Let’s cut to the chase: JBL is a big fat bully. There’s no way to sugarcoat it, no way to skirt around it, and as more details of JBL’s heinous past comes out in the wake of Mauro Ranallo’s release from WWE, even JBL himself is finding it hard to deny. It almost seems ironic to think that the former WWE Champion might be as big of a jerk as his on-screen character would suggest him to be. Either the character bled its way into JBL’s real life persona or the reason why he made for such a despicable villain everyone loved to hate was because the character was merely an extension of his real-life personality. Given how JBL has spent his history behind the curtains of WWE in the locker room, one has to assume the latter.
In 2004, upon splitting from APA tag team partner Ron “Faarooq” Simmons, the beer guzzling Bradshaw went through a drastic villainous character change that was more akin to the person that John Layfield was in real life. Based on his actual experience with stock market exchange and his contributions to major news programs like CNBC and FOX, his on-screen character became that of a power-hungry and egotistical business tycoon. This led to the self-proclaimed Wrestling God having a 10-month run with the WWE Championship. As often as he chastised and viciously assaulted his rivals on-screen, he committed even worse offenses behind the camera. Allegations and accusations regarding JBL’s acts of bullying have been well-documented over the past couple decades, but due to his close relationship with WWE Chairman Vince McMahon, little to nothing has been done about it. Not only that, but it has been noted by several former WWE employees that such acts are often encouraged by the top brass of WWE in order to weed out the weak links. However, the recent outrage regarding JBL’s offenses has led to both fans and former employees to call for JBL’s firing. While the likelihood of JBL being fired is minimal at best, the many allegations against him are still worth looking into. JBL has stirred controversy both in front of and behind the camera, and there is no better time than now to analyze his heinous acts for what they are.
15. Harassed Steve Blackman
Edge’s butt was not the only one to get fondled by JBL. Another victim of this bizarre sexual harassment was Steve Blackman. Like Mark Henry before him, Steve Blackman is a well-decorated athlete (legitimate martial artist) who would be the last person that any sane man would want to piss off, yet alone bully. JBL must’ve not gotten that memo as wrestling veteran Bob “Hardcore” Holly recounted an altercation between JBL and Steve Blackman in his book, The Hardcore Truth. Blackman and Holly were once waiting at an airport for JBL — who remained inebriated from the night before — and upon arrival, JBL grabbed two handfuls of Blackman’s buttocks. Not amused in the slightest, Blackman warned JBL, “John, I don’t play that sh*t; knock it off.” But JBL being JBL, he continued to pat Blackman on the butt over and over and over again. Blackman warned JBL one more time that he would knock his teeth out if he groped him again. Of course, JBL patted him again, and with fists of fury, Blackman beat the unholy hell out of JBL. Blackman whipped him about with countless jabs and backhands all around the airport. It might be safe to say that this was the last time JBL groped anybody ever again.
14. Bullied Joey Styles
If we can be frank for a second, Joey Styles looks like the stereotypical pencil-necked geek who got picked on all the time in school. This likely made him an easy target for the stereotypical bully, JBL, but don’t be easily fooled by the beloved ECW commentator’s appearance and stature. No matter the day of the week, he isn’t likely to take any crap from anyone. After the roster traveled to Iraq for the company’s annual Tribute to the Troops event in 2008, back when Styles worked as WWE’s Director of Digital Media Content, he found himself constantly hazed for days by JBL, who spent much of his trip drunk. One day, Styles couldn’t take it anymore and ended up punching out JBL. The punch left JBL with a severe black eye, which was somewhat visible for the December 8th edition of RAW days later even though JBL tried to hide it under the hat. Rob Van Dam later confirmed that the incident had taken place and that the punch may have bruised JBL’s ego, given how he kept his silence in the locker room during the subsequent episode of RAW, merely texting on his Blackberry.
13. Nazi Salute in Germany
In the wrestling world, there’s a little term known as “cheap heat.” Cheap heat refers to anything that a heel wrestler does to get a guaranteed negative reaction from the crowd. This usually calls for a villainous wrestler to badmouth the town they’re wrestling in or criticize a local sports team. In 2004, JBL decided to take cheap heat to a whole new level. For a house show in Germany during a tag team match alongside Booker T against The Undertaker and Eddie Guerrero, JBL not only decided to hold up the dreaded Nazi salute numerous times throughout the bout, but he also accompanied it with an ill-advised goose-step across the apron. This nearly provoked a riot inside the arena. This notion becomes even more injudicious when one considers that the Nazi salute is illegal to do in Germany. Not only did this get JBL banned from Germany; it also cost him his job as a guest contributor at CNBC. JBL went on to defend what he did by highlighting the distinction between himself and his character — comparing it to how Anthony Hopkins is not a cannibal like Hannibal Lecter — but this didn’t help his case nor did it make the move seem any less tasteless to critics.
12. Terrorized Rene Duprée
Entering the WWE at the ripe age of 19, René Duprée is cited as one of the youngest champions in WWE history following two Tag Team Championship reigns. Duprée’s WWE career lasted just under 5 years, but for that entire time, he found himself antagonized by JBL practically every day. Duprée claims to have endured a flurry of homophobic slurs — such as “French f*ggot” — from JBL on a daily basis. There were also moments when the abuse against Duprée would go beyond just verbal abuse as one incident saw JBL work with a few other locker roommates in tampering with Duprée’s belongings. Duprée came backstage once to find his clothes destroyed and the signature French flag, which he would carry to the ring, shoved down the toilet. Though Duprée refused to show any of his co-workers how he really felt, he recalls the heavy toll that the experience had on him mentally. He could only hang in there for so long before asking for his release from the company in 2007.
11. Picked On The Hardyz
Recently, Matt and Jeff Hardy returned to WWE as well-respected bonafide legends in the business. This was a completely different case when the brothers first started out in WWE. As rookies upon first entering the company, the more tenured superstars felt that the future 7-time WWE Tag Team Champions needed to earn their stripes in the company. Among those superstars was JBL. The Hardy Boyz revealed in their 2003 book, Exist 2 Inspire, that JBL challenged them to buy two cases of beer, drink them all, and chuck them at road signs on the drive home. Seeing as the boys didn’t even drink, they failed to follow through with the assignment. Furious, JBL continued to tyrannize the brothers for the next few weeks. He’d consistently respond to their hellos with “Go to hell.” One night, The Hardy Boyz returned backstage after a match to find all of their belongings gone. Their bags filled with clothes, credit cards, money, and everything else had disappeared. All that remained was a lonesome Bradshaw, condescendingly asking the brothers, “What happened?” Their bags were found in a trash can, and there was no proof that Bradshaw was the culprit, but the three eventually buried the hatchet.
10. Ribbed Charles Robinson
It’s been an old tradition for wrestlers to haze their fellow wrestlers, but it seems especially cruel to haze a non-wrestler. Non-wrestlers are significantly smaller and less physically trained than most wrestlers. This is especially the case for referees, but that didn’t stop referee Charles “Lil Naitch” Robinson from suffering a physical lashing from JBL upon entering WWE from WCW. Thanks to the Monday Night Wars, there was a longstanding animosity between WWE employees and WCW employees that didn’t end when WCW closed its doors. When those former WCW employees made the jump to WWE, WWE mainstays like JBL saw the opportunity to haze the incoming crop of talent. One of the more infamous cases against WCW faithful saw Lil Naitch dragged out without a shirt onto the TV area where he was hog-tied, bound, and gagged. Accounts like these often get brushed off as ribbing –aka playful pranks — but this sounds more like some cruel means of torture as opposed to a prank.
9. Harassed Justin Roberts
Another non-wrestler who was unnecessarily bullied by JBL, Justin Roberts spent 12 years in WWE as a ring announcer. In that time frame, Roberts was often the subject of JBL’s harassment. Roberts revealed in his recent autobiography, Best Seat in the House, that JBL instigated several acts of “pure evil” against him. Every day, JBL would ask Roberts why he was alive and then suggest he should kill himself. On more than one occasion, JBL berated Roberts over where he sat on the tour bus and went as far as to toss his luggage onto the street. A big story making the rounds nowadays is how Roberts learned that his passport had been stolen during a European tour and implied he thought JBL took it. This led JBL to respond on Twitter that he didn’t take his passport, proceeding to call Roberts an idiot who was hated by everybody. On the contrary, John Morrison recounted in an interview how JBL had asked him and his partner at the time, Joey Mercury, to steal Roberts’s passport, but the tag team refused. JBL continued to abuse Roberts for years until one day, Roberts had enough and shoved JBL in 2009. JBL would back off from then onwards.
8. Hazed The Miz, On and Off Camera
The Miz has always been one of JBL’s more notorious victims, mostly because JBL was always vocal about his disdain for The Miz on television, often berating and insulting The Awesome One on commentary. Keep in mind that heel commentators are normally expected to complement the heel wrestlers, but JBL let it be known that he could not stand The Miz. Of course, JBL wasn’t the only one to bully the former reality tv star. Under the impression that The Miz was only wrestling for the fame and didn’t belong in the business, guys like JBL frequently intimidated The Miz to make him prove he belonged. JBL was one of the bigger bullies against The Miz, often humiliating him in front of the locker room by kicking The Miz out of the locker room, forcing him to change attire in the hallway or the bathroom. Over 10 years later, The Miz has become a WWE Champion, a WrestleMania main eventer, and a legitimate veteran in this industry. No word if JBL is impressed, but when asked about hazing The Miz, JBL has openly admitted it and remains unapologetic about doing so.
7. Tweeted Out His P–n
NXT Takeover: San Antonio, which took place the night before Royal Rumble 2017, was an event heralded by many in the industry, JBL included. He loved the event so much that he decided to tweet about it with a screenshot of the tag team match, mainly praising longtime manager and Hall of Famer, Paul Ellering. Apparently, JBL was so wrapped up in the spectacle of it all that he forgot to exit his p–n tab before taking the screenshot. As soon as he sent out the tweet, his followers noticed a suspicious tab in the corner reading “Katka Kyptova nude.” Katka Kyptova is a bodybuilder best known for her herculean-sized muscles. JBL quickly deleted his tweet upon noticing the mistake and re-posted it with the tabs cropped out, but it was too late. By then, millions of people around the world noticed his tab and spent the night making fun of the big Texan for his unique fetish. This isn’t a heinous act for what he was searching but merely because someone of his status should always check his Ps and Qs before screenshotting anything. Still, couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.
6. Chastised Mark Henry
As a former powerlifting champion and World Heavyweight Champion in WWE, Mark Henry has more than earned the nickname “the World’s Strongest Man.” It would be hard to believe that a 400-pounder like himself would be bullied by anyone, but JBL used to be a frequent instigator against Henry, believe it or not. When a rookie enters WWE for the first time, the company’s more tenured superstars take it upon themselves to break the rookie into the business to see if he has thick skin by hazing him. And despite his imposing size, Henry was no exception. On an episode of Jay Mohr‘s podcast, Mohr Stories, Henry admitted that JBL bullied him back in the day. Henry went on record to say that JBL’s most consistent tactic against him was that he’d take all of Henry’s clothes, put them in plastic bags, and leave them in the showers to soak. Instances like this made Henry furious and made him want to fight anyone and everyone who was involved, but he tried to maintain a level head at all times. Eventually, when things cooled down and Henry stayed with the company long enough, he forgave JBL, and the two have been cool with each other ever since.
5. Shower Prank
JBL’s offenses against Mark Henry weren’t the only times when JBL would involve the showers. In fact, JBL seems to be particularly fond of shower pranks given his history. In his autobiography, Edge recounted how when he was still a fresh face in the company, JBL would fondle the newbies in the shower to see if he could get a reaction from them. Edge said that he once found himself getting his butt massaged — JBL was “soaping [Edge’s] ass” as the Rated R Superstar described it — but understanding that the veteran was testing him by messing with him, Edge just laughed it off in confusion. There have been similar shower stories involving Droz and Brian Christopher — aka Jerry Lawler’s son, Grandmaster Sexxay — alleging that one (or both) of the two were left hog-tied and gagged in the fetal position in the shower for hours, but neither has confirmed the story.
4. Pulverized Public Enemy
One of the biggest tag teams to ever break out of ECW, The Public Enemy consisted of Rocco Rock and Johnny Grunge as the two were a hot commodity in 90s wrestling. After winning the ECW Tag Team Championships four times, the two received offers from both WWE and WCW. The two decided to jump to WCW. When they finally made their way to WWE three years later, they were not well-liked backstage for choosing “the enemy” over Vince McMahon’s company. This didn’t help matters when the two were booked to face the Acolytes Protection Agency (APA) on an episode of Sunday Night Heat. After animosity grew between the two duos after disagreeing over how the finish of their match should go down — originally, APA were to put PE through a table, but PE didn’t want to do it and complained about it at the last minute — APA feared that their match would turn into a shoot, a real fight. As JBL explained in a blog post discussing the situation, his partner Faarooq looked at him and said, “If they don’t want to go through the table, then we’ll take the table to them.” Thus, on Sunday Night Heat, PE were brutally demolished by APA, especially by JBL who laid in some earth-shattering chair shots to their heads that would make ECW natives cringe. It’s no surprise to see why Public Enemy didn’t stay long in the company.
3. Bloodied Blue Meanie
Most of us know about this story by now. It’s been talked about to death and is arguably JBL’s most shocking, disturbing, and public instance of bullying a man. Still, the story doesn’t get any less stomach-churning the more we talk about it, and neither does Blue Meanie’s post-beatdown face the more we see it. To recap, JBL had soured on Blue Meanie after Meanie had made some mean comments online about the stock broker being a backstage bully. Bradshaw took offense to these accusations, and as soon as the two saw each other on live television for ECW One Night Stand 2005, JBL walloped Meanie senselessly. Meanie needed 12 stitches after the altercation. He threatened to take legal action against JBL and the company, but to smooth things over, WWE signed Meanie to a short-term contract and booked him to beat JBL in a match. That way, Meanie was able to get his revenge and a paycheck out of it. Meanie has since said he and JBL squashed their beef and are now cool with each other.
2. Gave Eddie Guerrero’s Mom A Heart Attack
This is the only kayfabe (aka not real) moment on the list, but it was so shocking at the time that several of the crowd attendees and wrestling fans around the world thought it was real. At the end of a house show event, WWE Champion Eddie Guerrero brought his family out to the ring in front of his hometown El Paso crowd and celebrated his homecoming as a champion. Suddenly, JBL appeared out of nowhere and crunched Guerrero with a Clothesline from Hell. Guerrero’s mother was the only family member still in the ring, and JBL began to jaw jack the old woman. One second, JBL laid a hand on her shoulder, and the next, she collapsed to the ground. The crowd went silent seeing Guerrero’s mother suffer a heart attack. It was an extremely convincing scenario as the elder Guerrero was carried out by the EMTs and Eddie’s children were bawling out their eyes as a stunned JBL looked on. The crowd nearly rioted at the thought that JBL might’ve caused Eddie’s mom to have a heart attack. Turned out that not only was the whole thing planned, it was also all Eddie’s idea. Still, when fans thought this was legit, it made JBL out to be the most hated wrestler in the industry at the time.
1. Antagonized Mauro Ranallo
This is the most recent and easily most publicized incident on the list. When combat sports commentator Mauro Ranallo was signed by WWE in December 2015, there was hope that his voice and vernacular would bring some serious legitimacy to the product. However, it was reported that Ranallo’s manic energy and disarmingly vast knowledge of wrestling intimidated his fellow employees, one of these employees being JBL, who responded by bullying Ranallo behind the scenes. Ranallo actually has a history of bipolar disorder, and the experience brought on new bouts of depression. This led him to miss some dates he was scheduled to commentate for WWE and eventually to walk away from WWE altogether despite his contract running until August 2017. Since departing from the company, Ranallo has remained silent about any altercation with JBL and even denied them, though Ranallo’s friend Bas Rutten went on to suggest that a non-disclosure agreement may be the reason why. The media coverage revolving around JBL and Mauro Ranallo has inspired a plethora of former WWE employees to come forward about being bullied by JBL in the past.