JBL began his professional wrestling career in the early nineties, fighting in various American independent federations under the ring-name Blackjack Bradshaw. In January 1996 he signed a contract with the then World Wrestling Federation, later renamed World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE); during this time he tag-teamed with Ron Simmons, with whom he formed the Acolytes Protection Agency.
Following Simmons' retirement in March 2004, Layfield hired the gimmick of a wealthy Texan businessman and began calling himself John "Bradshaw" Layfield. In WWF/E he won the WWE Championship once, the Intercontinental Championship once, the United States Championship once, the European Championship once, the Hardcore Championship eighteen times and the World Tag Team Championship three times (with Ron Simmons), turning out to be the 10th wrestler in history to have completed the Grand Slam (original format).
In 2020 he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. In a recent interview with Sportskeeda, JBL discussed a hilarious story from the career of The Undertaker. “The Undertaker came in and had a few drinks the night before.
He never sold, he never sold anything," said JBL.
JBL on The Undertaker
"He [The Undertaker] was legendary for never selling anything. So, he wanted to take a nap and wasn’t about to do it in the dressing room – that was back before these guys had buses and he didn’t want to go out to his car because somebody would see him.
So, he crawls into one of his own coffins and takes a nap. He says when he wakes up and opens up the coffin lid – because it’s not built for air, it’s pretty h*t in there apparently – he opened up the casket and there were people all around the caskets just standing there.
They’d come up since he had gotten in there. So, he sat up, got out, and walked out and just kept going. They were like ‘Oh my god, it’s legit, he really is dead" - JBL explained. On his favorite WrestleMania moment, he added: “No doubt about it – going out against [John] Cena at WrestleMania 21 at Staples Center.
That was such a thrill to go out and main event WrestleMania as the champion. I grew up such a huge wrestling fan and remember all the WrestleManias growing up as a kid. I remember the big build-up to the bodyslam of Andre the Giant by Hulk Hogan, so getting to be in WrestleMania and getting to walk out as a champion – I don’t know if I’ll ever have a moment that’ll be any cooler than that.
I was one of the first to take Cena – you know it’s easy to go eight minutes in a match and you go out there and it’s the basic formula for a match. It’s hard to go your first 30 or 35-minute match. I was the first one to go with John Cena on the road and Kurt Angle was doing it as well with Cena, but I was the first to go say 30 minutes on the house shows.
That’s when you really feel if a guy knows what he’s doing. I remember coming back and talking to Vince and Vince said how is he? And I said ‘The kid is awesome.’ He’s like really? He wasn’t surprised and not that he didn’t expect to be, but he was just surprised at how effusive my praise was of him.
I said he has an incredible feel, he has a knack for this business, and I think he’s your guy. When I say that, I don’t want to take credit for Cena’s career. I just happened to be the guy that was there that handed the title to him.
He would’ve had that happen eventually anyway. To me, there was no heat whatsoever. When I was asked by the office, I gave him a ringing endorsement. I knew he was the guy – I had no doubt in my mind that he was the guy”.