This year’s Survivor Series was quite monumental because it was a time to celebrate 30 years of The Undertaker. Before the pay-per-view concluded, WWE Hall of Famers, opponents, and long-time friends – like JBL – came out to pay their respects to The Deadman and his contributions to WWE one last time. For JBL, he still can’t wrap his head around The Undertaker’s Final Farewell.
“It was surreal. The Undertaker, to me, is the guy that you never think is going to retire,” JBL mentioned in his interview on WWE’s The Bump. “He’s everything you want in a professional; that’s him. It’s hard to believe that was the Final Farewell, you know, after all these years, 30 years. I don’t think there will ever be a run that will be equal to anything like this in sports entertainment again.”
The week prior to Survivor Series, Taker came on The Bump to talk about his said farewell event. During his interview, he commended JBL for his rivalry with Eddie Guerrero, something he wished he could have been part of. After watching that clip, JBL was in awe that “The Phenom” was impressed with his work over the years.
“That’s like Michelangelo saying that your good a carving stone,” he said with a smile. “I think the world of The Undertaker as a friend, as a human being, and as a character.”
WWE will be bringing back it’s Tribute To The Troops show to pay homage to all of the men and women who are still serving our country. Acclaimed to have started the yearly event, JBL wanted to clear up that it wasn’t him who created it. In fact, he iterated that he was just the spark and not the creator of making this event a reality.
“I’ve gone to Afghanistan – I think it was the first civilian group to go after the invasion. After that next year, they said, ‘How about you go back with some WWE Superstars,'” he began. “We went back but to Southern Iraq in the summer, and it was unbelievably hot. We were on one of the busses, and I grew up watching the ‘Bob Hope USO Shows.’ I always thought that it would be cool to do something like that.
“I don’t know if I emailed or called Vince [McMahon] about it, but immediately he said he was going to come up with some sort of idea of Tribute To The Troops. He said, ‘Let’s take over lots of souvenirs to give as gifts to the troops.’ I get a lot of credit, especially on social media, but this was an idea WWE formulated. I was just the spark.”
The panel asked him if there was one fond memory he had during his numerous trips overseas. He recalls his very first trip to Afghanistan and how eye-opening it was to see what our soldiers go through on a daily basis.
“I was over in Afghanistan, and there was a blackout everywhere. We were still getting mortared all over the place; it was a real, real warzone,” he began on his first trip overseas. “There were times during the surge where it was calm, and there were places that were relatively safe. When I first went over there, I didn’t feel safe at all. I met some wonderful Special Forces Soldiers from our country and from around the world. You could hear the mortars at night, and it was a complete blackout. It was probably the most incredible thing that I’ve ever done.”
With former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama praising WWE’s efforts to entertain our soldiers overseas, JBL says that he was honored to perform for the troops over the years and that he wouldn’t trade those experiences for anything else in the world.
“The growth, to me, is something that’s a feeling in our country, which I think is important. These guys are heroes,” he complimented. “They do their part and we need to do ours.”
You can watch JBL’s full interview here. If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit WWE’s The Bump with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.