Hard work and perseverance is what leads to championships in WWE, but there are also those times when luck just seems to be in the favor of the superstar. Most of the time, the company has plans in place for several weeks or months and adjusts them as needed, but injuries and other unforeseen circumstances can alter what they have on paper. One Attitude Era superstar says that is exactly how he won a title.
John Bradshaw Layfield is currently a member of the announce team on SmackDown Live, and casual or new fans may not know that he used to be an in-ring competitor. The man known as JBL wrestled under a number of different personas and gimmicks over the years, and he even held a large number of titles.
JBL is a former Intercontinental, United States, European, and Hardcore Champion during his time in the ring. He was the 10th Grand Slam Champion in the history of the company, and that came in 2004 when he defeated Eddie Guerrero for the WWE World Championship at The Great American Bash.
ESPN U.K. interviewed Layfield about a number of different topics, and one of them was his time as World Champion. Believe it or not, he was actually the longest-reigning WWE Champion on SmackDown, but he told a rather interesting story regarding how his title win came to be.
Sure, he earned it, but there was much more to it.
“It just happened that I was in the right place at the right time. It was late in my career, and I thought my career was over. I tore my biceps and had two hernia surgeries. I didn’t know if I would do much of anything again, and all of a sudden you have people get hurt.
“Kurt Angle got hurt, Brock Lesnar had left the company, and [WWE] needed somebody against Eddie Guerrero right away. That’s when the JBL character was created.”
It was in late 2004 that JBL’s Acolytes tag team partner Faarooq finished up his wrestling career, and Bradshaw changed his entire gimmick. This is when the John Bradshaw Layfield character was born, and due to Angle’s injuries and Lesnar leaving the company, there was no one else to step up and take on Eddie Guerrero for the title.
Brock Lesnar left the company and ended up moving to Japan to wrestle there.
Those that may not remember the feud between Guerrero and JBL really need to go back and watch it. One of the biggest moments was their match at Judgment Day 2004, which saw Guerrero bleeding so badly that he lost enough blood to feel sick from it for the next two weeks.
There is no denying that Bradshaw is an iconic name in the world of professional wrestling, and the way things fell, he was really in the “right place at the right time” as he said. Due to circumstances beyond anyone’s control, the title went to him, and he had a memorable feud with the late Eddie Guerrero. As he told ESPN U.K., Eddie is the reason that JBL even came into existence.
“We did the storyline where we gave Eddie’s mother a heart attack in El Paso, which almost got me killed. I literally had a police escort out of El Paso and all the way to Odessa. The police told me not to come back, that they thought I would get killed. It was that great. We set an attendance record at Staples Center [in Los Angeles] a few weeks later, and because of Eddie Guerrero, he molded my character. Eddie wanted my character to work.
“If it had been anybody but Eddie Guerrero, you would have never heard of JBL. But because of Eddie, I had that incredible run, and it was just the right time. I had the perfect foil in this incredible Latino star, who was one of my best friends.”
During his time as an in-ring competitor for WWE, John Bradshaw Layfield had a lot of title reigns, but he only won the WWE Championship on one occasion. This newly released info by JBL that states he was put in that position due to Kurt Angle’s injury and Brock Lesnar’s departure makes you look at things a bit differently as a fan. You never know who will be the next person to hold the title, and that means you never want to miss a moment.
[Featured Image by WWE]