Throughout the annals of professional wrestling, the WWE and AEW locker rooms have been privy to various backstage stories and controversies. One theme that has stood out pertinently in these tales is the specter of backstage ribs and bullying.
More often than not, John Bradshaw Layfield (JBL) is at the center of this maelstrom. With a reputation that precedes him, JBL has consistently been depicted as a prime instigator of these backstage "jokes," earning him the title of one of the industry's most infamous bullies.
During a recent episode of "The Kurt Angle Show," the Olympic gold medalist delved deep into his own experiences and observations of JBL. Angle candidly remarked, "He was probably the least-liked guy in the locker room. JBL ribbed an inordinate number of wrestlers, and more often than not, in a manner that can best be described as bullying."
Angle's Dual Perspective on JBL
Yet, for all the stories and accounts that paint JBL as the quintessential backstage antagonist, Angle brought forth a contrasting view, "He wasn't genuinely mean-spirited.
In fact, a majority of the wrestlers were either intimidated by him or outright frustrated. Despite the differences, I must emphasize my deep respect and love for Bradshaw." A pivotal moment that solidified JBL's notoriety was when he allegedly punched the Blue Meanie, leaving him with visible injuries.
Also, whispers about his role in various 'wrestler's court' incidents further complicate his reputation. However, one can't overlook JBL's on-screen prowess beyond the backstage politics and controversies. He masterfully embraced his role as a heel throughout his singles career.
His aggressive, hard-hitting style garnered significant heat, propelling his career to significant heights. While this on-screen persona greatly benefited his wrestling journey, the blurred lines between his character and backstage antics might have cost him genuine friendships and allies behind the curtain.