A Christmas Story (Styles vs. JBL)

Bob Magee
Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets

AS I SEE IT 12/15: “A Christmas Story” of a slightly different sort

Joey Styles is officially my hero. At least this week.

In a story that no one could believe at first, Mike Johnson of PWinsider.com broke the story of longtime ECW and WWE announcer and current WWE personality Joey Styles punching out John “Bradshaw” Layfield during the recent WWE tour of Iraq during an altercation, busting Layfield open under the eye.

Layfield had made Styles a hazing target during the trip, physically and verbally bullying Styles. Finally, a drunken Layfield finally insulted Styles’s family. Styles had enough and went after Layfield. Several of the workers broke up the altercation, with Layfield again coming after Styles, and Styles hitting Layfield with a shot that laid him out, blackening his eye and opening a cut.

Layfield had already dumped a bucket of ice water of WWE ring announcer Lillian Garcia on the flight over to Iraq as previous hazing on this trip alone.

But Layfield’s reputation was already well-established by the 2005 incident at the One Night Stand PPV where Layfield assaulted Brian “The Blue Meanie” Heffron during the closing brawl of the PPV. Layfield’s reputation and what he did to Brian are the main reason I enjoyed this Styles story so much when reading it and finding out it wasn’t just a rumor.

I’ve known Brian Heffron 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.

Brian told my younger brother that he was going to follow his dream and go to wrestling school, and be trained by some guy we barely knew at the time 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.

John Layfield isn’t half the man that Brian Heffron is. Despite some of his “old school” speeches out of character, John Layfield doesn’t have the love of the business that Brian does. Layfield didn’t lose two grandparents who loved Brian while training; both of whom while dying, told him not to dare give up on his dream shortly before their passing.

So along with feeling some karame came back to bite Layfield in the ass, this beating by Styles had oddly appropriate good timing, given that we’re in the middle of the Christmas season; and one of my favorite Christmas movies “A Christmas Story”. It’s a movie taken from writer Jean Sheppard’s story of the same name featuring the Parker family, and their various adventures, including little Ralphie Parker’s quest to get a Red Rider BB gun.

In the subplot of the movie that makes it my favorite, little bespectacled Ralphie Parker (played by Peter Billingsley) and his friends are harassed by neighborhood bully Scut Farkus. Ralphie and his friends build up Farkus in their elementary school minds to be a 6’8, 330 pound monster (think a fully gassed up 1980s heel Nikita Koloff). One day, Ralphie is simply tired of being scared; and after being taunted one last time by Farkus, beats Farkus’s face bloody, letting out language that a Marine wouldn’t use (distorted for the effects of a kid-friendly movie). Suddenly the bully is nothing more than a 3’5″, 85 pound kid with blood and snot running down his face crying for his mommy.

Remind you of anyone?

Layfield didn’t cry for his mommy, to be sure. But he was embarrassed in front of “the boys” and any military officers and enlisted that may have been present. In Layfield’s mind, that’s probably worse. Not surprisingly, after getting his ass kicked, John Layfield was reported to be quiet for the remainder of the trip, playing with his Blackberry. He had to wear TV makeup and his cowboy hat pulled

I’m hardly suggesting that movies are real life…or that people beat up anyone that causes them problems (unless they have no alternative), or that standing up to them is easy.

And I’m not suggesting anyone bring signs to tonight’s RAW (not much), because WWE’s sign police be looking for them. However, one can always sneak in a marker and get creative with a markish sign that will pass the sniff test of the sign police….and then get creative. But I didn’t suggest that…much.

We can all agree that it IS something to celebrate when people get the courage to stand up to bullies. Lord knows there are few people within wrestling more deserving of someone standing up to them than John Layfield. Good for Styles for doing so.

Until next time…

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