When looking back on the career of Marc Mero, it is easy to forget just how solid a worker he was. After arriving in WWE, suffering a knee injury and being overshadowed by his stunning real-life wife, Sable, he faded into obscurity before disappearing from the spotlight.
Prior to that, he was a constant in WCW's talented midcard, a popular babyface whose Johnny B. Badd character was pro wrestling's take on Little Richard. With the Badd Blaster in tow, he entertained fans across the country with his flashy offense and a knockout punch he referred to as Tutti Frutti.
During his time in the Ted Turner-owned promotion, Mero developed into a fine worker. Much of that can be attributed to his work with the likes of Steve Austin, Steven Regal, Bobby Eaton and Brian Pillman. The more talented his opposition, the better chance Mero had of learning his craft and becoming the fine wrestler he ultimately became in WCW.
As the WCW Television champion, Mero would bring legitimacy to the title and help bring consistency to the midcard. Unfortunately, the invasion of the company by Hulk Hogan and many of his middle-aged pals, combined with a storyline involving Diamond Dallas Page and wife, Kimberly, that Mero had objected to, led to him departing the company in 1996 and signing with Vince McMahon and WWE.
Debuting at WrestleMania XII, he found himself on the receiving end of a solid push early in his WWE run.
He feuded with Hunter Hearst Helmsley, a feud that introduced Sable to the wrestling world, then transitioned into a program with Goldust. That story led to a match at SummerSlam 1996, which was won by the golden one.
After an eventful yet uneven start to his WWE career, one that saw him lose more than you would assume a hot newcomer would, he seemed to be on the right track. In September 1996, he defeated Faarooq in a tournament final for the Intercontinental Championship.
He would successfully defend the title for over a month before suddenly seeing his title reign come to a crashing halt with a defeat at the hands of Hunter Hearst Helmsley. Mero, who had joined WWE programming under his real name, found himself without direction. He worked the likes of Leif Cassidy on pay-per-view but was not really involved in anything of real importance.
A knee injury in early 1997 sidelined him for nearly a year. During that time, he watched as Sable became one of the most popular stars in WWE, thanks to her stunning beauty and her undeniable sex appeal.
When he returned to action, Mero was jaded and jealous and began taking on a heel persona. Bearded, head shaved and more attitudinal than ever before, he got under the skin of the WWE fans with the way he treated Sable. He demeaned her, berated her and did everything in his power to humiliate her.
In one memorable case, he had her dress in a potato sack and come to the ring. Unfortunately for him, however, she removed the sack, revealing a very tiny bikini, much to the delight of the audience.
As tensions mounted, Sable became more independent, refusing to be subservient to her oppressive charge. At the same time, a feud with Goldust and Luna forced them to work together, leading into a huge Mixed Tag Team match between the two duos at WrestleMania XIV. After their win at the event, they again found themselves at odds.
When Mero defeated Sable at Over the Edge 1998, he introduced Jacqueline to WWE. Together, they developed into an annoying and obnoxious couple that took joy in tormenting Sable. At the same time, it became clear that Mero was being shoved to the background in favor of a rivalry between the two women in his life.
It had to be demoralizing for a guy who had worked so hard to become a better wrestler to suddenly find himself overshadowed by women. That his knee injury completely changed the type of worker he was did not help matters.
By the end of 1998, a magical time for WWE, Mero found himself trapped far down the card. With prospects not looking favorable, he opted to leave the company upon the conclusion of his contract.
Mero's story is one of both great growth and rapid descent.
As a star in WCW, he rose to the occasion and became one of the better midcard workers in the industry. There was a buzz surrounding him when he arrived in WWE and talk about a major push accompanied him. Unfortunately, injury, a changing landscape in professional wrestling and the rise of Sable led to a downfall of epic proportions.