Sunday, May 30, 2010

Jobbers, They’re Good for America and Pro-Wrestling

This has been on my mind lately, and don’t ask why, but the nearly extinct art of being a jobber has disappeared faster than a BP certain solution.  So we’re going to take a look at the very definition of a jobber, their value in today’s sport, and how wrestling should get back to this once almost proud tradition of getting your ass kicked.

Being a jobber or “enhancement talent” is an art form almost unto it’s own.  In professional wrestling, it is the role of getting one’s rear kicked repeatedly for the betterment of another talent that you’re trying to “push”.  Now, most of you probably remember these guys barely ever doing anything in the ring and wondering how they got a job.  They usually were scrawnier wrestlers or wrestlers who just didn’t have that “it” factor.  But they had one thing in common, they could make their opponent look like a million bucks.

By tradition, most jobber were poorly dressed guys who looked like they lost a bet.  Take Larry Santo for example, back in WCW days, this guy looked like there was a sale on shiny Easter season spandex.  And he tried to wear two totally clashing colors at once.  Top that all off with a lanky physique, he was a jobber of choice.  There were many others, guys like Duane Gill, Barry Horowitz, Jake “The Milkman” Milliman, and “Iron” Mike Sharpe.  If they came on TV, you knew one thing, they were going to lose.

The 1990’s redefined the role of the jobber and eventually led to their demise.  With all the competition of WWF, WCW and eventually ECW, the companies raised their levels.  Now you could regularly watch what would be PPV Main Events are your weekly main event.  Other bouts that would be big PPV draws became big Monday Night draws instead.  You had four star matches opening shows and creating an exciting atmosphere.  A great deal for the wrestling fans right?  For the most part, it was, especially at that time.  However, there is something that was vital about these matches during slow periods of the business.  That’s our current status.

So the value of the jobber during times like this is three fold.

1) The jobber helps talent get over faster – Now when you introduce new talent, they can come in and establish themselves with fans.  They can get used to the “signature moves” and “finishers” that they should be trained to look for.  They can also help you determine a pecking order.  If you want the fake rankings system, hey, the more TV time you’re getting the higher your ranking is likely to be.  I like seeing rankings, they almost make it seem more real.  They get you excited to see your favorite climb up into the rankings and get a shot at the title.  This makes for easy match making and a way to sell the match.  But this equation is MUCH harder without jobbers.  With jobbers, you can put more matches on your show and then put a few big ones at the end of the night.  Or you can do a main event at the end of each hour.

2) Sell-out your tours! – Now that we’ve seen some of these jobber matches on the TV shows, there’s not as much time for those big main event matches, right?  Now you’ve got a selling point for your house shows!  House shows used to be pretty big business, but not as much nowdays.  Part of that is because they can see all those matches on TV almost every week.  Now the only place they’ll see it is at a house show or on PPV.  That makes those house shows seem a little more special to the fans!

3) Your PPVs seem bigger! – Now those big matches they haven’t seen five times already.  If they’re looking, they’ve got a tiny preview of it or seen something specially at a house show.  Now the fan is hungry to see the real deal, the big pay-off!  A fan is much more likely to shell out money for something they haven’t seen before.  I bet AJ Styles vs. Kurt Angle a few months ago would have garnered more money and buys for them if the fans had a build-up but hadn’t seen them wrestle every Impact episode.  Instead, Kurt Angle might have wrestled a mid-carder in a “big” match in preparation for the PPV.

I know, you’re saying, Mark, I hate those matches.  Did you really though?  Sure, they weren’t good matches, but they served a purpose.  When there was a new wrestler I was always glued to my TV set to see what they could do.  What cool new moves would they perform?  Would they be the next big star?  That’s what you tended to care about.  More time was focused on the interviews in short little bursts.  I loved interviewing wrestlers after they were done with a match to get their thoughts.  To me, these are the things that are missing that during these down cycles of wrestling are so important.  Would I watch Shimdog job to John Cena?  Absolutely, as long as he eye gouges me and gets some heat, I’m happy.


Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Just testing out a few Blogging programs for Windows 7.  Seeing if there’s anything worth a poop!