Interview: JBL discusses his status with WWE, Undertaker's return, dream opponents & more
For longtime fans like me who've seen JBL raise hell with the APA and thereafter as the most dreaded heel of his time, it is a rare sight to see him in Mumbai's Shivaji Park. JBL is in town to connect with underprivileged children, with a charity called Magic Bus, and enthrals them with a game of handball.
It's equally amusing to see the kids refer to him as 'uncle' and 'bhaiya' (meaning 'elder brother' in Hindi).
Magic Bus aims at educating children, from 'childhood to livelihood'. JBL was gracious enough to answer a few of our questions when we spoke to him.
#1 As a long time fan of yours, I saw a very different side of yours today, helping out kids from the underprivileged community. What made you make the huge career jump, at this point in life?
JBL: To me that's what's important in life. The youth of our world. I love being a commentator. I love working for WWE. They offered me a chance to just do the main shows every year. WrestleMania (as well as) Tribute to the Troops which I love doing.
So I get to do both. I get to work with kids and still be a part of WWE. To me, the most important thing I do is working with kids. The one reason I came to India was to see Magic Bus. It's a world-renowned charity that's done incredible things for poverty, taking kids from childhood all the way to livelihood.
Teach them skills along the way. It's an amazing thing what Magic Bus has done.
#2 What is your future with WWE right now?
JBL: I'm still part of the WWE family which I'm thrilled about. I've been there for twenty-one years. I'll still be going back for WrestleMania and Tribute to the Troops.
I had no chance to come to places like India and visit Magic Bus, and do some things that I really wanted to do, as long as I was doing commentary every week. So, I got a chance to back off and do a few big events every year which I love doing. Love seeing Ron Simmons from the APA.
He comes to all the big events too. But I love being able to come out here and visit with the kids and learning what people are doing, which to me is the most important work in the world.
#3 Is there anyone from the current roster you wish you had faced when you were wrestling?
JBL: Oh, there's so many right now. AJ Styles is just phenomenal. Kevin Owens and Roman Reigns...man...what a talent that guy is. He's just unbelievable. I'd love to face a lot of these guys that are out there now. They are such talented individuals. It'd be an honour to be out there with them.
#4 As a wrestling fan, one of my favourite shows was 'Legends'...
JBL: That was one of the most fun things I did. To pay homage to some of the best characters in the history of WWE and sports entertainment in general. I've always thought that you should chronicle this series so that it'd be a library forever.
So, that's why I thought it was so great to get Bruno Sammartino, to get Ron Simmons, the first black heavyweight champion, to get so many of these outstanding legends and get it released on WWE Network, for people to see it for all time.
#5 What's your take on the cancellation of Talking Smack?
JBL: I don't know why. I like Talking Smack. Actually, it didn't get cancelled. It got moved just to pay-per-views. So, I'm not sure. I think what happened was after SmackDown you have 205 Live. Then you had Talking Smack. It was just too late in the evening for people to stay up to watch.
#6 Do you have time for a funny 'Wrestler's Court' story?
JBL: A funny Wrestler's Court story? I'm not sure I can tell any of those to the media. There are so many. I had so many with Big Show in Iraq. Big Show was...we had a lot of fun. He didn't fit in the latrines, he was so big.
So, I had to figure out a different way for him to go to the bathroom. At that time, he was 500 something lbs. He's a true giant. Had a lot of fun with Big Show. One time we were playing golf and he had the old man putter. So he sneaks the putter into the hole and sucks the ball out. I'm like 'What are you doing?'.
He's like my hand's too big to fit in the hole. And it was. His hand was too big to fit in the golf hole.
#7 You called The Undertaker's last match if it was indeed his last match. Do you think it is, and what was the atmosphere like backstage, after the match?
JBL: I don't know if it was his last match. I met with him beforehand. He was the groomsman at my wedding. We are good friends. I wrestled him probably more than anybody else in my career. Probably more than anybody else in his career, as well. So, I know him very well.
Such a great character. I don't know if it was his last match, and if it was, it was an amazing way to go out.
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