John Bradshaw Layfield (JBL) is said to have been talking more about an imminent retirement from wrestling due to back problems reports The Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Layfield was overheard saying this past week that his back problems, which is something he has been dealing with for years and ended his initial career for the first time back in 2006, have continued and that his career would probably be over by May.
Layfield, who is 42, recently captured the WWE Intercontinental Championship from CM Punk on Monday Night Raw this past week (March 9) and is not listed for upcoming house show bookings in May that have been released. He also claimed he would be doing something “historic” at WrestleMania 25 this year that would shock the wrestling world according to a blog post on the WWE Universe social networking website. One theory is that he could retire as champion, something nobody except for Trish Stratus as WWE Women’s Champion in 2006 has ever done.
There is already speculation of starting a feud between JBL and Vladimir Kozlov heading into WrestleMania with the two scheduled to team up on Raw next week to face The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels in a tag team match, which would end in the two not working out as a team. Jim Ross even speculated this in a recent blog over on his official website, leading some to believe that could be the plan as there aren’t many people widely available as an opponent with CM Punk locked up in the “Money in the Bank” Ladder match. The only other exception would be Rey Mysterio who surprisingly isn’t confirmed for anything yet at WrestleMania. It will ultimately come down to what is decided in the next few weeks and how it plays out on TV, so anything at this point is only speculation.
It should be noted that Layfield has a number of projects he is currently working on. He recently took a job working for his wife’s (Meredith Whitney) new financial firm and also owns Layfield Energy that produces and markets a series of drinks. If Layfield has any intention of staying involved with wrestling he could more than likely do so as an announcer, which was his role for more than two years on Smackdown while he was retired for the first time. Layfield’s company Layfield Energy has also become the official sponsor and rumored financial backer for Ohio Valley Wrestling in Louisville, KY. OVW had just lots its television oulet and JBL stepping in essentially saved the company. With the financial crisis hitting Six Flags Amusement Park, OVW lost the company’s main revenue source and the contract for a series of shows at the park in Louisville during the summer months (which was believed to be around $50,000). OVW was mainly funded by a combination of money earmarked by WWE, the Six Flags deal and other revenue the wrestling school generated. With the loss of affiliation with WWE, it hurt the wrestling school and the WWE income stopped when the affiliation stopped. The company was then left with a $6,000 per month lease on the Davis Arena. There is a possibility with JBL getting more heavily involved with OVW that WWE may rethink its decision to break from it as a developmental territory. Plus, FCW has not produced the quality of wrestlers that OVW has for WWE in the past and that has to be a big factor in decision making as well.