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WRESTLING COLUMNS

Doing the Job
July 20, 2004 by Kevin G. Bufton


Jabronis. Enhancement talent. Ham-and-eggers.

Whatever you choose to call them, there has always been a place in wrestling for guys who are prepared to stare at the lights, night after night, as the referee makes a three-count at their shoulder. They might be local talent, willing to get squashed by an established superstar for the sake of a little TV exposure; or they might be professional jobbers, well known workers who accept their place at the bottom of the card as a part of life.

If you grew up with wrestling in the eighties and early nineties, then you will remember only too well, the standard of wrestling shows on TV. Whereas today, all wrestlers are known as superstars, regardless of their position on the card, back in the days of Wrestling Challenge and WCW World Wide Wrestling, television output consisted largely of squash matches as the jobbers of the day put over one top-draw superstar after another.

The role of the enhancement talent was an important one, as it was their duty to make the established wrestlers look indestructible. Nobody watched these matches expecting to see a five-star encounter, as each bout was orchestrated to advance the storyline between two recognised grapplers, culminating in the next Pay-Per-View event. If the superstar was a face, then their next PPV opponent would invade the ring following their squash victory and a brawl would ensue to keep the feud hot. Booking a heel was even easier, as all they had to do was annihilate the poor bastard stood opposite them. A few monster heels, such as Vader, Vicious and Andre, would take on two or three equally unfortunate workers at a time. By the time the final bell had rung and their opponents lay decimated on the floor, these superstars would appear truly dominant and a worthy adversary for the promotion's top faces.

Of course, this was back when there were only four PPVs a year and both of the big feds could take their time building up an angle for their featured matches. This being the case, they could not afford to have the same wrestlers squaring up against one another week after week, for fear of diluting the impact of the final showdown. So as not to confuse the paying audience, who might think there was more than one feud going one with each wrestler, the promoters would bring in a steady stream of jobbers to build up both wrestlers and make the money-match at PPV a must-see moment.

The shows from this era are best viewed for nostalgia purposes. If you resign yourself to the fact that you won't be seeing much in the way of technical prowess, then there is some enjoyment to be had, though it usually comes from seeing Kevin Nash dressed up as Vinnie Vegas or cringing at an Ultimate Warrior promo. There was some excellent wrestling going on in the eighties but, for the most part, this was confined to the PPVs. After all, if guys like Frank Williams and Mario Mancini starting hitting tornado DDTs and shooting star presses, then their opponent would have appeared weak as they worked their way towards the next big confrontation.

The last big superstar who made his reputation by squashing jobbers, was Bill Goldberg, whose legacy is based on his 170+ winning streak, far more than his in-ring talent. Oddly enough, WWE attempted a similar thing with Lesnar, feeding him the likes of Zach Gowen, Brian Kendrick and Shannon Moore, to get him over as a monster heel. Whilst there is a certain sense to this booking, by this point in his career Lesnar had already trampled roughshod over some of the best in the business. What does winning these jobber matches really do for a guy who has already beaten Hogan, Undertaker, the Rock and Kurt Angle"

Such jobbers as these can take comfort in the fact that some of their predecessors have achieved a certain modicum of fame or respect, in spite of their string of losses, ascending to levels that few would have believed possible. Let's start with the very best of them.

Perhaps the most popular and successful former jobber is Mick Foley. The three-time WWF World Heavyweight Champion was once an old school whipping boy by the name of Jack Foley. His passion for the sport and his willingness to put his body on the line in the name of entertainment has made him a legend and one of the most beloved superstars in wrestling history. What was the key to his success" That's not an easy question to answer. Certainly, Foley has masses of natural charisma and he knows how to work a crowd like his own personal puppet show but I think that most of it comes down to his own sheer determination. Mick wanted to be a professional wrestler and he has never let anything or anyone get in the way of his dream.

Matt and Jeff Hardy are another couple of guys who were used as little more than jobbers during their first run with the WWF, despite having promoted and headlined their own shows with Omega Pro. Again, an apparent fearlessness in the ring, coupled with a desire to be the hottest tag team in the WWF helped them to rise up the ranks of the tag division with unseemly speed. The fact that they were pretty boys didn't hurt, of course, but their skill and tenacity was far more important to their ultimate success. A nice touch, that harked back to their jobbing past, was when they dressed up as well known masked jobbers, Los Conquistadors, to wrest the WWF Tag Team bets from Edge and Christian...classic stuff.

Johnny Ace, current head of WWE Talent Relations was once one half of glorified jobber tag team, the Dynamic Dudes. Following his timely release from WCW, he travelled to Japan where he became a genuine legend and made his finisher, the Ace Crusher, one of the most imitated moves in wrestling - perhaps you know it better as the Stone Cold Stunner.

Hall of Famer, Johnny Rodz, a highly respected trainer who helped to develop such talent as Taz, D-Von Dudley and Tommy Dreamer, was a renowned jobber in his time. He was considered a highly dependable worker but, for one reason or another, he was never able to ascend to the next tier of wrestling superstardom. This did not deter him from the sport and his protégés have become the superstars that, perhaps, he should have been.

Speaking of ECW alumni, what about Spike Dudley" Seeing as he weighs 150lbs soaking wet and has a body that is only fit for being thrown into guardrails and through tables, it is no surprise that he is the jobber of choice on the current WWE roster (along with Scotty 2 Hotty). This has not always been the case - during his ECW tenure, Spike was known as the Giant Killer, getting a famous upset win over Bam Bam Bigelow. True, Bam Bam delivered an ass-whuppin' in the return match, but Spike proved that the little man could get a clean victory.

Most jobbers never reached these heights, which is only to be expected, though some of them managed to capture a small place in our hearts, if only because they never gave up. Current WWE road agent, Steve Lombardi, has wrestled under all manner of gimmicks, including Doink, Knuckleball Schwartz, MVP and his most famous creation, the Brooklyn Brawler. Of course, his few victories were usually against other jobbers, but many fans look back on his career with something approaching fondness, if not actual respect.

The Red Rooster, Barry Horowitz, Duane Gill - everybody has their favourite jobber, somebody who made you glad that, whatever was going on in your life, you were getting squashed (quite literally) by King Kong Bundy or the Big Bossman every night.

Things reached new heights during the Attitude era, when Al Snow formed the J.O.B. squad - a stable, in the loosest sense, made up of jobbers-to-the-stars like the Blue Meanie and Gillberg. Though not long lasting, they were entertaining enough and, as a faction, managed to get a few victories under their collective belts. Hell, Duane Gill even managed to win the Light-Heavyweight strap off Christian...who'd have thought it"

Koko B. Ware was one guy who always seemed synonymous with the word 'jobber' but, in researching this column I discovered that, in the years 1987-1993, the Birdman lost 90 matches, but won 92. Granted, these statistics might have included house shows against local talent, even lower down the pecking order than he, but still... Perhaps being a jobber is as much to do with public perception as with your actual win loss record. Consider Mick Foley who, in the course of a near six-month feud with Randy Orton did the job for the newcomer at two PPVs, walked out on the business, had Orton spit in his face and suffered too many beatdowns to remember at the hands of Dandy Randy and his Evolution buddies. He didn't win once - not one solitary victory in a six month feud, yet everybody thinks that Orton was lucky to get the win, or that Foley should have gone over. Something to think about, perhaps.

Now that all wrestlers are marketed as 'superstars' there seems less room for the career jobber, but there are plenty of workers out there who know that they won't see the bright lights of the main event and look at wrestling as a way to pay their bills. Whether it be Scotty 2 Hotty, Maven or SmackDown!'s Number One Announcer, Funaki, there is always somebody out there willing to do the job.

by Kevin G. Bufton..


Jerry Gerardi wrote :
Great column. Jobbers are the life-blood of pro wrestling... With that in mind Here are My All-Time Magnificent Seven Jobbers:

1. Barry Horowitz = Self-pat on the back... PRICELESS! His surprise win over Candido via 3/4 Nelson WINS! HOROWITZ WINS!

2. Frankie Williams = HE made the first Piper's Pit famous, setting the tone for the all-time most entertaining wrestling segment.

3. "Duke of Dorchester" Pete Doherty = Charisma personified! An ole Boston Garden fave; Even appeared in "No Holds Barred"!!!

4. The Italian Stallion (NWA) = Put over several NWA'ers in the Crockett years making them even more talented than they were.

5. Jake "The Milkman" Milliman = AWA Talent Enhancement par excellence; Piledriven by L. Zbyszko on the concrete head first!

6. Velvet McIntyre = My all-time favorite lady wrestler, giving it her barefoot best every time putting over the Moolahs and Martels.

7. Steve Lombardi = His loyalty to the McMahon family is exemplary all these years; He got a win over Triple H on SmackDown!

8. S.D. Jones = Squashed at WrestleMania to begin King Kong Bundy's push toward main event status the very next 'Mania!

9. Italian Stallion (SmackDown!) = Took some vicious Clotheslines from Hell to enhance WWE Champ JBL (SmackDown 7/20/04)

10. George Welles = Made Jake "The Snake" Roberts famous in a BIG way at WM2, taking Damian around his neck like a man!
wrote:

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