The Blue Meanie was one of the stalwarts in the early days of ECW as it attempted to rise up and challenge the likes of WWE and WCW. Fast forward 25 years later and AEW is now on the scene looking to one day compete with the WWE.
Meanie talked about pro wrestling's latest national promotion when he spoke to Wrestling Inc. on our WINCLY podcast.
"I'm very happy there's an alternative with AEW. Technically their first show was All In and then they come around with Double or Nothing in Vegas and I thought it was a good show. The whole weekend was show with Conrad [Thompson] and Starrcast. It's like a Wrestling Woodstock almost," said Meanie.
"The only real test I see them facing is when they go to weekly television. They've had these couple of months where they have 5-6 months in-between to promote. People from all over the world get a chance to save up and take vacation time to see these two events. But now the challenge is getting those same fans to come out every week with the TV show. Will they still be able to do the 10,000 or 13,000-seat arenas? How will that translate to television?"
Meanie has perspective on what it takes to go from only doing pay-per-views to a weekly TV show as he did that as a part of ECW. He discussed how ECW changed when they had to cater their product to a television network and format.
"For ECW it wasn't that hard because we would do a TV taping and film like three weeks at a time. You would go to the ECW Arena and we could film 3-4 weeks easily," stated Meanie. "The rest of the show was promos and at the end we had these Pulp Fiction segments for people who didn't have a match but got to have an interview segment or skit to get their character over."
Meanie praised Paul Heyman for always having something for everyone to do. Meanie left for WWE before ECW jumped to TNN and when he returned for the tail end of that ECW run they were still using the same model for TV as they weren't live.
"We didn't really have to worry about going live once a week, every week for a year. The only thing live were the PPVs. That's when you really get the feel for having to edit on the fly because when we did shows at the Arena or elsewhere, Paulie could always fit that in post-production. Paulie was a maestro in post-production and you knew if you messed up, he would work it so that you wouldn't see the flaw at all," said Meanie.
"The challenges of live TV are that you need to think on the fly, edit on the fly and you also have to be mindful of your time because it affects other matches. There were plenty of times in WWE where I was in the Gorilla position and in my outfit and they say your segment's been cut because somebody's gone long. Or times when you're in the ring and you have to go longer because somebody else's match went short. That's the thing about live TV."
Meanie brought up that AEW is going to have to work on that because All In almost went off the air without the last match finishing. He compared the situation to ECW's PPV debut and the same thing happening with the match barely finishing before the show went off the air.
"With AEW a similar thing almost happened. You're gonna have weekly TV and a lot of the guys who are used to working shows where they can tape it and edit, they're gonna have to worry about sticking to times," said Meanie. "Also working to cameras – sell faces to the cameras to become stars. But Cody and The Bucks are smart guys and have been around the business. I'm sure Tony has helped work this out but I'm looking forward to seeing what they do."
Outside of indie appearances and training future superstars, Meanie is developing a retro arcade game that should be released shortly.
"Coming out early next year is a video game called RetroMania Wrestling. It's like an old-school arcade along the lines of WrestleFest – the old WWE arcade game. You can search on social media for Retrosoft Studios and there's plenty of videos and stills for the wrestlers involved including myself, the bWo, Tommy Dreamer, Austin Idol, Colt Cabana and a few other names to be announced soon," stated Meanie.
The Blue Meanie's full interview with Wrestling Inc aired as part of a recent episode of our WINCLY podcast. It can be heard via the embedded audio player at the bottom of this post. In it Meanie discusses the new bWo title belt, Cody Rhodes' unprotected chair shot, how to gimmick a steel chair, AEW's biggest hurdles, Paul Heyman's new WWE creative role, training Matt Riddle and more.
You can check out past episodes of the WINCLY here.