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Wednesday, June 15, 2005
Pro Wrestling--- Just when it looked like the ECW: One Night Stand pay-per-view on Sunday night was perfect (or as Pro Wrestling Torch columnist Bruce Mitchell put it, "dead solid perfect, flat out the best pay-per-view in the history of this business"), the news comes that the evening was partially stained by yet another immature and unprofessional act by WWE veteran and all-around ass in real life, John Bradshaw Layfield.
Layfield plays the heel "JBL" character on television, but he has a behind-the-scenes reputation within the wrestling business for being a miserable human being, a reputation that existed long before the "JBL" character was created in 2004.
Layfield has a history of picking on and hazing younger wrestlers, and just last year at a non-televised WWE house show in Germany (on the anniversary of D-Day, no less), he paraded around the ring saluting Adolf Hitler as a way to get cheap heel heat from the crowd. To this day, Layfield denies that he did anything wrong or that it was insensitive to goose-step around the ring saluting Hitler on a show in Germany.
So, I was disappointed and a bit sickened, but not at all surprised, to read that during the scripted brawl between the ECW wrestlers and the WWE wrestlers at the end of Sunday night's show, Layfield decided to take liberties with one of the ECW wrestlers, who went by the name of "The Blue Meanie" in ECW.
Apparently, Layfield was angry with Meanie for saying in a newspaper interview that Layfield was a bully behind the scenes. What happened between Layfield and Blue Meanie was not visible on camera, but has been reported on by the two major insider pro wrestling newsletters, the Observer and the Torch.
Here's what the Observer's Dave Meltzer reported on the situation, as well as Meltzer's follow-up on the situation:
"Unprofessional and unscripted act late in ECW show.... Several people live, as well as WWE sources, have confirmed that during the brawl at the end of the ECW pay-per-view, that John Bradshaw Layfield went after Blue Meanie and threw several real punches at his face, bloodying him up. A lot of the wrestlers who were in the ring and saw this were very upset. Reports were that Al Snow, who trained Meanie, visually looked the most upset. Layfield and Meanie have heat dating back to Meanie's days in WWE, and a few weeks back JBL cut a promo on Meanie at the Smackdown tapings, which was edited off the show before it aired.
Follow-Up: Does anyone expect any punishment for JBL for what happened last night? I didn't think so, either. After what happened in the ring, there was another incident backstage where JBL again tried to go after Blue Meanie, but he was kept back. Meanie ended up with a new forehead cut, as well as a previous cut that was re-opened, and a black eye before Maven pulled him free."
In addition, the Torch's Wade Keller reported:
"During the pre-show talent meeting held by Vince McMahon and John Laurenaitis in the afternoon before the show, wrestlers were told to put any grudges aside for the night. Everyone was asked to be professional and settle any disputes they may have at another time and another place. That made JBL's actions later all the more upsetting to other wrestlers, who felt that he defied the request by management to set aside issues from the past... The locker room sentiment was decidedly anti-JBL. 'JBL's a d--k and has a huge ego,' says one wrestler. Says another wrestler: "What the f--k do you prove by beating up Blue Meanie?"
(You can see a picture of what Blue Meanie's face looked like after it was cleaned up at http://www.ivansblog.com/bluemeanie.jpg)
So basically, all of the wrestlers were specifically told by management to be professional and not act on any past grudges, and how does Layfield respond? He decides to pick on the wrestler who is probably considered to be the physically weakest, Blue Meanie. Not only that, but Layfield doesn't try to fight him backstage or otherwise handle his business like a man... he decides to blindside someone during a pro wrestling segment when he's not expecting to have legitimate punches thrown at him.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: There are few things more cowardly than throwing real punches at someone who has put their guard down because they're in a worked pro wrestling situation and not expecting to get hit with real punches. Also, the reason Layfield was angry at Blue Meanie is because he had said that Layfield is a bully in real life. Didn't Layfield just prove him right with his cowardly and unprofessional actions?