Just hours after reports came out that British Bulldog was finally going into the Hall of Fame – and a week removed from other reports that Jushin “Thunder” Liger and The Bellas will also be going in – a new report has surfaced that John “Bradshaw” Leyfield, or JBL, is also scheduled to be inducted into the 2020 Class of the WWE Hall of Fame. So far, only Batista and the nWo quartet of Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall, Kevin Nash and X-Pac have been officially announced.
JBL started his pro wrestling career in 1992 with the Global Wrestling Federation (GWF), as well as runs with Germany’s Catch Wrestling Association (CWA) and Japan’s Wrestle Association-R (WAR) and All Japan Wrestling.
By 1996, he had joined the World Wrestling Federation (WWF), as the Cowboy gimmick Justin “Hawk” Bradshaw. A year later, he briefly teamed with Barry Windham as part of the New Blackjacks. But Bradshaw found it tough to break through in the crowded WWF scene that was trying to compete with rival WCW.
His big break came in 1998, when he was paired with Ron Simmons, as The Acolytes, two hellhounds and enforcers for The Undertaker‘s Ministry of Darkness. Following their departure from Taker’s stable, they became the Acolytes Protection Agency (APA), working as hired guns to take people out. Together they’re 3x WWF World Tag Team Champions.
In 2001, he captured his first singles gold in the WWE, winning the European Championship, as well as being an active part of the Hardcore title scene – he held the WWE Hardcore title 18 times in 2002. A brief APA reunion in 2003 and 2004 came to a close when Ron Simmons’ role in WWE began to diminish.
In 2004, he changed his name to John “Bradshaw” Leyfield, with a Texas oil tycoon gimmick. The change elevated JBL to one of the top heels in the company, leading to a 280-day reign as the WWE World Champion.
By 2006, JBL was beginning to test on commentary, but still managed to win the WWE Intercontinental title, becoming a Grand Slam champion in the WWE. In 2009, JBL officially retired from active ring competition and in 2012 he returned to the broadcast booth to join the commentary team. He departed the WWE in 2017 to focus on humanitarian work.
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