WWE Hall of Famer John “Bradshaw” Layfield joined Corey Graves on the WWE After The Bell podcast where he opened up about his iconic career. One part of his career that has gained infamy is the APA’s brutal beatdown on Public Enemy on an episode of Sunday Night Heat in 2000 that has been censored in WWE’s official showings of the match. JBL discussed the incident from his perspective.
“Yeah, I’ll tell you the story that’s from the true perspective. Those guys, they were so full of themselves and we didn’t like them,” JBL admitted. “Nobody liked them. They came in that day at 5:30. We’re in Pittsburgh, came the day at 5:30, and I remember Undertaker looking at them, and when he walked in, he goes, ‘that’s lunch, boys.’ And so we weren’t going to get much anyway.
“We were going to the first-ever tables match that was in WWE history, and we weren’t going to give that much anyway. I think we were probably putting them through a table and then probably at the PPV doing the favor for them. I’m not sure; I had no idea. That wasn’t up to us, but we didn’t like them that much, and we got to Gorilla position and the music’s playing.
“The only one up there is Jerry Brisco, and they told us, they said, ‘that spot with the table, we don’t want to do that.’ And I said, ‘that’s the finish, guys,’ and they said, ‘yeah, we don’t want to do that.’ Well, their music’s playing. They walk out. So Ron goes, ‘what was that about?’ And I said, ‘they don’t want to do the finish.’ Ron said, ‘well, they don’t want to do the finish. We’ll take the finish to them.’ I’m all jacked up. I can’t believe what’s about to go on, and Ron is just as calm as he can be.”
JBL continued noting that he does not mean to talk bad about those who have passed. However, he criticized their action to not go with the finish since he and Ron Simmons were committed to make Public Enemy look good and eventually put them over.
“Jerry Brisco comes running over, and he says, ‘what just happened?’ I said, ‘don’t know, Mr. Briscoe,'” JBL recalled. “He said, ‘are you guys going over?’ And I said, ‘we are. I don’t know if it’s gonna take 20 seconds or 20 minutes, but we’re going over.’ And we went out there expecting an absolute fistfight. We slid the ring, and they literally told us they were not going to do the finish as their music was playing. I mean, that finish is not ours. This is stupid; this is why we didn’t like them.
“God rest there souls. I don’t want to talk bad about anybody. I mean, that finish is not ours. That’s not up to us. The match is up to us, and we’re going to make you look good. We’re going to put you over the PPV, and you’re telling us you don’t even want to do the finish now to build up to a PPV where you’re going to go over?
“So, we went down and slid in there. Things got pretty snug right away and they just cowered. They wouldn’t fight back. They wouldn’t do anything. I’ve seen the match since. They’ve edited out a lot of the portion that was really bad.”
JBL admitted that he and Simmons thought they would be fired, but he said they were standing up for what they thought was right. He said that they had strange looks in the locker room as to what happened.
“We went to leave the ring. They started getting up,” JBL said. “Ron goes, ‘they’re getting back up. Let’s go get them.’ We went back in. The match never had a finished. Jimmy Korderas was the referee. You gotta’ ask him the story. I mean, he was sitting there watching it live. He couldn’t believe what was going on, and he didn’t DQ us, but we come back through Gorilla position and go back to the dressing room.
“And we think we’re going to be fired. You don’t do this – we felt like we had to. They had thrown the punk card down, and whether we win or lose, we’re going to step up. We’re waiting for them at Gorilla. We thought this is going to be where the fight happens.
“They came back came up to us, shook our hands, said thank you very much, and left. It was crazy. The boys were looking at us like what in the world was that? They thought we’d just gone rogue. We hadn’t gone rogue. Later, we found out what happened. Jerry Brisco, I think, probably told Vince, and within a week or two, they had been fired.”
JBL also dropped that WWE Hall of Famer Kurt Angle was there to watch the match live, and it was his first ever WWE match that he saw live. JBL said he does not hold any grudges against them now, but he still wonders what their back-up plan was if they didn’t want to do the planned finish.
“Another good part of that story was Kurt Angle, that was his first match to watch live. That wasn’t RAW, it was like a weekend show, and Kurt saw it and he goes, ‘I’m not doing this business.’ Yeah, nothing against those guys now, but it was something that happened where I had no idea why they didn’t want to do to finish, why they didn’t want to put us over, and why they would choose that time spot to say that.
“And I don’t know what they had as a backup. You said, ‘I’m not going to do the finish.’ OK, give me an option. To say, ‘I’m not going to do the finish’, basically, ‘I’ll see you in the ring’, and then they’re not there to fight either? So, I don’t understand really what happened from their perspective.”
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit WWE After The Bell with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.