JBL aka John Layfield announced on Twitter on Friday evening that he would be stepping back from his weekly role as part of the commentary team for Smackdown Live.
JBL stated he wanted to dedicate more of his time working with at risk kids and communities, something he’s been involved with in Bermuda for some time now.
He noted that an ongoing relationship with WWE would continue including appearing on shows such as Tribute to the Troops, WrestleMania and more. No word at this time if Smackdown will go back to being a two-man team with Tom Phillips and Bryon Saxton or if WWE plans to announce an official replacement for Layfield going forward.
Layfield rejoined WWE’s commentary team full-time in 2012, initially filling in for Jerry “The King” Lawler when he suffered a heart attack at a RAW taping in Montreal. He officially joined the RAW commentary team permanently in 2013 and later went on to become a surprise Royal Rumble entrant in 2014. Layfield was moved to the Smackdown Live commentary team in 2016 joining Mauro Ranallo and David Otunga. The stint in 2016 on Smackdown led to a very public falling out with Ranallo that eventually saw Ranallo leave his role on Smackdown and later return to NXT commentary earlier this year.
You can check out a portion of Layfield’s statement below.
“I’m proud to say that in addition to being Smackdown’s longest reigning WWE Champion, I inspired WWE’s Tribute to the Troops over 10 years ago. WWE has been my partner in all my philanthropic works and this new deal with WWE ensures that will continue. WWE has made my dreams come true and helped me become a global name. And now, WWE is helping me use that name to make a difference.”