for one of the Attitude Era's most popular stars, but he certainly seems to enjoy what he is doing.
Could he ever be WWE Hall of Fame material? The Godfather was part of last year's Class of 2016 so don't rule of his former tag team partner, The Big Valbowski.
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