Photo by Spc. Eric Martinez of the U.S. Army via Wikimedia Commons.
JBL's outspoken heel commentary got himself in hot water this week, for his claim on Monday Night Raw that Carlos Colon, Primo's father, the owner of the WWC promotion in Puerto Rico and WWE's promoter for their house shows on the island, owed him and a bunch of others money. An apology on Facebook was forthcoming once JBL caught wind that he had offended WWE's Puerto Rican allies with the remark.
John Layfield, aka JBL, has been a welcome breath of fresh air on WWE commentary the past few weeks. He has great chemistry with Michael Cole and his outspoken patter is a riot, harkening back to the days of Jesse "The Body" Ventura who popularised the heel colour commentator role in the mid 1980s. Sometimes Layfield uses that position to settle old scores in a jovial manner, like constantly bringing up how Alberto Del Rio's uncle, Mil Mascaras, is "the most egomaniacal selfish human being that ever lived", because Mascaras was such a pain to work with when he wrestled him as Vampiro Americano in Mexico in 1993.
Earlier this week came the latest example of one of these tongue in cheek verbal receipts, as during Primo's match on Monday Night Raw he bitingly remarked that Primo's father Carlos Colon "still owes me and a bunch of people money." The joke, if you can call it that, cut very close to the bone, as Carlos owns the World Wrestling Council (WWC) promotion in Puerto Rico that at one point was on the verge of going bankrupt and certainly would have stiffed many wrestlers with their payoffs over the years due to its ongoing financial difficulties. However, though the comment was rooted in honesty whilst being veiled in heel schtick, Carlos may not have been a wise target politically for JBL to go after, as he is WWE's promoter for their house shows in Puerto Rico. JBL may have unwittingly caused heat between WWE and their Puerto Rican allies, which wasn't his goal obviously.
So Layfield, in an attempt to diffuse the situation, apologised for his dig at Carlos Colon's expense on Facebook, pointing out that it wasn't meant to harm, merely to entertain and help get his son over in the process:
"This past week I did 5 hours of TV for WWE, I am a heel announcer. I do my best to get over talent, story lines and hopefully entertain.
This past week I said many 'heel' things not intended to offend but rather to entertain....I went to Primo and Epico and made sure I had their title history as well as their father Carlo Colon's, so I could try and help them in a very short match with Ryback.
I quoted their history, did my best to put them over and then made a comment with something to the effect of 'Primo comes from a great heritage his father was a 24 time Puerto Rico champion'. I added, 'he still owes me money... and many others'. I'm a heel.
However, apparently I have offended Mr Colon and/or the wrestling community/office in Puerto Rico. This was never intended, there was no malice. I was trying to entertain--and put his kids over by listing their histories.
So my apologies to Mr Colon, Primo and Epico, and any of the other wrestling community in Puerto Rico that are now upset.
I had assumed they would know that I was merely trying my best to do my job and no malice was intended-that is obviously not the case, please understand my only intention was to entertain."
I'm not entirely convinced, as this seems rather like the Kevin Nash defence. When you get called out by your peers after saying something inflammatory that you truly believe, pretend that it was all a work and you suckered everyone into believing a lie. But I think the apology proves that JBL doesn't want to rock the boat too much, as he's enjoying being back in the commentary booth and would relish the chance to turn the current arrangement into a more permanent position announcing Smackdown on a regular basis. Despite this little hiccup, I would expect that to happen, as he's a better colour commentator than anyone else they've got, including Jerry "The King Lawler.