Monday, April 6, 2009

So long, JBL!

You know, for a guy I didn't typically enjoy watching in the ring, I'm going to miss JBL. In case you missed it, Bradshaw officially announced his retirement this morning and it appears as though he's totally done with WWE and will be focusing on his company Layfield Energy.

JBL's been a strong utility player in WWE for over a decade and it's going to be weird not having him around. He was such an integral part of the Attitude Era along with Ron Simmons in the APA and he managed to completely reinvent himself into a character that I never thought would succeed, but did and did big time. Part JR Ewing, part Ted DiBiase Sr. and part George W. Bush, the JBL character took a beer-swilling barroom brawler and turned him into the self-made millionaire that you just loved to hate. While I bashed the character in 2004, in hindsight, it was a truly brilliant move on WWE's part considering the political climate at the time and Bradshaw played the role to the hilt.

A lot of stuff gets said about JBL on the internet, I don't know how much of it is true, but the guy deserves respect simply for giving his body to the business and its fans... even the not so appreciative sector of them. I'm sure JBL's "quitting" will only be a hiatus, but I'm looking forward to the day when hearing that closing bell of the stock market is considered a pleasant surprise.

Also, JBL's retirement raises one big question, just who the hell is replacing Tazz on Smackdown? I thought for sure JBL would go right back to color commentary, but that does not appear to be the case. I'll offer my thoughts on some potential replacements later.

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