JBL to be inducted into WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2020
JBL, the brash, bruising cowboy-turned-stock market maven and World Champion, is the latest inductee in the WWE Hall of Fame’s Class of 2020.
The road to the WWE Hall of Fame began for JBL in 1995, when he arrived as Justin “Hawk” Bradshaw, an ornery Texan with a propensity for taking his opponents’ heads off with a lariat so devastating that it would go on to be known as the Clothesline from Hell.
But it was when he joined forces with another hard-hitting Superstar, fellow WWE Hall of Famer Ron Simmons, that his career truly began to take off. Known as The Acolytes, Bradshaw and Simmons served as the ruthless enforcers for The Undertaker’s Ministry of Darkness, ensuring The Phenom’s will was done and bulldozing anyone who stood in their way.
But when The Ministry disbanded, Bradshaw and Simmons stuck together, showing a little entrepreneurship in the process. The two opened The Acolytes Protection Agency, renting out their services as bodyguards to anyone who could pony up the cash to keep the cold ones coming. The APA always had a line out of their makeshift office door, whether it was Superstars looking for protection or someone looking to get in on their rowdy poker games. The two heavy hitters also racked up three reigns as World Tag Team Champions along the way.
But when The APA closed its doors for good, Bradshaw did not ride off into the sunset. No, instead, he showed us that underneath his gruff exterior lied one of the most cunning competitors in WWE history. Embracing his success on the stock market, John “Bradshaw” Layfield traded in his sleeveless tee and jeans for a white cowboy hat and suit, along with a limousine with bull horns attached to the hood. Though the WWE Universe was not thrilled with the shocking change, it proved to be the jolt that the Texan needed. The tycoon became an immediate contender for the WWE Championship, and defeated Eddie Guerrero at The Great American Bash 2004 in a Texas Bull Rope Match to win the title. JBL held onto the championship until WrestleMania the following year, where he was dethroned by John Cena.
JBL went on to capture the Intercontinental and United States Championships, becoming one of the few Superstars that can call themselves a Triple Crown winner. Though he hung up his boots after WrestleMania 25 in 2009, he did not stay away from WWE for long. He returned in 2012, this time as a color commentator, lending his expertise on the mat game to give the WWE Universe unique insight. After stints calling the action on Raw and SmackDown, as well as a turn as NXT’s General Manager, JBL left WWE to focus on his charity work with at-risk kids and communities through organizations like Beyond Rugby Bermuda and Beyond Sport, where he was named a Global Ambassador.
For his incredible career in the ring and behind the microphone, JBL is being recognized with the ultimate honor: induction into the WWE Hall of Fame.