Many observers had considered John Layfield’s future in WWE to be in doubt after an incident that occurred during a WWE house show in Munich, Germany, on June 5, 2004. In an attempt to draw a negative reaction he gave the crowd several Nazi salutes and goose-stepped around the ring. Such a display, if used to incite riot or for other political purposes, is illegal in Germany. However since the display was intended as part of the showmanship of wrestling, it was not illegal, and so no action was taken.
On June 8, 2004, CNBC, which had recently hired Layfield to regularly appear on one of its shows after he had become prominent as a financial commentator, terminated its relationship with Layfield for his actions in Munich. However, Layfield’s actions did not prevent WWE from putting its championship belt on him. Some have even speculated that it was this incident which encouraged and strengthened the decision to make him WWE champion. Shortly thereafter, he was rehired by Fox News Channel (where he previously did guest appearances) as part of the Saturday Morning business block.
At the closing fight in ECW One Night Stand 2005, Layfield got into a legitimate fight with The Blue Meanie, genuinely reopening cuts Heffron had sustained two days earlier at another event. Layfield and Heffron have had a real-life rivalry for several years, and as a result of the incident, the former ECW wrestler Tracy Smothers challenged Layfield to a shoot fight anywhere at anytime; Layfield has so far failed to respond to this challenge.
On the May 6 Smackdown! JBL made many racist remarks about legal and illegal Hispanics. He said in a way it’s better to be a dog than a Mexican and called them names due to their popularity as being blue collar workers.