Where Are They Now?: Joey Mercury

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May 21, 2014

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Joey Mercury with The Shield backstage

“There’ll be a dozen Hall of Famers who thank Joey Mercury first and foremost in their acceptance speech,” Dean Ambrose told WWE.com.

For those who simply know Mercury as one half of MNM alongside John Morrison, Ambrose’s statement might be a little shocking. However, Mercury’s greatest impact on sports-entertainment came after he stepped out of the ring, and into his new role as one of WWE’s most respected producers, as well as a mentor to breakout Superstars like The Shield.

“He is a mastermind when it comes to wrestling psychology, and the ins and outs of being in the ring,” Seth Rollins explained. “He loves teaching people how to do things and do them better. He’s a talent maximizer. He takes your best assets and makes them better. He takes the things you’re terrible at and helps you improve.”

It’s a position that Mercury relishes, even at the age of 34, when most in-ring performers are in their prime.

“One of the things I was concerned about with being a coach and producer so young was thinking, ‘Am I missing out on that feeling of being in the ring and making the fans pop out of their chairs?’” he said. “I don’t, because it’s very fulfilling to live vicariously through the guys you help. If I give an idea about gameplan or strategy, and they implement it and it works well and they get that reaction, I feel it twofold.”

Classic photos of Mercury | Current photos | Video highlights | Alumni profile

Mercury’s deeper understanding of the mat game goes back to the beginning for him. When recalling the starts of their fandom, Superstars often remember the people, the places and the moments that drew them in. For Mercury, it was something more.

“It made me feel,”  he explained. “There were times when it made me happy, times when it made me angry, times when it made me laugh and times when it made me sad.”

Joey MercuryMercury spent his teens chasing those feelings, hopping on Greyhound buses to go watch wrestling shows and figure out what evoked those emotions. It’s what drew him, at 15 years old, to a gym where a journeyman wrestler named Jimmy Cicero was training potential grapplers.

When most teenagers were worrying about English papers and prom dates, Mercury was on the road, wrestling three to four times a week, making a name for himself on the independent scene with another Cicero trainee, Christian York.

“We both loved the business and complemented each other well,” he said.

Only a few years into his career, Mercury, along with York, Shannon Moore and Shane Helms, caught the eyes of WCW officials, who quickly signed the foursome. Though plans were originally made for the four to debut together, things quickly changed as Helms & Moore joined the high-flying boy band 3 Count, while Mercury & York sat on the couch.

“After we got hired, I never had a match for WCW,” he explained. “But I was on the payroll for seven months.”

While others in the same situation were content to collect paychecks for sitting at home, the young and eager Mercury wanted to be in the ring.

“We were sitting there, asking, ‘Do you want us to go to the Power Plant? Do you want us to go to TV tapings? What do you want us to do?’ They were like, ‘Sit tight.’” Mercury recalled. “I’m 19, I don’t want to sit at home. I didn’t really care about the money at that point. I wanted to wrestle.”

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