Shawne Merriman earned the nickname "Lights Out" because on the football field, he would turn your lights out with a big hit.
During his career, Merriman was a three-time Pro Bowler and two-time First-team All-Pro as a linebacker. Following his NFL retirement in 2013, Merriman joined WWE and would report to the Performance Center in early 2014.
Speaking to Renee Paquette on Oral Sessions, Merriman provided details on his brief WWE tenure and why things didn't work.
"I started talking to Triple H before I retired, probably 2011, we were talking about it and going back and forth. I came out for a pay-per-view in San Diego and got good feedback. We started to keep in conversation and I told [Triple H], 'I'm gonna retire (soon).' The plan was to work at NFL Network and train half the time and spend other half the time training at the Performance Center in Orlando. I want everyone to know that the workout is brutal. I think they wanted to see if they could put me through the ringer. It was a straight hour, nonstop. There is metal under those ropes. When I got done with the workout, I was all bruised up. Billy Gunn was my in-ring coach and (William) Regal was on the grappling side and other stuff. After we were done, every week with NXT, you do the promo cut with Dusty. Got done with my workout, everyone is there for two hours doing promos. I'm sitting there for two hours and I tap my publicist and say, 'Let's get out of here.' Right when I'm getting ready to leave, Dusty goes, '56, I bet you didn't know I was going to do this, but bring your ass on down.' No practice, nothing. I haven't gone over anything. I have 20 seconds to figure out what I'm going to say when I get up there. It's Dusty Rhodes, I'm not telling him 'No,' he says get up there, I'm going. I was sweating bullets. I got up there and I just did what I knew best and started ripping on people who had already done their promos because I was watching the whole time. When I got done, JBL pulls me aside and says, 'That's one of the best promos I've ever seen from someone who has never had any practice.' Everything was good," he said.
Merriman went on to say that he would talk football with Dusty for hours and it was one of the best conversations he had.
Merriman continued, explaining why things eventually fell through.
"I went back to do NFL Network, I'm trying to work out schedules, talking contract, and one of the biggest hold ups I think was the Lights Out thing and me owning it and naming rights. That kind of ruffled some feathers. All in all, things just didn't work out. They were launching the Network at that time. There were a bunch of layoffs and it was a lot going on," he said.
When asked if WWE wanted the "Lights Out" name, Merriman replied, "They were like, 'Come in as Shawne Merriman and we'll figure everything else out.' I was like, 'I already kind of built this name. More importantly, you want to have this there.' I worked with everyone in the licensing department and every division. I knew everyone there in the company. I knew what they wanted and what they needed me to do. I told them, 'Lights Out is what you guys want, so let's figure this out.' It just fizzled out after that. I still talk to a lot of people there. Who knows."
Merriman would make various appearances on WWE television over the years, including being a guest on WWE Backstage.
He is currently involved with his MMA promotion Lights Out Xtreme Fighting.
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