WWE Hall Of Famer appeared on Rick Bassman’s Talking Tough podcast this week. Bassman, Butterbean, Shawn Ray and Bas Rutten talked to John Bradshaw Layfield about his foundation in Africa, Brawl For All and Layfield addressed the reputation that he has within the wrestling business. Rutten, who is a close friend of Mauro Ranallo, asked Layfield about the issues that led to Ranallo leaving WWE.
Here are some highlights:
On why he has a reputation of being a bully:
You know, I could have deserved it, I don’t know. We were younger, we broke balls and I was a loud guy from the south and a lot of people I think took that wrong.
“I can tell you, you know, like with Mauro there was never any malicious intent ever towards anything I said towards Mauro. Anything I said on camera that was all in character. You know, some of [my reputation[ could be deserved. I’m not trying to rewrite my history, I wasn’t a saint. I drank a lot back then and we ran the roads and we always loved to crack. It was just part of what we did and I think a lot of people took that wrong and some of it could have gone too far. I’m not trying to excuse anything I’ve done.”
On what exactly happened between him and Ranallo:
“There was a show that we did called ‘Bring It To The Table’ and that was one of the big contentious points. Anything I said on camera that was 100 percent in character. Anything I said backstage, I don’t think there was anything. I can’t speak for Mauro. There was no malicious intent ever on anything backstage. I thought I got along with Mauro fairly well but the show ‘Bring It To The Table,’ Mauro had had a travel problem. There was a snowstorm across the country [and] he didn’t make a sure and I’m not sure what all happened but there was a snowstorm and he couldn’t make travel, those things happen. During that same time we did this show ‘Bring It To The Table’ and everybody points to that show as the point of me taking a shot at Mauro.
Well, on that show right before we did it there was about three to five minutes we needed for the show and they said what can we do and they said ‘hey there’s this internet poll that makes Mauro the number 1 announcer, can you do something on that?’ I said, ‘yea of course.’ So when we went on the show, I did a rant on the show about ‘oh, they’re calling him the number 1 announcer, he’s retweeting it blah blah blah.’ [It was] 100 percent in character. People talk about that poll that I was so jealous of that poll that I went on TV and talked about it. I didn’t know the poll existed until right before we went on the show. I just assumed Mauro knew that was something I had done in character. In fact, when the show aired, Meltzer the online guy who does all the backstage news – they said Meltzer’s mad at you and I hadn’t heard that name in quite a while because it’s behind a paywall his stuff. I didn’t read it, I didn’t keep up with it. I said why is he mad? And they said, ‘well that was his poll. I had no idea. People talk about so much how I was so mad about the poll. I had no idea that poll existed.
That was just me being JBL on camera and I think Mauro took that the wrong way. I hope he didn’t. I hope now he realizes that was something that I did that was 100 percent in character. I saw Mauro a few weeks later [when] everything fell out and I became the bad guy with everything and I saw he was sending for a car and he was on his phone. I think it was New Orleans. Anyway, I went across the parking lot and he was on his phone so I couldn’t talk to him but I shook his hand. I just went across and shook his hand and he said, ‘how you doing man?’ I said, ‘good brother’ and just left just to let him know there was no ill intent at least from me towards him. I regret the whole situation. I wish that Mauro had known for sure. I think that was one of the things that was really upsetting. I know it was upsetting to a lot of fans because they all talked about that show.”
Rutten said that he hopes that Layfield and Ranallo can bury the hatchet.
Click below to hear the entire interview with Layfield.
If you use any portion of the quotes from this article please credit Talking Tough Podcast with a h/t to WrestlingNews.co for the transcription