Sunday, May 28, 2006

Performer Analysis: Val Venis

Val Venis was born Sean Morley on March 6, 1971 in Oakville, Ontario, Canada. He was trained by the Missing Link and the Robertson Brothers in Hamilton, Ontario before making his debut in March of 1991. In 1997, he signed with World Wrestling Entertainment and was then trained by Dory Funk jr. and Tom Prichard before making his debut with the company as Val Venis on May 18, 1998. He has competed in Canada, Mexico in the CMLL, Puerto Rico in IWA, and all over the US as a member of WWE. This is his analysis, Ladies!

1 Innovation- 4/10- As far as innovation, Ol' Val is a meat and potatoes kind of guy. He uses a flying splash as his finish, and during a time when wrestlers can do anything off the ropes and use fifteen variations on a single move, Val seemed to revert the other way and utilize the basics as far as his in-ring work, so i give him points for being a traditionalist. His Val Venis gimmick, while given to him, was very innovative and in my opinion, one of the standouts in the Attitude era in cementing what exactly it would stand for.

2 Conditioning- 10/10- Val is a top conditioned athlete. He is always in great shape, has a good physique, and has worked long matches, as well as went the distance in several Royal Rumbles. The guy does sweat more than anyone i've ever seen, but his cardio is also in top condition.

3 Ring Skill- 8/10- Val is an exceptional performer. In his early days, he was not much to watch, but there was a youthful energy in his wrestling. During his time in Mexico, while not a luchadore style wrestler, he could keep great pace with all the performers he was in the ring with. His career in the WWE, he has displayed that he can hold his own with almost anyone in the company. Val is one of the guys that can make any one else look good, and he continues to do so. One complaint that I had with his work is that he moved too slowly in the ring, not just his pacing because there's something to be said for that, but his overall movement, in executing offensive manuevers and running ropes and so forth. But, I think in recent years, he has shed some excess body weight and moves at a much brisker pace. I honestly think with the right tools behind him he could play with the big boys in the fed.

4 Character/ Psychology- 8/10- It was going to take a special kind of indivdual to play Val Venis when Vince McMahon created him. At that time, wrestling was being watched by more people than it ever had been and Val Venis would be one of the characters that was watched more closely because of the adult nature of the character than a lot of the other guys. And Sean Morley played him exceptionally. The lady fans really did seem to like him and to a smaller extent still do today. But, Val also is a great psychologist. He exceeds in selling a body part; he's a student of the game, and like i said earlier, now a days, most guys are putting on high spot matches every weekend just to get over(ex: ROH), but Val has broken his game back down the basics of wrestling: punching, kicking, fighting and selling that you're in a fight.

5 Interviews- 5/10- When in character, with what's most assuredly scripted, Val can deliver his dialogue with great enthusiasm and belief. When not in Val Venis character, he struggles. I think he isn't afraid to speak, but i wouldn't rank him with the best mic workers in the business, even though i enjoy most of what he does.

6 Face/ Heel- 6/10- Val has played both roles in a variety of angles and characters. His heel comissioner Chief Morley was a stooge at best, and didn't offer much excitement. Val as a heel was never believable to me; he burnt Mick Foley's book; Why? He should have been a woman abuser, it would have made more sense given his porno movie character. Val is best as a face because more or less the fans decide whether they like or dislike someone despite what role they play. The fans like Val better when they are supposed to, and he plays a good face in peril.

7 Basics- 7/10- As previously stated, Val is a big proponent of the basics in wrestling. He got his fundamentals in Canada, which are high on them. When he signed with the WWF, he was thrown back into a developmental camp at the Funkin' Dojo, and mixed it up with some great wrestlers and future stars there and really had a chance to pick up new things and hone what skills he had. In 2002, he suffered an injury that sidelined him for a few months but before returning, he stopped off in HWA and really refined where he was going for the next phase of his career: back to the basics.

8 Fans- 5/10- The fans like Val; they like him better when he's being pushed, and not too much when he's not, but they like him. He now has a name recognintion, he has a schtick that they're used to and he has good facials which is something that plays a more important role than you would think in wrestling.

9 Matches/ Opponents- 4/10- Val has taken on just about everybody that's walked through the doors of WWE in the last 8 or so years, but over that time he was randomly pushed and rarely spotlighted. His best time in WWE was in early 98 and 99, when he feuded for the IC title with Riksihi, Edge, Billy Gunn, Kurt Angle and others. But, I couldn't really point to a money making feud that really helped to put him over.

10 Gutcheck- 5/10- Val is a tough guy and a great worker, but his injuries have seemed to plague him over the years. He has lost a considerable amount of ring time due to his injuries and such, but I've never seen him give up during a match no matter how bad the opponent he was putting over.
Overall Score: 62

Ranking: Superstar
PO: Thumbs Up
Personally, he's one of my favorite performers to watch and he wish him well in his career, but his time may have came and gone and came again, and gone again, just like Val Venis may have done in his hit movie, "Saving Ryan's Privates."

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