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JBL On How He Ended Up Working For FOX News, Interviewing Linda McMahon, Breaking Into Wrestling

Former WWE Superstar JBL was a recent guest on the Prime Time with Sean Mooney podcast. The former WWE Champion opened up about how he became a Fox News contributor, what it was like interviewing Linda McMahon, and a night out drinking with Vince McMahon that led to his pairing with Ron Simmons.

How JBL Ended Up As A Fox News Contributor:

Necessity is the mother of invention. I played a little pro football, didn’t make much money. I’d like to tell you that I had a problem with drugs and hookers, and some great stories, but I don’t have any of those stories. I just spent all my money, but I didn’t make much money, so it wasn’t like I blew millions of dollars. I blew tens of dollars and I didn’t have any money when I was done. When I finally got cut after my third year ‘cause of injuries, either injuries or lack of talent – I’m not sure which one (I’d like to think its injuries), I said, ‘I wasted three years of making money and I don’t have anything. I only have $27.’ I thought, ‘If I ever make money again, then we’ll figure out what to do with it,’ and I literally started reading every financial book there was and thought, ‘I could write a better financial book than this,’ and I wrote a financial book and then the wind picked up (windmills, renewable energy).

In West Texas where I grew up, I had a wind farm planned. I’d gotten the turbines bought and the land acquired and then the renewable energy credit imploded and it killed the margins, so the deal never worked, but the investment bank I was working with asked me and said, ‘We really like what you did. Would you come to work for us?’ I went to work on Wall Street for about three or four years with an investment bank, got certified, series 3, series 7 and all this stuff. During that time I started working for Fox also because I’d written that book and it was kind of unusual to have a professional wrestler in finance. It was a bit of an oddity at first and then they kind of – I guess – liked me, so I’ve been there ever since with Fox Business.

What It Was Like To Interview Linda McMahon On Fox Business:

It wasn’t another day at the office. I have a good rapport with Linda, having worked with her especially in the mid ‘90s, when I first came in there. She was still full time CEO/President, whatever her official title was. To me, it made me a little bit nervous and it was one of the first interviews I’ve been nervous for in a long time and not because it was the small business administration head, but because it was Linda. A lot more people are going to look at that. A lot more eyeballs are gonna look at that, so I want to make sure that I did a good job of setting the table for Linda. I knew she’d be awesome, but I wanted to make sure and do my part. There was a lot of extra preparation and at one point in the interview – I’m trying to think while they’re talking and still listening – I was a little bit nervous because I wanted to do such a good job for Linda and for the people that are watching that are also wrestling fans. They’re rooting for you and a few are probably rooting against you, but you want to do a good job for the business.

How He Came To Be Involved In Professional Wrestling:

I grew up a huge wrestling fan. My grandfather, who was a minister and retired when I was a young kid in Sweetwater, Texas lived right near us, he was a big wrestling fan. The Von Erichs, before the boys were there – Fritz and Brody would come around, even at that time just getting started. I always wanted to be a wrestler and football was so big though in Sweetwater that I got hooked on the football excitement and I thought, ‘I really want to be a pro football player.’ I was fortunate that I achieved some offers and got the chance to play for awhile. Then I got hurt and couldn’t play any longer and it wasn’t like it was a last ditch effort, like I can’t do anything else, might as well go into wrestling. It’s a great chance to go into wrestling. I was playing in the World Football League. In fact, Jason Garrett, the coach of the Cowboys was our quarterback. I met a guy from Japan – never heard from him since, but I asked him. I said, ‘How did you get into wrestling?’ He said, ‘Brad Rheingans in Minnesota.’ So, I moved up to Minnesota. Brad trained Vader, trained Brock Lesnar. At the time, he was recognized as the best trainer there was. I moved up there and trained for about 4.5 months in his basement and then started wrestling.

On His Early Years In Professional Wrestling:

It was an absolute baptism by fire. I went down to the Sportatorium and Lou Perez no showed the event. I don’t know what happened, if it was travel, if he was sick, or if he just got mad at payoff – I have no idea. That was Al Perez’ working cousin. I don’t think they were ever related. I get down there and they don’t have a main event against Rod Price, who’s the champion. They were like, ‘We’ve got this big kid, who played pro football. He was trained by Brad Rheingans.’ This is the first match I ever had. They said, ‘Take this kid out there as a surprise. We have nothing else.’ The place was sold out and he said, ‘Stay in there as long as you can. If you can go twenty, go twenty. If you can’t, go two. It doesn’t matter. Just get something out there.’ I go out there with Rod and Rod was a wonderful professional and he carried me for about twenty minutes. It ended up being a good match because of Rod and when I came back Kendo Nagasaki (Mr. Sakurada) had just started booking Japan when he had a split with Tenryu. He didn’t see the match. He just saw this big kid who had played pro football in the main event. He comes to me and he says, ‘Would you like to come to Japan?’ I said, ‘Yeah.’ I’ve been in the business now one day and he says, ‘Would you like to come to Japan?’ I said, ‘When are we going?’ He says, ‘Two or three weeks later.’ I said, ‘OK great.’ All these guys had been trying to get to Japan. I got there after one day in the business just because of luck. So, I go over there and I’m tag teaming with Bob Orton. Bob pulls me aside one day and goes, ‘You know kid, you do some really good stuff, but some of the stuff you do makes no sense.’ He says, ‘How long have you been working?’ I said, ‘Three weeks, sir.’ He said, ‘No, no, no, kid. Not how long you’ve been in Japan, how long have you been working?’ I said, ‘Sir, I’ve been working three weeks.’ He said, ‘What the hell are you doing here?’ [laughter] ‘I have no idea.’ Bob would take me down to the dojo every morning and just show me some sugar holds and some hooks to just get me through the night…..Bob taught me how to keep my pace and after about five weeks I finally started to figure it out…..I got baptized by fire. I’m incredibly lucky.

(Transcription Credit: Michael McClead, WrestleZone) 

Readers may listen to Sean Mooney‘s interview with JBL in its entirety below:

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