John Bradshaw Layfield (JBL) joined Christy Olson on this week’s AdFreeShows.com and during it, the WWE Hall of Famer talked about his JBL character that he started in 2004 as well as friendship with Eddie Guerrero.
If the character could’ve worked in 2002 after splitting from Ron Simmons:
“There’s a couple answers to that. The biggest thing that happened during that time was after 9/11, I was going to Iraq a lot. I was doing a lot of stuff with the soldiers. I was going to Walter Reed. I’m not sure. I’ve never talked to Vince about it, so I don’t have this from him personally, but I have the feeling they didn’t really want me to be a heel at that time because of what was going on in the country, and I was going to Iraq and Afghanistan quite a bit. So, they didn’t really need the JBL character. It was fine with me just being Bradshaw at that point. They didn’t really have a lot for me, but that was fine as well. They came upon a need when Eddie Guerrero got the title because Big Show was hurt, Kurt Angle was hurt, and Brock Lesnar left the company. There were a whole host of things that happened at the same time, and they needed that character right away. That’s when they needed a main event guy against Eddie Guerrero, so I just got lucky. I had a torn bicep, a hernia surgery, another hernia surgery, and after the second hernia surgery, I thought I was retired. All of a sudden this break came, and they needed somebody for Eddie in 6 weeks at The Staples Center. It was quite a shock when they told me. I was thrilled to be able to bring out the JBL character at that point. As far as coming in earlier, they didn’t need it. That was just a moment in time that they did, and fortunately, it was kind of on the front burner of Vince’s mind that when he needed it, he was able to pull it out.”
Friendship with Guerrero:
“Eddie would call me all times of the day and night and give me ideas for promos. He said to tell them, ‘My ancestors came over here in a boat, not an inner tube.’ I said, ‘Eddie, you’re going to get me killed.’ Sometimes we would be in the ring and I would be cutting a promo. He would send into the referee some phrase he would want me to say, sometimes in Spanish, sometimes in English. Especially the southwest in front of huge Latino audiences, I would always say it and people would get so furious. That was all Eddie. Eddie really liked the JBL character. Eddie was a groomsman in my wedding. I did part of the eulogy at his funeral. I wish he was still here today. We were close friends. He really took pride in getting JBL over. If JBL had anybody else other than Eddie, it probably would have been a one off at The Staples Center. I don’t think JBL would have been around another PPV. I think I probably would have retired, probably within a few months, but because of Eddie, he made JBL, and then I had a pretty good run with it.”
H/T to WrestlingNews.co for the transcription