|Born:|| 2822 AΩX |
|Age:||41 (Omega 5)|
|Job Class:||Pro Wrestler|
|Appearances:||Omega V: Redemption|
John Charles Layfield (born November 29, 1966) known by his current ring name John "Bradshaw" Layfield or JBL, is a retired American professional wrestler. He is currently working for World Wrestling Entertainment as a color commentator on SmackDown!.
His gimmick, that of a wealthy, gladhanding businessman, is based largely on Layfield's real-life accomplishments outside the ring. Known as a successful stock market guru, Layfield is a regular panelist on Fox News Channel's The Cost of Freedom and previously appeared on CNBC. He has also written a best-selling book on financial planning called Have More Money Now (ISBN 0-7434-6633-0). While Layfield continues to perform for WWE, he also hosts a nationally-syndicated weekend talk radio program syndicated by Talk Radio Network discussing his conservative political views. Layfield is also employed by Northeast Securities as Senior Vice President.
Prior to his professional wrestling career, Layfield was a successful collegiate football player for Trinity Valley Community College and Abilene Christian University. At Abilene, Layfield was a two-year starter on the offensive line and was named first-team All-Lone Star Conference as a junior and senior.
Layfield signed with the Los Angeles Raiders as an undrafted free agent, but was released before the 1990 season began. Layfield did play in the World League of American Football, starting all 10 games of the 1991 season at right tackle for the San Antonio Riders, wearing jersey number 61.
Global Wrestling FederationEdit
Layfield was trained initially by Brad Rheingans and first started wrestling in the Global Wrestling Federation in Texas in 1992. His first gimmick was as Johnny Hawk, storyline cousin of the famous Windham brothers. He formed the "Texas Mustangs" with Bobby Duncum, Jr.; they quickly won the tag team titles but dropped them to Ian & Axl Rotten (Bad Breed). Layfield also won the NWA North American Title, defeating Kevin Von Erich. Two months later, he lost the NWA North American Title to Greg "The Hammer" Valentine.
World Wrestling Federation / World Wrestling Entertainment (1995-present)Edit
After three and a half years touring the independent circuit in various forgettable guises, Layfield first appeared in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) as Justin "Hawk" Bradshaw in late 1995. His initial gimmick was that of a tough cowboy/mountain man, similar in tone to Stan Hansen. After victories, he branded his opponents with the symbol "JB." Of course, the brand was in ink, rather than being seared into the flesh. Managed by Uncle Zebekiah, the character fizzled out by the end of the year, perhaps remembered only for a feud with Savio Vega and a match with Fatu which he won in eight seconds. Layfield then quickly paired up with his (storyline) cousin Barry Windham to form "The New Blackjacks," complete with the traditional "Blackjack" handlebar mustaches and short, jet black hair.
Windham's injuries piled up throughout 1997, so the team disbanded, and Layfield wrestled only occasionally on TV as a generic brawler simply called "Bradshaw", sometimes teaming with fellow Texan Terry Funk.
In late 1998, Bradshaw teamed alongside former World Championship Wrestling (WCW) World Champion Faarooq to form the powerhouse tag team Hell's Henchmen, managed by the Jackal. After the Jackal left the WWF, Faarooq and Bradshaw joined The Undertaker's new Ministry of Darkness under the name The Acolytes. The Ministry went on to feud with the Corporation. As part of the Ministry, Bradshaw feuded with Ken Shamrock. The Ministry was defeated by Stone Cold Steve Austin and the Undertaker went on hiatus, so Bradshaw and Faarooq's dark gimmick faded.
The duo turned face to become cigar-smoking, bar-brawlers-for-hire. In jeans and t-shirts, Faarooq and Bradshaw became the Pulp Fiction-inspired Acolytes Protection Agency (APA), with a motto of "Because we need beer money." The duo was often seen in the backrooms of arenas with a trademark poker table and later a framed doorway comically in the middle of the often large, open aired hallways; they insisted that anyone entering the space use the door. Occasionally, if the "room" was destroyed in one arena, it was set up exactly as it was destroyed at the next arena, pushing continuity through time and space for comic effect. As a team, they won the WWF Tag Team Titles three times. Bradshaw also won the WWF European Championship in October 2001.
In early 2002, Faarooq and Bradshaw split due to the WWE Draft. Now on RAW, Layfield's character had an increased emphasis on his Texas roots, which included him carrying a cowbell to the ring. He also became a multiple-time WWE Hardcore Champion. Renaming the belt as the Texas Hardcore Championship, he won that title a total of eighteen times. It was also during the time that his finishing move was briefly renamed from the Clothesline from Hell to the Clothesline from Texas or the Clothesline from deep in the heart of Texas. Jim Ross often called the move as such during his commentary, although the name eventually reverted back to the original Clothesline from Hell.
In September 2002, Layfield suffered a torn left biceps at a house show event. He was out of action for six months until returning to Ohio Valley Wrestling and then a few weeks later to the active WWE roster. He returned on an episode of SmackDown!, which saw him and his old friend Faarooq saving the Undertaker from the hands of Chuck Palumbo and Johnny Stamboli. Layfield returned with a new look, cutting his long hair and not dying it black, and shaving his facial hair. After that, he and Faarooq competed for the WWE Tag Team Championship.
The gimmick continued on-and-off until early 2004, when Faarooq (Ron Simmons) was fired in the storyline (in actuality he retired) from WWE after losing a tag team "You're Fired" Match in Boston. Then-SmackDown! General Manager Paul Heyman reminded Bradshaw that the "You're Fired" stipulation applied only to Faarooq and Bradshaw should think about his own future, noting his status as a successful author and then-FOX News personality. Layfield turning his back on Faarooq was strictly kayfabe; the two remain close friends to this day, and Simmons was the best man at Layfield's second wedding.
The next week, Bradshaw changed his gimmick into a J.R. Ewing-esque heel persona complete with a suit, cowboy hat, and tie. He began referring to himself as John "Bradshaw" Layfield, or JBL. As in 2002, his finishing move's name was part of the overhaul, becoming the Clothesline From Wall Street until he later changed it back to it's original name. His first promo was on the border between Texas and Mexico, where he hunted for incoming illegal immigrants in order to win a "Great American Award", which granted the winner number one contendership to the WWE Championship. He won, and immediately challenged Eddie Guerrero for the title. The storyline leading up to Judgment Day was that JBL caused Eddie's mother to have a kayfabe heart attack at a house show when he threatened her and grabbed her by the shoulder. At Judgment Day, JBL defeated Eddie Guerrero via disqualification in a WWE Title match. JBL went on to win the WWE Championship controversially from Guerrero at The Great American Bash. The initial decision of Guerrero's victory was reversed during the Texas Bull Rope Match by then-General Manager Kurt Angle, awarding the match and the title to JBL; the replay showed that JBL touched the fourth corner before Guerrero. JBL won a rematch in a steel cage match two weeks later in Providence, Rhode Island, again with Angle's assistance.
JBL won several squash matches in the following weeks. After claiming he would not be defending the title at SummerSlam, the Undertaker challenged JBL for the title. Around this time, JBL hired Orlando Jordan to help him in title matches. At SummerSlam, JBL won the match by disqualification. After the match, Undertaker chokeslammed JBL through the roof of his limo. JBL wore a halo (complete with his cowboy hat on top) for the next few weeks to sell his "injuries". General Manager Theodore Long then booked a "Last Ride Match" for the title at No Mercy. JBL retained the title with some help from Heidenreich.
Though JBL held the title for many months, most title matches were won controversially. At the Survivor Series, JBL defeated Booker T to retain his WWE Championship by hitting Booker in the face with the title belt when the referee was knocked out. JBL also defeated Eddie Guerrero, Booker T, and the Undertaker in a Fatal Four Way at Armageddon after a run-in by Heidenreich, who incapacitated the Undertaker, allowing JBL to take advantage and hit Booker with the Clothesline From Hell to get the pinfall victory.
The "JBL" character, at first, mimicked the actions of a J.R. Ewing-style businessman running for office (campaign speeches, kissing babies, etc., which fit with the 2004 Election Cycle) but then started referring to himself as a "Wrestling God", much to the on-screen disdain of RAW's then-World Champion Triple H. The segment of RAW where Triple H showed himself thoroughly unimpressed by JBL is an instance of a rare occurrence in professional wrestling, where a heel expresses hostility against another heel in the same company without one or the other turning face shortly afterward.
During JBL's time as WWE Champion, he employed a "staff" to work for him. The stable was named The Cabinet. At its peak, the stable contained Orlando Jordan, who was JBL's "Chief-of-Staff" and Doug and Danny Basham, who were his "Co-Secretaries of Defense" until "quitting" the Cabinet on the June 16, 2005 episode of SmackDown! Amy Weber was also a member, being JBL's image consultant, but later left WWE due to alleged harassment. WWE explained Weber's absence by saying that JBL "fired" her after an episode of SmackDown! taped in Japan. That episode saw Weber accidentally shoot JBL with a tranquilizer gun. Jordan is the only member not announced to have left the group, though mention of the term cabinet went on hiatus after SummerSlam and Orlando was released from WWE in May 2006.
JBL's luck continued in early 2005; at the Royal Rumble, he snuck past both The Big Show and Kurt Angle in a Triple Threat Match when he pinned Angle after the Clothesline From Hell. He once again emerged with his title intact from WWE's first-ever Barbed Wire Steel Cage Match at No Way Out against Big Show. JBL won the match when Big Show chokeslammed JBL off the top rope through the ring. JBL managed to crawl out from under the ring apron before Show could make it to the floor, winning the match by escape. On the next edition of SmackDown!, JBL had a "Celebration of Excellence" in which he and his Cabinet celebrated the fact that he was the longest-reigning WWE Champion in ten years (since Diesel), a party which was broken up and ruined by newly-crowned #1 contender John Cena.
JBL lost the WWE Championship to Cena at WrestleMania 21. His unbroken nine-month reign was billed as the longest in a decade, lasting 280 days. JBL defeated Big Show, Booker T, and Kurt Angle in a four-way elimination match to earn a rematch, but lost to Cena at Judgment Day in a bloody "I Quit" match. He was ribbed by Cena and other wrestlers for saying "I Quit" over the next few months. Cena even called him the most celebrated quitter in WWE history.
On June 12, Layfield appeared at the WWE-promoted ECW One Night Stand pay-per-view as an anti-ECW "crusader." In the course of the night, however, he shot on The Blue Meanie (see Aftermath). WWE capitalized on the situation by re-signing Heffron to a short-term contract. On the July 7 episode of SmackDown!, Blue Meanie was reunited with his old Blue World Order associates Nova and Stevie Richards and he defeated Layfield with the help of the World Heavyweight Champion Batista, who was drafted to SmackDown! a few weeks after Cena was drafted to RAW.
Layfield and Batista then met in a match at The Great American Bash on July 24 for the World Heavyweight Championship. JBL won the match by disqualification. At SummerSlam, Batista soundly defeated Layfield. JBL lost another rematch with Batista on the September 9 edition of SmackDown! in a Texas Bullrope Match (the same match JBL won the WWE title in).
On the September 16 edition of SmackDown!, JBL lost to Rey Mysterio and hired Jillian Hall to "fix" his career. At No Mercy, JBL defeated Mysterio. JBL then teamed up with Rey Mysterio in the SmackDown! versus RAW rivalry with Chris Masters and Edge. He was named one of the superstars whom fans could vote in to face Edge and Masters at 2005's Taboo Tuesday event. Though he wasn't chosen, he later defeated Chris Benoit on November 10, with the help of Booker T, to become a member of "Team Smackdown!" to face "Team RAW" at Survivor Series. JBL lasted throughout most of the Survivor Series match, and can even be credited for helping give Smackdown! the victory by distracting Shawn Michaels with a steel chair long enough for Randy Orton to hit him with the RKO. On SmackDown! in December, he helped Booker T defeat Matt Hardy. He later beat Matt Hardy at Armageddon. He showed up at the "Tribute to the Troops" as "Bad Santa" where he lost to the good Santa Mick Foley.
On the February 24 edition of SmackDown!, he suffered a broken hand at the hands of Chris Benoit in a six man tag team match, and WWE.com announced that he underwent successful surgery. Layfield was in fact having surgery to remove a non-cancerous cyst.
Layfield returned and feuded with Chris Benoit, defeating him for his WWE United States Championship at WrestleMania 22. During this time, Jillian Hall remained at the side of JBL until the April 21 edition of SmackDown! when JBL fired Hall, due to her inability to help JBL defend his title during a JBL/Benoit steel cage rematch the week before (which JBL was still able to win) as well as her lack of putting together an "appropriate" celebration for him.
JBL, while still United States Champion, challenged for the World Heavyweight Championship. JBL tried to weaken then champion Rey Mysterio in the weeks leading up to his title match as Mysterio faced off against any opponent of JBL's choosing. Mysterio was defeated by Mark Henry and squashed by The Great Khali in non title singles matches before facing RAW's Kane in a match, that went to a no contest. This led up to the Judgment Day title match. However, Mysterio retained his World Title at Judgment Day using a Frog Splash to pin the United States Champion, JBL.
On the May 26 edition of SmackDown!, JBL lost the US Title to Bobby Lashley. He also lost another attempt at the World Title against Rey Mysterio, stating beforehand that he would quit SmackDown! if he lost that match. When he did lose, the crowd at the arena began to sing "Na Na, Hey Hey, Goodbye". It was reported that JBL began to verbally attack the crowd while in the ring. However, JBL later stated that he did not have a formal contract with Teddy Long going into the match and that he did not intend to leave SmackDown!. This angle was used to give JBL time off wrestling due to his serious back injury.
Retirement / WWE CommentatorEdit
At One Night Stand 2006, Layfield announced that he would take Tazz's place as the new color commentator for SmackDown!. He made his debut as a heelish color commentator on the June 16 edition of SmackDown!.
Layfield noted in a recent commentary on TheStreet.com that he was retiring from in-ring competition for good. In his final column on the website, JBL wrote, "I have also come to believe that you can't fight father time. A broken back suffered in a match in England, compounded by a herniated and bulged disc, finally made me realize my career as a professional wrestler was over. I since migrated to the color commentary position much in the way that Jesse Ventura did before me."
In a WWE.com article, Layfield quelled internet rumors that he would be leaving WWE in October 2006. While Layfield did admit to giving his notice to WWE, he said that he did so because he was heartbroken that he couldn't wrestle, not because he wanted to quit the wrestling business. He has since signed a new deal.
JBL returned to the ring on November 13, 2006, in the main event of a WWE house show in Dublin, Ireland, JBL teamed with Mr. Kennedy and King Booker against Kane, The Undertaker, and Batista. On the December 22, 2006 edition of SmackDown, JBL cut a promo berating Theodore Long and cursing out the fans for cheering during the Inferno Match at Armageddon 5 days earlier ("Rome didn't fall because of the gladiators in the ring. Rome fell because of the spectators in the stands.")
On his February 5, 2007 blog on WWE.com, Layfield announced that he is looking into running for political office in his home state of Texas.
Layfield also makes weekly appearances on the Fox News Channel weekend business show, Bulls & Bears
On the October 12, 2007 edition of Smackdown!, Layfield was announced as one of the options WWE fans would be able to vote for to be the special guest referee at Cyber Sunday for the World Heavyweight Championship match between Batista and The Undertaker. However, he lost the vote to Steve Austin. Before that, he became physical for the first time as color commentator as he attacked both Batista and The Undertaker in a middle of a match using the Clothesline from Hell. This was for revenge after he was speared by Batista and later chokeslammed by The Undertaker. At Cyber Sunday he received a Stone Cold Stunner following a conversation with Stone Cold Steve Austin.
On the December 3, 2007 episode of Monday Night Raw, JBL and Ron Simmons re-united as the APA to help Hornswoggle during his handicap match against Carlito and Jonathan Coachman. JBL stated that this would only be a one-night only occurrence.
At Armageddon he helped Randy Orton retain the WWE Championship by attacking Orton's opponent Chris Jericho, therefore disqualifying Orton. Championships do not change hands on disqualifications. On the December 17 episode of Raw, JBL announced that he would resume his role as an active wrestler, in response to a challenge made by Jericho.
Layfield's actions at a WWE house show in Munich, Germany early in June 2004 caused a substantial uproar. During the show, in an attempt to draw heel heat, he gave the crowd several Nazi salutes while goose-stepping around the ring. Such a display is illegal in Germany if used for political purposes.
In an interview with The Washington Post, Layfield explained "I'm a bad guy (on WWE TV). I'm supposed to incite the crowd. I've done (the Nazi salute) for decades. I really didn't think anything of it - I know how bad it is, I've lived (in Germany). I've been to Dachau, seen those places where they exterminated millions of Jews. I draw the line between me and my character. That's like saying Anthony Hopkins (who portrays Hannibal Lecter) really enjoys cannibalism."
His parents are Lavelle Layfield, who is a minister, and Mary Layfield.
John married Meredith Whitney on February 13, 2005 in Key West, Florida. She is an executive director of CIBC World Markets, part of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, and works in New York, where she analyzes the stocks of financial institutions. She appears regularly on Cavuto on Business, a Fox News program. She graduated with honors from Brown.
On November 1, 2007, Layfield's wife, Meredith, received several threatening e-mails after making a controversial announcement to the investment community to sell their shares of Citigroup stock. This financial advice from such a well known analyst caused many investors to indeed sell their stock in the company, costing Citigroup an estimated $15 billion according to The Wall Street Journal. Layfield stands by his wife's decision, calling the people who threatened her "cowardly pieces of shit" and canceled a planned trip to Texas to visit family so that he can, instead, accompany his wife in a protective role until heat from the incident dies down.
- Finishing and signature moves
- Clothesline from Hell
- Sheer drop release powerbomb
- Last Call
- Super Last Call
- Three Amigos
- Short-arm clothesline
- Swinging neckbreaker
- Big boot
- Running combination elbow drops
- Bear hug
- Sleeper hold
- Torture rack
- Eye poke
- Scoop powerslam
- With Ron Simmons/Faarooq
- Aided powerbomb
- Back suplex / Neckbreaker slam combination
- Double spinebuster
- Skandor Akbar
- The Jackyl
- Ron "Faarooq" Simmons
- Orlando Jordan
- Basham Brothers
- Amy Weber
- Jillian Hall
- The Wrestling God - JBL
- American Hero - JBL
Championships and accomplishmentsEdit
- Catch Wrestling Association
- CWA World Tag Team Championship (2 times) - with Fit Finlay (1) and Cannonball Grizzly (1)
- Global Wrestling Federation
- GWF Tag Team Championship (2 times) - with Bobby Duncum, Jr. (1) and Black Bart (1)
- Memphis Championship Wrestling
- MCW Tag Team Championship (1 time) - with Faarooq
- NWA Texas
- NWA North American Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- Ohio Valley Wrestling
- OVW Southern Tag Team Championship (1 time) - with Faarooq
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- PWI ranked him # 150 of the 500 best singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 1996.
- PWI ranked him # 173 of the 500 best singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 1997.
- PWI ranked him # 102 of the 500 best singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 1998.
- PWI ranked him # 78 of the 500 best singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 1999.
- PWI ranked him # 87 of the 500 best singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2000.
- PWI ranked him # 45 of the 500 best singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2001.
- PWI ranked him # 36 of the 500 best singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2002.
- PWI ranked him # 496 of the 500 best singles wrestlers of the "PWI Years" in 2003.
- PWI ranked him # 15 of the 500 best singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2004.
- PWI ranked him # 5 of the 500 best singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2005.
- PWI ranked him # 64 of the 500 best singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2006.
- World Wrestling Federation/Entertainment
- WWE Championship (1 time)
- WWE United States Championship (1 time)
- WWF European Championship (1 time)
- WWF/E Hardcore Championship (18 times)
- WWF Tag Team Championship (3 times) - with Faarooq
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards
- Best Gimmick award in 2004
- Other titles
- All-American, Div II NCAA at Abilene Christian University (1 time)
- Korean Wrestling Championship (1 time)