JBL thinks he might have been a one-and-done main event star in WWE if it wasn’t for the skills of the much-loved former WWE Champion Eddie Guerrero.
John ‘Bradshaw’ Layfield broke out of the tag team ranks in 2004 and donned a suit and white cowboy hat as he moved away from offering protection and morphed into Wall Street mogul JBL.
This run led to JBL becoming WWE Champion as well as being one of the most loathed characters of the 2000s in WWE.
Speaking on a special Q and A courtesy of AdFreeShows.com, the Texan revealed that a lot of the hatred he received that helped make him such a star was all down to his fierce on-screen rival, the late, great Eddie Guerrero:
“First of all, there was a real pride in Eddie. You know, when he was champion, he wanted to be able to – you know they say ‘you could make a broomstick [have a good match],’ and Eddie wanted to be able to do that. We weren’t selling tickets for the STAPLES Center, and it was my fault, not his, but he took it upon himself that he wanted to change that.”
“That’s when he came up with the idea of giving his mother a heart attack in El Paso on Mother’s Day where Gory Guerrero, his legendary father, was gonna be honored that day in the ring. He and his brother, Chavo, not his nephew Chavo, came up with the idea and pitched it to me backstage. I thought it was just unbelievable. That changed the whole dynamic of the feud between me and Eddie. That really put some heat on us.”
“The next week, we went out and some guy tried to jump in the ring and get me. I knew at that point that we were getting real heat. Everything changed when they put up that video. We filmed it like it was a security camera. So you know, it wasn’t produced. It wasn’t slick. Then I’d given his mother a heart attack. It was unbelievable. The heat I got and it was all from Eddie.”
JBL went on to say the Guerrero would even feed him lines during matches to draw the ire of the crowd, especially when the crowd was filled with Latinos:
“Eddie would call me at all times of day and night and give me ideas for promos. When I had the line that, he goes, ‘Hey, Ese, I got one for you.’ He goes, ‘Tell them my ancestors came over here on a boat, not an inner tube.’ I said, ‘Eddie, you’re gonna get me killed, absolutely killed.'”
“Sometimes we’d be in the ring and I’d be cutting a promo and he’d send over the referee with some phrase he’d want me to say, sometimes in Spanish, sometimes in English. Especially in the Southwest in front of huge Latino audiences. I always say people get so furious, but that was all Eddie.”
JBL finished by heaping praise on his friend, saying Guerrero was responsible for keeping him going in the wrestling business:
“You know, Eddie really liked the JBL character. Eddie was a groomsman at my wedding. I did part of the eulogy at his funeral, which you know, I wish he was still here today. We were close friends and he really took pride in getting JBL over.”
“If JBL had had anybody else other than Eddie, it probably would have been a one-off at the STAPLES Center. I don’t think JBL would have been around another pay-per-view. I think I probably would have retired probably within a few months, but because of Eddie, he made JBL, and then I had a pretty good run with it.”