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Is JBL Really A Bully?

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John Layfield

There have been many rumors flying around throughout JBL's entire wrestling career about whether JBL is truly a bully, or if he's just ribbing, or slightly hazing the new boys backstage. With the recent happenings with Mauro, we really have to wonder if JBL's bullying is just too toxic and dangerous for the WWE locker room? JBL has always claimed that has happened with him backstage is all in good fun, and it's just a mixture of ribbing and making sure that the new boys will be able to last with the company. It's common knowledge that there's Wrestler's Court backstage, with Taker being in charge when he's there, and JBL being right up there with him for years, though many have felt that power went to his head and that he would use it to be nasty to anyone who he perceived as not playing perfectly by his rules.

The list of superstars who have been bullied can never be fully complete because not everyone would openly admit what JBL has done to them, but many have stepped forward making comments or writing about it in their memoirs. Adam Copeland, better known as Edge, wrote in his book about how early on, when he thought he was accepted by the boys in the locker room, JBL walked in while Edge was in the shower and soaped his ass. Edge blew it off, but this was a common thing JBL did to test the mettle of young superstars.

JBL is famous for going after anyone who he perceived lower on the card than him, and that included staff and crew. Virtually no one that JBL felt he could bully was immune to his acerbic tongue and much more. He really went into full out bully mode when anyone from the ECW joined the WWE roster, and when the WCW Invasion happened, none on the roster were main event stars, so everyone was fodder for his abuse. WCW referee Billy Silverman had a habit of upgrading his flight seats to first class. This was verboten in the WWE, but Silverman didn't know this, no one had told him. JBL took it upon himself to torment Silverman until he resigned from the WWE. There are rumors of him tieing Silverman up in a shower, naked, and making serious threats toward his physical health. The tying up of naked superstars in the shower seems to be a common theme for JBL's type of bullying. There have even been rumors that JBL has threatened to rape people after he has them naked and tied up in the showers.

During the WCW Invasion storyline, a number of mid-card superstars from the WCW roster joined the WWE roster. During that time JBL hazed and bullied almost every one of those wrestlers, but things got exponentially bad when during the 2001 Invasion pay-per-view JBL took working stiff to a whole new level. He worked over Sean O'Haire, Chuck Palumbo, and Buff Bagwell in their match. Most would say that Bagwell had it coming, but Palumbo took a terribly vicious clothesline from hell from JBL that was more than stiff, it was dangerous and dropped Palumbo like a sack of potatoes. None of those superstars stayed with the WWE very long.

The most famous and well know incident was what's been dubbed, 'The Flight From Hell!' 2002, during a seven-hour flight from the UK to the USA, after a European Tour, a lot of superstars got very drunk, and a lot of things happened that are still talked about to this day. Most of the things that happened had nothing to do with JBL, but one of the nastiest incidents did involve him and Michael Hayes of the Freebirds. Hayes was extremely drunk and arguing with JBL. JBL got in Hayes' and punched him out. Later, while he was out cold, Hayes' signature mullet was cut off. Now, there's question about who actually cut off the mullet, and it might have been Sean Waltman, but JBL was in the middle of it all.

There were a couple of ECW stars that JBL specifically went after. The first being the team of Public Enemy. Through some possible backstage screwiness, a match was booked where JBL and his APA partner Ron Simmons were scheduled to go through tables in a match, but Public Enemy claimed that they were not going through tables themselves, even though that was a common thing they would do. JBL and Simmons were pissed and went to the ring and beat the tar out of Johnny Grunge and Rocco Rock under the guise of a wrestling match. They left the other team bloody and broken in the ring. The other really well-known instance of JBL taking bullying to a whole new level was at WWE/ECW's One Night Stand in 2005. The Blue Meanie had been busted open previously and had 14 staples over one eye. Toward the end of the pay-per-view, the locker room was to empty and a Battle Royal broke out between the WWE roster and the ECW roster. JBL purposely went after Blue Meanie and pointedly started punching Meanie above his eye where the staples were to bust him open again. Things got quite ugly between the two and Sandman had to get in there and get JBL off Meanie before he did any real damage. A verbal altercation broke out between JBL and Meanie backstage after the in-ring incident, JBL had to be restrained. Meanie considered suing, but in the end, he dropped it all and showed his professionalism after the beating he took. Meanie has also stated that JBL did everything in his power to make Meanie's earlier run with the WWE a living hell, and drove him to leave the company.

It was claimed that Matt Hardy had politicked his way out of taking a chokeslam from The Undertaker in a match. JBL took it upon himself to teach Matt Hardy a lesson and beat the hell out of him at the 2005 Armageddon pay-per-view.

Speaking of driving people from the WWE, JBL did exactly that in 2006 with Palmer Cannon. Cannon started on SmackDown as a 'Network Executive' and worked more storyline than in the ring from the start. During the European Tour that year Cannon purchased his own ticket to return to the USA and resigned from the WWE. They tried to convince him to stay, but he refused. The reason he packed up and left the way he did was because of the constant abuse from JBL. He took the bullying as long as he could, but it was affecting his mental state and knew he needed to get out of there for his own mental health.

During the 2008 Tribute To The Troops Tour, it has been stated that JBL spent much of the time drunk and bullying anyone he could. At one point, during a plane ride, he dumped a bucket of water over a sleeping Lilian Garcia. After that, he moved on to ECW's announcer Joey Styles. Styles is only 5'7” tall and not built like a wrestler, but he worked for years in ECW and took a number of bumps through the years. Because of his size Styles was an easy target for JBL, or so he thought. Styles wouldn't back down to JBL's abuse on that tour, even when others had to restrain JBL from going after Styles physically. Styles told them that he could handle it, and proceeded to drop JBL with one punch, leaving him with a black eye. JBL left Styles alone after that.

There have been a few WWE superstars who have lasted through the bullying and abuse, but the most famous is Mike Mizanin, better known as The Miz. JBL never saw Miz as a wrestler and thought of him as nothing more than a reality star. It is true that Miz was on Real World, and WWE's own reality show Tough Enough, but he also put in the work and has become a top superstar in the WWE for many years, as well as acting in a number of movies produced by the WWE. When Miz first came in to start wrestling with the company, after being properly trained, JBL led the hazing and bullying against Miz in a way no other had seen. Miz was physically forced out of the locker rooms and made to change in either bathrooms or right there in the hallways of the arenas. JBL also took it upon himself to pee in Miz's water bottles, and soap his ass like he did so many others, but with Miz, he took things to the top by tying him up in the shower and threatening to ass rape him. While this is something that he did to a number of superstars, Miz was the only one who spent over a year putting up with all of JBL's favorite bullying techniques and stuck around to prove that he was so much more than what JBL claimed he was. Miz has been quite vocal about the abuse, even commenting on it during worked shoots in the ring.

The list of superstars who have been soaped had their water bottles peed in, and were threatened with an ass raping is long, and continues to grow as more people are willing to talk about it. Gillberg, Palumbo, Edge, Palmer Cannon, Paul London, Shannon Moore, Brian Kendrick and almost every superstar that was smaller than him who he thought he could get away with it with. But one of the worst things that JBL did to someone was when he defecated in Jillian Hall's travel bag, ruining everything she had in the bag, clothes, makeup, hair products, wrestling gear, and everything she needed to work.

The reason most of this has come back around is because of Mauro Ranallo. Mauro is one of the best announcers the WWE has brought into the company in many years, but because he has never been a wrestler, possibly made JBL feel threatened in his role in the WWE, and because he's struggled with bipolar disorder since he was a teen, JBL saw only weakness and was all over Mauro verbally. JBL bullied Mauro so badly that Mauro had to take some mental health time away from the company. Because of the continued issues with JBL, Mauro and the WWE have come to terms that they will pay off Mauro's contract through to the end on August 12, 2017.

JBL fully admits to ribbing, and sometimes hazing young superstars, but claims it's all in fun, no one gets hurt, and no one has an issue with it. Think of the many of superstars he drove from their dream spots in the WWE would disagree with him. After all these years of bullying and abuse, the WWE continues to support JBL, and most suspect it's because he is close friends with Vince McMahon. But this writer wonders how far things have to go before JBL is held accountable for his abusive actions.

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