Taking time off from ringside duties, John ‘Bradshaw’ Layfield is out in the world, doing his part to make the world a better place. The former WWE Champion was in Mumbai to visit Magic Bus, an organisation aimed at giving the children from poor backgrounds the required skills to be successful, and take part in on-ground activities with the children. We caught up with the legend for a quick chat on the sidelines of Shivaji Park.
Transition from Bradshaw to JBL
A huge turning point in the Sweetwater native’s career was his character evolution from the ‘need money for beer’ thug for hire to a ‘wealth-bragging’, limo riding singles wrestler. The ‘JBL’ gimmick gained plenty of heat and he was thrust into the main event picture. He won the title at The Great American Bash in 2004 against Eddie Guerrero and went on to have incredible rivalries former Ministry of Darkness teammate Undertaker and John Cena.
Speaking about the character change, JBL said, “I was fortunate during the transition from Bradshaw to JBL because the image (of WWE) changed so much, and I was able to change to a different character. Remember those rich characters in old films? I didn’t like them. So I thought if I don’t like them, nobody will like me either, and my job was to be a bad guy. I hope people didn’t take it as a representative of me because it reflects more of what I didn’t like in a lot of rich people growing up – throwing money at people’s faces. During my time as JBL, I would channel those people and show to the world that this is what I hated when I was growing up. If I hated it then, people would hate it now as well, that was the inspiration.”
‘John Cena will be back’
JBL’s singles career took a huge boost after donning the suit, which eventually led to being the lead in the emergence John Cena. He dropped the title to the then Doctor of Thugonomics at Wrestlemania 21, giving Cena the first of his 16 Championships. Given the ‘#thankyou’ tweet ‘The Franchise’ put out after his loss to Roman Reigns at No Mercy, we asked him about the tweet and whether that was last we saw of one of the greatest of all time.
Having been a part of John’s career inside in the ring and at the announcer’s table, the former Champion did not hesitate in saying No Mercy was not his final hurrah.
“I haven’t seen the tweet but I don’t think it was his last match. I don’t know that nor have I talked to him. I didn’t watch No Mercy as I was flying here but did catch Monday Night Raw in the morning. I heard it was an incredible match with Roman (Reigns) but doubt it’s his last. At least it didn’t sound like it in the interview post the pay-per-view. He’s a great character and I hope it’s not.
“When I lost the Championship to him at Wrestlemania 21, everybody was still on the fence whether he was the guy to take the company forward. I had not doubt whatsoever. I didn’t imagine he would be winning the championship 16 times and do all the stuff he’s done. I’m incredibly proud of him. He’s not only a great champion, but a great person and great representative of the WWE.
You can check out the full interview here!