Every year at this time, the Internet Wrestling Community likes to kvetch about who does and does not belong in the WWE Hall of Fame.
We are now starting to hear names for the 2013 slate. Mick Foley is definitely going in (via Newsday.com). King Kong Bundy wants to go in. PWInsider.com (via WrestlingInc.com) reports that Kamala has been contacted about possible induction.
That is sure to launch the IWC into a new round of tizzies about why a particular legend is being left out. Names will be bantered about of wrestlers they feel deserve the honor of being in the Hall of Fame.
One of those names should instead be initials.
John “Bradshaw” Layfield is one of the more colorful characters to ever set foot in a WWE ring. But does he qualify for a shot at the Hall?
Since he returned to WWE last year as a color commentator, JBL has reminded wrestling fans just how entertaining he is. He may be perceived as a “heel” commentator, but he does not always push the bad guy in the matches.
He provides insight with a touch of history, frequently injecting the names of WWE wrestlers from the past and comparing them to the competitors of the present.
Sure, he sometimes goes overboard with certain comments. For instance, whenever Sheamus ties up his opponent in the ropes and beats them, you can expect JBL to say, “I wish he could be doing that to you!” in various versions to his broadcast partners.
But it still is early in his broadcast career. Only time will tell if those comments will become a crutch.
JBL has been a good alternative to Jerry “The King” Lawler at the broadcast table. Whereas Lawler likes to pepper his commentary with corny jokes, JBL is all seriousness—just like he used to be in the ring.
But broadcasting is just a small part of JBL’s Hall-worthy portfolio.
During his 17-year career, JBL held a total of 24 championships, including an impressive nine-month reign as WWE champion. Seventeen of those championships were the now-defunct Hardcore title.
There were three World Tag Team Championships with Faarooq when they were known as the "Acolyte Protection Agency." As a singles wrestler, Layfield also held the U.S. and Intercontinental championships.
But it was as JBL, the greedy Texas millionaire who flaunted wealth as often as he accumulated it, that has endeared Layfield to the WWE Universe. He was slicker than the oil that flowed from his wells and meaner than the meanest Texas rattlesnake. And speaking of snakes, JBL as a WWE Champion often won matches in rather snaky ways.
Outside the ring, Layfield has made a name for himself as a sharp financial analyst and TV commentator. He was also instrumental in WWE’s launch 10 years ago of the annual “Tribute to the Troops” program.
With all of that going for him, there is no reason why JBL should be kept out of the Hall of Fame. His APA mate, Faarooq (also known as Ron Simmons), got in last year.
We will not get into "If so-and-so is in there, then such-and-such should be, too." That point has been argued to death. The bottom line is that whether you agree with an induction or not, there is nothing you can do about it.
But this much should be said: Whether it is this year, next year or shortly after that, JBL needs to be put in the WWE Hall of Fame.
Follow Bill Atkinson on Twitter at @BAtkinson1963.