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JBL



What exactly is the story of JBL not just winning the title in 04 but having it for so long? 

​I think for a little while he was doing it to troll the people who were so offended by the Nazi salute deal, and then from there it seemed to turn into a war of wills where Vince was stubbornly keeping the belt on him despite being the lowest drawing champion since Diesel.  Not to mention that Vince LOVED the character because it was basically Vince himself.  ​

Comments

  1. Who else on Smackdown at that time would have been better, anyway? Angle, Undertaker, etc., had already held the belt multiple times and didn't need it again to be over.


    JBL was an awesome heel character and his reign ended to put over Cena clean (back when he actually needed it).

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  2. The worst part of the JBL character is that his career was booked backwards. He debuted the title out of nowhere and got the title, was the head of the worst stable since X-Factor, went to the midcard. Then started crushing the character and getting over bigger.



    At least they used him to put over the next big thing which was probably the point of the long reign all along. They could see Cena coming, they just had to hold it off until Cena was ready for him.

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  3. The positive of a guy winning a title out of nowhere is that he then has the entire roster to defend it against. The other way, if a guy builds up to a title win by beating the entire roster, well... Who does he defend it against after?

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  4. JBL's title win seriously tested my will as a fan. Eddie was my favorite wrestler and it stung badly to see him lose the belt to Bradshaw of all people.

    The rumor at the time (which Heyman mentioned at ecw one night stand) was that triple h was originally going to move to smackdown and carry the belt, but h wanted to stay put on Raw and thus jbl wound up getting a run. If I remember correctly, triple h was announced on Monday as having been drafted to smackdown and then that decision was reversed either the next week or on the following smackdown.

    That explains why he got the belt in the first place, but as to why he kept it for so long, who knows?

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  5. Eddie couldn't handle the pressure of the title and thus Bradshaw had to be given it. Not sure there was a face over enough to besides Eddie that would have carried the belt during this year. Undertaker was only part time if I remember correctly

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  6. The character was good and JBL had some decent matches but it was way too rushed at the beginning and the roster split PPV's really sucked the meat missile.

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  7. davidbonzaisaldanamontgomeryAugust 31, 2014 at 1:38 AM

    Yeah that 2004 roster got decimated in a hurry with Benoit and Edge going to RAW, Brock leaving, and Angle hurt. SD fell of a cliff pretty quick after that, esp with Show, Taker, Booker T, and RVD nowhere near their peak performances.

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  8. davidbonzaisaldanamontgomeryAugust 31, 2014 at 1:40 AM

    Great character, shit wrestler. Bad enough to have Scott swear off SD rants forever (although the entire show going to shit should take credit; we went from SD 6 tag teams to Rico and Haas vs Billy Gunn and Hardcore Holly...ON PPV!)

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  9. davidbonzaisaldanamontgomeryAugust 31, 2014 at 1:42 AM

    The good thing about the brand extension was that it helped give mid card guys time to shine. The worst thing about it was the single brand PPVs not only coming across as $50 RAW and SDs, but neither roster had a deep enough pool to cobble together a quality PPV 95% at the time.

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  10. davidbonzaisaldanamontgomeryAugust 31, 2014 at 1:47 AM

    It was a good feud too, with the young up and comer against the unstoppable heel. It felt like a natural feud instead of the usual WWE draw-names-out-of-a-hat; like with Batista on RAW, that feud was so much the right arc to get both guys over post Mania that it didn't matter both of their title matches at WM21 were shit

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  11. JBL was a great talker and character. The title reign came out of nowhere and he wasn't a very great wrestler, though. To his credit, though, he didn't exactly face the best workers in the midst of that run, minus Eddie.

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  12. There was simply nobody over. Lashely, booker, big show just didn't connect with the audience. Cena wasn't ready yet. Taker didn't wrestle full time. Surprised Ppv buyrates weren't lower. What a mess.

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  13. i don't think lashley was a contender for the title in 2004

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  14. Magoonie NOT Teddy BelmontAugust 31, 2014 at 2:01 AM

    I honestly wasn't a fan of JBL or the character at all. Also him being a lower card tag team guy, then he just had this new character and almost instantly won the title just seemed weird and cheap to me. I didn't actually buy him as a main eventer until the very end of his title reign.

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  15. Correct me if I'm wrong but they were gonna go with lashley vs jbl at the oft Ppv but his crowd reactions and overall credibility was so low that wwe panic and turned the main event in a four way elimination bout for the title.

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  16. Magoonie NOT Teddy BelmontAugust 31, 2014 at 2:04 AM

    Speaking of Smackdown, with the move back to Thursday is there anything they can do with SD to make it a watchable show at this point? It seems to be a show most wrestling fans just ignore at this point.

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  17. In kayfabe, why was Bradshaw suddenly good enough to be a long reigning world champ. He is midcard 4 life for like 8 yrs then suddenly wins the title out of left field? No wonder he didnt draw. Would have been a great US/IC level championship run though

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  18. Hey, don't besmirch Rico.

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  19. This to me was the big problem with the reign.

    JBL nailed the character but it just all happened too quickly

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  20. Lashley didn't debut on tv until late 2005.

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  21. "Not to mention that Vince LOVED the character because it was basically Vince himself."

    Isn't JBL an actual expert on finances and knows what he is doing money-wise?

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  22. davidbonzaisaldanamontgomeryAugust 31, 2014 at 3:08 AM

    Less beer drinking, more pedicures

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  23. You could also tell very early on that people in power liked him- he was actively pushed as the better of the Acolytes/APA (Faarooq took WAY more falls, and the Clothesline From Hell ALWAYS got respect), very rarely looked bad, and was given several "almost pushes" in the singles ranks, while also being a Tag guy.

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  24. davidbonzaisaldanamontgomeryAugust 31, 2014 at 3:09 AM

    Not unless they treat the show as if there's things that matter on it. I can't remember the last time a missed SD meant I missed something important. It's not a good "wrestling" show either as they don't seem to get as much as time as in years past and there's still waaaaaaaaay too many distraction finishes.

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  25. davidbonzaisaldanamontgomeryAugust 31, 2014 at 3:13 AM

    I like Rico (very nice dude IRL btw) but the WWE never really seemed to let him cut loose ability-wise, so he never got me interested with his ring work in the big leagues. Good manager, but he was a pretty good indicator at how the once-vaunted SD tag division was in tatters. That was still a much better team that goddamn Holly and Gunn.

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  26. davidbonzaisaldanamontgomeryAugust 31, 2014 at 3:21 AM

    More SD 2004 awfulness, just some random names the show whiffed on talent-wise that year: Mordecai, Kenzo Suzuki, Heidenreich, singles star Rene Dupree, Luther Reigns, Orlando Jordan, Mark Jindrak, Jesus (not that one), and Daniel Puder.


    Oh, don't forget in addition to its tag division dying, the Cruiserweight title was held by Chavo Sr., Jacqueline, and Chavo winning it back on PPV in a One-Hand-Tied-Behind-The-Back match.

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  27. "JBL, the only reason you're the WWE Champion is because Triple H doesn't wanna work on Tuesdays!" -- Paul Heyman.

    That should probably clear all the doubts.

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  28. Shit...,no wonder i quit watching. I remember really wanting Cena to be the top guy, because most of the rest of the guys sucked.

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  29. MaffewOfBotchamaniaAugust 31, 2014 at 3:47 AM

    Getting the title because everyone else was fucked.

    Also known as the Randy Orton effect.

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  30. davidbonzaisaldanamontgomeryAugust 31, 2014 at 4:03 AM

    \_O____/

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  31. he used to be on CNBC periodically. It's the reason he got out of the ring.

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  32. As far as I remember they still had Booker T and Rob Van Dam which would have been much better. They could trade the title between them and Eddie and would have delivered much better wrestling than Bradshaw could dream of.

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  33. But they were drafted freshly to SD and matches like RVD vs Taker or RVD vs Angle or RVD vs Eddie or Booker T vs Eddie or Booker T vs Angle etc. would have been much better than any match with JBL.

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  34. Farrooq was holding him down. Once he released that dead weight, he was free to fly!

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  35. What does it even mean that "Eddie couldn't handle the pressure of the title"? Was he hitting the bottle again or something?

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  36. It's generally believed that he wasn't. However both the office and Eddie himself were worried that the stress was going to cause a relapse.

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  37. JBL was a great character, and his matches with Eddie are legitimately underrated, particularly the title win at GAB.
    Unfortunately, there just wasn't anyone else on the roster at the time capable of carrying him to the same extent.

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  38. Relevant: JBL wrote an op-ed on his own website about the art of being a heel

    http://www.layfieldreport.com/how-to-be-a-bad-guy-in-pro-wrestling.blog

    He makes a lot of good points in it tbh.

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  39. At WrestleMania 17, Jim Ross said Bradshaw reminded him of a combination of Dick Murdoch and Stan Hansen.


    Yeah, you could say that people in power liked him.

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  40. The canned crowd noise has got to go. I don't know why, but that aspect alone always kills my enjoyment of SD. Then make it the "wrestling" show again. Beep boop fixed.

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  41. I think the character actually turned out to be pretty decent. I think the smarks hated it because he beat the beloved Eddie Guerrero. I don't think it got over because everyone was like, "Bradshaw as World Champion? Get out."

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  42. I think JBL was actually a pretty underrated champion, although I think he got more over with fans as a heel after he was champ, espc after his I Quit match with Cena that just rocked.


    04 was a particularly bad year for Smackdown - all the awesome work that Heyman did the two years previous went out the door. It was as if they wanted to reestablish that this was THE B SHOW. Potential heel champions were hard to come by ... Lesnar was gone, Kurt Angle got hurt, Edge moved to Raw, and of course so did Benoit. Find me a heel better than Bradshaw in this lineup?


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Great_American_Bash_(2004)



    I was at that show! Cena popped, so did Mysterio, but after that there was nothing until the bullrope match. JBL was as good as anyone given who they had.

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  43. Its hard to stay interested when your biggest stars on the card is Big Show and Sheamus.

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  44. Also apparently Guerrero was cracking under the pressure of being champ and he basically wanted to get it off of himself.

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  45. JBL was better at managing money than Vince. He didn't invest in things like the WBF or XFL.

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  46. Yeah, not a good time. I was almost completely checked out from 2002 to 2005. I've never really fully, 100% stopped following the business, but that period along with 2008-2012 is definitely one of my Dark Periods.


    Strangely enough, I dug JBL as champion. His stable was a joke but Bradshaw himself was entertaining as hell. Not a whole lot to brag about in-ring, but I suppose I took what I could get during that time.

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  47. Hey, Reigns got a nice little Linear Title reign out of that spot.

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  48. How was he like Vince besides both being rich?

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  49. Yep, he could have helped with all these budget cuts.

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  50. He does business shows on fix still on the weekends. He's an astute investor actually.

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  51. That's the thing - he was relentlessly pushed for so long and so intently bc jr and mgt liked him that by the time he finally got over as champ ppl were sick of it (even though the character and he as a worker weren't that bad in the role). They made up their minds he'd be successful and eventually he was. Much like the hhh push in late 90s.

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  52. Mister_E_BarrettsLastPrivateerAugust 31, 2014 at 6:59 AM

    I always liked the JBL character, and I enjoyed his title reign.


    It's too bad that he was saddled with schmucks for his cabinet.

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  53. You're a whore! Say no more!


    :)

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  54. I missed this whole period, was he as good as he was at the ECW shows?

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  55. I liked the JBL character but his Honky Tonk reign was absolute death. I wouldn't have minded if he was US champ but having those horrible matches on top of the card was terrible for business.

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  56. His promos were good. His ringwork was the very opposite of good.

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  57. One of the best articles I have read about the business and one every wrestler should read

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  58. Late '06 an Booker T as champ but the reasons you pointed our are correct.

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  59. It would be like one of the Uso's suddenly being a rich guy and hanging out with Orlando Jordan.

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  60. Orlando Jordan was awesome.

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  61. HHH was a success at the top of the card, both in terms of match quality and money drawn. JBL wasn't.

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  62. we all know that guy who could be so much more if he stopped doing his stupid shit and focused on improving himself. Bradshaw stopped drinking and having bar fights and started caring about the title. BAM instant title guy.

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  63. Cena was over as hell that year. I think ultimately it was best to wait until the following year, but I think if Cena suddenly moved up the card and became champ in '04, business would've done better than it did under JBL.

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  64. not initially though. He had to marry the boss's daughter, destroy his father-in-law and retire a beloved guy in order to get heat.

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  65. you can miss a year's worth of smackdowns and not miss a thing because nothing ever happens there. Have title changes, #1 contender matches, heel/face turns, angle advancement all on there and people would watch again.

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  66. TJ: Looks like Austin and Heyman are on board with me.

    http://www.cagesideseats.com/2014/8/28/6081485/steve-austin-paul-heyman-sell-john-cena-vs-brock-lesnar-night-of-champions-rematch-wwe

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  67. As far as I know, his initial world title feuds drew well, and his matches were better than the average Attitude fare. Also, I disagree with the common belief that HHH was a nobody until he beat Foley. He was getting good heat in the fall of '99, around the time he beat Austin and reformed DX, and before the wedding stuff and the Foley feud.

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  68. Meltzer laid out recently why it probably will not be happening

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  69. No, but he told them he couldn't handle the pressure of being the guy. They were probably worried he would relapse.

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  70. "Finally it happened, the crowd starting murmuring and then started booing, very loudly. I picked the mic back up and said, “Now that we know who is calling this match I will start over.”

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  71. There really was a point in WWE history where JBL was WWE Champion and at the same time Kenzo Suzuki and Rene Dupree were WWE Tag Team Champions........ahhhh the glory days of wrestling.

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  72. Seriously, it's like if Kofi Kingston appears on tomorrow's Raw in a suit and is suddenly given a world title match at Night of Champions. It's just a gigantic "Wait...what?"

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  73. They've been using that same canned cheer since like 1997. You'd think they'd mix it up bit it's literally the same sound effect every single fucking time.

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  74. Lashley wasn't even on the show at this point.

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  75. I remember HHH getting traded back to Raw for a few guys, I think Booker T might've even been one of them.

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  76. I think why JBL sucked so hard is because the shift in character came right the fuck out of nowhere. "Here's a dude who's been tagging with Ron Simmons for four years, but oh look now he's a cowboy investment banker World champion!"

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  77. Lol. Bradshaw was actually over in his tag team tho

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  78. And...be champ

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  79. I know i'm in the minority, but I loved JBL at the time.

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  80. Count me as a JBL fan. Always thought you could see how legitimately proud he was to carry the title around. Thought he did a fine job on a show that was treated like a second rate citizen.

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  81. is luther and roman related kayfabe wise?

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  82. The concept of his team was over. Bradshaw was just a guy in that team. Like taking Demolition and making Ax a rich guy all of a sudden.

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  83. Also when JBL was champ he wasnt afraid to do muta level blade jobs...

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  84. davidbonzaisaldanamontgomeryAugust 31, 2014 at 10:16 AM

    Yeah I went to Judgment Day and man, about 75% of that card featured guys who had no business being on a PPV

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  85. davidbonzaisaldanamontgomeryAugust 31, 2014 at 10:16 AM

    Or, you know, because JBL wasn't very good in the ring

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  86. davidbonzaisaldanamontgomeryAugust 31, 2014 at 10:20 AM

    I'm with you, HHH would've made it to the top regardless, Steph or no Steph. He may not have been THE draw on the roster, but he was over and a spectacular worker at the turn of the millennium

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  87. davidbonzaisaldanamontgomeryAugust 31, 2014 at 10:22 AM

    He was over but he was really green. Winning the title at Mania was not only best for him career wise, but he wasn't really ready for it until then

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  88. Because workrate = drawing. Let's ask Benoit, Bret Hart, Michaels, and other workrate darlings how well they drew by having 4-5 star matches every month. JBL was painfully mediocore as a worker, but money is made off of character investment. Hulk Hogan isn't considered one of the top draws of all time for all those 5-star classics he was having with King Kong Bundy and Kimala.

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  89. JBL always put his opponents over. Even if he wasn't the best in the ring, he was willing to play the chickenshit heel in ways most guys aren't willing to do.

    He put over Rey Mysterio, a guy half his size, in his final match at Mania 25 in something like 30 seconds, and acted like a little bitch on his way out.

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  90. Great character, always got his ass kicked... but managed to escape with the title. I was NOT a fan of JBL beating Eddie for the belt, but retroactively, I liked the reign.

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  91. Not that Acolyte/APA Bradshaw was a great character or anything, but it was solid enough, distinctive, and a not-unrealistic evolution from the Justin Hawk Bradshaw character that preceded it. That's why when he then became John Bradshaw Layfield, supposedly his real self but really his most cartoonish character yet... naw, not interested. It flashed me back to Mike Rotunda becoming Michael Wallstreet (dumb) then IRS (really dumb); as well as Ted DiBiase becoming the Million Dollar Man (which I didn't mind as much because I'd seen very little of DiBiase before his WWF run). I guess I just never cared much for the heel wrestling character that is so rich that he doesn't need to wrestle for a living, but does so because he likes to hurt people. At least DiBiase was focused on becoming champion, and if he couldn't buy it then he made his own. JBL just came off as an annoying bully, and it never felt like him losing a match meant much because he could lose every match and it wouldn't hurt him financially, and he could always just quit and go home (which he eventually did in his transition to announcer).

    Somewhat related to that, I was pretty checked out from the business at the time Alberto Del Rio came in, and from what little I saw of him at that time it looked to me like he was a Mexican version of JBL. Killed any interest that I might have had in him.

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  92. Thanks for the link, great read. It's hard to imagine a universe where anyone thinks putting JBL over Taker clean is a good idea...let alone where 'anyone' is Taker himself.

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  93. As much as I hate HHH, he was well on the way to the top before he and Steph got serious in 99.



    If he ever deserved that push is a different story.

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  94. great article! it really explains JBL's entire title reign.

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  95. ...What the hell do I care how much someone draws? I don't work for WWE, I don't make money off dude's "drawing". I watch the show. I am interested in a more entertaining show and yeah, I'd rather watch Michaels or Benoit over JBL in 2004.

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  96. Half the show seems to be RAW recaps these days, it's a real chore to sit through.

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  97. Apparently he was really beaten up physically at that point. In his book, Hardcore Holly said that when Eddie got to the arena for shows, he would basically lay on the trainer's table for hours before his match, drink an energy drink, drag himself to the ring and put on a show like he was fine and then go right back to the trainer's table.

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  98. Great read. I wonder if that explains his overbearing commentary recently- he's been praised by the smart fans in the past, and wants everyone to hate him again.

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  99. Right and I like both guys well enough and all - but the comparison was the initial push. The just forced them onto the fans and didn't give up the pushes. yes HHH obviously became more successful but mgt made up their minds that they were pushing them and stuck to it.

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  100. that was lashley vs booker title match that got changed to include finlay and batista.

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  101. Which fit with his character perfectly.

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  102. But man could he throw great punches.

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  103. Clever, so being annoying on the mic will get hi back his heat.

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  104. That could be a neat short term story.

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  105. His first run as an announcer in, what was it, 2007ish? He was excellent, which is why I think so many people are disappointed in him now. His call of the UT-Batista match at WM23 was excellent.

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  106. Mitch, The GodfatherAugust 31, 2014 at 1:09 PM

    I wonder what it would have been like if HHH stayed on Smackdown in 2004. Maybe Orton has a longer title reign and further establishes himself as a heel and drops it to Batista at WM 21 and also have Cena defeat HHH for the strap as well.

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  107. You know why he he held the belt so long? 'Cause Triple H DIDN'T WANNA WORK TUESDAYS!

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  108. Hogan wasn't a 5-star workrate machine but he had an entertaining formula that worked. JBL did not.

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  109. Fuck post-modernism.

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  110. JBL was my favorite thing in wrestling for a few months there in 2004. Of course, that's not saying much.

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  111. Seriously, worst period in Smackdown history, and that's saying something.

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  112. If they had built to it? No problem. But it happened out of NOWHERE.

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  113. The Eric Young theory!!

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