On the latest edition of Grilling JR, Jim Ross opened up about Vince McMahon‘s decision to push John Bradshaw Layfield as a main event star in 2003. As quoted by Sportskeeda, Ross believes that the WWE chairman and Layfield were alike in many ways, which made it easier for McMahon to understand his appeal.
“I think Vince could identify with the big, powerful well-educated, monied tough guy and that’s what Vince envisioned himself as in real life. So, it’s not far fetched for his creativity to create that character and manifest itself, in the form of this case, JBL.”
However, the Hall of Fame-inducted commentator also believes that Layfield had the talent to pull off a main event run and even said that he exceeded company expectations during his time at the top of the card on SmackDown.
“John had athletic ability. He wasn’t just a big guy with a big a** and three left feet, he had athletic ability to move around, that could feed a comeback. Heels that can’t feed a comeback are not great heels. They can’t be and what a great comeback is very subjective.”
Layfield’s push came about after he rose to fame as an analyst on CNBC and FOX News, where he got to share his expertise in economics and wealth. Layfield became a self-made millionaire thanks to his smart business acumen, and those elements of his personality manifested in his WWE character.
— John Layfield (@JCLayfield) June 28, 2019
As Ross noted, Layfield was an effective heel because he didn’t have to do too much acting to portray his character on television. As The Inquisitr previously reported, the former superstar was known to be an obnoxious bully behind the scenes, which has led to several former and current WWE personnel criticizing him throughout the years.
Layfield was a controversial character, even by heel standards. The right-wing nature of his gimmick made him polarizing among WWE’s more liberal demographic. Furthermore, he made headlines for performing a Nazi salute at a German show, and was featured in a storyline which saw him try to stop migrants from entering the United States.
Even though Layfield has been retired from in-ring competition for years, he’s still been known to run his mouth to wrestlers on social media, and remains a polarizing figure to this day as a result. Last year, he made headlines for trash talking Cody Rhodes on Twitter, but he issued an apology shortly afterward.