Former WWE Tag Team Champion in MNM, current WWE producer, and paying Reloaded subscriber Joey Mercury has been hailed by WWE Superstars like Dean Ambrose as a figure that “a dozen Hall of Famers” will thank in their acceptance speeches.
On Thursday evening’s Big O and Dukes Show (available at BigOandDukesShow.com), Mercury joined Chad Dukes for a special interview discussing their mutual love of talk radio,, Mercury’s current producer role in WWE, his relationship with Triple H, mentoring the future of WWE, the internet wrestling community/”smart” chants, and Redskin great John Riggins.
A pair of Virginia natives, Dukes and Mercury discussed how they became friends through mutual friends and a love of talk radio before turning the topic to sports entertainment. When it comes to the industry one of the most maligned names in sports entertainment by “internet” fans is the Game, Triple H. Dukes asked Mercury about Triple H’s perceived reputation with fans in contrast to the stories related about the actual man.
First and foremost, he’s a wonderful person. He’s just a great human being. He cares deeply for those around him and he takes care of them really, really well. I’ve wrestled Hunter in the past when I was a talent, but I didn’t really know him. I knew how good he was in the ring, obviously, one of the greatest of all time, certainly one of the best I’ve ever been in the ring with, but I didn’t travel with him, I didn’t hang out with him or anything like that. Once he took over the developmental system for WWE, I was a coach at the time, when he came into power over the developmental system, I talked to him and he told me that he wanted me on his team, and that’s where I really got to know him. I got to work closely with him, and once I got a promotion to be a producer for WWE and being on the road full time, working with him side by side on a daily basis is tremendous. Beyond the fact that he’s a great person, he is just on a whole ‘nother level with the way his brain works. Certainly that’s a lot of experience that’s from him having great mentors and learning both what to do and what not to do, how to do it, why he’s doing it, and where to do it. He’s just one of the smartest guys I’ve had the pleasure of working with.
As a producer with WWE, formerly known as a road agent, Mercury is a part of the backstage team, overseeing segments, and working with talents at live events and television. Mercury, surprisingly to himself, has found his current gig to be more satisfying than his in-ring exploits.
When I made the transition to a backstage role, I was really concerned I wouldn’t be able to get the same fulfillment, to get that performer’s rush or performer’s high, from going out there and getting that you know, you have this aim and you have this idea of what you want to get the crowd to do, and what you want the audience to feel, and when you’re able to do that out there in the ring, it’s a real special feeling. It’s unlike anything else. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to replicate that or feel that again and the truth is what I’m doing now is so much more rewarding because I get to have that feeling several times a night, not just one. Not just because I’m Joey Mercury out there. I get to live vicariously through Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, Cesaro, the Wyatts, just all these incredible, incredible future Hall of Famers. It’s really cool to be there with Bo Dallas and say, “Hey, that’s really, really good man, but you might want to try this tomorrow night,” or you might want to keep this out, or put this in. To have them take your suggestion or take your instruction and direction and go do it, and see how fulfilled they are and how rewarded they are from it working. It’s amazing.
Internet or “smart” fans derailing segments with chants has been a hot topic on social media and wrestling blog sites like ours more and more in recent months. The topic is especially relevant in relation to the rise of Daniel Bryan. Fans’ immense crowd support for the former WWE Champion may have caused a change in the original plans for WrestleMania (depending on who you believe), for instance. While some talents have voiced their displeasure at the WWE Universe “hijacking” segments, Mercury’s take on the matter is informed by a lesson from the chairman.
One of the things I learned from [Vince McMahon] is the real indicator that you’re catching on or getting over is when the crowd chants your name and that’s where you can tell if a guy can draw money or not. The “HOLY S” chants or the “You Can’t Wrestle” or anything the crowd starts chanting, that’s more for the crowd to get themselves over. When they say “THIS IS AWESOME” that’s a little bit better, you know you’re doing good. But when Roman Reigns is down and he’s digging from underneath, he’s got a mountain to climb, when the people start chanting, “Roman! Roman! Roman!” that’s not to get themselves over, that’s because they want him, because that’s their guy. So it’s kind of a good barometer. I’m of the school of thought, that I share with John Cena and he’ll tell you himself he doesn’t care if they’re saying “Let’s Go Cena” or “Cena Sucks” as long as they’re loud. Indifference is the killer. If they’re watching the ring, looking at the ring and screaming their heads off, it’s awesome.
Give Joey a follow on Twitter at @WWEMercury, and thanks to Joey Mercury for his time and a great listen!