JBL: There Was Almost A Riot When ECW Invaded WWE In 1996
Things almost got a little... extreme
In the lead-up to ECW’s inaugural PPV Barely Legal in 1997, the Philadelphia promotion worked with WWE to stage an invasion on WWE television, and inadvertently nearly caused a riot.
The first act of the invasion happened during a Savio Vega vs. Justin Bradshaw (JBL) match at In Your House: Mind Games, and according to JBL on Stories with Brisco and Bradshaw with guest Blue Meanie, the first shot nearly caused a riot:
“It was me and Savio Vega in a Caribbean Strap Match,” recalls JBL “Bruce smartened up Savio to what was going to happen. That Sandman was going to spit the beer on Savio, and he said, ‘The one thing you do is grab the cowboy and don’t let him get over the rail,’ because Bruce knew me.
“But right before I went out, [Blackjack] Lanza didn’t want to take the risk of not smarting me up. He turns to me and says, ‘If anything happens, don’t go over the rail’. And I said, ‘Jack, you wouldn’t tell me if anything happens, if something isn’t going to happen’. And he said, ‘Well, I’m just telling you something could happen in the one corner with Savio, and if it does happen, just understand it’s part of the show’.
“So when we went out of the ring, Savio went over there and we went on the wrong side, and he said, ‘No, we have to be over here’. And right then, I realised this is where the spot’s got to be about to happen. So when it happened, Savio put the rope around me. He didn’t know Lanza had smartened me up. And he said, ‘Just stay here with me, stay here with me. Let’s go back into the ring’. But by then, I knew it was all a part of the show. But the boys in the back had gone up to gorilla [position] and were just about to head out.”
Luckily, the locker-room were smartened up on what was going down before all-out war broke out:
“As soon as we got back, Lanza had smartened the guys up when they came up,” said JBL “Because by then, nobody was going to stooge off what was going to happen because it already happened. So, [The Undertaker] and the boys apparently were coming out of the dressing room. I was in the ring with Savio, and Lanza says, ‘Guys, it’s a work’. And right away, the guys were pretty pissed they weren’t smartened up to it. But at that point, it’s not Tommy Dreamer, Bubba, and those guys, and Paul E. It’s a part of the show.”
“At that time, I turned to Bruce like I was going to kill him,” added Brisco. “I was literally going to kill Bruce Prichard.”
H/T: Wrestling Inc.