AS I SEE IT 6/20: Anatomy of a coward

Bob Magee
Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets

This week, we discuss one of wrestling's biggest cowards; and his most recent act to earn that title, physically assaulting Brian "Blue Meanie" Heffron at the WWE "ECW-themed" One Night Stand PPV.

For anyone who may have missed it, Layfield legitimately attacked Blue Meanie with punches to the face and back of the head during the end of show brawl between the "ECW talent" and the "WWE and WCW crusaders"; as seen in the pictures below.

The attack by Layfield likely resulted from the fact that Heffron has previously mentioned online that Bradshaw is a backstage bully that preys on younger WWE talent; with "ribs" and outright abuse laid upon them; largely because he can.

It's been reported all over the internet that Bubba Ray Dudley had to pull Meanie out of the ring because Al Snow, Tracy Smothers, and others jumped Layfield after he had injured Heffron.

Comments have came out last week about the incident:'s Dave Scherer stated this past week:

"Basically, Bradshaw showed himself to be anything but champion-like with what he pulled last night and in fact proved everything that Meanie said about him. The guy is almost forty years old and acts like a 12 year old. It's sad.'s Bob Ryder stated the following:

"I reportedly shortly before the event last night that I had been told by some former ECW workers that they expected cheap shots from some of the WWE workers when they came into contact with them.

That's exactly what happened at the end of the show.

John Bradshaw Layfield lived up to his reputation of being a thug and a bully when he attacked Blue Meanie with legitimate punches to the face and back of the head in the closing minutes of the PPV. Layfield's actions marred what had been a tremendous night for everyone involved and reopened wounds that had been stapled shut after Friday night's Hardcore Homecoming event. Meanie could be seen with his face covered in blood at the end of the program.

Layfield has a long history of being a bully, something that is apparently condoned by those in charge in WWE. He and Meanie also have a history dating back to the short stint Meanie had in WWE a few years ago. Just last week Layfield cut a promo in the ring about Meanie at the Smackdown tapings.

There's no place for something like that in professional wrestling...not even on a "hardcore" pay-per-view. That it's condoned and allowed to continue to happen without any consequence is a sad commentary on the way things are run in WWE."

From Peter Staniforth, UK wrestler writer and UK independent promoter:

"I know what you think of 'my kind'. You hate wrestling writers, for no other discernable reason bar the fact that you know WE know you're a really painful to watch below average lower card at best guy who's managed to get places he never deserved to on talent or drawing power alone.

We're smart to that, you hate us for it. It's all good, we hate you too.

All that money wasted on a washed up never was like yourself that could be spent on countless NEW talents with a chance of getting over, isn't wasted on many of us. You call us out constantly. Go ahead, pal, give it your best shot - come over to England if you want. I'm no tough guy, but if you want to question my love of professional wrestling then I'm happy do it face to face. I'm not scared, because I've dealt with idiots like you, we have a couple here in England comparable to you.

At best, your character is a poorly ripped off 'Million Dollar Man' Ted DiBiase. You don't have heat, John. You don't even have 'heel' heat, John. You have good old 'get the HELL of my television, you worthless excuse to my intelligence who couldn't entertain or grab interest if you gave away in person the amount of money you claim to have gained on the stock market' heat.

Yes, this is about what you did to Meanie.

Myself, and us at 1PW here in the UK have a lot of time for Meanie as a person and a worker. To do what you did, John, was pathetic. You knew he had to defend his self more than fight you, due to stitches, and that shows you're a COWARD. You did it on your own turf and on live PPV, because you knew if anything went wrong you'd be saved, this also shows you're a COWARD. You're not a tough guy, you're not a shooter, you're just a guy who thinks he can throw his weight around.

It doesn't play anymore. Ask Rick Steiner what happened recently when he tried his tired old crap out on Vordell Walker on a recent indy show.

You wouldn't have tried it in Philly, would you John? You'd never have got out the bingo hall alive. If I was anyone with a slight tinge of power in the ECW contingent in WWE, I would tell Vince that we'd up and walk away until something was done about Bradshaw. Then and only then would McMahon DO something about this 'man' John Bradshaw Layfield. When he knew it would hit his chequebook, then he'd make a move. Right now the only reason people even GIVE a damn about watching WWE, is because they've brought ECW back from the grave. And doesn't that hurt certain people on the WWE payroll?!

One day, John, you'll grow up. Until then, you will always be considered an utter joke as a worker, a sick joke as a champion, and the complete opposite of the hard guy you like to claim that you are.

It also sounds like it isn't just wrestling writers. Later on this past week, Tracy Smothers cut a promo on Layfield during a show for independent promotion UWA in Alcoa, TN. The promo included remarks in which Smothers physically challenged Layfield to "step up like a man" anywhere Layfield would choose.

The webmaster for Smothers's website confirmed the incident took place, indicated that the promo in question was taped for UWA's local TV (so footage exists); and further quoted Smothers as stating that what he'd said was a legit comment about the way he felt and wasn't part of a promotional storyline.

So what do readers think that Vince McMahon did after this assault? Fired him? Suspended him? Even scolded him?


How about (for all practical purposes) rewarding Layfield by giving another paycheck, assigning him to do "alternate commentary" for the DVD for the PPV event?

So what do I think?

I think John Layfield is a bully and a coward. Further, he's a bully who seems to be getting rewarded by Vince McMahon for his political views (which are very similar to McMahon's...a case in point being the all out support of the WWE trips to Iraq in order to entertain US troops), rather than anything he's done inside the ring recently.

Layfield has been allowed to pull "pranks" that in any other line of work, would have gotten him fired.

On June 12th, he was allowed to do something to another wrestler, a wrestler who one could presumably trust with the safety of one's body in the ring (which every wrestler HAS to be able to do just to work a match on any level of the business). All this coming from the wrestler who was once quoted as saying the following:

"We know everything about one another's families and home lives. We know of everyone's problems and successes. We are a home away from home, that often is even more like home itself. One reason guys have a hard time leaving this business is the camaraderie."

Some camaraderie.

So to John Layfield...I know Brian Heffron, and have for a long time. He was a Philadelphia area wrestling mark like the rest of us. He went with my younger brother, John, to Memphis with a Joel Goodhart sponsored trip back in 1990. Like everyone else, he marked out for going to the WMC TV studios. He marked out for Jerry Lawler, Eddie Gilbert and the rest.

He told my younger brother that he was going to follow his dream and go to wrestling school, and be trained by some guy named Al Snow. We saw Brian's early personnas as Brian St. John...then the Zebra Kid... before ECW made him The Blue Meanie, and Brian finally got his dream of making a living in the wrestling business he loved so much.

So, Mr. Layfield, perhaps you've got a nice spot in WWE. Perhaps you make more money than what you know what to do with...and have invested a lot of it. Perhaps you're in a position where you think you can get away with anything at all...including behavior that would get you fired or even arrested if committed in any other type of employment. You may well have all those things.

But you aren't half the man that Brian Heffron is.

You don't have the love of the business that he does.

You didn't lose two grandparents who love you while training; both of whom while dying, told him not to dare give up on his dream shortly before their passing.

You haven't gone through being dumped publicly.

You haven't gone through a night like January 15, 2005, when Jasmin St. Claire walked out on 3PW, leaving Brian to tell the 3PW locker room that night that they had no idea if anyone would get paid that night. If they did, they'd get paid on the live gate and not much else. He also had to deal with questions if they're still going to have a company to be booked in at all come the next month.

I guarantee if you were in the latter position...your locker room wouldn't have stayed with you like his did. Because Brian's held in high regard by everyone in it, and by a lot of the Philadelphia wrestling market, even by his business competitors. They stayed with him, and 3PW is still in business...solely because of that reputation.

Perhaps the next time you're in a wrestling ring, you'll have to look over your shoulder, and look at one of the people who were kicking your ass at the Hammerstein Ballroom. Perhaps they'll remember who and what they respect...then you'll know the kind of fear he must have known as he was getting sucker punched by you, before most of the former ECW locker room that was working One Night Stand jumped your sorry ass, and kicked the crap out of you until Bubba Ray Dudley saved you by pulling you out of the ring.

If there's any justice, there won't be a Bubba Ray Dudley around next time.

Until next time...


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