It’s official…the next entrant into the 2020 WWE Hall Of Fame class will be JBL, otherwise known as John Bradshaw Layfield. The news first broke last week via a report by Wrestling Inc and confirmed tonight on WWE Backstage.
Layfield got his start in the business in the Global Wrestling Federation after being trained by Brad Rheingans. He wrestled in that promotion as John Hawk before eventually debuting in the World Wrestling Federation in 1995 as Justin “Hawk” Bradshaw.
There were multiple attempts to repackage him during his early years with the company. He had a brief run with tag team partner Barry Windham as The New Blackjacks but it wasn’t until the Attitude Era came along that he began to stand out as a personality and performer when he was paired with Faarooq (fellow WWE Hall Of Famer Ron Simmons) as the Acolytes Protection Agency (APA).
He eventually broke away as a singles star and began a main event run as the rich John Bradshaw Layfield in 2004, a character based on JR Ewing from the 1980s show “Dallas.” During that time, he held the WWE Championship and feuded with several top stars including Eddie Guerrero and The Undertaker.
In addition to his run as WWE Champion, Layfield has also held the Intercontinental Championship, United States Championship, Hardcore Championship 18 times, the European Championship and the Tag Team Championship on three occasions with Faarooq.
Layfield is credited with coming up with the idea for WWE to do an annual Tribute to the Troops show. After his retirement, he worked as a color commentator primarily on SmackDown and these days he makes occasional appearances on Kickoff shows before major pay-per-view events.
Layfield joins the NWO (Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall, Kevin Nash and Sean Waltman), Dave Bautista and The Bella Twins on the list of names already announced by WWE. Jushin Thunder Liger and “British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith are two more names rumored to be getting inducted this year.