Originally published at Canadian Bulldog's World
"I hold the world but as the world, Gratiano;
A stage where every man must play a part,
And mine a sad one."
(The Merchant of Venice, Act I, Scene I)
“The world needs ditch diggers too”-Judge Smails in Caddyshack
Jobbers. Jabronis. Preliminary wrestlers. Scrubs. Enhancement Talent. Whatever they’re called, every wrestling fan knows them and the role they serve in professional wrestling-making their opponents look good. While most fans remember these guys as human punching bags, even the jobbers have had some memorable moments in and out of the squared circle.
Long-time fans of wrestling still remember the days when weekly wrestling TV consisted mostly of enhancement talent (the PC term for jobbers) squaring off against “name” wrestlers. About the only time you saw a big name face another big name was in a match that advanced an angle or a highlight clip from a title change. If you wanted to see the promotion’s top stars square off against each other, you had to buy a ticket to a house show.
On its face, this could make for some pretty boring television. Who wanted to see someone wrestle who you knew didn’t stand a chance against their opponent? Imagine an hour of this. How did promotions manage to lure in viewers if the shows were that dull?
Conventional wisdom has it that the matches with jobbers were boring and that they made the old shows unwatchable. However as the following examples will show, the jobbers made for some entertaining matches and some memorable moments.
Some jobbers maintained the illusion that they might just win a match. In the WWF there were wrestlers who were once stars but whose glory had faded. This included wrestlers such as Tony Garea and Rene Goulet (both former tag team champions), performers who got in a fair share of offense and who made it look as if they could get a win against all but the top guys.
Then there were guys like Rusty Brooks and Rudy Diamond, men that epitomized the word palooka. When you saw them in the ring, you knew that they didn’t stand a chance. Week in and week out, they served as sacrificial lambs for the WWF’s stars.
However just because these guys didn’t stand a chance didn’t mean that some of them didn’t do their job with pizzazz or that they didn’t create some memorable moments. Let’s take a look at some of the jobbers’ great moments in wrestling.
“Special Delivery” Jones-S.D. Jones really belongs in the WWE Hall of Fame. Sure, he rarely won a match but this jobber to the stars certainly had his share of the limelight. Consider some of S.D.’s accomplishments:
Teaming up with Andre the Giant versus Ken Patera and “Big” John Studd in the infamous “haircut match”. Who else but S.D. could have been knocked out of the match early on, allowing Andre to be raped of his dignity when Patera and Studd cut his hair?
WrestleMania I: S.D. finally hit the big-time, appearing in the WWF’s inaugural pay-per-view spectacular. In true jobber fashion he lost to WWF newcomer “King Kong” Bundy in a record nine seconds.
S.D. had his own WWF action figure. During the heyday of the LJN figures (the heavy rubber action figures that you could use as a truncheon), S.D. managed to get not one but two versions of himself. Pretty good for a guy who spent most of his time counting the lights.
The Land of a Thousand Dances. S.D. was immortalized along with a slew of other WWF Superstars when he appeared in this music video. S.D.’s performance touched the hearts of fans everywhere and became the basis for a “Long Distance Dedication” on American Top 40 [i]
Frankie Williams-as discussed in last week’s column, Frankie Williams had a memorable appearance on “Piper’s Pit” where he was verbally dressed down by Piper then beat up for his trouble.
Aldo Moreno-never let it be said that “Rowdy” Roddy Piper didn’t invite all calibers of wrestlers on to his show. Perhaps he was attempting to capture lightning twice in a bottle when he invited another jobber onto his show. Whatever the reason, Moreno appeared on “Piper’s Pit” and confronted Piper about being a jerk. Unfortunately for Aldo, this was the first week that “Cowboy” Bob Orton was on the scene and he quickly laid out Aldo. Aldo’s brush with fame ended with Piper yelling “Get up Aldo” at him.
Jose Luis Rivera- By 1984 I fancied myself as a savvy wrestling fan. I knew that the jobbers always lost. However in 1984 the WWF introduced a rookie by the name of Jose Luis Rivera. Week after week, Jose would defeat his opponents. I thought that I was seeing the birth of a star. However not long after, Greg “the Hammer” Valentine returned to the WWF and his first TV opponent was Jose Luis Rivera. Jose fared well for himself and for a while I thought that he was going to upset Valentine. Naturally, he didn’t. He did what he was supposed to do-make Valentine look good. I learned a fundamental lesson that day-no matter how many wins a jobber had against other jobbers, he was still a jobber.
Rudy Diamond-Rudy Diamond had to be the most pathetic looking jobber in WWF history. Looking back, he reminds me of Chris Rock in I’m Gonna Git You Sucka. You just knew that he had no chance of winning. However Diamond knew how to stand out from the rest of the pack. He demonstrated this when he wore a t-shirt that read “Beach Bum” during a match against heel “Magnificent” Muraco (who the fans loved to chant “Beach Bum” at during matches). Naturally, Muraco didn’t take kindly to this insult from a lowly jobber and he proceeded to destroy Diamond.
Diamond has another memorable moment in a match with Muraco. From the start of the match, it was clear that Muraco would have no problem disposing of Diamond. However to add insult to injury. Muraco’s manager “Captain” Louis Albano fed him a meatball bomber during the match. Albano stood on the mat apron and fed Muraco while Muraco kept Diamond at bay. Albano even managed to pass a cup of Coca Cola to Muraco during the match. Muraco’s mix of gastronomy and athleticism no doubt played a role into his induction into the WWE Hall of Fame. None of this could have been possible without Diamond’s role in the match.
As we have seen, there were WWF jobbers who were more than a pretty face to stomp down. These wrestlers played their roles as enhancement talent to the maximum, providing memorable moments to fans who tuned in to WWF TV. I’d like to think that without them, the WWF would have been a less entertaining place.
[I} Not really. I just want to see how long it takes before someone cites this on Wikipedia.
[i] Not really. I just want to see how long it takes before someone cites this on Wikipedia.