Throughout the Attitude Era the APA (Acolytes Protection Agency) were a staple of WWE television. Their backstage skits involving their ‘office’ with no walls but a single door and frame are fondly remembered by fans to this day.
When the team was broken up in 2004, Farooq (Ron Simmons) effectively retired from in-ring competition, but Bradshaw as he had been known, morphed into JBL and enjoyed the most successful run of his long career. The rugged Texan donned a suit and tie during the character overhaul and went on to win the WWE Championship.
However, appearing on WWE’s The Bump alongside Simmons, JBL revealed that he would have been “perfectly fine” with his career ending with the APA and not having his later SmackDown run. The former United States Champion reflected on the breakup on the team, saying that he would have been happy to be “an APA member my entire life.”
“We knew it that it wasn’t gonna last forever. You know, we couldn’t be doing it to this day,” JBL added. “We can go back and do the backstage stuff, but we wouldn’t be in the ring now, you know, backing that up anymore. So, we knew at some point it was going to end, which I hated. I would’ve been happy being an APA member my entire life. If JBL had never happened and I retired at the end of APA, I’d be perfectly fine with that.
“That scene [the breakup where JBL turned on Simmons] was incredibly well done. I mean, Ron is legitimately, still is my best friend, and I turned on him. I mean, that’s… you don’t get any worse than that. And it was incredibly well done. I hated it because Ron was leaving, you know, I didn’t want my friend to leave. I know life goes on, and that’s what we do. But the scene was really well done, but personally, of course, I hated it.”
Simmons went on to add that when the APA came to an end, it was JBL’s time to have his run in the spotlight after paying his dues and putting in the time.
“For me, you know I love this business, right? When you’re in a tag team, no one, absolutely everyone, almost prays that you get the run that we did. I was very grateful that we went as long as we did and had the success that we did…It was his time now, you know. He had paid his dues, and he had put in his time to where now this catapults him to the next level.”
The former head of the Nation Of Domination is of course himself a former world champion, after becoming the first African American to hold the WCW World Title in 1992. He would reflect further on his career and his induction into WWE’s Hall Of Fame, calling it a “fairy-tale type of story.”
“It really is a fairy-tale type of story to evolve and come true,” Ron Simmons said about him and JBL’s Hall of Fame Inductions. “You go back and look at not just when you first started, but you go back and look at the journey of it. Neither one of us talked about the Hall of Fame or championships and winning any of them. And then, when you get to that moment, for myself, being inducted into the Hall of Fame by someone that you consider to be a best friend and brother to you, and then later you see him go into the Hall of Fame, I mean, you just cannot…it’s almost as if you’d have to write [that].”
Following his retirement from in-ring competition JBL enjoyed a spell as a commentator before stepping away from the role in 2017.
H/t to Wrestling Inc for the transcription.