What Johnny B. Badd Has Been Doing Since Retiring From Wrestling

When Marc Mero tied a Lisa Frank-colored headband on his head and put that second d in Johnny B. Badd, you knew he meant business. According to his Fandom bio, he started out in the WCW as a heel (bad guy) with his gimmick of looking like a diabolical, neon speedo-sporting Little Richard look-alike. But then he turned face (good guy) and became known for shooting off his confetti-firing "Badd Blaster" before each match. Badd became a three-time WCW World Television Champion. After five years with the WCW, he moved to the WWF (now the WWE), where he changed his gimmick and character to "Wildman" Marc Mero, because the WCW retained the rights to Johnny B. Badd.

When the Wildman rescued his manager and wife Sable from Hunter Hearst Helmsley — the first persona of Paul Levesque, or as you're more likely to know him, Triple H – he started up a rivalry that would end at the 1996 Intercontinental Championship. Unfortunately, Mero wasn't bad enough to come away with the win, and Helmsley took home the belt. The Wildman would end up changing over to another new persona — an ex-boxer named "Marvelous" Marc Mero — and according to Wrestling Inc., by the end of his career, he had notched wins against some of the biggest names in the game, such as Stone Cold Steve Austin and Isaac Yankem, D.D.S., the first iteration of Kane. But the life of a baddie would end up taking its toll on Mero.

Marc Mero couldn't sustain being so Johnny B. Badd

In 2018, Mero told ABC News that even though wrestling gave him the life he'd dreamed of, his career was "never what [he] expected" because it was leading him down the path of bad choices. He said that his addictions to drugs and alcohol hindered him from truly enjoying the milestones in both his professional and personal lives. "I wasn't able to deal with this adversity because of my mindset and what I was polluting my body with," he said. "I traveled the world, made a lot of money and met a lot of people, and lived a life that most people think would be the most incredible life to live."

But his dream life would come crashing down when his mother died at just 58 years old. The tragic loss caused Mero to reflect on his life, and despite his success, he didn't like what he had become. He was selling drugs, had overdosed three times, and had lost "well over 30" friends due to bad decisions. He found himself under a pier in Cocoa Beach, Florida, on Christmas Day, realizing he'd hit rock bottom. "It was a day where I felt there was nothing left," he said. "I had it all, and now I have nothing. 'I'm all alone.'" That was the day that Johnny B. Badd decided to make a change for the good.

Marc Mero changed what it meant to be Johnny B. Badd

As of that ABC News interview, Marc Mero had been clean for 15 years and had completely changed his ways. He is now a successful motivational speaker who encourages young people to make good choices with their lives. He founded the non-profit organization Champion of Choices in 2007 and changed the meaning of Badd altogether, now rocking T-shirts that say, "Be Against Destructive Decisions."

He told Wrestling Inc. in 2015 that the motivation to found the organization came from the Chris Benoit tragedy in 2007, when Benoit, a fellow wrestler, killed his wife and son and then committed suicide. "There are two types of people, those who say something needs to be done, and those who go out and do something," he said. "For years I would sit back and say something needed to be done and I really wanted to stand up and speak out about things I could make a difference in." He now does hundreds of speaking events each year, telling his story of tragedy, loss, and ultimate redemption to young people all over the world. His story is so powerful it has even been known to bring middle school kids to tears, as seen on this YouTube clip. After 14 years of being Johnny B. Badd in one way or another, Marc Mero has truly turned his life around to be a force for good in the world.