John Bradshaw Layfield doesn't think his JBL character would have survived long if not for Eddie Guerrero.
At Judgement Day 2004, WWE needed someone to challenge Eddie Guerrero for his WWE Championship. With only six weeks until showtime, the JBL character was born out of necessity. At least that's the way the man himself remembers it happening. JBL would proceed to have an iconic feud with Guerrero, reviving a career that had been slowed down by injuries and sending him on a Hall of Fame-worthy run.
During a Q&A session with JBL on the AdFreeShows Patreon, the former WWE Champion was asked about what he learned from Eddie during their time working together, essentially giving Guerrero all of the credit for the initial success of his character. Here were his full remarks:
"First of all, there was a real pride in Eddie. You know, when he was champion, he wanted to be able to -- you know they say 'you could make a broomstick,' and Eddie wanted to be able to do that. We weren't selling tickets for the Staples Center, and it was my fault, not his, but he took it upon himself that he wanted to change that. That's when he came up with the idea of giving his mother a heart attack in El Paso on Mother's Day where Gory Guerrero, his legendary father, was gonna be honored that day in the ring. He and his brother, Chavo, not his nephew Chavo, came up with the idea and pitched it to me backstage. I thought it was just unbelievable. That changed the whole dynamic of the feud between me and Eddie. That really put some heat on us. The next week, we went out and some guy tried to jump in the ring and get me. I knew at that point that we were getting real heat. Everything changed when they put up that video. We filmed it like it was a security camera. So you know, it wasn't produced. It wasn't slick. Then I'd given his mother a heart attack. It was unbelievable. The heat I got and it was all from Eddie. Eddie would call me at all times of day and night and give me ideas for promos. When I had the line that, he goes, 'Hey, Ese, I got one for you.' He goes, 'Tell them my assessors came over here on a boat, not an inner tube.' I said, 'Eddie, you're gonna get me killed, absolutely killed.' Sometimes we'd be in the ring and I'd be cutting a promo and he'd send over by the referee some phrase he'd want me to say, sometimes in Spanish, sometimes in English. Especially in the Southwest in front of huge Latino audiences. I always say people get so furious, but that was all Eddie. You know, Eddie really liked the JBL character. Eddie was a groomsman at my wedding. I did part of the eulogy at his funeral, which you know, I wish he was still here today. We were close friends and he really took pride in getting JBL over. If JBL had had anybody else other than Eddie, it probably would have been a one-off at the Staples Center. I don't think JBL would have been around another pay-per-view. I think I probably would have retired probably within a few months, but because of Eddie, he made JBL and then I had a pretty good run with it."
Eddie Guerrero passed away at the age of 38 in November of 2005. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2006.
JBL still appears on WWE programming as part of the kick-off panel at big events. He co-hosts a podcast called Stories with Brisco and Bradshaw that can be found here.
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