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Not sure where I would rank it but I liked his title reign.

He retained the title against credible names like Taker, Eddie, Booker, Angle and Show, survived Last Ride, Barbed Wire Steel Cage, Triple Threat and Fatal 4 Way matches, then dropped the title how it should be...to a younger star whose time had come.

JBL felt like a throwback to oldschool heels.
 

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Too long, but I liked him as a heel champion for the purposes of dropping to Cena. Further evidence that WWE's original formula of using heels as transitional champions usually works out for the best.

Would have been more epic if it were shorter, ironically.
 

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His skits and gimmick were funny/entertaining.

Don't remember his in-ring work much.

It doesn't help that he was in the main event during the same time talents such as Orton, Cena, Batista etc. were ascending into main event status. Plus, we also had Guerrero, Benoit, HBK, Triple H, Lesnar wrestling on a regular basis. JBL was no where near those people in terms of putting on a good match.
 

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It was brilliant, he drew real heel heat. He was entertaining, he was unlikable, he was an actual heel, not the hipster heel of today. He cheated, he was arrogant, he was slimy and cowardly, he was booked like shit as a cowardly heel should be but he made it work because unlike some he was good enough on the mic to make it work.
 

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It's a real good question honestly. I actually LIKE the idea of this massive character change and giving Bradshaw this final push before his career comes to a close. He was always a decent enough in-ring worker and he was always a natural with the mic, so I have no issue with the WWE trying this out. Plus, this was a time when the WWE had a huge exodus of talent and with especially smackdown, they needed all the help they could get. Now in reality, JBL should have been the RAW champ and Triple H shuld have been on smackdown. That would've helped the product tremendously on both sides, but we all know the famous line, and it was honestly the smackdown death nail (triple n not going to smackdown)

His matches were really poor though but...I LOVEEEEEEEEEEEEE the storytelling of this title reign though. The entire JBL package was PERFECTLY orchestrated. Giving him the cabinet with Orlando Jordan and the Bashams (great idea). Giving him Joy and then eventually Jillian Hall (great idea). Having him use every heel trick in the book to keep his title...GREAT! His heat was absolutely tremendous at times too.

Unfortunately I think for the most part, too many fans just could not buy into the idea of Bradshaw being a top wrestler and a top champion.

It was not as bad as people said it was. Bradshaw definitely has the talent to do what he was asked to do. The Fox News, corporate billionaire angle was a great idea, and he was the perfect person to play the role.

The worst part of his reign was the build-up to Cena and how poor that ended up being. It was supposed to be built as this major moment for Cena, but that match was awful, and the crowd was not into it at all. The idea of letting Cena win the belt off someone who the crowd really hated is great, but just the whole thing was too....anti-climactic.
It's a C+ reign.
 

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I like the gimmick alot although to be fair I didn't watch smackdown a whole lot during that time. He was a heel that got Booed thats rare these days. The one thing that I remember during that reign was the Rocky mountain challenge, were he defended his title against a local Indie worker. It would have have been cool if he kept doing that rather than the 1 and only squash match he had.
 

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Not sure how you could hate it, its one of the finest heel runs I can remember. I hated JBL back in the day and not to forget some of the skits he did like the Mexico thing and crawling out in that cage match with big show. Absolute comedy.
 

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At the time, I don't think I was high on JBL's reign, but hindsight is a great thing. JBL was a more entertaining champ than a lot of the "world champions" of the 2000s- Khali, Del Rio, Ziggler, Swagger. Speaking of the actual WWE title, JBL > Del Rio and Miz.

Great promo, and while never a fantastic pure wrestler, JBL managed some great brawls with Eddie (Judgment Day 04 especially) and Cena (Judgment Day 2005, one of Cena's early career gems). Later, post-Cena WWE title feud, JBL had some underrated matches with Batista and CM Punk.
 

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I hated Layfield at the time because I felt he was undeserving of the WWE Championship. I actually stopped watching Smackdown for 4 months because of it. I think JBL's title reign wouldn't have been so bad if WWE didn't treat it like it was his lifetime achievement award. I missed out on many good promos from The Wrestling God due to my protest.

Sweggeh said:
The only problem I had with it is the way he lost it. He had been getting outside help from Orlando Jordan and the Basham Brothers, and had stopped at nothing to retain his title for almost a year, and against Cena at Wrestlemania he fights clean? There was no interference at all, and barely any cheating that I can remember. It went against his character completely.
It's a valid point, but I always looked at it as he didn't take Cena seriously and thought he could beat him clean on the biggest stage of them all. His character was that arrogant.

- Vic
 

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Jbl was simply 1 of the best heels of all time(people despised him,always a new cheating trick to win)
Gold promos
And thanks to that reign was created a star in John Cena

Only bad thing were the match quality
 

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He was amazing heel back then, everyone hated him.
His reign was solid, nothing special but his reign was way more better than reigns of Sheamus, Del Rio, Swagger, Mysterio.......
 

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the trouble with the Cena match was that Batista was given priority, so they were short on time

so you got 10 minutes of JBL beating on Cena, then Cena hits 2 moves and wins

horribly anti-climactic for such a long reign, and the first world title win of the biggest star in the company
 

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He was an old school heel and it worked to make cena a star. They let him get serious heat then when they where nearing the fuck off and die heat they switched the belt and made a star

Perfect
 

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Terrible. A low point in Smackdown history.

JBL wasn't a bad heel, but in no way a good champion.
 

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The lack of build before transforming into JBL hurt him slightly, but he was a helluva heel who elevated Cena to that next level.

An old school throwback to the men who generated real heat and were universally despised.
 

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Killed my interest in the product for 5 years. Really only tuned in a couple of times since his win, for a few Eddie moments, and RVD v Cena, plus Edge's matches.

But this reign sparked a downturn in the product that WWE have never recovered from. Call him a good heel if you wish but to me, it was literally go away heat, as I went away and gave up.

All this reign did was act as and aide to help re-condition WWE's demographics into accepting mediocrity as superiority, which is why 99% of the roster today are allowed to get away with what they do, and why they have any fans at all.
 
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