John Bradshaw Layfield is a retired professional wrestler, who wrestled in WWE from the mid-90s, up until 2009, when he announced his retirement after WrestleMania XXV. He made various one off appearances, one of them being on the 1000th episode of RAW, and would take Jerry Lawler's place at commentary when the former recuperated from a heart attack, and then moved to be a permanent commentator on both Raw and Smackdown.Outside the ring, he is a successful stock broker and a financial analyst, first for MSNBC, and later, Fox News Channel. He wrote a book called "Have More Money Now" (released in 2003), which is about him being involved in the stock market trade. And he, along with Michael Cole, also hosts two shows, one is a (mostly) political podcast, The John Layfield and Michael Cole Show and another that's more comedy oriented called the JBL and Cole Show.You can learn more about his career at The Other Wiki.
The Artifact: The "Bradshaw" in John Bradshaw Layfield comes from his early days in the WWF as Justin Hawk Bradshaw and later when he was just Bradshaw in the Acolytes. Likewise his finishing move the Clothesline From Hell, comes from his day in the satanic themed Ministry Of Darkness. The move has been renamed to "...from Texas" or "...from Wall Street" occasionally but reverts back to the original name shortly thereafter, probably because neither "...from Texas" nor "...from Wall Street" seem particularly intimidating.
As a commentator, he delivered what was ironically some of his funniest work by ranting and raving against Vito LoGrasso's crossdressing gimmick.
He also went off on long rants against The Miz during Miz's early days in WWE, where he insulted everything from Miz's reality-show background to the haircut that, in JBL's words, "makes him look like a Sleestak!"
Apparently, he also doesn't like it when a Heel's car is trashed. When he sees this, he roars that the person who trashed the car should be arrested.
Batista:[just before the 2005 Great American Bash] You're a LIAR, you're a LOUDMOUTH, you're a BULLY, and you are nothing but a PHONY!"
The Miz acknowledged it on-screen during his run as U.S Champion, recounting the story of when JBL kicked him out of the locker room after he messed up a referee's bag by spilling chicken crumbs on it.
The Hardys mentioned on Exist to Inspire that JBL was one of the three members and "prosecutor" of the old Wrestler's Court (the other two being Chris Benoit and The Undertaker).
Hell, Edge mentioned JBL soaping his ass before.
Call Back/Shown Their Work: JBL is a veritable gold mine of old school wrestling knowledge, and will often make note of a wrestler's success outside of WWE, such as his referencing the Primo & Epico's success as multi-time tag champs in Puerto Rico, Tensai being a highly accomplished tag team star in New Japan Pro Wrestling, and whenever someone goes for a lariat, he'll mention Stan Hansen (its innovator) and will make mention of Bruiser Brody when someone hits a big running knee drop to the chest. This has helped his reputation as one the great color commentators of the modern era.
Doing It for the Art: As a commentator, JBL was a wealth of old-school wrestling knowledge and it shows in the match he called a "physical masterpiece": William Regal vs. a returning Chris Benoit. It's like you had a wrestling clinic inside the ring and an all-points lecture guiding you through every hold and strike.
Dyeing for Your Art: As Bradshaw he grew his naturally blonde hair long and dyed it black, and grew a beard to go along with it. To many who had first seen him as Bradshaw, it was a major shock when he returned to his natural look for JBL.
Era Specific Personality: During his first years in the WWF and in Japan, Bradshaw was known as Justin "Hawk" Bradshaw. During the Attitude Era, he was part of the Acolytes with Faarooq and managed to be upper midcard Ensemble Darkhorses and tag team favorites. During the Brand Extension Era, he shifted into JBL and was a massively hated heel.
Even Politicians Have Standards: While JBL's character is a noted conservative and respects Jack Swagger and Zeb Coulter's right to free speech and their passion for their beliefs, he doesn't agree with their extreme stance on immigration.
Likewise, even as a heel (or at least heel-favoring) announcer, JBL (who was mostly a no-nonsense brawler during his in-ring career) just doesn't seem to like Dolph Ziggler's personality and gets really irritated with Ziggler's entrance, which now includes Dolph Ziggler turning his World Heavyweight Title backwards whilst channeling Mr. Ass with a gyration of his... hips.
This could be a form of Pragmatic Villainy, since if Ziggler hadn't wasted so much time "showing off" and really buckled down, he could have ascended to the top of the game much sooner.
While he normally supports wrestlers, especially the heels, 'make a statement' with an attack, if a guy appears to go out of his way to injure or maim outside of a match, JBL will call him on it. For example, even he felt Ryback puting Kofi Kingston through three tables for that reason was going too far and stated there's no reason for it.
In the same vein, he will also compliment faces for their accomplishments and athletic ability, case in point again is Kofi Kingston, whom he never has a bad word to say about.
Though this is no longer the case, for he's now saying that Kingston deserved the beating some of his favorite wrestlers give him for some slight remarks.
Strangely enough, his persona seems to have been split in half between several current competitors. The role of the Smug Snake with the nice cars and all the money went to Alberto Del Rio for a good long while, and after Del Rio (temporarily) turned face, the ultra-conservative racist xenophobe was taken over by Zeb Colter and Jack Swagger.
As a commentator, he scolds Michael Cole and Josh Matthews for complaining about whatever heels do, but then HE complains about what the faces do.
He once criticized The Miz (back when Miz was just starting out) for taking the shortcut of appearing on reality shows rather than working his way up through the territories like everyone else (although Miz did come up through Tough Enough), comparing Miz to Anna Nicole Smith. But if you look at Layfield's own backstory (rags-to-riches Texan), he is himself practically Anna Nicole's male equivalent!
I Have Many Names: John Hawk, Texas Hawk, Death Mask, Justin Hawk Bradshaw, Blackjack Bradshaw, Bradshaw, John "Bradshaw" Layfield.
Some of his best arguments as a commentator have been:
Claiming Alberto Del Rio has supported Ricardo Rodriquez his entire life. (Rodriquez started working in the WWE in 2010.)
Claiming that if the Shield attacked someone, then they MUST have done something unjust.
Alternatively claiming Alberto Del Rio is and isn't an illegal immigrant.
During the Raw episode on December 2nd, 2013, he said that Daniel Bryan was wrong to turn down the Wyatt Family's (a band of cultists, mind you) 'kind offer' to join them. Said offer was delivered by the Wyatts kidnapping him during the last Raw.
Jerk Ass: He intentionally made the lives of rookie wrestlers (and veterans of the industry, such as Joey Styles) miserable. His attempted justification of it by saying it was good for the rookies rings hollow when you consider his relationship with Tully Blanchard. Apparently, when JBL was a rookie, he was hazed by Blanchard. Rather than being grateful to the former Horseman for "toughening him up" or "making sure he had what it took", JBL held a grudge against him for years.
Jerkass Has a Point: Between barbs directed at his co-announcers, JBL often accurately points out the fallacies in their statements...
...such as Josh Matthews claiming Swagger "stole" (implying some sort of heel tactic) a victory from Randy Orton in the Elimination Chamber, when all Swagger did was roll up Orton for the three count.
He was also right to side with Damien Sandow against Cody Rhodes after Sandow supposedly "screwed" Rhodes out of a Money in the Bank Ladder Match victory, since Sandow indeed won fair and square (within the parameters of the match, that is) and Rhodes was a massively poor loser despite getting cheered by the fans for this. (Of course, Sandow did claim that he would be happy to see Rhodes win the match, but that isn't necessarily a lie.)
To be fair, the announcers were largely the ones claiming it was theft, Rhodes himself said his actions were because it was the final straw in dealing with Sandow's condescending and conceited nature.
Ironically, it was in response to Meanie having called him a bully. Thus, JBL ended up proving Meanie right.
There are also accusations that Bradshaw, alongside with Chris Benoit and Bob Holly, were stiffing the rookies, and that his most vocal critics refer to him as a bully.
His massive hazing of WWE rookies was verified by The Miz.
According to Edge's autobiography, Bradshaw's hazing was a test to "weed out the prima donnas", and to see if they really are committed to the business. Edge has experience; Bradshaw once soaped Edge's ass in the shower, but Edge said he took it in stride.
The latter might be considered a Real LifeCall Back, since in 2005 he - or, rather, the JBL character - voiced his admiration for Theodore Roosevelt, who also liked to climb mountains.
Nice Hat: Black cowboy hat as Blackjack Bradshaw of the New Blackjacks, white hat as JBL.
The Nicknamer: At No Mercy 2006, JBL, then a Smackdown color commentator, called Montel Vontavious Porter or MVP (in his debut match) a "Power Ranger" due to his costume design. The fans picked up on what JBL said, and began chanting "POWER RANGER!" at MVP.
JBL: I wanna slap that smile right off his face. He hasn't busted a grape. He comes here, calling himself MVP, dressed like a Bud Light can, stole that outfit from a damn Power Ranger, and he walks around strutting IN A RING THAT I'VE BLED, SWEAT, AND BUSTED MY ASS IN!
Nouveau Riche: Since 2004, and with all the negative connotations that trope brings.
Over the years he's Zig Zagged the hell out of this trope, siding with almost all the heels, even the nonwhite or foreign ones. Then again, he despised Sylvan Grenier for being French-Canadian, despite Grenier being a heel. Then again, he was a big fan of (also French-Canadian) Maryse Ouellet, and was even inspired to learn French by his adoration of her (of course, she was smoking hot). And he was sexually titillated by Melina Perez despite Melina being Mexican-American and looking it. When Michael Cole pointed out that he disliked Mexicans, JBL rationalized this by retorting: "John Wayne had a Mexican wife; why couldn't I?" Basically, depending on the situation, he's whatever will make him out to be a Straw Hypocrite.
Smug Snake: Was WWE Champion for almost a year, and reportedly the worst-drawing champion since Diesel, and could not win a match clean to save his life. It didn't stop him from bragging at every opportunity.
"The Reason You Suck" Speech: With gusto. If he sees an opportunity to verbally eviscerate someone, he will. A recent example was during his 2012 commentary stint when, before a Smackdown show, the referees were taking their sweet time to set up the ring ropes. Fear JBL's wrath.
Troubled Abuser: Possibly; it could be that whatever Blanchard (and perhaps others) did to him when he was a rookie contributed to him later becoming a locker room bully himself.
What Could Have Been: A former WWE writer said JBL was supposed to win the World Heavyweight Championship from Rey Mysterio Jr in 2006, but injuries kept him from winning the belt.