The latest Wrestling Observer newsletter has a story involving John Layfield (JBL) and a non-wrestler who was known to have a close family member dying. This person had to take two weeks off due to a minor operation and JBL went off on this person for missing shows. JBL was said to be harassing the person and brought up how he didn’t miss any shows after hernia surgery. This was a bad week for that person considering that they were having a tough time with the family member dying. JBL didn’t stop until the person was in tears. The person’s name was omitted from the Observer and I know (based on the emails we got asking about this) that it does sound like Lilian Garcia since she was dealing with her dad’s cancer diagnosis but Garica’s time off from meniscus surgery was longer than two weeks. She got surgery on 4/10/15 and returned on 5/31/15. So, either it’s not Garcia or it is her and Meltzer got his timeframe mixed up. She did take two weeks off in early May of 2016 to tend to her sick father so that may be what Meltzer is referring to. Other than the mixed up dates, all signs point to Garcia as the person that was verbally harassed by JBL. Garcia left the company on 8/1/16 to take care of her father and he passed away a few months later on Christmas day.
On the 4/3 Wrestling Observer Radio show, Meltzer said, “I’m not condoning when you do it [bullying] to the guys, but it’s a lot worse when you do it…” He was interrupted by Bryan Alvarez but it’s clear that Meltzer was about to talk about an incident involving a female. Alvarez noted that these stories are not ribs and a light-hearted rib is fine but these stories are going way beyond that. Meltzer added, “It’s not a rib to harass somebody whose father has cancer and you harass them knowing that they are emotionally weak because of it until they break down. That’s not a rib either. That’s f**king bullying…and that’s not Justin Roberts, that’s somebody else although actually, that is Justin Roberts too now that I think about it because he did describe that in his book but I wasn’t referring to him in that situation.” Garcia and Layfield were on the Raw brand during this timeframe.
One wrestler told the Observer, “He (Layfield) F***ed with lots of new guys simply because he could. I don’t know if JBL is tough, but all these guys were scared to stand up to him in fear of getting fired.” On his podcast with Lance Storm, Don Callis (who worked in WWE as The Jackal from 1996-99) said that he never had problems with JBL but Callis said that one time he had to confront him over stories going around claiming that JBL would bury him to people. JBL denied it and acted sympathetic when Callis was fired but he would brag to the locker room about being the one to get Callis fired.
Years ago, in a shoot interview with RF Video, Matt Hardy told a story about what happened to him and Jeff during their early days in WWE. As the story goes, JBL told The Hardys to use toothpicks and break them in the keyhole of Callis’ rental car. That way he would be unable to unlock the doors and it would keep him from driving. Callis said what The Hardys were told ended up not happening so either they decided not to do it or they did it to someone else’s car.
As of this writing, WWE has yet to comment on any of the JBL stories that have gotten out in the last couple of weeks.