Justin Roberts Talks Backstage Bullying In WWE, JBL, Daniel Bryan Choking Him, Vince McMahon, Rumors

Justin Roberts

Former WWE ring announcer Justin Roberts participated in a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) on Tuesday, where he answered a wide range of questions on his 12-year run in the company spanning from 2002 to 2014.

Highlights from the AMA are as follows:

What was the absolute worst thing you’ve witnessed JBL do?

He terrorized guys.

It’s funny because people are bringing this up now because of the stuff going on now and the book release, but this was like 2003-2004; it was a long time ago.

He terrorized me, and a lot of guys. He’d make life hell for a lot of guys. He chewed Miz and Morrison out after they won the titles for not celebrating enough.

He was eventually let go back then, and when he came back he was a lot better, but he was mostly only showing up for TV. Even now, it comes across on commentary with how he is with Byron.

Did he have a group of people helping him terrorize people or did he work alone?

He had a group.

He was like the leader, and he pretty much had a cabinet, just like on TV. They followed him and did what he asked. It was him vs. ‘the new guys’

He had taken my passport out of my bag, and the next tour I guarded it with my life. On the flight back, Orlando Jordan told me he would watch my back and I should go to the gift shop. I didn’t take his advice.

I also remember being told I had to bring beer to the guys on the plane, but I got out of that, luckily.

Which guy other than JBL is just an asshole backstage? I know you probably don’t want to bad mouth people but was wondering.

Back then, Bob Holly, Kid Kash, and Orlando Jordan was like JBL’s stooge.

Have there been any incidents of someone standing up to a known bully and putting them in their place infront of the locker room?

Joey Styles did that to JBL on a plane with only a handful of guys, but enough for it to get around. Vince had talked to HHH about it, and HHH told the locker room about it.

Do you think the culture of “ribbing” in WWE is somehow related to the backstage bullying you’ve mentioned before? Possibly, some wrestlers cannot see where a rib becomes too serious, and is actually bullying?

It’s the mentality there.

The higher-ups don’t see it as bullying, they laugh it off and encourage it because they just find it funny. Obviously the locker room has changed, but Vince, Kevin, and Hunter like to entertain themselves and it still happens.

How much did you know about the Nexus debut? Did you know Bryan would try and choke you with your tie? Any ill feelings etc?

I knew the general idea. I’d found out about a half hour before the show started. The tie wasn’t planned out, Daniel Bryan is really great at what he does. When he saw me laying their with the tie on, he’s just a smart guy and took it upon himself to choke me. People comment on the selling, but it was real. He wasn’t trying to kill me by any means, but he made it look good.

When we got to the back, everyone, Vince included, praised it. I am glad things worked out for Bryan; the crowd use to chant his name at me like I got him fired and I’d tell people at ringside that I liked him and it sucked he was gone.

If Vince praised it, how did he get fired?

Vince was very happy with it, but from what I understand, it had something to do with a sponsor – something corporate. They were unhappy and WWE had to do what they had to do to get paid and that was their out, no one but Bryan had to take the heat. Fortunately, they made it up to him when they brought him back. Vince had actually called him and explained everything to him.

Craziest Vince story?

He was watching Sin Cara vs. Sin Cara at HIAC, I had asked a writer to find out about a change on the show. The writer happened to ask as Vince was watching that, and he was in a bad mood. I was motioned towards Mark and I got on the headsets, and he immediately began chewing me out. I thought I was getting fired that night.

When you’re getting chewed out on the headset like that, everyone can hear… the guys in the trucks could hear.

Chewed out about what, exactly? Don’t quite understand this.

“God dammit, don’t you know how to do your job? What are you asking?!” Basically yelling at me because I asked how the setup was supposed to go…

Does he say “God damn it” alot?


Any Undertaker stories?

There’s a magic that comes with that character, and I had to learn the hard way on how to react to help that character achieve the mystique. I learned my lesson on selling the wrong way.

In Wales, at catering, Taker was across from me and simply had a bowl of two scoops of banakee pie. For whatever reason, I started commentating the eating of his pie in JR’s voice.

I got the Undertaker to laugh at a show, so that was cool.

How would you describe Kevin Dunn? Any interesting stories about him?

Kevin Dunn sits on headsets during the show and just berates everyone. He’s kind of on a throne there. Just talks down to everyone, very negative, very high strung. Just heartless, and not a man of his word. I’m thankful that he hired me, but he’s not a good person in a company full of great people.

Was wondering what was your opinion of Chris Benoit before the tragedy? Was he as batshit crazy as other people have said?

Yes, he was crazy. I talk about that in the book. He had different personalities. He had a personality with a big heart, but on the nights where he was drinking and maybe taking pills, there was a different side and that side was crazy.

Opinion on Lillian Garcia? … and how she was able to stick around after messing up so much?

We always got along. We were very different. There was a period of time where she was making a lot of mistakes, but she was there longer than me, so, I don’t know I guess…

I guess the company were ok with mistakes. If I made a mistake, I wouldn’t get yelled at. It’s not like a normal show where you have time to memorize a script; a lot of times you’d get your verbiage on the spot.

They were patient with mistakes, both mine and hers.

The night you got released from wwe, there was rumor that you flipped off Michael Cole at ringside. Is that true if so, is that why you had been released?

Absolutely not true at all.

There was never any interaction between he and I that night. There were times on other nights I’d talk to him, but we didn’t really interact because he’s on the headsets.

But, the funny part is, he was the one who released me. And when he did, there was no anger whatsoever. No bad feelings whatsoever between us, at all.

You think there is a chance of you going back to the WWE?


I am happy with everything that I did.

I had an awesome run.

I wasn’t treated well when I was there and I wouldn’t want to go through that again. I was treated awesome by co-workers, but I wouldn’t want to go through that experience with upper-management again.

You can read the AMA in its entirety here.

Roberts looks back at his WWE career in his newly released autobiography, Best Seat in the House: Your Backstage Pass through My WWE Journey. Click here for more information.