This came out of nowhere.
On Friday, former WWE Champion and current SmackDown Live announcer John “Bradshaw” Layfield announced that he would be stepping away from his duties in order to fulfill more time to his charitable efforts.
Layfield made the announcement via Twitter:
After much consideration, I will be stepping back my weekly role as Smackdown Announcer to dedicate more continuous time on the work I have done since 2010 with at risk kids and communities. My new schedule will allow me to continue to be a part of the WWE family and also continue my work that I feel is the most important thing in my life. I will continue my 20+ year relationship with WWE and will appear on such marquee shows as Tribute to the Troops, WrestleMania, amongst others.
With the help of Beyond Sport, I founded Beyond Rugby Bermuda in 2010–which has been recognized as one of the world’s best charities for work with at risk, gang focused, youth intervention. Beyond Rugby Bermuda won the 2014 NACRA Fair Play Award out of 7,000 programs and 17 countries for its work with at risk kids. I was named as a Beyond Sport Global Ambassador–an organization backed by all major sports leagues in the U.S.
I’m proud to say that in addition to being Smackdown’s longest reigning WWE Champion, I inspired WWE’s Tribute to the Troops over 10 years ago. WWE has been my partner in all my philanthropic works and this new deal with WWE ensures that will continue. WWE has made my dreams come true and helped me become a global name. And now, WWE is helping me use that name to make a difference.
WWE has yet to announce who will replace Layfield at the announce desk on Tuesday nights.
Layfield, 50, is a one-time WWE Champion, having won the title in 2004 before dropping it to John Cena at WrestleMania 21 in 2005. Layfield is also a one-time Intercontinental Champion and three-time tag champion in WWE.