Hi folks! Today, we continue with a series of articles which delves in to the basics of professional wrestling. Last time, we looked at storytelling, selling, and ring psychology: What Is Wrestling? Storytelling & Psychology
The jobber has been in wrestling since as early as the 1950’s. Largely popularized among American & Canadian promotions, the term “Jobber” was coined from the phrase of “Doing one’s job”. Despite being used throughout the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, no one paid attention to them because they were never meant to take focus away from the stars they jobbed to.
This started to change in the 80’s though, with the WWF, WCW, and other promotions making use of jobbers beyond squash matches. There’s so many we could list, and I’m sure you’d like to see them all .. but here’s a few of the more popular names who made a living from it: Iron Mike Sharpe, SD Jones, Barry Horowitz, Steve Lombardi, “Leaping” Lanny Poffo, Tiger Chung Lee, Duane Gill and Dangerous Danny Davis.
Unlike jobbers of the past, these guys could win matches. Some, like Iron Mike Sharpe, even had the honour of wrestling champions like Bob Backlund in main events. Others like Mick Foley and The Hardy Boyz, would begin as jobbers and gradually make their way up the ranks. And on the rare occasion when a jobber picked up a shocking victory, their careers would sometimes soar to new heights; like how The Kid transformed in to the 1-2-3 Kid after pulling out an upset against Razor Ramon.
What’s not as prominent as it was in the 80’s and early 90’s, is the use of humiliation. For example, Jake “The Snake” Roberts often used his snake to embarrass jobbers he defeated. Other talents did similar things to them, just to rub salt in to the wounds for entertainment. Some of these jobbers would be remembered as being good sports, going above and beyond to not only make their opponents look strong, but to be a target for entertainment purposes. In the mid-to-late 90’s there was the birth of the cheap shot jobber; those like Gillberg who openly mock rival promotion’s talent.
Sometimes mid-card talents can be demoted in to jobber roles. They either disappear in to obscurity, or their careers get back on the right track. There’s also “jobbers to the stars”, guys like Dolph Ziggler and Rusev who regularly win mid-card titles, (in Dolph’s case the World title), only to lose horribly when pitted against popular names like The Undertaker, The Rock, Brock Lesnar or Goldberg. Over the decades, doing one’s job has transformed to the point it can be used as a negative connotation by fans.
When a fan’s favourite wrestler loses easily to another wrestler, they may say this person was “jobbed out” in a negative tone. They blame the company for making the talent look weak, and it’s not right to do that because they “deserve better”. The fact of the matter is, every single wrestler who loses a match is doing their job. Doing one’s job is something all wrestlers must learn. Unless a wrestler goes through their entire career undefeated .. they will need to job at some point. To do the job in a way which harms the person they are supposed to get over? Shows they are selfish and cannot be trusted as a professional wrestler.
In 2019, I feel there’s different levels of jobbers which I will list and explain:
- Silent – On rare occasions, some promotions will use an unnamed jobber(s). Impact Wrestling did this recently in a match with Madman Fulton. No graphics showing the jobber’s name, and commentary refer to the wrestler as “this guy”.
- Indy – Sometimes WWE and other promotions bring in guys/girls who are known on the independent scene, but their sole purpose is to job to their opponent without bringing attention to themselves. Scarlett Bordeaux did this on an episode of Raw, in a match with Nia Jax in 2016.
- Standard – Much like The Brooklyn Brawler, regulars are employed full-time with the sole purpose of jobbing. They might pick up a win from time-to-time, but only against other jobbers, and very rarely against popular talent.
- Gimmick – Al Snow’s “J.O.B Squad”, Curt Hawkins, and others who use jobbing as a gimmick, are known (to me) as those who embrace the art form. They can transform in to mid-carders if the promotion requires, but they’re arguably more entertaining as jobbers who make light of losing all the time.
- Glorified (to the stars) – As explained above, glorified jobbers are usually mid-carders (possibly on the fringe of main event status), but they can’t break through the glass ceiling due to having to make more popular names look strong at their expense. They are trusted hands, as they can make any old part-timer look great.
There’s not much more to say about wrestling jobbers, because Justin Credible explains it better than I ever could. Much appreciation to Justin Credible for his insights, I highly recommend you give his video a watch. He touches on several key points, including:
- Why jobbing is not the worst thing for your career.
- How veterans mentor new guys through jobbing.
- Some of the best workers in the world do not win all the time.
- His time working with Batista and CM Punk.
- How jobbing is considered a skill set you can sell to promoters.
- The rewarding feeling of guys you put over, going on to find great success.
- Not every talent can go over every night, so be professional and do your best.
Big thanks to everyone who liked the first edition. Was originally going to include tag team wrestling in this article, but thought it might’ve been too much. Would you like to see a tag team wrestling piece in the near future? And what other aspects of professional wrestling would you like to see covered? And my last question, who was your favourite jobber of all time? Have a great day wherever you are, and thanks for reading!