WWE Hall Of Famer JBL recently spoke with The Angle Podcast about becoming the WWE Champion. He discussed whether or not anybody was against him holding the title. The Wrestling God doesn’t believe there was, but he does think there weren’t a lot of people pushing it either.
“I don’t think there’s anybody against it, but I don’t think there are a lot of people for it,” JBL said. “You know, you needed a character at that time. You had a confluence of events. You had Big Show, I think was hurt. Kurt Angle was hurt. Brock had just left the company. You needed a guy to go against Eddie Guerrero. So it was just kind of, ‘hey, let’s try to this’. So I don’t think anybody was against it. I just don’t think a lot of people were for it.
“I know before that first match in the Staples Center, Pat Patterson came by and goes, ‘hey, hey, have a good one out there, kid’. And I said, ‘thanks Pat.’ He goes, ‘I hope it works out for ya.’ And I just kind of remember thinking, ‘you know, this is a one-off if this match doesn’t work.’ And I knew it was. So you know, and like that, Pat was not against me. He’s a good friend of mine, he was. But he wasn’t like, super like, ‘hey this is our guy who’s going to be a champion for a long time,’ either. It was, ‘let’s wait and see what happens.'”
JBL also spoke about Eddie Guerrero, who he feuded with over that title. He believes that Eddie was crucial in getting over his JBL gimmick due to the storyline that they had together.
“It was all Eddie Guerrero. When the day the character debuted, I thought I had pretty much retired. I had a torn bicep,” he revealed. “I had two hernias operations, I really thought I was done. I thought, ‘you know, that’s okay, I had a good career, I got to tag with Ron for a number of years. And I’m happy with what happened.’ They called me out of the blue and said, ‘hey, we need somebody to face Eddie in about six-seven weeks in the Staples Center and the character didn’t work right away. They still saw me as the APA and they still saw me as this guy was Ron Simmons.
“And Eddie and his brother Chavo came up with the idea of giving his mother a heart attack in El Paso. And filming it like it was a security camera filming it, so it looked like it was legit. That’s the whole thing that made the character. Without that, it would’ve been a one-and-done. After that video aired, that’s when we started seeing crowds increase. That’s when ticket sales started selling, we ended up selling out, we don’t if we could sell tickets to the Staples Center, we ended up selling, I believe at the time, an attendance record at the Staples Center. But it was all because of Eddie and his brother Chavo coming up with that idea.”
JBL reflected on feuding with Eddie’s mom as well. He noted how it was a great angle. JBL said that the police actually told him not to stay in El Paso because of the heat he head at the time.
“I’m four feet from his mother or closer, about arm’s length away. You know, I reached like I was, put my hand on her. What she was doing, she was, she grabbed my hand and guided herself down, that way she could fall. You know, she was I think 74 years old at the time. I’m that close to her and I’m thinking, ‘this woman has just had a heart attack.’ It was that good,” he said. “Oh my God, is there anybody in this family that can’t work? Eddie’s on the mat and he goes, ‘you better get the eff out of here.’ I say because he knew that it, it was unbelievable how well it worked.
“It was, it was so good. They got me to the back and literally, the police told me, ‘you don’t need to stay in El Paso tonight. We can’t guarantee your safety.’ So they escorted me out of town, literally gave me an escort out of town, told me to drive all the way to Odessa. To fly out the next day because they thought somebody would try to get a hold of me. Eddie actually smartened you a few of his buddies because he said one of them would’ve come over the rail.”
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit The Angle Podcast with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcriptions.
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