WWE is coming under increasing pressure from fans to take action against WWE SmackDown Live Commentator John "Bradshaw" Layfield (JBL) who is at the center of bullying claims from his fellow and former colleagues.
The allegations came to light when it was suggested by Dave Metlzer of The Wrestling Observer that JBL had bullied Mauro Ranallo, forcing Ranallo to take time off from WWE as he is suffering from depression and bipolar. It has since transpired that Ranallo will not be returning to the company and has removed all references of WWE from his social media. The situation is now hitting mainstream media outlets and his is throwing serious doubt on WWE's anti-bullying "Be A Star" campaign.
The subject of JBL and bullying is not something new, many stories of questionable backstage behavior have surfaced over the years with some of these coming to light in recent weeks. Former WWE ring announcer Justin Roberts recently revealed in his new book that he was on the receiving end of "hazing" from JBL while on a WWE tour in the United Kingdom.
Today, two more stories of bullying have surfaced, a reddit user by the name of WigglingCaboose posted an article summarizing an interview with former WWE referee Billy Silverman who appeared on Get in the Ring back in 2001:
"According to Silverman, Robinson is chief target of the "boys" and their "harmless ribs", and Billy continues to go into detail about one rib in particular that disturbed him. While preparing in the arena hours before a show, some of the boys snuck up on Robinson, held him down, stripped him of all his clothing, bound him with tape and gagged his mouth. Robinson was then attached to a cart and wheeled into the middle of the arena and paraded around in front of the ring crew while everyone laughed heartily.
Silverman brings up Bradshaw next, and explains how Bradshaw threatened him with violence if he didn't oblige to carrying large amounts of Bradshaw's liquor across the Canadian border. Robinson suffered back injury from carrying all of Bradhsaw's bottles and the boys forced him to serve them the alcohol as well when the plane landed. Robinson calls Bradshaw a self-appointed "chief of police" in the WWF, while I call Bradshaw a bully, extremely overrated, and a pretty fucked up human being. Robinson took this matter to a member of management who's exact response was "Just do what Bradshaw tells you too."
In addition, a story from WWE Hall of Famer Edge's book "Adam Copeland on Edge" revealed that JBL would walk into the showers of new wrestlers, soap them up as a way of "weeding out" the new guys. If they complained about a guy touching them in the showers against their will they were labeled "prima donnas" actions which could be viewed as sexual harassment.
In 2004, IGN Sports interviewed Edge about his claims and asked:
IGN Sports: What does Bradshaw think about the part where he's soaping your ass in the shower?
Edge: Like I said in the book, no knuckles disappeared. It was simply a gentle caress. [laughs] I actually haven't seen him or talked to him since the book has been out. He doesn't even know it's in there until he reads it, so it should be pretty interesting to see his reaction. I think he'll get a kick out of it. He loves doing stuff like that. It's like his way of weeding out the prima donnas to see who is going to be a cool kid and who is going to have an attitude. I just laughed along with it and joked around with him. It was one of those things where I knew I was starting to belong. If they were willing to have fun with me like that, then I knew they must like me, so I just kept doing what I was doing.
What action do you think WWE should take against JBL?
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