JBL Speaks Out – Simmons/HOF, Cena Crowd Reaction


JBL recently spoke with Busted Open Radio about inducting Ron Simmons into the WWE Hall of Fame, tag team wrestling and more. Check out the highlights:

On inducting Ron Simmons into the WWE Hall of Fame: “All of the speech came from the heart. As far as the structure of it, I thought ‘I’m just telling the truth about my best friend.’ I thought this was going to be very easy, but then I started realizing how important the situation was. This was the first black heavyweight champion. This is a guy who was probably the best nose tackle of all-time in college football. I’m inducting a real legend, which sometimes I lose fact of because he is my very best friend. I had to take a step back and think ‘I’ve got a place in history here, doing something for somebody who’s done something really phenomenal.’ The first guy to break through that color barrier in professional wrestling; this is an incredible individual. There was a little bit of planning because when I first thought about it, I thought I could do this off-the-cuff. And a lot of it did come off-the-cuff, but a lot of it was a bit of planning to make sure I represented Ron in the best way.”

On the state of tag team wrestling: “To be honest, I don’t know a lot about it. It comes on so late in Bermuda that I’ve just started watching the shows again, TIVO’ing them, and what I’ve seen recently on the show is that you’re starting to see some tag teams, but things go in cycles. During [my] time period, I don’t think tag teams emerged because they wanted them to. They just emerged because the characters got together. They weren’t doing anything with Road Dogg and Billy Gunn. They were just mid-card guys kind of like me and Ron were being used, and all of a sudden you stick us together, and it meshes. You stick Billy Gunn and Road Dogg together, and it just clicked. Hunter and Shawn, same thing. They were obviously main event guys, but they were put together and all of a sudden, the chemistry clicked. Then you add a couple of guys who out of the blue, you couldn’t factor in. The Hardys and Edge and Christian, who come along at the same time period and all of a sudden, they take off like crazy. I don’t think you can plan that. That just happened. When you have something like Stone Cold, that just happened. The Rock just happened. I don’t think you can necessarily plan and say ‘OK, this year we’re going have a good tag team division.’ I think you can say ‘This year, we’re going to try to emphasize the tag team division and hope someone steps up,’ but I don’t think that’s something that consciously is a decision made by the WWE.”

JBL on the different reactions John Cena receives: “Everybody has a response. When Rocky Maivia first became The Rock, it was because he failed miserably, but at least people cared. We’ve had a lot of people who have failed miserably that nobody cared about. They go out there and they’re just not over. Rocky not only didn’t go over, but the fans were chanting ‘Rocky sucks!’ They hated him as a good guy, but everybody had a feeling. With John Cena, everybody has a feeling. Whether you dislike his character a little bit or a lot, whether you love it a little bit or a lot, everybody has a feeling about Cena. When he comes in the arena, whether you’re sitting by someone who loves him or somebody who hates him, they’re going to be very vocal, and that’s what you want out of a champion and I think he’s done a wonderful job as far as tweaking his character. He has a great feel for where he’s going, and he’s got great insight in what he’s doing.”

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