It looks like WWE fans won't be seeing John Bradshaw Layfield (JBL) on weekly WWE programing anymore.
Layfield began his professional wrestling career in 1992 after wrapping up his professional football career. He wrestled for promotions such as Global Wrestling Federation (GWF), the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA), and many more before signing with WWE back in 1995. His run in the Attitude Era was an extremely successful one as he and Faarooq formed the Acolytes Protection Agency (APA), a fan favorite tag team whose beer drinking and brawling ways connected with WWE fans.
He started his single run in 2002 when he and Faarooq were separated via the WWE Draft. In 2004 he won his first WWE Championship and was the longest reigning champion in SmackDown history. JBL's title reign lasted 280 days and ended at WrestleMania 21 when he was defeated by up-and-coming John Cena.
JBL retired in 2009 from in-ring competition with one WWE Title reign, one Intercontinental Championship win, a United States Championship win, 18 Hardcore Title wins, one European Championship win, and three Tag Team Title wins. In 2012 he returned as a regular member of the SmackDown commentary team.
Earlier this week, however, Layfield took to social media to announce that he would be stepping down from his regular role as a member of the commentary team. He would like to focus his time helping at-risk youth and communities in Bermuda. He did announce that he would still be appearing on WWE marquee events such as Tribute to the Troops and WrestleMania.
Per a report from Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrated, JBL had planned this out far in advance, even before the bullying allegations towards NXT commentator Mauro Ranallo. His decision was made 11 months ago after his contract with WWE expired in October. His notice to leave was handed in around that time.
It was also reported that Vince McMahon refused to fire JBL after those bullying allegations began to run rampant, despite advice from WWE Board Of Directors. Another factor that played into JBL's decision was the frequent travel schedule WWE requires.
He originally was wanted to arrive on the Sunday before SmackDown, however, the Texan decided to fly in early Tuesday so he'd make the show just in time. He was able to get away with this for two months before being confronted about it by WWE.
JBL was said to simply be burned out from all the work and his decision to leave was completely up to him.
What are your thoughts on JBL deciding to walk away from the SmackDown Live commentary team? Have YOUR say in the comments section below, and the fourth episode of GiveMeSport’s WWE podcast is here!
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