Before there was a WWE Network, a brand split, monthly PPVs, and a NXT, the WWE, then called WWF, used to have weekly shows that would air on network television in various timeslots depending on the market. Here in Philadelphia, it was WWF Superstars on Saturday mornings and WWF Wrestling Challenge on Sunday mornings. Then depending on if you had the old school satellite dishes, you could pick up a shows from West Philadelphia on a channel once called Prism, and Madison Square Garden shows on a feed that was called MSG. These shows would often have top talents going against the classic jobber, and sometimes there would be a feature match which would be like a main event between two mid carders, or a top guy against one of the “tough jobbers”. And those tough jobbers are who we’re going to focus on here in this article. Why? Because even though they were jobbers, some of them do have very memorable moments and stand out more than just your regular ham and egger. So who are these tough jobbers?
Now, Frankie Williams was your typical whipping boy. He was usually a face jobber meaning he would go in there and take abuse from the likes of Mr. Wonderful, Paul Orndorff and The Magnificent Morocco. He was one of the not so tough jobbers but I needed to add him here because he was involved in what I consider to be a definite top 5 all time Piper’s Pit segments. I’ll never forget it. After a verbal berating by Piper, as only he could, Frankie Williams decided to stand up for himself. “I might not win every match, but I’m always in that ring”. Piper responded with, “Oh Yeah” and proceeded to beat him unmercifully all over the set. Poor Frankie.
Jose Louis Rivera
I’m sure if you really look at him, he was probably very talented. He was in decent shape, meaning he didn’t look like the stock boy at the local supermarket like some jobbers did. He didn’t have a designation, meaning he would go against faces and heels. He never stood much of a chance but he at least got to start the matches off with an arm drag and a hip toss or two and an arm bar before taking his beating. He never really did anything memorable that I can see but he was a weekly fixture on just about every show that took place in Philadelphia.
This guy was my favorite tough jobber growing up. He was one of very few jobbers that would start off with some moves, take his beating, and actually make a brief comeback. He was also often in tag team matches against top tag teams. He would be paired with a total tomato can jobber. He would start the match, control things until he tagged in his supermarket stock boy partner, and then that partner would take serious abuse and Wells would usually never make it back into the match. One of the biggest standouts was his match with Jake the Snake at Wrestlemania 2. It was a competitive match but he suffered a defeat after a vintage Jake the Snake DDT. After the match, Roberts put Damien on him and the snake wrapped around Wells neck and he sold the choking very well with foam coming out of his mouth. Great stuff.
“Unpredictable” Johnny Rodz
He wasn’t always a jobber. For a short time he had matches with some of the top stars of the 80s in some of the top venues around the country. After his short stint doing battle with the likes of Hulk Hogan, Bob Backlund, and Ivan Putski, he went into full jobber. He was a heel jobber so he battled the faces, often using dirty tactics to gain an advantage before eventually succumbing to the top star’s series of moves for the win and the cheers.
Probably the most popular of all the jobbers, Steve Lombardi was your typical squash jobber early in his career before being upgraded to tough jobber. He would even pick up a few wins along the way when facing other jobbers of a lesser stature. He also formed an alliance with our next jobber at one point to form a jobber tag team. Eventually, in a storyline involving Bobby Heenan and the Red Rooster, Steve Lombardi showed up as the Brooklyn Brawler, the man that everyone knows today. He then became a low mid-carder but it was short lived and he eventually slipped back down into jobber status where he would remain for the rest of his career. The most notable moment comes from my own memory when he did battle with Shawn Michaels, who just returned as was a big time baby face. Michaels hit him with sweet chin music on the outside of the ring and stood outside and counted to ten with ref for a double count out.
Probably very close to The Brooklyn Brawler in notoriety as far as jobbers go. He was another heel jobber that would put on somewhat competitive matches in his time. He often wrestled in both singles and tag team matches. He was most well-known for patting himself on the back as a taunt. In the mid-nineties, right before the jobber era as we knew it before came to an end, he found success when, on a televised show, he pulled off the upset win over Skip of the Bodydonnas, complete with good ol JR’s call of “Horowitz Wins. Horowitz Wins.” It led to somewhat of a promotion for Barry. He got entrance music and a tiny babyface push, even though he lost often to the top guys following his winning feud over Skip. But by this point, the standard jobbers like the ones mentioned above, were few and far between.
Nothing is better than a jobber with some distinguishing characteristics. Barry Horowitz patted himself on the back. Brookyn Brawler has his dirty Yankee shirt that was full of holes. Iron Mike is another one of these unique jobbers that stood out from the other tomato cans like Joe Baker or Tommy Reynolds (I just made them up). His arm brace that he insisted was used as protection from an “injury” and his constant yells throughout the match make him a unique heel jobber that was very entertaining to watch. He was originally brought in as main player but it didn’t last long and he was a jobber ever since. He did pick up a win in ’88 over Boris Zhukov in the first round of a King of the Ring tournament. He left in ’95, right around the time the standard jobbers were being phased out.