Wednesday, February 24, 1999
SLAM! Wrestling Guest Column
Jobbers get no respect
Goldberg: the man, the myth, the legend. Have you ever reflected back and pondered just how this came to be? Goldberg is without a doubt one of the most prominent names in the world of professional wrestling today. I mean, lets face it. To go 174-0 is simply something that you just don't see in wrestling at all. Ok, maybe Andre the Giant could be the one exception, except when you consider the fact that his 15-year unbeaten streak in the WWF was a total hoax. On the other hand, we ALL got to witness Goldberg's remarkable winning streak unfold before our very eyes.
Now, if my memory is correct, doesn't it take two people to make a wrestling match: 1 to win and 1 to lose? Just who were these 174 wrestlers that ended up losing to Goldberg? Well, these losers are what are referred to in the wrestling industry as "jobbers." If it were not for jobbers being paid night after night to constantly "throw" wrestling match after wrestling match, would wrestlers the likes of Goldberg be where they are today? Certainly not. And just where are these jobbers today? Mostly forgotten and shown no respect on camera from "the guys upstairs" in any federation. I would hope that all wrestlers that are the likes of Goldberg are thankful to these jobbers and appreciate that where they are today financially and popularity wise has EVERYTHING to do with them "doing the job" for them.
Al Snow of WWF & ECW fame has the words "Pin me, Pay me" written on the back of his t-shirt. He keeps it no secret that before taking on the Al Snow persona, he use to do the job on a regular basis, mainly as Leif Cassidy in the WWF. What's that? You don't remember Leif Cassidy? Maybe that's because Cassidy won just about as many wrestling matches as his other WWF persona's, Avatar and Shinobi. What's that? You don't remember Avatar and Shinobi either? Well, if somebody out there were to do the math and figure out just what the win-loss record of Snow's other identities added up to be, you would find that it would resemble about 4-900! However, Al Snow's persona's are hardly a unique case in the world of wrestling. Hundreds, if not thousands of wrestlers have followed in this man's footsteps and done the job night after night for the sole purpose of boosting the career and increasing the popularity of his esteemed opponent. And how do they do this? By doing exactly what Al Snow's shirt says: first they get pinned, then they get their paycheck for being pinned. Plain and simple. Or is it.........?
By doing the job to others, these wrestlers are giving up more than they may realize. They are giving up fame, for one. Nobody remembers or cares for the guy that loses night in and night out. And when that wrestler becomes a free agent, a high percentage of losses is hardly something that a wrestler is going to want to put on a resume to share with other organizations. Which brings me to the second major item that these wrestlers are giving up: money, and lots of it! With the exception of the very short list of notable marquee names that Goldberg has conquered (eg. Hogan, DDP, etc.), I would argue that all of the contracts put together of the remaining 165 or so wrestlers that he has beaten don't add up to the kind of money that Goldberg is swimming in. Ok, maybe I'm exaggerating slightly, but you get the picture. The guys that win are the guys that make the money. I highly doubt that Barry Horowitz is raking in the big bucks, even with a man as wealthy as Ted Turner as his boss.
The JOB Squad: the WWF's answer to showing a couple of their more prominent jobbers that they are respected and appreciated in this industry by unifying them all together into one cohesive unit. By providing this group with increased on-camera time, the WWF is in a way saying "thank you" to all the jobbers out their in all federations for helping turn regular wrestlers from all around the world into superstars, icons, movie stars, and in once case, Governor. If Moondog Spot were to run for political office, he would not be receiving any votes from the public because of his popularity as an ex-WWF wrestler. While Jesse "the Body" Ventura may have political smarts, having dabbed into the field in the past, he did not win his campaign solely on this merit. He won due to his extreme popularity from becoming a pro wrestler. And how did he become so extremely popular? You guessed it: by others doing the job to him!
So the next time you see a jobber getting speared by Goldberg on NITRO, don't point and laugh at him. Don't make jokes about him to your buddies beside you. And especially don't take for granted that he is simply going to lay down and get pinned. He just may surprise you!................and hey, if he doesn't pull off a surprise victory, at least take pride and comfort in the fact that you were the one wrestling fan that actually believed in "the man they call Jobber."
Jeff the Ref is from Toronto, Ontario and hosts a wrestling line on the Talking Yellow Pages -- (416)292-1010, Code #3053. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.