Prime Time With Sean Mooney – John “Bradshaw” Layfield
Release Date: 01/09/18
Running time: 1:29
Recap by: Joe Aguinaldo
Sean welcomes JBL to the podcast.
- Sean and JBL first met at Wrestlemania 30 weekend at a Something to Wrestle live show.
- Lately JBL has been a financial contributor and host on Fox. When JBL tried out for football but didn’t make a lot of money, he started reading financial books. He felt he could write a better book and ended up writing one. Additionally, an investment bank he worked with liked what he did and they asked him to work for them. During this time he started working for Fox because he had written that book. They liked him and he’s been there ever since.
- JBL started investing when he got into WWE and got lucky. He was making quite a bit of money and ever since then he’s been investing his money.
- Recently JBL interviewed Linda McMahon’s involvement in small business that were ravaged by Hurricane Harvey.
- JBL has a good rapport with Linda from when they worked at WWE but he was a little nervous during this interview because a lot of people were going to be watching. He did a lot of extra preparation and wanted to do a good job for Linda and represent the business well.
- JBL takes the ‘Johnny Carson’ approach to interviews where if he makes the interviewee look good then the interview looks good.
- JBL was a big wrestling fan and always wanted to be a wrestler. In Texas, however, football was huge and JBL got into football. While playing football, a person on his team who had wrestled in Japan told JBL about Brad Rheingans.
- He went to Minnesota and trained with Rheingans for four and a half months and started wrestling in Texas against some of his childhood idols like the Von Erichs and the Freebirds. He also wrestled in Europe and made the WWE in 1995 and is still here 20 years later.
- While watching TV as a kid, there was little WWF. He watched the Von Erichs and the Funks. At that time, the Sportatorium was one of the hottest venues.
- JBL had a chance to travel with Kerry Von Erich and says it’s the closest thing to travelling with a rock star. The Von Erich’s were gods in Texas.
- Fritz made a mistake…he did not want to go national but when he decided to, he was late to the table. Jim Crockett and Vince were far ahead of him. The same thing happened to Verne Gagne.
- Many of the promoters were trying to go national but they were very late to the table and Vince was a better businessman and visionary than the others.
- JBL started in 1992 in the GWF. During a card, one of the main event wrestlers no-showed so they picked JBL to wrestle Rod Price. When he came to the back, Kendo Nagasaki asked JBL if he wanted to go to Japan.
- When JBL went to Japan he was tagging with Bob Orton Jr. (Randy Orton’s father) having only worked for 3 weeks. Orton would take JBL to the dojo to help him with his wrestling. It was baptism by fire.
- JBL also got hired by Otto Wanz through luck. During his early career, he got beat up by the vets which is how they did it back in those days.
- In 1995 he got signed to the WWE. He was in Europe wrestling the carnival circuit and someone told him Bruce Prichard wanted to talk to him.
- Bruce contacted JBL and said they wanted to hire him. JBL had gotten an offer from WCW but wanted to work for WWE.
- When he got to the States, he went to the arena but got kicked out by Tony Garea. The next day, he went back to the arena and Gerry Brisco told him they wanted to hire him. He had a tryout with WCW and said if they would sign him to a contract he would stay…which they did.
- When JBL was at the WWE, the roster was loaded. He was working a lot of opening matches but they were using him consistently.
- Back then business was not great but it started picking up in 1996 and 1997. JBL says this was a great time and fun. This was when WCW was winning the ratings war and when Vince gave everyone carte blanche to figure out their characters.
- Other contributing factor to the WWE turnaround was the Montreal Screwjob, the rise of the Mr. McMahon character, the rise of Austin at King Of The Ring 1998 and their subsequent feud. The rise of Austin at King Of The Ring would not have happened if the Curtain Call had not happened.
- When the WWE first brought the Rock in, his character was badly received and they had no choice but to embrace it. JBL says Ron Simmons helped Rock develop his character.
- The APA was a result of Vince seeing Ron and JBL drinking beer at a bar. Vince wanted to put that on television.
- JBL worked a stiffer style in Texas and Japan but that can take a toll on your body. When JBL retired he found he was having short term memory loss but started doing mind games to stretch his brain. He says his memory has come back completely and hopefully stays this way.
- Today’s wrestling is car crash wrestling and he says says the crowd is dictating to today’s wrestlers as opposed to the wrestlers dictating to the crowd.
- Also back in the day they didn’t know concussions were bad compared to 2018. Knowing what we know now, to have wrestlers do some of the high spots they do is not smart. It’s not good for the business nor good for them.
- JBL tells a story about wrestling Eddie Guerrero following an amazing Undertaker match. Eddie told JBL to grab and hold a headlock to bring the crowd down in order for them to build back up. This was an example of how good Eddie’s psychology was and his ability to read a crowd.
- Great matches have ups and downs like a roller coaster. Some guys do have that mindset such as Cena and Orton.
- JBL says titles didn’t mean as much to him when he was younger but when he got the WWE title he was older and it made him appreciate it much more.
- When JBL became a commentator, he feels he wasn’t that good because he still wanted to be in the ring. His career was over so quickly that his mindset wasn’t ready to be a commentator.
- JBL says the business has changed. Many of the wrestlers today might be missing out on the car rides or wrestlers court, although he isn’t sure if you could do wrestlers court today a more corporate world.
- JBL says wrestlers are not actors, they are people playing characters based on themselves. When he was in the WWE, the boys were around each other so much and there was an us vs. them mentality against the WCW which was resulted in the locker room being close.
What JBL is Currently Doing
- JBL says wrestling has given him everything. He’s been able to travel all over the world and his current job were a result of wrestling. He does wish he could have had another 4 or 5 more years but for the most part has no regrets.
- JBL is also working with impoverished kids through his Rugby organization in Bermuda. It has helped keep at risk kids out of gangs and keep them in school.
- JBL is going to be doing a business venture with Bruce Prichard and Conrad Thompson.
Sean thanks JBL for being on the show and they sign off.
Rating – 8/10
I know JBL has the reputation of being stiff and a bully when he was in the ring but that aside, I really liked this interview. He was also around during the tail end of the territory days and lived through the low periods of WWE all the through the Attitude Era. He told some great stories and has some great insight into the business. Definitely recommend.
Joe is a long time wrestling fan from Toronto. He is a co-host on the Pull Apart Podcast with Jeff Rush and Caitlin Lavelle as well as a contributor to www.pwpodcasts.com. One of his life goals is to be a guest host on one of Wade Keller’s post-show podcasts. He doesn’t consider himself any sort of expert, he just likes wrestling. Check him out on Twitter and Instagram @ja113.