If you watched professional wrestling back in the 80’s and even in the early parts of the 90’s,then you will know exactly the type of wrestlers I am talking about! They didn’t have entrance themes, merchandise, or anything like that. They looked like folks who were taken out ofthe crowd and put into tights. Some of them had mullets and beer guts! And lastly, you just knew they were going to be counting the lights within 5 minutes! Some people called them journeymen or carpenters, Bobby Heenan referred to them as Ham & Eggers, my older brother referred to them as Non-Superstars, but most people know them either as jobbers or by their proper name which is “enhancement talent”.
Until now, these guys never really did get their just due in the wrestling world. All we ever knew them as were the guys who got crushed, the designated losers, the wimply guy in the red or blue trunks. The WWF gave us guys such as Barry Hardy, Mike Sharpe, Dusty Wolfe, Rusty Brooks, Barry Horowitz, Pete Sanchez, Gino Corabella, The Brooklyn Brawler, and many others I can’t name at this moment. WCW gave us the more colorful jobbers such as “Hardwork” Bobby Walker, The Gambler, Buddy Lee Parker and Cougar Jay! Truth be known, while a lot of these guys were enhancement talent in the big national companies quite a few of them had held championships at various regional promotions and territories throughout the United States. “Iron” Mike Sharpe even once teamed with Hulk Hogan over in Japan! Barry Horowitz had held championships in the Florida Territory before working in the WWF, and before pro wrestling had an extensive amateur wrestling background at Florida State.
The WWF was known for getting a lot of their jobbers from local independent companies when they were in a certain area. These guys were only paid around 50 dollars per TV taping to get walloped by the likes of Bret Hart, The Ultimate Warrior, Ted DiBiase, Earthquake, Bad News Brown, and plenty of others. While they were losers in the big time, the fact that they were seen on television actually helped them get pushes on the independent scene. Booker T said in his book that Dusty Wolfe was the main event guy at the local Houston promotion he wrestled for because of the exposure that he had jobbing in the WWF. Barry Horowitz took his reputation for losing to the upstart Global Wrestling Federation where he would win their Light Heavyweight Title twice and take on the moniker of “The Winner” Barry Horowitz.
In the life of a jobber, there were some glimmers of hope in the big promotions too! Barry Horowitz was given a push defeating the likes of Skip (Chris Candido) and Hakushi, and even had chances to win tag team titles while teaming with the 1-2-3 Kid who also started off as a jobber in the WWF before scoring an upset win over Razor Ramon. The Brooklyn Brawler can say that he has competed at WrestleMania, has been managed by Bobby Heenan, main evented against WWF Champion Shawn Michaels at a Madison Square Garden house show in 1997, and even scored a pin fall victory over Triple H in a handi-cap match while Hunter was the champion. There are a few guys who started off as jobbers who years later would go on to be main event starts. There’s Jack Foley, who teamed with a Les Thorton to be throttled by The British Bulldogs. Foley recalled later that after being tossed around by the Dynamite Kid, he couldn’t eat solid food for a whole month. In case you are from another planet, you know the guy I am talking about is Mick Foley who would become one of the most popular wrestlers of all times with his gimmicks such as Cactus Jack, Mankind, and Dude Love. He would also go on to be a World Champion four times in his career.
Another guy started off as a jobber in the 90’s under the name Willow the Wisp, he would pay his dues getting squashed on TV while wearing some ridiculous outfit. That guy would go on to be six time World Champion Jeff Hardy. The WWE Hall of Fame even has a jobber in it by the name of Johnny Rodz who didn’t win that many matches, but was memorable enough for a Hall of Fame induction because he was considered one of the best workers during his time in wrestling. Today, when one thinks of a jobber they think of guys who lose quite often on
TV such as JTG, Yoshi Tatsu, Trent Baretta, Santino Marella, and even Zack Ryder While these guys all lose often, they are more of what is known as “jobbers to the stars”. These guys have action figures, entrance themes, merchandise, etc. I feel that they would all benefit if WWE were to actually bring back jobbers. They could have an unlimited supply to pick from out there on the independent wrestling scene. They even used some local guys for Ryback to squash a few months back. Don’t tell me it can’t be done. I just feel that the guys who lose often on TV would benefit from getting wins over guys where losing won’t matter because they won’t be on TV the next week. And having enhancement talent gives not only gives guys chances to score some wins, but the guys that lose can go back to their local indie feds with notoriety for being on TV. It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.
In closing, the enhancement talents were the unsung heroes of pro wrestling. They were great hands in the ring who played their position very well, and for that they get their props. Many of these jobbers have gone on to open up wrestling schools, start their own businesses, and then there is Steve Lombardi (The Brooklyn Brawler) who still works for the WWE as a road agent. It’s always the journeymen in sports who are the best teachers because they are the most knowledgeable. These guys helped make a lot of careers. The position of “the other guy” was a powerful position because these guys were the ones who REALLY knew if you could work or not. For all those jobbers, non-superstars, ham & eggers, or whatever we call you out there, I raise a glass to you!
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