JBL has discussed the “hardest thing to learn” as a pro wrestler and how a little inspired advice from Vince McMahon helped him immensely.
John ‘Bradshaw’ Layfield had a WWE career like no other, transforming from the beer-drinking gun for hire Bradshaw to the refined Wall Street city slicker JBL and went on to become WWE Champion.
JBL’s secret to success was making crowds hate him wherever he went so that his foes such as Eddie Guerrero, The Undertaker, and John Cena would receive an even more raucous ovation as they look to shut the ‘Wrestling God’ up.
Speaking on a YouTube Q & A, JBL discussed the art of being a heel and how a tweak to a promo in Canada made by Vince McMahon sparked a lightbulb moment for the star:
“I had this promo where I tell them how they suck, America’s better, all this, blah, blah, blah, and he [Vince McMahon] said, ‘No, no, no. Tell them you love them.’ I thought about it, and I thought, ‘You know, I think that’s gonna work.’ I went out there and said, ‘I just want you all to know that I love you. I think you’re the greatest. I’m so proud of you being our neighbour.’ And people booed me out of the building.”
“Being a heel is not about shouting out ‘You suck!’ and people shouting ‘You suck!’ back. You can always get a response. It’s about believing that you’re the good guy. JBL always thought that he was the good guy. JBL always thought that he was on the right side of everything, and that’s what added to people hating JBL. ‘How can he be that out of touch?’ To me, that part of it – the psychology and the timing – is the hardest thing to learn.”
JBL has also recently discussed how one WWE icon offered to ‘do the favours’ for the Texan and let the Bradshaw pick up what would have been a major victory.