On his YouTube channel, WWE Hall of Famer John “Bradshaw” Layfield recently did a Q&A with fans. Part of JBL’s hall of fame career includes being a part of the APA with Ron Simmons. However, the APA was not a long lived tag team like many other iconic tag teams from the Attitude Era, and JBL discussed if he wished he and Simmons had been teamed together for longer than they had been.
“Yeah, of course. It wasn’t up to us,” JBL noted. “The office wanted JBL, at that time, just Bradshaw to go on his own, and so Ron and I were just footsoldiers. We did what we were asked. We didn’t really protest stuff and didn’t really say ‘we won’t do this’ or ‘didn’t want to do that.’ Ron and I worked together a lot of times before the APA, so we’d wrestle each other a ton. It wasn’t a matter of whether we wanted to wrestle each other, but we really didn’t want to do the angle where Ron came back for revenge and all that.
“Neither one of us wanted to do that. We just wanted to kind of separate, and it was the perfect heel turn for me. Very similar to say Junkyard Dog and Ted DiBiase down in Louisiana under Bill Watts – they knew Junkyard Dog was DiBiase’s best friend, best man at his wedding. Ron was the best man at my wedding. It was very similar. Fans knew if you turn on your best friend, you’re really a bad guy, and that’s what we wanted from the Bradshaw character. And Ron was so good and generous, as he always was, and so as far as would have liked more, absolutely.”
The week JBL did his Q&A was on the same week of Dusty Rhodes’ birthday. A fan had tweeted a photo of JBL coming out and challenging Rhodes to a bull rope match at Full Sail University. JBL gave some insight to that moment.
“Dusty Rhodes, his birthday was this week. Put the picture up of me challenging Dusty at Full Sail to a bull rope match, that was 100% a rib,” JBL revealed. “I told Dusty I was gonna challenge him to a bull rope match. He was the king of the bull rope. I’ve done so many of them. In fact, when we did the bull roll match with Eddie [Guerrero], Vince [McMahon] told Bruce [Prichard], ‘Call Dusty,’ who was working the other company (TNA) at the time and asked him to help you out with a finish, so Dusty actually gave us the finish despite not working for WWE at the time. I told Dusty, ‘I’m gonna come out and challenge you to a bull rope match.’ He thought I was kidding. I found a bull rope somewhere, put a bell on it, came out, 100% rib. Dusty could hardly keep from laughing. It was a fun time with The American Dream.”
In 2004, JBL debuted his iconic character inspired by J.R. Ewing. JBL talked about whether or not he expected the success the character had.
“Not sure it was going to be successful because when I first came out, it wasn’t successful,” JBL noted. “Back in the day, I had been champion in almost every territory, main event in every territory, but everybody had been. Everybody who came to WWE, there’s a few exceptions, had been through the territories and had been successful. That’s why you migrated up to WWE, or WCW, or ECW. And so, I felt like I could do it. I just didn’t know if it’d work, but the one thing about WWE is the live crowd.
“You have a live crowd for three or four nights a week. That is a perfect test case to see what’s working and what isn’t, and after Chavo Sr. and Eddie came up with the heart attack angle with Eddie’s mom in El Paso, the next night, we went out after that aired, we had a guy jump in the ring, little Hebner, Brian Hebner punted the guy like Pat McAfee would. Heck of a kick, and the place was just bawling, and I knew then that this was going to work and it was going to work in a big way.
“That’s why it’s so important in the WWE to have road agents, and there’s been some great ones. I think Jack Lanza was there when I was there most of the time. He was the best I’ve ever worked with. No disrespect to anybody else, but I was with Jack from the start through JBL, and you got to have an agent that is very good at what they do as far as helping the talent but also in relaying the messages to the boss and the creative team, and you have to relay that without bias. Not that you want a guy to get over, you got to relay exactly what’s happening because you got a test case very single night.”
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