Former WWE star The Blue Meanie: ‘NXT is the new ECW’

Brian Heffron might not be a name that immediately springs to mind when thinking of wrestling royalty.

But as his alter-ego The Blue Meanie, the 45-year-old is one of the most celebrated and notorious characters in the history of ECW.

Teaming with Stevie Richards and Nova, they parodied WCW’s top faction the nWo as the bWo, with Meanie, becoming Da Blue Guy, lampooning Scott Hall, aka ‘The Bad Guy’.

With significant stints in WWE and now a coach for talent across numerous companies, Heffron, from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, has a lot to say about sports entertainment.

On a personal visit to the UK, he stopped for an exclusive chat with Danny Stone for Mirror Sport about WWE’s women’s evolution, NXT and the possibility of an ECW return.

You are a former WWE star. Do you still watch WWE and what did you think of the all-women’s pay-per-view, Evolution?

I like what they’ve done with the Evolution pay-per-view. It’s been done on the independent circuit and now that it’s worked its way up to the world of WWE, I think that’s really cool.

Somebody pointed out that WWE has five or six different brands and the women’s evolution is one of them. So, WWE is creating opportunities, giving more people more work.

I’m pretty sure Evolution won’t be a one-off show, there’ll be more. I love that they went from calling the women divas, to superstars. I love where they’re taking the product, out of the doldrums of a male dominated sport and making everybody a star.

Could you see an ECW return to WWE anytime soon?

Well it kind of did return with NXT, I think. Especially the early days of NXT. Just watching the product and seeing how the crowd was at Full Sail, it was like an ECW arena crowd, very ECW-esque. Now they’re doing the ‘Takeovers’, that first one reminded me of ECW ‘Barely Legal’ – with a better budget!

Then they grew, but to me NXT is what ECW was. It started off independently, but Vince helped out. He would send WWE guys to ECW like Droz and a few others just to get some in-ring experience, before he brought them back up – much like NXT now. So to me, NXT, in a way, is the next ECW.

WWE has launched NXT UK and there are rumours of NXT Germany. Does that follow the same model, albeit global, of sending superstars elsewhere to work?

To me, that’s kind of brilliant as it’s like bringing back the territory system. Someone will work in NXT America, if I’m getting stale there, I’’ll go to NXT UK, then to, like you say, NXT Germany or NXT Japan – who knows?

Does that model spell trouble for independent wrestling in those countries?

Nah, I don’t think it will impact it. Because when ECW, or WCW or WWE would sign somebody away, that was an opportunity for the next guy to step up and take charge. So if there’s one king of the indies, if there’s such a thing anymore, once that guy gets signed up, the second in line becomes the big man. There’s thousands of wrestlers and opportunities. So, if someone gets signed, it’s an opportunity for the next in line to takeover.

You mentioned Vince McMahon, do you have any good Mr McMahon stories?

I was never really too detailed with Vince. My first time meeting him in the business, was when ECW invaded Raw. It was nothing major but it always stuck with me that at the end of Raw, all the ECW guys lined up and went through to Gorilla Position, to shake hands with Vince like we were meeting the Pope or something.

I walk in and Paul [Heyman] goes "this is the Blue Meanie" and he goes [adopts McMahon deep-voice] "ha ha, meanie" and that always stuck with me for some reason, like "you cat".

I met him as a fan though, when WrestleMania was in Atlantic City, when I was growing up there. I see Vince come out of this restaurant with his entourage and I felt like the kid from Christmas Story, you get to meet Santa – you want to say something but you blank out.

So I say "can I ask you a question?" and he said "sure, go ahead". "Who’s gonna win tomorrow?" and he turns to his people and says "ha ha I think we all know who’s going to win tomorrow!" with the Vince laugh. Once he walked away, I berated myself! ‘That’s the question you asked Vince McMahon? You idiot!’

You repeated your ECW character, Bluedust, in WWE and worked for a time with Goldust who you had mimicked. Do you know what he thought of Bluedust prior to your teaming up?

Ironically, I did. I was still in ECW, doing Bluedust and there’s a wrestling promoter named Jim Kettner who’d invited me to check out one of his shows. I went to watch and he had Goldust on the show. This is back when WWE was letting guys work the independent shows.

Goldust was getting ready for his match. I said "hello" and "I hope you don’t mind the whole Bluedust" thing. He said "no, man" and hit me with the line "imitation is the highest for of flattery" and he loved it.

The same thing happened when I met the nWo guys. They said "no, no, no, it’s great". Scott Hall would rip Kevin Nash. He’d say "the Blue guy is the leader of the Blue World Order and he’s me, so I should be the leader of the nWo". He’d just give Kevin Nash a little nudging.

Then when I was in WWE and they broke up the J.O.B Squad, well you’re always trying to think up ideas for what’s next. So, I went up to Vince Russo. Goldust had just stolen Al Snow’s ‘Head’. So I suggested I come back as Bluedust and play mind games with the guy playing mind games and get Al Snow’s ‘Head’ back. So that was how the whole idea in WWE was born.

He pitched it and they decided to run with it, which was awesome. I got to do two ECW parodies in WWE with bWO and Bluedust.

Finally, the Meanie always seemed to be having fun, do you still play pranks?

Me and Al Snow were at a convention a few years back and he’s down the table from Dan Severn [the MMA and UFC legend] and this guy could pretty much tie me up like a pretzel, if he wanted to. I look over and see all the belts he has won, these legit fighting titles, that he killed these guys for. So I suggest to Al we go over and ask him where he got his replica belts. There are so many at the convention, I think it would be funny to suggest his are fake.

Al goes over and says to him, "me and Meanie were wondering where you got those replica belts, how much did they cost?!" And you see this proud man, being asked about his fighting titles, whose chest had puffed up with pride, just deflate.

Al was going to keep it going, but his reaction made me burst out laughing! Al was mad at me for letting the joke go too soon.

Meanie is leaving his mark on superstars across the sports entertainment world. He continues to work on the independent scene – look out for his next appearance @BlueMeanieBWO

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