Soon-to-be WWE Hall of Famer JBL has recalled the incredible story of how he got arrested on a WWE Live tour in Spain.
Speaking via Q&A on his YouTube channel, former WWE Champion John “Bradshaw” Layfield would open up about how he took a trip to Morocco while on tour in Spain, and came back only to be arrested at customs.
JBL would tee up his story by saying he “got incredible heat that tour” with the JBL character “on fire” at the time, while engaged in a rivalry with Eddie Guerrero – but that the tail end of the tour saw him go wandering, and find a sword that he couldn’t say no to.
“I was going to get a bullfight practice thing, that was for kids, it was going to take it to the ring and they were seriously about to call the police on me, they were tired of me getting heat, so I go from… After the tour, I go from Spain and take the ferry over to Morocco to Tangier because I want to go to North Africa to just see Morocco so I get there and I see a snake charmer, wasn’t much tourist season at the time, I think it was the winter so not many people were around but I found this word, this camel sheathed sort from the snake charmer and I bought it for $100, and I said, ‘Can I carry this back into Spain?’ He goes, ‘Oh, yeah, yeah, I sold six yesterday,’ which there weren’t six people I saw tourists, I should have known better.”
The former WWE Champion detailed how he returned to Spain with the sword, before realising that getting it through customs would be a whole different matter altogether.
“So I buy this sword for 100 dollars, get on the ferry, now you have to go through customs because you’re going from North Africa to the EU, in Spain, so as I walked through customs, I start thinking, ‘Something is not right here,’ there is a conveyor belt, there’s a metal detector. I put a sword on the conveyor belt. It went right through, two guys were sitting there talking, didn’t even look, the thing beeps, didn’t say a word. I thought, ‘Maybe this sword is okay,’ so I got the sword, carried the sword on the ferry going into Spain, Algeciras I think it was, get into Spain and I’m thinking, ‘This is really a bad idea, I’m going to put the sword into customs with a sword,’ now this was after 9/11. Put the sword down on the x-ray detector, walk-through, nobody says a thing. Grab the sword, walk out, and I get arrested by the Spanish police.”
As the man formerly known as Bradshaw remembers, he was stuck with an officer writing down every detail of the event, which is when he realised he was going to be sent to jail in Spain.
“They are about to throw me in jail for this sword. It’s like I’ve snuck dirty uranium into the country and I’m about to get a weapons charge after 9/11. So there’s an officer there, and I grew up in Texas, but I don’t speak that much Spanish, I speak just a little but I couldn’t understand because he was speaking so fast. He started writing, and just kept writing, he wrote – at one point – an entire page of my arrest record, they’re arresting, about to throw me in a Spanish jail, and I’m sitting there trying to tell him that I bought the sword from some snake charmer. He doesn’t understand my English and I’m trying to explain to him that I didn’t mean to bring a weapon in, so finally, the guy gets down to the very end, and I realise I’m going to jail now.”
In what now seems like a scene the JBL character might find himself in, the soon-to-be WWE Hall of Famer recalled how he tried to bribe the officer to get out of the arrest, only for his wife to tell him, “I told you so.”
“I give him my wallet, I try to bribe him, at that point my wife walks in and says, ‘What in the world is going on?’ I said, ‘I’m getting arrested for that sword.’ She says, ‘I told you not to buy that,’ I said ‘NOW is not the time to tell you told me so.’ So, anyway, as I’m sitting there, waiting to get cuffed and stuffed, a guy walks by outside the window and he stops and looks back in, and I can tell he recognises me.”
The former United States and Intercontinental Champion would reveal that his saviour would turn out to be a random wrestling fan who recognised him, and who JBL would recruit to act as translator.
“Now, remember, JBL had a lot of heat at that time. And this guy is obviously a wrestling fan, so I motioned for him and he comes in and you can tell… He’s just eyeballing me, and you can tell he’s a fan because he doesn’t like me. So, I say, ‘Hey, you know The Rock.’ He says, ‘Yeah.’ I says, ‘That’s a friend of mine.’ I say, ‘Yeah, really, we’re good friends.’ I say, ‘Stone Cold? That’s a friend of mine.’ I say, ‘Undertaker?’ I’m just killing kayfabe. I says, ‘Yeah, yeah. He’s a buddy of mine. We really don’t dislike each other.’ I said, ‘Eddie Guerrero, good friends, we’re really good friends.'”
After shattering any illusions the man may have had about relationships in wrestling, JBL told the story of how he bought the sword before realising there may have been severe repercussions, but that the man explained the situation to the police officer on his behalf and got him off the hook.
“Finally the guy starts talking to me and goes, ‘What are you being arrested for?’ I said, ‘Well I got this sword…’ And he said, ‘You can’t bring a sword into Spain, it’s highly illegal.’ I said, ‘No kidding, it’s highly illegal.’ I said, ‘What do I do? I didn’t mean to, I just bought the sword for 100 bucks, it is a souvenir sword, I’m not going to go swing around storming a castle or something,’ so he said, ‘Okay,’ so he talks to the guy, talks back and forth really fast in Spanish, I can’t understand it, the guy looks up at me, sighs, rips up the arrest record, throws it in the trash and hands me the sword back. I said, ‘I don’t want it! The thing almost got me arrested.’ He said, ‘No, no, take it. Mistake.’ So I took the sword and walked out of the police station with the sword.
JBL says he quickly discarded the sword, which he is brandishing in the video, before revealing how he got it back – by asking a random hotel concierge to mail it to his home address.
“I stopped at one of the first hotels I could find, walked to the concierge, handed him the sword, he looked at me in shock and I said, ‘I don’t care what you do with it, please mail it to me but you can mail it to the moon. Just get it out of my hands.'”
The former WWE Champion recalled how he told the rest of the locker room, before Mick Foley asked him for a random piece of advice on the flight home from the United States.
“By the time I got it back, there was my sword. When I get back, I’m telling the boys about it and the guys are sitting around listening, can’t believe I almost went to jail in Spain and Mick Foley says, ‘Can I talk to? I said, ‘Yeah, Mick, just a minute,’ So I’m in telling a story. Finally Mick changes his seat, sits right by me on the plane and he says, ‘How do you deal with commentary? How do you deal with Vince?’ I said, ‘Mick, I just got arrested, I don’t know what you’re talking about.’ A couple of weeks later, separate issue, Mick decided he’s had enough, didn’t want to do commentary.”
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