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WRESTLING COLUMNS

John Bradshaw Layfield
April 18, 2005 by Rob M.


My kids (8&11) were thrilled. Their idol and the "future" of the business, John Cena, had just won the first of what is sure to be multiple world titles. I wasn't quite as thrilled, and am not sure about the future part. I am sure about the multiple part, for better or worse. Don't misunderstand, this isn't another knock John Cena rant. Having met him a couple of times I was impressed with how polite and gracious he is with young fans. If his "thing" gets over then so be it. This is about the champion he beat for the title. Cena may have the title but the body of work over a sustained period of time is the true mark of a champion.

John Bradshaw Layfield has seemingly been around forever when you really think about it. At least 10 years in the WWF/E now but he is not the same personality he was. If you think about some other "forever" stars of today they may still be good but are they that different then when they started" Shawn Michaels, while still a great performer, is also still The Heartbreak Kid" In today's information age, it is no secret that he is a married and committed family man and by no means a kid. Chris Jericho, once a dynamic force, is ridiculously stale. HHH" Great performer but he needs a hiatus.

When I reminisce about JBL I remember a big kid given an old pro to learn from. Dutch Mantell was his first manager in the WWF and he was the classic wrestling cowboy. Next was learning at the side of one of my favorites, Barry Windham, in the all too short New Blackjacks. While still the cowboy gig it began to expand somewhat. Then came one of my favorite tag teams of all time The Acolytes, which of course morphed to the APA. All this time JBL watched, listened, learned, and became.

When he first went on his own again I didn't think of him as a world champion. He was a solid in ring performer but could he talk" Would anyone care what he had to say" The more I saw of him the more I came to believe we were seeing a true throwback. His mike skills are better than HHH (that ain't hard though) and in the past year I think he has given the most consistently solid matches on either show. JBL has taken all of that learning and blended it all into the model of a champion. What we see today is equal parts Stan Hanson and Ric Flair. He has shown versatility in both opponents and match type and has even become the lead in a SD version of The Four Horsemen. On the whole he has distinguished himself as one of the premier performers in sports entertainment toadying deserves multiple reigns as champion as much as, if not more than, most others. He has developed his overall persona well and deserves the chance to continue to do that on the big stage.

John Bradshaw Layfield may be neither polite or gracious but like that ballplayer approaching 3000 hits or 300 wins, a Hall of Fame call should be well within reach.

by Rob M. ..


Rhey Higgins wrote:
First: JBL in the Hall of Fame" As much as I would love to see this, it will probably (unfortunately) never happen. Still, stranger things have happened. Second: JERICHO IS RIDICULOUSLY STALE"!"!"!"! LOOK AT CENA, FOR F*CKS SAKE!!! ALL HIS MATCHES ARE EXACTLY THE SAME: 5 MINUTES LONG AND BORING AS HELL. Now look at Y2J's matches: solid, amazing, GOOD-LENGTH MATCHES. Jericho is the only wrestler who can mix submission, technical, high-flying, and power wrestling all into one (Eddie comes close, but he doesn't quite have what Jericho does). Also, Jericho was the FIRST Undisputed Champion. Cena" Well, he may have the WWE Title, but I'll be deep in the cold ground before I recognize HIM as WWE Champion. JBL, in my mind, will ALWAYS be the TRUE WWE Champion.
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