Former ECW and WWE star The Blue Meanie sat down in a recent interview with Gerald Brisco and John Bradshaw Layfield for an episode of Stories with Brisco and Bradshaw. During the interview, they discussed a wide variety of topics, including JBL revealing that he greatly enjoyed appearing in front of ECW crowds.
“Jerry Lawler and I were kind of the two guys that really took on ECW. It was awesome,” shares JBL. “I could’ve wrestled there every night of the year for my entire career. You know, they hated me and Lawler so much because we were the ones that really went after them hard. It was incredible to be in that environment.”
JBL then goes on to say that he believes the NXT fanbase has a similar feeling to those of ECW. He says that the passion and underground feeling are similar to one another, and Meanie agrees. But then goes on to say that he wishes that the WWE had done something similar with the ECW revival.
“Absolutely,” affirmed Meanie. “I totally agree with that. I kind of wish, when they brought ECW back, I wish they would have done it with the original ECW. Kind of take it out of the big arena, have it in a studio with a smaller crowd and have that more of a underground feel. NXT is part WWE, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at the product because it’s such a different [product]. It’s a darker building [and] heavily based on wrestling. You know, stuff like that. . . You watched the ECW they brought back, and it was really good TV. But the only thing that hindered it was the three letters, E-C-W.”
The Blue Meanie has been vocal about his fondness for the NXT brand in the past. He has even gone as far to say that it has a superior product to AEW.
Brisco chimes in and says that he and the WWE really made a mistake with the ECW revival. He went on to admit that no one in the company gave the respect to ECW that it deserved. He says that the WWE’s first few ECW outings were good, but they eventually turned it into just another WWE style show.
“We, being the WWE, really blew that, I think,” said an adamant Brisco. “I don’t think any of us really gave it the respect and had the vision that Vince actually had to make this thing work. Our early TV’s were really good ECW product. Then when we started getting at, ‘it needs to be slicker, it needs to be this.’ You know, it didn’t need to be any of that stuff except the way we started and the way you guys had it there. So, I think we blew that opportunity to really make another competition and another brand with the WWE.”
Blue Meanie went on to talk about the rumor that Shane McMahon was wanting to buy ECW and do a web series with it. He went on to discuss the vast growing importance of digital media and web series, and ponders if ECW could have become an early pioneer.
“There was always that rumor that Shane McMahon had wanted to buy ECW and do a web series with it,” shared Meanie. “Which, I think would’ve been an awesome idea. I think this could’ve been a pre-cursor to doing something – everyone has a show on YouTube now. He could’ve done an internet-based show, keep it the way it was, and try bringing in advertising that would be generated towards that kind of product.
“I think ECW in Shane’s hands probably could’ve kept it a little bit more cutting edge. Because he was a younger guy and, from what I was told, Shane McMahon was a big fan of the original ECW and liked the show. When I went there, me and [Shane] would talk about ECW stuff. Like when Triple H took over NXT and that was his baby, ECW could’ve been Shane McMahon’s baby. You know, let him go off to the side.”
Meanie then goes on to compare it to Vince McMahon Sr. giving Vince Jr. a town in New Hampshire to run, and the way Vince Jr. gave NXT to Triple H. He says that Vince could’ve given ECW to Shane to allow him to grow experience.
Brisco then confirms that Shane McMahon was a huge fan of ECW wrestling. He said that Shane would bring up ECW in WWE meetings, and became more involved in the WWE because of the company.
JBL then asked Meanie if the ECW was meant to fail because they were so controversial. He says that while it built a fanbase, it repelled most TV contracts. Meanie says that he thinks ECW was doomed from the start because it had to compete for talent with other companies and be able to handle its debts.
“In my mind, ECW was doomed from the start because, again, the Attitude Era where everyone is competing for talent,” pointed out Meanie. “You have to overpay a little bit to make sure your marquee guys don’t jump ship. And then, when ECW kind of started making money, say in , they made money. They’re still paying for . So, when they go to , they make money in ’98, but they’re still paying for ’97 and part of ’96. So, they’re kind of bailing water out of the boat while water is still coming in.
“If they could have just got a deal, if the TNN deal would’ve worked where TNN put out money for cost of production and advertising, and stuff like that, I think ECW could’ve stayed afloat. I say this all the time, if ECW would’ve survived, it would’ve become a promotion like what Ring of Honor became.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Stories with Brisco and Bradshaw with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.