There are many urban legends and infamous stories in pro wrestling and one of them is the Public Enemy vs. The Acolytes WWE Sunday Night Heat match. The match is legendary for what many people perceive as a big set up on P.E. but according to JBL those were never anyone’s intentions.
For those of you that watched this match or paid attention to this era in pro wrestling, this match has taken on a legend of its own. Public Enemy was one of the hottest acts in ECW before being signed to WCW. P.E. went to WCW for three years and kind of fizzled out in WCW. While they did win the WCW tag team titles, the reign only lasted eight days.
[adinserter block=”1″]So when their contract was up in 1999 the “smart fans” that followed P.E. in ECW were ecstatic at the possibilities of Enemy going to the WWE. Surely the WWE would show Public Enemy the right respect and not hold back the greatest team in ECW history right? Well those hopes and dreams came crashing down in one match.
Public Enemy wrestled a few matches in the WWE on television before leaving the company. Their most infamous match came when they wrestled the Acolytes, John Bradshaw and Ron Simmons. Most fans regard the match as an all-out shoot by the Acolytes. The legend of the match is that the Acolytes sandbagged Public Enemy and went into business for themselves. According to one participant in the match, that is not the case at all.
John Bradshaw Layfield has a in which he speaks of the infamous match. According to JBL, the match was not what it was perceived to be. JBL explains what led up to the match and why things turned out as they did. The “Rooster” he refers to in this blog is agent Terry Taylor, who he called a stooge earlier in the blog.
“We were scheduled to put PE through a table on TV to start the feud. Rooster argued that they should go over on us, that was shot down (not by us, we never said a word-not sure who did it).
That day at TV in Pittsburgh PE arrived around 530p, talent was supposed to arrive at 1p. They walked in like they owned the place. We all thought at the time it was a lack of respect. In hindsight, I think they didn’t know any better and probably meant nothing by it.
The pre match meeting didn’t go well; they didn’t want to put us over. We never objected to anything. We didn’t care, we weren’t getting pushed and it’s not like we were saints it just didn’t matter to us.
They finally agreed to go through the table at the end and for us to get DQ’d-setting up the feud and first ever table match in WWE.
As we were standing in Gorilla (curtain right before ring entrance) the music was playing and one of them said to me “We don’t like the table spot, we will do something different”. I just said OK-what was I to say?
The table was the finish-I have no idea what they wanted to do. Ron turned to me and asked what happened. When I told him, he calmly replied, “If they don’t want to go through the table then we’ll take the table to them.”
Gerry Brisco was the only person in Gorilla, this match was for “Sunday Night Heat” and came straight to me alarmed and asked if we were putting them through the table. My response, “Yes, I just don’t know if it will take 15 seconds or 15 minutes”. Gerry said to me that we were to get the proper finish done.
We didn’t know what to expect. We didn’t know if we were walking into a ‘shoot’ or what we were walking into. We decided to get our heat from the start. We took over on them and you can see for yourself in the video. Or ask Jimmy Corderas the ref-who knew nothing of the finish change. Hearing Jimmy’s side is pretty funny, because he was expecting a completely different match.
We destroyed them.”
[adinserter block=”2″]Great story! There is even more to the story on his blog. You can read it the entire story on his website and post-match reaction. He also discusses in this blog whether Public Enemy were brought in to get beat down and the reaction of another wrestler and his wife who watched the match. It is really a great read and a terrific story.
For years the Acolytes had a ton of heat on them from those same fans from the IWC that supported Public Enemy. I am sure most of those fans have gone on to other things but it really is a revealing look at one of the most infamous matches of that time period. I’d highly recommend checking out the entire blog.
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