Stories and allegations about SmackDown Live announcer John “Bradshaw” Layfield’s history of bullying have resurfaced in recent days and the longest reigning WWE champion in SmackDown history isn’t looking well.
Former longtime WWE ring announcer Justin Roberts made headlines this week as he recalled being bullied by JBL during his stint with the company. Several of those stories — and other adventures from his time in WWE — will be the subject of Roberts’ new book, Best Seat In The House: Your Backstage Pass Through My WWE Journey.
One of the incidents that Roberts addressed during a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) was his passport being taken out of his bag and never returned to him. Roberts alleged that JBL organized to have the passport taken.
“He was like the leader, and he pretty much had a cabinet, just like on TV. They followed him and did what he asked. It was him vs. ‘the new guys’. He had taken my passport out of my bag, and the next tour I guarded it with my life. On the flight back, Orlando Jordan told me he would watch my back and I should go to the gift shop. I didn’t take his advice.”
In an interview with Deadspin, Roberts further discussed the incident and detailed his journey from finding out his passport was stolen to getting a new one to returning back to the United States.
“They took my passport out of my bag, I got to the airport in Manchester, and I couldn’t get on the plane to go home,” he said. “I had to fly to London and go to the U.S. embassy to get a new passport. Once I got a new passport, I took the train to the airport, and eventually got a flight back. I traveled from London to Boston, Boston to Phoenix, then drove to Phoenix to Tuscon for TV for SmackDown.”
However, JBL took to Twitter yesterday to address the rumors — while claiming he wasn’t addressing the rumors — and threw in an insult while he was at it.
I won’t answer Net rumors-but I didn’t take Justin Roberts passport. Could have been anyone/he was hated by the whole crew. He’s an idiot.
— John Layfield (@JCLayfield) April 7, 2017
In the Deadspin piece, former WWE Intercontinental, ECW, and Tag Team Champion John Morrison (currently wrestling for Lucha Underground as Johnny Mundo) spoke about the alleged incident. He claims that JBL told him and his then tag team partner Joey Mercury, collectively known as MNM, to take Roberts’ passport out of his bag.
Instructed by a top name in WWE made for a difficult choice for Morrison and his partner.
“JBL asked me and my partner to steal [Justin’s] passport, and we didn’t,” Morrison said. “JBL was one of the main event guys at the time and I don’t remember exactly what Justin Roberts did to become the target for the hazing of this specific oversea trip, but JBL asked me and Joey to snag Justin’s passport.”
It wasn’t an easy decision but Morrison went on to explain why he and Mercury did not comply with JBL and leave Roberts’ possessions untouched.
“Ultimately, we considered the options, and wound up deciding to not do it. This is a weird thing for a wrestler to say, especially in that era, but I usually went by the golden rule. I wouldn’t have appreciated someone doing that to me, especially someone I considered a peer.”
After recent reports of issues between JBL and SmackDown Live announcer Mauro Ranallo, the WWE may have to address the bullying in some form.
[Featured Image by WWE]