A Column About Marty Jannetty
August 4, 2004 by Avi Krebs
For my first article to be featured on OWW, I wanted to write about a wrestler
who I personally felt never got his due, or the credit he deserved to become a
champion. He probably is considered by most to be Shawn Michaels's whipping boy,
or that guy who teamed with the Heartbreak Kid back in the eighties and
nineties. For those of you still scratching your head with uncertainty, this
article is about...Marty Jannety
Okay, I'll be the first to admit that Jannety was certainly not one of the best
in the business when it came to actual wrestling ability, and even when he was
given his chance to become a singles star, he never did more than the average
superstar. What made Marty Jannety my favourite wrestler was not that he had a
limited repertoire when it came to moves. (I'm looking at all you Jeff Hardy
bashers) Or that he jobbed for plenty of wrestlers when he was finishing off his
career in the big league. I'm willing to even overlook that he was defeated one
time by Bobby "the brain" Heenan. What makes Jannety special to me was the time
I was actually able to meet him. It wasn't in an arena or a promotion of any
kind. It actually was at a McDonald's when I was in Georgia. Jannety was there
with his wife and child, (Or so I assumed). I even remember what he ordered, (A
double quarter-pounder, hold the cheese) I was in awe just being able to see
him. I built up all the courage in the world to approach him and did my best to
conduct myself in an orderly manner. (Well as proper as I could be for a 7 year
old) I just went up to him and with my eyes all beady and starry I asked him for
an autograph. To my surprise, he didn't turn me away; or pretend as if he had no
idea what I was talking about. He actually talked to me in a very warm and
friendly manner. Even going as far to take a picture with me and even let me sit
with his family. I was in shock. The fact that this man would take the time to
be with a young fan who was just learning his multiplication tables, but was
able to talk about his match in full detail against the Twin Towers. The whole
time, Jannety was just smiling and making me feel as if it was just him and I in
the restaurant. I am sad to report that I no longer have that picture. So what's
the point I forget to make" Simply that Jannety treated me like a real person,
and not some dumb kid. I can't say I've met any other wrestlers like I did
Jannety but I just felt that any person who could reach out to the fans when he
wasn't in his wrestling attire is a consummate pro in my books.
-The good: The early years
I'd like to clarify that in my humble opinion; Marty Jannety's best years were
indeed when he was part of the Rockers. I'd have to say that the way Jannety and
Michaels worked together in the ring was something special. Maybe it was the
aerial maneuvers; maybe it was the high-risk double teaming moves. It could even
be the way they just ran down to the ring and usually started the match doing a
double drop kick or simply just getting the crowd into the match. They could be
considered the Hardy Boyz of the 80s and 90s. One thing I had to do though was
see some of Jannety's early work and I was able to do so thanks to a handy DVD;
(Yes it's the Shawn Michaels: From the Vault) Aside from the blood, it was
certainly a welcome change from seeing mostly flabby, heavy looking wrestlers.
The rockers were buff. Well maybe not buff ala steroid use, but considering how
they literally ran circles around their beefy opponents, they certainly looked
like they were in excellent shape. If there was one sour note during the Rocker
era, it would probably be that the Rockers and Jannety in particular, never got
to taste tag team gold. Well they did, but it actually didn't go in the record
book. Jannety would get the straps later in his career, but it just didn't feel
the same. Then during a faithful episode of Brutus the Barber Beefcake's barber
shop, in a matter of minutes the Rockers were no more. I'll get to that in a
little bit though.
-The bad: The New Rockers, as a heel.
I'd like to point out that some of my all time favourite wrestlers actually
were heels for most of their careers. Ted Dibiase and King Kong Bundy are two
that come to mind. So when Marty Jannety came back for what I think was the 3rd
time. He was paired with a relative unknown called Leif Cassidy. It wasn't the
fact that Jannety was starting to job every match that bothered me. It's just
seeing people actually boo Jannety. He was a terrible heel in my eyes because no
matter how badly he cheated, or broke the rules, I just watched these matches in
disbelief and silently supported him. Although my efforts to cheer for him
became less and less after every match he lost. I think it was a sad way to ruin
a potentially talented wrestler. That's just me though. Then he found his way to
WCW. I heard that his dismissal from WWF for the last time was because he
paralyzed a fellow wrestler in the ring. If anyone can verify this for me or
tell me the actual reason he was let go, please feel free to post it. Keep in
mind that saying he sucked is not something I'm looking for.
-The ugly: Jannety's exit and return (for the first time)
This is basically about what I mentioned earlier about the scene in which Marty
Jannety was "super kicked" and then thrown through the glass of the Brutus's
barber shop window. Now I was fully aware that the wrestling was not real, but
considering how young I was at the time, I was practically in tears seeing my
favourite wrestler attacked so viciously. The blood and the bruises looked real
to me and from that moment I was almost compelled never to watch another episode
of WWF programming at that point. I couldn't believe that what I witnessed was
actually staged. I can't imagine going through glass in any way being pleasant.
I assumed that from this point, Jannety was done with wrestling. I lost my idol.
Then a few weeks later, while Shawn Michaels was cutting a promo with his new
shtick as the Sexy Boy, I was surprised to see Jannety charge the ring and make
a run for Michaels with both fists flying. What happened though brought back
memories of the glass shattering from their previous encounter as Sensational
Sherri met the glass mirror head first. Luckily, a big censored sign appeared
over the whole incident. My stomach was certainly not ready to handle seeing
more violence of this sort. This time at the expense of a woman no less. The
important thing was that my favourite wrestler was back and even experienced
moderate success as a singles competitor when he won the intercontinental title.
In closing, he may have not left a mark in the world of wrestling. He certainly
wouldn't make a likely candidate for the wrestling hall of fame, and I doubt the
WWE would be smart enough to bring him back and turn him into a manager of some
sort. (He has untapped microphone skills if you ask me.) So the only chance I'll
get to see Jannety again is during an Indy promotion show. I don't think he's
actually confirmed to just one promotion so I think he basically goes where the
money takes him. One thing is certain though that I really don't care what other
people thing. As great a talent and wrestler Shawn Michaels became, he really is
no match for the true icon, the true show stopper, the true Heart Break Kid,
Marty Jannety! ---- You know that has a nice ring to it.
by Avi Krebs..
Chris """ wrote:
I always considered him underrated as well. He had a short run in St. Louis as Marty Oates, before going to Kansas City as Jannetty. He was a great young talent then. I do believe he held both singles and tag straps there.
Jared Insell wrote:
Yeah Marty Jannetty was a great a talent when he showed up on the scene with
Shawn Michaels as the Rockers in both AWA and WWF. At the time, I think
Jannetty had more talent and experience than HBK (even though I always liked
Shawn better). However the partying and being on the road got to Jannetty
and he and Shawn got in big trouble with the WWF a lot. Michaels wanted to
become a big star so he settled down a bit but Marty continued to raise hell
and it led to his downfall unfortunately. While Jannetty was given
subsequent chances to make a comeback, each time he seemed to get worse and
worse in the ring. Maybe the life on the road had hampered his ring
abilities but it also could've been the WWF not pushing him properly or
booking him right. He jobbed too much in my opinion and he was simply
outdated. He looked like something from 1987 in 1994. While the WWF had
modified Michaels, Jannetty was still a Rocker which simply didn't work. He
was misused greatly.
Lance Crucifix wrote:
The person that made this article is very wise, Jannetty, was the one who deserved the spotlight that Shawn is currently in. Where both workers, in my eye, were equal in talent, given the proper push, Jannetty could have been the anti-HBK. Given his last match with Angle recently, I would say that yes, Jannetty is rusty, but, Marty picked it up in that match, Bring Jannetty to Smackdown! He could be the one to save the show, and make his mark of History of the WWE, just my opinion.
One thing that I'll remember from his singles run will be the AWESOME survivor series match he had in 1995. I actually believed that they were finally going to make something of him but of course I was wrong. I always believed that he could be a believable main eventer. He had the skills but he wasn't used to his full potential. Seeing him back on Raw & Smackdown just makes me remember that match at Survivor Series & also makes me realize how very VERY useful he was & still is. If I may add, the Janetty praises continue to roll in.......
I'm probably a fairly considerable Jannetty fan. I'm not going to bash him too badly since I've only seen four matches of his. One when he and Shawn were in AWA and the second when he fought against the debuting Goldust match. The last two times were on the previous week in WWE. My first reaction on Raw was "alright, this is pretty cool!" The match with Shawn just showed the fans who Jannetty was and I think of it as a test to see how he'd do on Raw. On Smackdown, he fought against Kurt in a long match (to these days' standards.) I enjoyed this match through everything that was done, even during the technical moments where most people will think it's boring. Mostly it's because I've never really been able to watch his matches and figure I should take in as much as possible.
I've noticed one thing, though.. Marty's facial expressions weren't all that great. During a few moments, he seemed to have a rather "dull" look on his face. I'm not complaining though, he just competed on Raw the previous night (remember, Smackdown taped on Tuesdays) and it was probably quite a while since he wrestled in front of thousands of fans and on tv and had to be at his best. Also, I dunno, but he may still have his party-life with him.
I see this as a decent step for Jannetty, perhaps those two matches the previous week was a type of test to see if he could compete with WWE full-time. I'd like to see that, he could bring some interesting matches and more interesting SLs if done right. I'll leave my statement with this... what if Jannetty becomes a special ref for HBK and Angle's match and turns on HBK" It can get interesting. Just an opinion.
Ditto Robertson wrote:
As a newer wrestling fan, I can't agree with you on the older matches with no other reason then I never saw them. I have seen a limited amount of Marty Jannetty's matches, but I must say; I have to agree with you. He was SO underrated. Even this past while when he fought Kurt Angle and the Rockers Reunion match, it was obviouse he hadn't lost his touch. It seems to me that Marty Janetty is a natural. Once he gets in the ring, it's all instinct. He somehow immediately knows what to do. Okay, maybe he wasn't really the greatest wrestler of all time, but I beleive he had the "it" everyone is talking about. Just the natural ability to feel comfortable enough in the ring to where your matches wouldn't get stale (because whether you know it or not, the audience can sort of sense that kind of stuff.) Marty never seemed nervouse and never looked thrown of his game. It's like taking a walk; you don't stare at your feet the whole time going "left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot." You just walk. It's not rocket science, it's instinct. It's about time someone thought of Janetty as more then Shawn Michaels other half.
Larry Christison wrote:
When I saw Marty wrestle against Kurt Angle, it felt like a breath of frest
air. I hope they keep him around for awhile. He proved that he can still
entertain in the ring, and shows a maturity that is missing in many matches
now. He offers a wide variety of new match-ups against seasoned wrestlers
who were either learning or elsewhere when he was here. Also we have an
experienced tagteam wrestler that can show and work with younger wrestlers
to improve that bracket. To tell the truth, when I was thinking about
established wrestlers WWE could bring back for fresh cards, Marty wasn't
even on my list- I didn't even know he was still wrestling- but now that he
came back, I hope they keep him for awhile.
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