Welcome to another edition of
OFF-TRACK with A-TRAIN
this is a more serious one, folks
in this episode
IF THERE'S ONE THING I HATE
IN THIS WORLD
IT'S A BULLY
Former WWE ring announcer Justin Roberts has a new book out entitled "Best Seat in the House: Your Backstage Pass through My WWE Journey."
The synopsis on Amazon reads as follows:
Justin Roberts always dreamed of being a ring announcer at World Wrestling Entertainment. From playing with action figures of the Ultimate Warrior, the Heartbreak Kid Shawn Michaels, Bret Hitman Hart and Hulk Hogan to actually announcing these larger-than-life characters to the ring, Roberts lived out the dream of countless, passionate wrestling fans worldwide.
Best Seat in the Houseis the inspirational story of Roberts' ambitious journey to becoming a full-time ring announcer at WWE performing all over the world and announcing weekly live events, TV shows, and the enormously popular pay-per-view spectaculars for more than a decade.
That's all well and good, and I'm sure "the inspirational story of Roberts' ambitious journey" is like, SUPER inspirational (and I mean that without a trace of sarcasm), but that's not what people want to talk about in his book.
No, the focus has become the frankly disgusting amount of hazing and bullying that Roberts received from the wrestlers, mostly at the hands of one John Bradshaw Layfield.
The hubbub around Roberts' relationship with JBL started with this answer during a Reddit AMA. I've bolded the most relevant passage for this story:
“He had a group. He was like the leader, and he pretty much had a cabinet, just like on TV. They followed him and did what he asked. It was him vs. ‘the new guys.’ He had taken my passport out of my bag, and the next tour I guarded it with my life. On the flight back, Orlando Jordan told me he would watch my back and I should go to the gift shop. I didn’t take his advice. I also remember being told I had to bring beer to the guys on the plane, but I got out of that, luckily.”
There are more details regarding this passport theft in the book itself (thanks to littlebossman on Reddit's Squared Circle for the excerpts and summaries throughout this piece):
Apparently someone from SmackDown stole Roberts' passport out of his bag on the final night of a UK tour. Whoever the culprit was, they never returned it. Roberts ended up having to go to the US embassy in London to get his passport re-issued. "Stealing a passport out of someone's bag is a pretty evil rib and not giving it back means it's no longer a rib".
These comments have made the rounds on the internet and gone viral among the wrestling fan community, so it was only a matter of time before JBL heard about them and responded.
JBL says he won't answer "Net rumors," then IMMEDIATELY proceeds to answer a Net rumor. He denies taking Justin Roberts' passport, then says everyone hated him, and calls him an idiot.
So according to JBL, the passport thief wasn't him.
I wonder if he'll also deny these accusations from Roberts' book:
During a tour of Japan, there was two tour buses--one for the faces and one for the heels. Roberts alleges that "Bradshaw had both buses pull over," and they wouldn't move until Roberts got off the face bus and got on the heel bus--JBL's bus. This allowed Bradshaw and his cronies access to Justin for the entire trip, during the duration of which he was subjected to merciless bullying. "I was very comfortable working the RAW tours. I was scared for my life to work SmackDown tours," Roberts wrote.
"JBL would throw my bags down the street," Roberts remembered. "He typically referred to me as dipshit and numbnuts despite my always trying to do a great job... Every day I saw him, he asked me why I was still alive and told me to go kill myself."
Wow, for a company who has a whole bullying-prevention campaign, you'd think they would have tried to nip something like that in the bud.
That kind of rings hollow now, doesn't it?
Now, it should be noted that this is all technically hearsay, but if true, one employee telling another employee to kill himself every single day they worked together is like a 10.0 on the bullying Richter scale.
And lest you think it was just Justin Roberts who JBL had a problem with, and all of his reprehensible behavior was directed only at Justin, Roberts has another story about JBL:
Roberts alleges that Bradshaw was being interviewed by a high-school student and, after the understandably nervous kid dropped his notes, JBL turned to the teen's mother and asked her "if she had any children who weren't mentally disabled.".
We're waiting for your Tweet, JBL. The Tweet saying that it wasn't you who said that to that kid, JBL. And then in that same tweet, you can say he had it coming, nobody liked him, and he was an idiot.