Wrestling / John Bradshaw Layfield
"It's morning again in America!"
"I am who I say that I am! And I am a wrestling... GOD!"
John Charles Layfield (born November 29, 1966), better known by the ring name John Bradshaw Layfield (also formatted as John "Bradshaw" Layfield, abbreviated JBL), is an American color commentator and 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
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
We about to have us a flying trope, Maggle!:
- Acquired Situational Narcissism: When he lost the WWE Championship, JBL hired MNM's image consultant, Jillian Hall, to turn his fortunes around. She boosted his confidence by changing his entrance to include what she thought would get the biggest Cheap Pop in the whatever area Smackdown was in. This was taken to its extreme when JBL beat Chris Benoit for the United States Championship. Jillian brought in what was supposedly the Charlene High School marching band, upgraded JBL's limo to a hummer limo, showered him with a ludicrous amount of balloons and played pomp em circumstance instead of his usual theme! But champion JBL was harder to please. He demanded horns, strings, tenors, champagne and the New York Philharmonic, deriding the band she got as inner city refugees from a Big Brother program. Then berated her for accidentally hitting him with a cage door when she helped him win that championship, fired her, scolded himself for trusting a woman to think and told the audience they were whipped but he could handle his property.
- Affably Evil: During his Glory Days of 2004-2005, the JBL character was actually pretty likable for a heel, with colorful gimmicks and still enough of his old Bradshaw persona to seem funny and cool. Definitely as a color commentator, although there he's more a Designated Villain.
- Arch-Enemy: Eddie Guerrero, John Cena, Batista and Rey Mysterio. The Godwinns, in his New Blackjacks phase.
- 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.
- Author Appeal: Tends to mark out for stiff clotheslines - just listen to him whenever Luke Harper hits his.
- Back-to-Back Badasses/Bash Brothers: With Faarooq/Ron Simmons, in the ring and in Real Life.
- Badass Mustache: From the New Blackjacks run until he became JBL.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: JBL said he hoped to make history at WrestleMania 25 against Rey Mysterio. Cue JBL losing the Intercontinental Title in record time and quitting in anger, being the first man in WWE history to quit at WrestleMania.
- Berserk Button: Don't ever tip or spill the APA's beer.
- 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.
- In more recent days, he despises the wrestlers' tendency to knock over his cowboy hat when they brawl near the broadcast table. Played for laughs at Night of Champions 2014: when Randy Orton makes a point of moving his hat out the way before back-suplexing Chris Jericho on the table, he visibly has no idea how to take it.
- He absolutely cannot stand James Ellsworth.
- Best Beer Ever: During his APA days.
- Big Damn Heroes/The Cavalry: Frequently as a member of the APA.
- Breakup Breakout: After the APA's second breakup in 2004, Bradshaw reinvented himself as John "Bradshaw" Layfield (JBL). Of course JBL would fare better by comparison because Ron Simmons was retiring, but the JBL character perhaps did better than expected.
- Bourgeois Bumpkin: According to Charlie Haas:
CHL: ...and I'm a big Texas blowhard that lives in New York City! Yee-haw! I'm rich, my wife's rich, heck even my dog's rich! Mamajawamaextreme.com."
JBL: You think I, with my pedigree and my resume am some ridiculous over the top caricature?
- The Bully:
- As a heel, and also in Real Life.
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. It was later said that the wrestler who punished Miz and owned the bag was actually Chris Benoit and that Miz changed his name to JBL's because of Benoit being Unpersoned by WWE, but given that the Hardys mentioned on Exist to Inspire that JBL was one of the three members and "prosecutor" of the Wrestler's Court (the other two being Benoit and The Undertaker), it seems that Miz didn't shift the blame to him without reason.
- Hell, Edge mentioned JBL soaping his ass before. He said that JBL did stuff like this to weed out any drama queens in the locker room; Edge said he was fine with it, because at least "no knuckles disappeared".
- Call Back: As a wrestler, his finisher was the vicious Clothesline From Hell (later renamed "Clothesline From Wall Street" to fit his stock-trader character), a simple yet crushing maneuver that floored EVERYONE that it hit. As a commentator, when a wrestler in a match hits a big clothesline, expect JBL to lose his shit with a "WOW!" and/or "WHAT A CLOTHESLINE!". It's by far the one move that amps him up the most on commentary.
- Catch Phrase: See above quote, and also, since becoming a commentator:
- For Friday Night Smackdown: "We fight on Friday nights!"
- "This doesn't end well..." - Pretty much his version of This Is Gonna Suck, when a superstar is caught in an unfavorable situation.
- "Ball game!" - When a wrestler hits their Finishing Move - usually (at least on weekly TV) signals the end of a match.
- "SUPERMAN PUNCH!" - Whenever Roman Reigns use this particular move.
- "GOOD GRIEF!" - Usually for a particularly impactful strike, mostly big clotheslines or kicks
- "MAGGLE!" (Michael) - When he is referring to Michael Cole. It generally sounds more so like, "Maggle" than "Michael"
- Combat Pragmatist: Was definitely one in his in-ring career, which is probably why he usually condones these types of actions on commentary, if not applauding them outright.
- Cool Car: As John "Bradshaw" Layfield.
- Corrupt Hick: Bradshaw, and particularly Commentator Bradshaw, is an odd amalgam of money-hungry Reaganite jingoist and All American Face. For instance, he's always banging out about what an honor it is to have U.S. soldiers in attendance, giving praise to whoever is defending the U.S. Championship (Bradshaw's favorite belt of course), and recoiling in horror whenever Rusev speaks. At the same time, he bends over backwards to diss John Cena and the other babyfaces, even calling their patriotism into question.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: As John "Bradshaw" Layfield.
- Dirty Coward: As JBL.
- A firm type 2 as JBL during his wrestling days. May be closer to type 1 as an announcer, but he's sometimes such a jerkass about it, it's hard to tell the difference. This has mainly come out during Rusev's run. He really wants someone to shut the guy up, but comes off as unnecessarily harsh and demeaning to those who have tried and failed.
- JBL's heel character was a wealthy Texas to New York businessman. So even as that character, JBL would still stick up for America and American ideals in the face of somebody coming in and saying America is not as good as X. Rusev and Lana instilling that Cold War animosity saying that America isn't as good as Russia is bad for business and the American dollar.
- 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 Evil Has 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 during his runs as champion includes Dolph Ziggler turning his 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 in Kingston's specific case 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.
- He was dead against Kane and MVP's Inferno match at Armageddon 2006, stating while he was all for competition, actually setting another human being on fire was going too far.
- While he felt Randy Orton should've been given the night off following the TLC Title Unification match instead of being put in the main event with Daniel Bryan, Bradshaw couldn't disagree that low-blowing Bryan to take the DQ loss, in what was another compelling match between the two men, was a cheap shot by Orton.
- After Kofi Kingston defeated Randy in a match and Randy blew up and took out his frustration on John Cena's father, JBL was flat out disgusted by Randy's actions.
- During Brock Lesnar's No-Holds-Barred Beatdown of John Cena at SummerSlam, JBL was practically begging for Lesnar to stop.
- At the same event he actually put over the athleticism of Rusev's victory over Jack Swagger, despite Rusev being an anti-American heel - but when Rusev kicked Zen Colter in the head after, JBL was audibly furious, angrily saying that Colter was a grandfather.
- After John Cena defeated Kevin Owens and showed him respect after a great match, Owens attacked Cena and powerbombed him on the ring apron. JBL was disgusted by Owen's actions.
- He showed this again at Hell In a Cell 2015, expressing horror and disgust at The Wyatt Family beating down The Undertaker, saying "There was no honour in this." Before that he'd also demonstrated ample respect for Taker's role in the match against Lesnar.
- Shown once again at Summerslam 2016, having such a disgusted reaction to seeing Lesnar elbow Randy Orton's head repeatedly, opening it up; he vocally expressed anger by saying officials need to break it up, acting more as a face commentator than the face commentators present. After this, he continued his heel persona; giving the impression that JBL broke Kayfabe and was genuinely angered at Lesnar's actions.
- As a cowboy, he wrestled straight out of Stan Hansen. JBL was 50% J.R. Ewing and 50% "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase, complete with his own Virgil in Orlando Jordan.
- 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 Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter.
- Face–Heel Turn:
- When he went from Bradshaw to JBL.
- Suffered a surprising case of being at the receiving end of one on the January 19, 1998 Raw when his New Blackjacks partner Barry Windham turned on him to join Jim Cornette's NWA stable.
- Face Palm: You can see him doing this every now and then at the broadcast table, usually after Michael and/or The King say something stupid. If he has a pencil in hand, expect that to go flying as well.
- Fiction 500: Though it should be noted he actually is a millionaire in real life.
- Finishing Move: The Clothesline from Hell. It is Exactly What It Says on the Tin: an extremely stiff-looking clothesline that never fails to make an unpleasant sound on contact, and usually causes the unfortunate recipient to display Ragdoll Physics (okay, he more often threw a lariat than a clothesline but the effect was usually the same). It's impossible to watch this move without wincing.
- Fun with Acronyms: Fans would hold up signs reading "Just Born Loser" whenever JBL appeared. "Just can't Beat a Latino" was also a popular one whenever he was feuding with Eddie Guerrero or Rey Mysterio.
- Genius Bruiser: By his own admission, waving around his book as proof when he was the challenging Eddie Guerrero for the WWE Championship.
- Golden Mean Fallacy: Although his "JBL" persona is conservative, John Layfield is a self-described independent in Real Life, and mostly adheres to this during his podcast. He's hardly alone, as millions of Americans who would otherwise probably be Republicans have left that party over the past four decades, for various reasons.
- Good Ol' Boy: He and his "Cabinet" played this up during his WWE Championship reign, often partying and drinking beers backstage after JBL's matches.
- Graceful Loser: Not often, but when he was proved wrong by John Cena winning the World Heavyweight Championship at Hell in a Cell 2013 (JBL had previously dismissed it as impossible due to the speed of Cena's return from a major injury) JBL calmly admitted he was wrong and led a round of applause for the new champion.
- Heel–Face Revolving Door: While it's clear to any smark that he's technically the designated heel on commentary, he will at times refuse to condone the actions of heel wrestlers, and will even (attempt to) come to the aid of face superstars, often to the reception of HUGE crowd pops. Seemingly the only clear heel support he gives is that he will always, without question, support anything The Authority does, and disagree with anything anyone does in retaliation against them.
- He's Back: As a commentator filling in for Jerry Lawler for a while before Jim Ross filled that role. He then started commentating on Smackdown alongside Josh Matthews. Also has a YouTube show.
- Hidden Depths: Yes, the redneck professional wrestler has worked for both MSNBC and Fox Business as a financial advisor.
- 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.
- Ignore the Fanservice: No-sold Terri Runnels' flashing him during the APA-Radicals (Dean Malenko and Perry Saturn) match on the May 21, 2001 Raw where the APA beat up Saturn as his punishment for stiffing Jobber Mike Bell on the May 12 episode of Jakked.
- Insane Troll Logic: His usual rants that support heels are this.
- Some of his best arguments as a commentator have been:
- Claiming that Teddy Long was biased against King Booker in his 2006 series against Batista because Long was a racist. Both Long and Booker are African-American, making this one even more bizarre than normal.
- 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.
- When Sting showed up on the TitanTron on Raw, he claimed "That isn't Sting! That's a picture of Sting!" (in all fairness, Sting was standing ridiculously still before he eventually made his way to the stage)
- Simultaneously, when most heel commentators would use this trope to condone the actions of heel wrestlers, JBL will sometimes completely avert the trope, and cite a given heel's actions as "Out of line" and such (mostly when wrestlers bully non-competitors or take a beatdown on a fellow wrestler too far).
- Jerkass: 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. JBL has sinced apologized to Tully for the comments he made, and Tully in turn apologized for his own actions, so these days they are on better terms, more or less.
- 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.
- Kick the Dog:
- He legit-stiffed The Blue Meanie at the ECW One Night Stand PPV in 2005. 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.
- 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 Dog Bites Back: When Bradshaw tried hazing Steve Blackman, Blackman (who was a legitimate black belt in karate) roundhouse kicked him in the head and knocked him unconscious.
- Another case took place in 2006-2007, when former ECW announcer Joey Styles punched out a drunken JBL during a tour.
- Legacy Character: Briefly packaged as "Vampiro Americano" in Mexico to capitalize on the at-the-time massively popular Vampiro Canadiense.
- Light is Not Good: Wears a white hat as JBL, his most overtly Heel persona.
- Mean Character, Nice Actor: Layfield is currently working in Bermuda, putting on the final touches for his Seven Summits for Kids tour: hikes up deadly descents to raise money for children around the world. He plans to finish in 2014. First is Mt. Elburs, Russia, June 12, 2012. The latter might be considered a Real Life Call 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.
- Only in It for the Money: As part of the APA - They didn't give a crap about why you hired them, only if you paid them.
- Politically Incorrect Villain:
- JBL lawndarting Hornswaggle is a grossly underrated moment at WM 24.
- As JBL, he's moderately racist against Asians and Latinos, Luchadores in particular. Ironically, his partner in APA was a former Black Muslim. Over the years, however, 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.
- Power Stable:
- Power Trio: Seems to be part of one on the usual three-man Smackdown commentary team, taking the role of The Id whilst Cole plays The Superego (no jokes, please) and Josh Matthews plays The Ego.
- Professional Butt-Kisser: He's become this to Triple H, Zeb Coulter, and other heels he likes.
- Retired Badass: Despite being out of in-ring action for about six years now, his Clothesline from Hell is still something to be feared. The Ascension recently found this out the hard way.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: After losing the WWE Intercontinental Championship to Rey Mysterio at WrestleMania XXV, Bradshaw announced that he had quit WWE.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Before his retirement, Layfield was very close to Vince McMahon and The Undertaker.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Again, JBL.
- Sharp-Dressed Man: From 2004 onwards
- 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.
- Simple, yet Awesome: The Clothesline From Hell.
- Smoking Is Cool: Played straight in the APA. Subverted in a Good Smoking, Evil Smoking way as JBL.
- 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.
- Stealth Insult: Gives one to Josh Matthews often.
- Tag Team:
- The Texas Mustangs, w/Bobby Duncum Jr. in the GWF in Dallas.
- The New Blackjacks, w/Barry Windham
- The Acolytes/APA, w/Faarooq.
- Tall, Dark and Snarky: his hair is a lighter shade of brown though
- Too Dumb to Live: During his 2006 feud with Rey Mysterio, before putting Rey in a match against a mystery opponent, JBL, mocking Rey, asked him if he even knew what day it was, to which Mysterio replied "May 19th", bringing out Kane, much to JBL's amusementnote . Towards the end of the match, Kane got distracted by a video of his old mask on the titantron and began leaving the ring, only for JBL to stop him and order Kane to finish the job, saying "I'm not the one who said May 19th!" Cue Kane chokeslamming JBL before storming out of the ring.
- "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.
- Worthy Opponent: Eddie Guerrero.
- A Wrestling God Am I
- Wrestling Doesn't Pay: Averted, as his "JBL" persona is based on his real-life job as a stock broker.
- Implied during his time as an announcer, talking about how guys like William Regal, Chris Benoit, and himself wrestled more for the art than for "chicks or TV."
- Wrestling Family: His uncle is 2006 WWE Hall of Famer Blackjack Lanza.