Date: June 12, 2005
Location: Hammerstein Ballroom in Manhattan, NY
Source: Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Armpit reader The Lone Wolf
Justin Bradshaw Layfield (JBL) has always been a notorious bully. Unlike the fight with Joey Styles, which ended up with JBL humiliated and bloodied up, an incident with the Blue Meanie only cemented JBL’s reputation as an out of control bully who rarely got punished for his unwarranted assaults.
When the Blue Meanie worked for the WWF in the late ‘90s, he was bullied by JBL just as many other wrestlers were. At the time, JBL was known simply as Bradshaw and formed a tag team with another tough guy, Ron Simmons, called the APA. Years later, Meanie would go online and talk about how JBL had harassed him. He also testified against JBL in a court case referee Billy Silverman had against he and WWE (JBL had bullied and harassed Silverman too).
In 2005, RVD suggested to Vince McMahon the idea of an ECW reunion PPV. Vince greenlit the idea, and on June 12, a PPV called One Night Stand was held that Paul Heyman was given the freedom to book. It was a throwback to old school ECW, and critically was a huge success. It also did well on PPV, to the point it was done again in 2006.
Blue Meanie was brought back for the show, as were almost every other living wrestler from the ECW era. The theme of the show was that the WWE wrestlers were trashing ECW as a promotion filled with untalented garbage wrestlers, and leading the SmackDown side was JBL. In a battle royal on the show, both JBL and Blue Meanie were scheduled.
Meanie was aware of the heat between the two, and played it up for the crowd and cameras by visibly taunting JBL before the bell rang. He stood behind Al Snow and taunted him with words and his arms and facial expressions. Clearly it was a work, as he figured many of the smarter fans in the building knew of the things he had said online and was playing off whatever heat they had. He never expected anything to come of it.
The problem was that JBL had been drinking heavily. The WWE guys were openly drinking beer on camera, and JBL had consumed several beers by the time he got in the ring. All that alcohol, combined with JBL’s natural bullying attitude, Meanie’s taunting, and a very rowdy crowd, all added up to bad news.
The bell rang and Meanie brawled with Jonathan Coachman. Suddenly he felt a hard punch to the back of his head, and sure enough, JBL had hit from behind. Meanie was shocked, and just as he realized what was happening, his head started bleeding. He had injured it two nights earlier at an ECW reunion show Shane Douglas organized, with a chair shot to the head that opened him up and required 14 staples to close. JBL had just opened it up again with the blow to the back of the head.
The camera shot switched to a different angle, so you can’t see what happens for the next few seconds. JBL apparently lost his balance, and when the camera was back on them, the two were locked up in a clinch. JBL had the advantage, throwing some hard shots to his face while Meanie only managed to get in some weak body shots to the ribs. Soon Meanie was bleeding from the forehead above the eye, and also his eye got swollen and eventually blackened.
Meanie was hurt, and JBL staggered away. He looked back one last time to make sure he wasn’t going to come back after him. After Meanie gets up, you can see him tell Al Snow what happened, and Snow looks concerned. The rest of the match continued as planned. Meanie was so amped from the crowd that he didn’t feel any pain, and the only other notable thing after this was Tracy Smothers, who heard about what happened during the match, got a couple stiff shots in on JBL at the end.
Backstage, JBL was in the gorilla position and went after Meanie when he got back, shouting about all the things Meanie had posted on the internet. People got between them before anything else happened. Meanie shouted back, “It’s a work! The business is a f*cking work!”
Meanie went online later and posted what happened, along with pictures of his very real injuries. He considered taking legal action, and while he deserved to win any case he brought against them, it’s unlikely he would’ve won because a jury not familiar with pro wrestling may not have known the difference between shooting and working. Meanie was hoping JBL would be punished for his actions, but nothing happened.
Not long after Meanie made noises about suing, WWE took preventive action to appease him. They brought him in for a few shows, had JBL apologize to him, and assured him nothing further would happen. They booked him to go over JBL on SmackDown, but it was just a short term deal. In that match, Stevie Richards (as part of the Blue World Order) delivered a very stiff chair shot to JBL in what was a “receipt” for his shoot on Meanie at the PPV. Richards openly predicted JBL to kick his ass after that, but it never happened.
Meanie was happy with the arrangement. The shows he worked for WWE allowed him to make more money and pay some bills, he got a win over JBL, and the underground buzz the shoot generated gave him a much needed boost on the indie circuit.
How JBL was able to pull this kind of nonsense and not get fired remains a mystery, but that’s been the case for years. And he’s not the only company bully to get away with it, as Bob Holly had done even worse things and not been fired.
As for Meanie, he went online and said JBL’s antics proved him right about being a bully. If that was the case, then what did he mean when he shouted “It’s a work!” to JBL? What exactly was a work? His online comments? Clearly they weren’t a work. His taunting of JBL in the match? Perhaps, and that was definitely a work. Still, taunting a very drunk big bully JBL was beyond stupid, and he should’ve known he’d have shot on him. It doesn’t excuse JBL at all, and he absolutely should’ve been fired. But one has to question Meanie’s judgment in inviting that kind of trouble with someone who is well known to be cowardly bully. It’d be one thing if Meanie was a shooter, but he had to know JBL would destroy him if it ever came to that.
Tracy Smothers came to Meanie’s defense, and went online to challenge JBL to a real fight. Nothing ever came of that. Smothers is a noted tough guy, but as tough as he is, he likely still wouldn’t have been a match for JBL.