Former WWE Champion, JBL – John ‘Bradshaw’ Layfield – has shared the story of how the celebrated Acolytes Protection Agency came about.
One of the most famous and beloved teams of WWE/WWF’s post-Attitude Era, the beer-drinking, bar-brawling tough guys for-hire began life as a duo as The Acolytes, enforcers for The Undertaker in The Ministry of Darkness who eventually evolved from cultists to arse-kickers for anyone who had the cash to pay them.
However, the evolution of Faarooq and Bradshaw was simpler than anyone may think and came about after Layfield became inebriated in the presence of Vince and Shane McMahon during his birthday.
Sitting down with WWE Untold: APA, Layfield detailed how his drinking habit turned into one of the biggest babyface teams of all-time:
“I think we had an afternoon shot in Philadelphia. We’re coming down to Baltimore. They’re just feeding me every substance known to man. It’s my birthday. I’m messed up by the time I get down to Baltimore. We go to the hotel and in come Vince and Shane. I go back to the Red Roof, Ron left early. Go back to the Red Roof and Ron and I were splitting a room at the Red Roof, that’s how cheap we were, it was probably 29 bucks, 15 bucks each. Ron wakes up and he goes, how’d you get here? I said, limo. He said, limo? I said, yeah, Vince and Shane. He goes, oh, we’re fired. I started laughing. I said, yeah, we may be, and he said, you still got a connection in Japan? I said I hope so.
So I come to TV the next day in Baltimore and they said Vince wants to talk to you and I thought, man you know, I was drunk at the hotel, I’m probably in trouble. So I walk in there and Vince laughs about how hungover I am, and he’s in a jovial mood. He goes, I’m going to put that on television. I said, what are you going to put on television? He said I’m gonna put on television about you and Ron sitting around drinking and BS’ing. He goes, that’s good stuff. He said that’s entertaining. I was shocked. I was expecting to be reprimanded, to be in trouble.”
With their plans to go to Japan on ice, JBL found it easier than he though to tell his partner of their new personas especially when he revealed that it would involve them drinking beer on television:
“I come back out and Ron goes, uh, yeah, when we going to Japan? I said we’re not. He said, what do you mean were not? I said Vince wants us to drink beer on television, and Ron said, that’s the greatest idea I’ve ever heard.”
After several successful WWF Tag Team Championship reigns, the pair were split in 2002 during the first company draft. While Bradshaw fell into the WWE European Championship division, Faarooq teamed with D-Von Dudley who had also been split from Bubba Ray.
However, the pair reunited in 2003 for what is looked back on as a victory lap before Bradshaw dyed his hair blonde, turned on his partner and eventually rebranded as JBL defeating Eddie Guerrero for the WWE Championship on June 26, 2004, at The Great American Bash.
Credit for the interview: WWE Untold
h/t for the transcription: Fightful