John Layfield Discusses His Wrestling Career: How The JBL Character Was Created, His Favorite Opponent, More

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The Bermuda Sun recently conducted an interview with John Layfield, in which he discussed many aspects of his wrestling career, including how he got his start, his gimmicks, and his favorite opponent. Layfield explained the genesis of his JBL persona in the excerpt below:

JBL was my favourite. I enjoyed the Bradshaw character — the beer drinking character from Texas. It was just fun. For Ron Simmons and I, that was us. The WWE saw two old football players sitting around drinking beer and they wanted to put that on TV. We had a blast with that.

The JBL character came along. Vince McMahon will deny this because he didn’t see any parallel with the JR Ewing character (from the TV show Dallas), but in my mind it was a JR Ewing character. It was my idea.

I had wanted to be this JBL character for some time, but I was doing so much for the troops and going to Iraq for Christmas and doing shows for the troops.

Because of this Vince didn’t want me to be a bad guy. A confluence of factors happened. Big Show got hurt, The Undertaker got hurt and Brock Lesnar left the company and they needed a guy to face Eddie Guerrero. Vince asked me if I wanted to do the JBL character and I said ‘I’d love to and said let’s give it a whirl’.

When asked about his favorite opponent, Layfield responded:

"The Undertaker was far the best. He and Eddie Guerrero — who was probably the most popular Hispanic character of all time — and those guys were just magicians. Those guys were so good and so professional and talented. With some guys, I wrestled hard, they wrestled hard but there was no chemistry. It’s frustrating because you’re wanting people to be happy because they’re spending hard-earned money. You want them to enjoy the show but I walked away thinking 'I just didn’t do my job.'"

Click here to read the full interview.

  • Mojo

    Didn’t much care for the JBL character. Loved the APA though. DAMN

    • Van

      I liked JBL as an announcer.he was awesome on commentary

  • 7028brethart

    JBL a wrestling GOD, yes sir.

  • Bogusstang

    Always loved JBL. Really a good commentator on FOXnews. Sat morning $$ shows mostly Cashing In. But a great wrestling commentator. Wish he would come back but doesn’ t need the money. Local radio DJ Jennifer Johnson in kansas city speaks fondly of him

  • Blazeking

    JBL was one of the best heels of all time. The funniest moment was where he had pyro for like 5 minutes!!!

    • Wwe4L76


  • Brad

    Hated the JBL character.. But he was the top heel on SMackdown for a few years.. Gotta give props for that

  • Oldskewl Fan

    hated the JBL character at first, but it grew on me, and I realized what a great heel role he was playing, glad he got the chance to do it, I loved hating him …and I am more fond of heels than faces.

  • George

    Please come back to commentary and put Cole in his place!

  • H.M.

    I was a fan of both of JBL's gimmicks. He played the arrogant, aristocratic jack*** from Wallstreet to a tee.

  • Me.

    As great as JBL was as a wrestler, he took it to the next level when he was on commentary.

    If the paths of WWE and JBL crossed again and he was able to resume doing commentary, I would be very happy.

    • ChromeyDaniels

      Replace booker with JBL. Start a angle with them for commentary for them.

  • Jeremy

    I want him to at least return to the WWE with Ron Simmons as Faarooq and him being as the original Bradshaw (long hairs dye black with the mustache and beard) as the APA just to remind the kids what awesome tag team they use to be. Though he was a great heel as JBL, to me he had more memorable moments as Bradshaw from the New Generation era of 1996 to the Attitude era of 1998 to the Brand Extention era of 2002.

  • BIGRAN77741

    What happened to my comments about the apa????? it was published

  • Jman72485

    The JBL gimmick was great. Funny at times too. He struck gold though when he retired to do commentary. Loved it when he would yell out “Godzilla!” every time Khali would come out lol. I think he will always be remember though as Baradshaw from the APA, the gimmick was badass!

  • Thomas

    If people hated JBL's character, then he did his job right as a heel. I'll be honest, I wasn't a far of the character one bit. But i'll give him props to do the matches that he did with Undertaker, Big Show, Eddie, all of those guys. It's impressive. I think JBL is one of the better wrestlers that may be overlooked by HBK, Triple H, Undertaker and so on, but the man had an awesome run with the APA, one of the best heels in the history of Smackdown and in WWE, and could do commentary. He should come back

  • TheVoid

    When I saw JBL I was new to WWE, and thought he was just an asshole. I didn’t understand heels and hated him. Looking back now, he was a good heel.