Date: 1998 or 1999 (exact date unknown)
Location: Kansas City Airport in Kansas City, MO
Source: Hardcore Truth: The Bob Holly Story, Armpit readers Steven, Chris, and John
Everyone loves a good bully beatdown story, and there’s no bigger bully than JBL (Justin Bradshaw Layfield). Ironically this story was told by pro wrestling’s other big bully, Bob Holly.
Steve Blackman was one of those guys who you could tell was tough just by looking at him. He rarely smiled, had a ridiculous physique that was built for strength instead of cosmetics, and he was someone you didn’t want to mess with. While he originally trained as a bodybuilder and powerlifter, he has a background in martial arts that he learned while recovering from malaria and rebuilding the muscle he lost as a result of it.
The WWF crew was at the Kansas City Airport, in between shows, and Blackman was hanging with Bob Holly by the luggage carousel. Since it was an early morning flight, some of the wrestlers were not in a good mood. Except for JBL, who was still drunk from the night before and probably slept very little, if at all.
JBL was in the mood to joke around, and that meant trouble for whoever was in his path. It just so happened to be Blackman, which was bad news for JBL because he was one of the few guys on the roster who could fight back.
JBL started harassing him, calling him all sorts of names, and it was pissing Blackman off. He then patted his ass, to which Blackman said, “John, I don’t play that sh*t, knock it off.” JBL, the prick that he is, kept on doing it anyway. Blackman warned him one last time, “John, next time you do that, I’m going to knock your f*cking teeth out.”
JBL of course ignored him and did it again, either too drunk or too stupid to leave him alone. Blackman had enough and turned around and backhanded JBL. He proceeded to then jab him repeatedly in the face and body about a dozen times, as JBL kept swinging and missing. With each of his jabs, JBL’s head would snap back.
For the final blow, Blackman was going to kick his knees out. But as he stepped back to kick him, his leg got caught in one of the handles on a luggage bag. This allowed Holly and Al Snow to grab Blackman, while Ron Simmons grabbed his friend and tag team partner JBL. JBL then walked back and forth like a “bandy rooster,” wanting to finish the fight he just got whipped in. Before Blackman left, he told him, “I’m going to f*cking kill you.” And he meant it.
Blackman then got in his rental car with Holly and Ken Shamrock. As they drove to the hotel, Shamrock was teasing him that JBL was going to beat his ass. Blackman just remained silent. As luck would have it, JBL and Simmons were checking into the same hotel as they were once they arrived. This was just a coincidence, as wrestlers often stay in different hotels while on the road.
JBL came over to apologize, and Blackman said, “No apologies, I’m going to finish you later,” and walked off. He then went to the gym, still steaming mad.
Finally they got to the arena, and everyone was sitting down at catering. JBL walked in and everybody went quiet. Blackman stood up and said, “If you’ve got something to say to me, you say it now or I’m going to finish you in front of everybody.”
JBL, presumably sober by this time, walked over to him and apologized, saying, “I shouldn’t have f*cked with you.” They shook hands and it was over.
Blackman sat down and told Holly, “Bob, if it wasn’t for that bag, John would be in intensive care right now.” Holly believed it, saying if anyone could’ve put JBL in the hospital with one kick, it was Blackman.
JBL is right, he shouldn’t have messed with Blackman. But he also shouldn’t have messed with everyone else, and he still did for years after this. The only reason JBL apologized is that Blackman could’ve and would’ve beaten his ass, and bullies always back down when they come upon someone who can actually fight back. But any time JBL had the chance to pick on someone smaller or weaker, he still did for years. He bullied Blue Meanie, and later beat him up for real on the ECW One Night Stand PPV. He harassed Palmer Cannon to the point he quit the company, and Billy Silverman actually sued the company over JBL’s behavior. Lance Storm once warned one of his students about JBL, and when he heard about it, he confronted Storm.
Aside from Blackman, the only person to stand up to JBL and take him out was the most unlikely of targets: Joey Styles, who knocked JBL down with one punch.