AS I SEE IT
Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets
In only the second show since the aborted Extreme Rising fiasco, Wrestling with Disaster ran at the 2300 (ECW) Arena Saturday night, as part of the filming of the Wrestling with Disaster documentary.
Wrestling with Disaster follows both developing wrestlers from the promotions/schools of The Monster Factory, DCW, and WXWC-4. The documentary will also feature stars from the last 30 years of wrestling, to give a perspective on the challenges of making a career in wrestling.
Part of the event included the 2014 additions to the Arena’s Hardcore Hall of Fame: 2 Cold Scorpio (Charles Bernard Scaggs), who was inducted by ECW founder Tod Gordon; Pitbull #1 (Gary Wolfe) and the late Pitbull #2 (Anthony Durante), as well as Shane Douglas, and The Blue Meanie (Brian Heffron).
Previous inductees were: Rocco Rock/Ted Petty (2002) Terry Funk (2005), Johnny Grunge, The Sandman (2007), John Zandig (2008), Eddie Gilbert, Chris Candido, Tod Gordon, Sabu (2009) , Trent Acid, Jerry Lynn, and Tommy Dreamer (2010).
I watched Shane Douglas create “Extreme” Championship Wrestling in one promo on a Sunday afternoon TV taping; and give the storyline blastoff to the promotion that for better or worse, changed professional wrestling to this very day.
Over the years, I watched the acrobatics of Two Cold Scorpio, and the physical violence of the Pitbulls (including one of the hottest reactions in the ECW Arena’s history in August 1996, as Shane Douglas attacked Pitbull #1 Gary Wolf, yanking on the halo worn by Wolf as the result of a broken neck.
But most of all, I thought about Brian Heffron, better known as The Blue Meanie.
Brian was (and still is), first and foremost, a wrestling fan… someone we knew from going to independent wrestling shows. He went to one of the yearly Memphis trips, just before he told us that he was going to take the leap and go to Al Snow’s wrestling school. In those pre-social media days, he gave us his card, which showed a potential gimmick, the Zebra Kid. Well, he went to Al Snow’s school…and he made it.
He trained with Al Snow and worked Midwest independents, until he was seen by Raven and Stevie Richards in 1995 working for the Steel City Wrestling promotion.
Maybe Brian would only have made it big in ECW. In the WWE and WCW of the days, he didn’t look like a Cherobyl steroid mutant from Hell, so wouldn’t have gotten a look, despite the fact he had one of the best trainers of the day.
But in Paul Heyman’s ECW, your look didn’t matter, as long as it was unique….and you could wrestle, which was one of the things that made ECW what it was. So Brian Heffron became the Blue Meanie (for those of us not old enough…a Beatles Yellow Submarine reference) in 1995 at November to Remember. The Blue Meanie was the “lackey” for Stevie Richards, who was in turn the “lackey” for Raven. In 1996, the Meanie became part of Raven’s cast of characters, Raven’s Nest. Joining them was Nova (Mike Bucci). The three started out doing funny skits before Raven came out for his match.
To this day, the single funniest skit I’ve ever seen in a wrestling ring was the KISS parody they did at the ECW Arena in August 1996. It started out when JT Smith, who was playing an “Italian” who was part of the Full Blooded Italian stable, made out as if he could sing opera. Well… this night JT had a sore throat. So out came “the greatest rock and roll band in the world”….in full KISS makeup…complete with music and KISS onstage antics. It’s no doubt on WWE Network…give it a look.
So in November 1996, the bWo itself was born. They could wrestle, and not just play comic relief, as Paul Heyman gave them big spots on ECW’s inaugural PPV, Barely Legal; with the Michinoku Pro trio of Taka Michinoku, Terry Boy, and Dick Togo coming out as “bWo Japan”. Stevie Richards (aka “Big Stevie Cool” was part of the 3-Way Dance for the #1 contendership for the ECW World Title.
The bWo stayed hot in ECW until 1998, when they went to WWE. The moment most people remember out of Brian’s WWE time was the John Layfield incident when Layfield legit beat the crap out of Brian at the 2005 One Night Stand PPV. Like most things he ever did in wrestling, Brian made the best out of it with a short-term WWE contract together (to avoid a lwsuit against WWE) with Stevie Richards and Nova (who was used in WWE as Simon Dean, a self-improvement character). Brian got his receipt in June 2005 when on a SmackDown episode , the bWo came out in JBL’s limousine, tagged it with “bWo, followed by a match between JBL and Heffron, which Heffron won following interference from Stevie Richards, Batista, then Heffron himself with a Meaniesault.
Brian had his independent success as well with West Coast Wrestling Connection WCWC Championship, the Memphis Championship Wrestling Southern Tag Team Championship and 1 time Light Heavyweight Champion, 3 time Steel City Wrestling Tag Team Championship, one time Steel City Television Championship, and Ultimate Pro Wrestling Internet Championship.
Brian also co-owned 3PW (Pro-Pain Pro Wrestling) from 2002-2005, which brought in former ECW talent and such names as Christopher Daniels and Roderick Strong.
He continues to show his love for the business, training at Larry Sharpe’s Monster Factory and continues to wrestle.
I think above all, Philadelphia and many other fans, have continue to remember Brian over the years because he’s so genuinely likable, because he loves the business as much or more than any one of us, and because he had the guts to go for his dream of being in wrestling…and captured the golden ring.
So congratulations, Brian. You deserve it.
Until next time….