JBL was the first wrestler to become a big part of Fox News, appearing as a financial analyst for a number of years on the network.
Also known as John Bradshaw Layfield, he became immensely popular as a host and talking head, as a familiar face for viewers while imparting some wisdom toward the financial happenings in the United States.
He had done the job for some years on other networks, but little did JBL know that the role on Fox News would help him become the WWE Champion, holding the title for a year.
JBL Was A Financial Analyst For CNBC
In 2004, JBL was employed by CNCB to be a contributor to their programming. He was mainly a financial analyst and business commentator, owing to his success in the business world with varying projects.
He also wrote a book on financial management titled Have More Money Now, which helped him get his job with the network.
He worked the job beside his WWE role, although his gimmick as a beer-drinking, bar-fighting red neck did not quite jell with his millionaire persona. Something had to change, thus the JBL character was born.
He ditched Farooq and the APA, changing his name from Bradshaw to John Bradshaw Layfield. He wore a white cowboy hat and suit, leaving his brawling roots behind to become a rich, snooty character.
He mainly focused on republican talking points, which were big news at the time. Finance and immigration were the key things he preached on screen, which made him one of the most hated heels in the WWE.
This ended up making him a big star on Smackdown, with segments involving him running Mexico’s off, who were trying to cross the border into the United States, still being beloved to this day.
However, it only took one tour to Europe before he was fired by CNBC, for good.
He Was Fired By CNBC For A Nazi Salute In Germany
JBL went too far in Germany in 2004. During a tag team match on the Germany leg of their European Tour, JBL raised his arm in the Hitler salute and goose-stepped across the ring apron, shocking the crowd like never before.
The move was a total shock. He was immediately fired from CNBC, with one representative stating “We find his behavior to be offensive, inappropriate and not befitting anyone associated with our network,”.
However, JBL later claimed that it was no big deal. He claimed that other wrestlers had done the same thing earlier in the night and received no heat at all.
He also admitted that it helped make the JBL character an even bigger deal than it already was. He would win the WWE Championship later that year so his claim is not completely unfounded.
It’s been pointed out that I wasn’t even the only guy in the match that night who had done it. It got zero heat that night, wasn’t even worth doing. Again, right or wrong-everyone did it-and it’s time had passed and it was time to be smarter about getting heat just like flipping off the crowd’s time had passed as well.JBL on Facebook talking about the Nazi Salute
He also revealed that, while reports of his arrest and deportation rounded the internet, nothing happened. He was not in trouble in the country and no legal action came to him.
You can read more about JBL’s Nazi controversy by clicking this link.
He was not fired by the WWE and the only fallout was him losing his job with CNBC. While this would be a huge deal for the former tag team champion, he landed on his feet with a new role at Fox News shortly after.
JBL Was Hired By Fox News, Leading To His WWE Championship Win
Despite being fired by CNBC, JBL was quickly picked up Fox News to be a part of their network.
Hired as a business commentator, he discussed all matter of things on the air, although they were usually related to the economy and business prospects.
This gained him a huge new following, as WWE fans watching Fox News soon turned in to more and more episodes of Smackdown to see the loudmouthed Texan.
Paul Heyman even mentioned his Fox News stint on Smackdown, citing as one of the reasons why he was pushed ahead of Farooq, when the duo split in 2004.
Vince McMahoon soon took advantage of this newfound popularity, pushing JBL into the main event scene for the first time in his career.
Later that year, he won his first (and only) WWE Championship, defeating Eddie Guerrero in a brutal and bloody Texas Bullrope Match. The bout put him on the map, and made him the biggest on Smackdown.
JBL would cling onto his title each and every week, somehow escaping with the belt despite all odds being against him.
This included some really original finishes, such as him being chokeslammed through the ring during a cage match. Fans thought that he was down and out, but he crawled under the ring and onto the floor, winning the match, much to the dismay of The Big Show.
It wouldn’t be until WrestleMania 21 when he would finally lose the belt, being defeated by a young John Cena, also winning his first WWE Championship.
He had the longest WWE Championship reign in Smackdown history, and has gone down as one of the most entertaining WWE Champions of all time – something that would not have happened if JBL had not been hired by Fox News in 2004.
JBL is not the only wrestler to appear on Fox News. NWA World’s Heavyweight Champion Tyrus regularly appears on Fox – click below to read more about it down below.
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.