Blood and sweat slid down The Blue Meanie's face. The adrenaline from the crowd subdued his pain for the moment, but his eye would soon blacken and stitches he had from the night before would need to be resewn.
On June 12, 2005 at ECW's One Night Stand, a mob of wrestlers filled the ring, fists flying. Steve Austin, Kurt Angle, Taz, The Sandman and a throng of others staged a brawl.
In the midst of that action, JBL pounded on Blue Meanie's face with full-force shots. A real fight broke out between them.
In an interview with Arda Ocal, Blue Meanie said that JBL punched open a series of staples he had in his head. The Blue Meanie went on to say "we started throwing live rounds at each other."
Why did John Bradshaw Layfield bust Blue Meanie's face open in the interpromotional brawl? What led him to become an enraged bull?
Words Inspiring Violence
After the incident, Blue Meanie posted on his Myspace (via wrestling.insidepulse.com) "It's no secret that Bradshaw never liked me from my first day in the WWE to my last."
JBL has himself admitted that he has hazed wrestling newbies, a large part of the reason he has a reputation as a backstage bully. JBL reportedly angered Joey Styles by picking on him until the former ECW announcer clocked him in the face.
In an interview on wwe.com, JBL said "the incident with Meanie had nothing to do with any old heat, I don't even know the guy, I couldn't care less about the fat little kid." How much of that is JBL speaking from his character is hard to tell.
Former ECW wrestler Danny Doring was in the ring that night as well. He said in a shoot interview that JBL and Blue Meanie had bad blood between each other before the incident.
Doring goes on to say that Blue Meanie was taunting JBL.
In Blue Meanie's aforementioned Myspace message, he says that JBL was yelling at him about things Meanie had said about him on the Internet. Meanie claimed that his unflattering words had all been part of the show.
In a business where real and storyline hatred is hard to separate, you'd expect legitimate animosity to bleed into the ring. Regardless of JBL's reasons for pummeling Meanie, he went too far that night.
Meanie said in an interview published on wrestleview.com that he'd "been in the ring with stiff people before, but what JBL did was just unprofessional."
The Blue Meanie considering filing a lawsuit, but instead their differences were resolved over time and with clearer heads.
Retaliation and Reconciliation
Things would get more violent before they got more peaceful.
WWE embraced the tension between the two, pitting them in a match on an episode of SmackDown. Fellow Blue World Order member, Stevie Richards interfered on Blue Meanie's behalf.
The trouble here again is a blurring of real and kayfabe. Richards' interview appeared on WWE's website which generally doesn't break the fourth wall.
Looking at the video though, there seems to some truth to Richards' statement. It's an absolutely merciless blow with the chair.
Maybe that resounding whack was all Blue Meanie needed to get over his beating.
As the One Night Stand incident fades further into the past, it appears that both JBL and Blue Meanie have calmed and they are now at least civil towards each other.
In the Ocal interview, Blue Meanie even refers to them as "Twitter buddies."
He also told Ocal, "If John was in the room now, I'd shake his hand."
The men involved may have put that burst of anger and bloody face behind them, but fans won't soon forget he unexpectedly violent skirmish between a cowboy businessman and a chubby guy with blue hair.