‘A Mark’s Eye View‘ is a weekly look at some of the things that made me a huge fan of professional wrestling.
The Monday Night Wars brought about one of the most drastic changes in wrestling history. Fans were now able to see matches with the biggest stars of their favorite promotions facing off against each other on live television. The era of the two minute squash match was done. Every match on TV would now be a great competitive battle.
It was a great idea in theory that never quite worked out in practice. The main event quality matches rarely lived up to the billing, while rosters became a homogeneous blend of geeks trading wins and losses. No one truly gets over — but at least the fans get to chant “You deserve it!” six to nine times a year.
The days of jobbers and squash matches are long gone, but the memories will last forever. Here are some of the most beloved jobbers of all time.
There were many great qualities to being a great jobber. It was not necessary to have all of them as long as you had an abundance of some of them. Unlike most jobbers, the diminutive King had an impressive physique. In a time when even top stars were covered in layers of flab, King stood out. Even more impressive was how he was able to make fans think he actually had a chance to win. Crowds would sincerely cheer for King. You knew he would never win, but something about him made it seem like he could have been something more. For whatever reason, he stuck around in the NWA. He easily could have made it big on the territories.
At the other end of the spectrum were the Mulkey brothers. With a last name that screams “JOBBER,” skin so pale a vampire would tell them they need a tan, and bodies straight out of a Charles Atlas ad, the two were an NWA staple. Even before they became cult favorites, they had developed quite a fanbase. They were clumsy and were constantly in danger of hurting themselves, but anyone who saw them will never forget them. Their big victory over the Gladiators is one of the best slow burn angles ever.
Whether as Lombardi, the Brooklyn Brawler or Abe “Knuckleball” Schwartz, the New York native left an impression with fans in his over three decades in WWE. Lombardi stood out by simply always being there. Superstars, All American, and Prime Time Wrestling all featured matches with him. Lombardi also gave fans a clue where on the totem pole others stood. Squash him on Challenge and you were an upper mid carder. Have a competitive match on PTW and you were probably a jobber to the stars. Get cleanly beat? Well, there’s a reason no one remembers Outback Jack.
It wasn’t just the big promotions that had memorable jobbers. Bill Watts’s UWF was primarily known for its no nonsense attitude. Still, the promotion had some great storylines, and one of the most fondly remembered is the saga of Mike Boyette. Boyette would appear on UWF television week in and week out, and he would be soundly beat every time. At first, he was nondescript. Soon, the announcers would make sure to remind everyone of the losing streak and instead of listing Boyette’s weight and hometown, the graphic showed his winless record. As the losses mounted, Boyette’s physical appearance deteriorated. By the time the UWF folded, he looked more like the missing link than The Missing Link. He had wild, unkempt hair, spoke in grunts, and had almost 200 losses.
Today’s wrestling fan would not be willing to watch an entire show devoted to one sided squash matches. The days of jobbers like “Jumpin” Joey Maggs, Reno Riggins, and Randy Hogan will never be seen again. This is a shame. Well, at least Kofi got a World Title reign.
Next Week: Kabuki Warriors sure sounds progressive to me.