The jobber is a figure that has invited scorn and ridicule since the earliest days of pro wrestling. Kinder souls have cheered on jobbers, especially when true heels were their opponents. For the most part, fans have viewed jobbers as non-descript, milquetoast athletes with regular names, grungy tights, and the reek of defeat. Jobbers are the guys there to “job,” which, in wrestling parlance, means to lose. Although they should play a critical role in the wrestling business (when they are properly utilized, they do), jobbers are the mostly faceless and nameless working stiffs who can never catch a lucky break no matter how hard they try. If we’re being honest, jobbers remind us of ourselves.
A few jobbers have managed, in the words of Jim Morrison, to break on through to the other side. This other side is remembrance. In spite of being enhancement talent who rarely wrestle past five minutes, these jobbers have left an indelible mark on all of our hearts. So, let’s give it up for the dorks, the losers, and the guys who are just happy to have jobs.
15. James Ellsworth
“The Chinless Wonder” James Ellsworth is so odd and ungainly that he’s downright adorable. At 5’7 and somewhere well below 200 pounds, Ellsworth does not cut an imposing figure in his wrestling gear. Furthermore, from what we’ve seen so far in the ring, it’s hard to tell whether or not Ellsworth is good or terrible. However, Ellsworth knows his character, and his character is more over right now than then some veteran talents. If there’s a lesson to be learned with Ellsworth, it’s this: organic character development trumps manufactured style any day. People will remember Ellsworth’s “Any Man With Two Hands” promo long after his 15 minutes are up. Hopefully, the man from Baltimore sticks around for at least twenty.
Because his success has been so recent (well, at least within the WWE Universe), Ellsworth comes in at number 15. However, unlike most people on this list, Ellsworth not only got wins on television, but he’s beaten a world champion.
14. The Gambler
At least The Gambler had a memorable gimmick; most jobbers are just boring names in plain wrestling tights and plain wrestling boots. The Gambler, also known as Mississippi grappler Jeff Gamble, maintained the preeminent jobber spot on WCW’s Saturday Night program throughout much of the mid-1990s. In the glorious barf bowl that was pre-NWO/WCW, The Gambler, whose gimmick was lifted from a certain Kenny Rogers song, fit right in with the likes of the Dungeon of Doom, Col. Robert Parker, and the Blacktop Bully.
Despite being known for losing, The Gambler held gold in at least one celebrated territory. For a grand total of 16 days in April 1995, The Gambler and Brickhouse Brown held the USWA Tag Team titles in Memphis. This is the same territory that kept Jerry “The King” Lawler on top way past his prime, while also giving The Rock, Grandmaster Sexay (Brian Christopher), and Jeff Jarrett some of their earliest tastes of main card success. That’s some illustrious company for just a gambler in a black satin jacket.
13. Frankie Williams
My sources tell me that Frankie Williams may have won one match. Even Van Hammer, who never won a major or minor title in his hard rocking and heavy rolling career, can claim that he’s got PPV wins under his studded belt. With the complexion of a sick fish and an adult film star stache, Frankie Williams was the embodiment of the journeyman wrestler in the 1970s. When not losing matches to Ernie Ladd, Hulk Hogan, or Gorilla Monsoon, Williams worked in the well-paid pizza industry. That’s no joke.
Despite a 1976 confrontation with “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair inside of Madison Square Garden, Williams is best remembered for a brief interview on a 1984 episode of Piper’s Pit. “Rowdy” Roddy Piper let the schlub from Columbus, Ohio have it. The mush-mouthed Williams even had to job on a talk show. There’s lovable losers, and then there’s poor Frankie Williams.
12. George South
George South is a very successful ex-jobber. The North Carolina native is not only a well respected trainer who has helped to train the likes of Cedric Alexander and Tessa Blanchard, but he’s the head trainer for Highspots Wrestling School. Even better, South once appeared on an episode of Colt Cabana’s Art of Wrestling podcast. Not bad for guy who once collected checks as an employed pincushion.
In truth, of all the jobbers on this list, South had the most competitive matches with marquee names. Ric Flair has not only sung the man’s praises on multiple occasions, but the pair had an amazing 15-minute match on the November 12, 1988 episode of World Championship Wrestling. Indeed, go back and watch the pair make magic in the ring for the Mid-Atlantic territory all throughout the 1980s. If there was ever a Ricky Steamboat of jobbers, it was George South.
11. Freddie Joe Floyd
Getting over in one federation does not always mean that you’ll get over in another. Heck, most of the big names down in NXT are now glorified jobbers in WWE themselves. Tracy Smothers is a prime example of a man who got the rub in one place, but not another. In Jim Cornette’s Smoky Mountain Wrestling, Smothers, who draped himself in the battle flag of the Confederacy, was a beloved babyface who got major pops all throughout Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, and the rest of Appalachia. In SMW, Smothers won the Beat the Champ Television Championship three times, the SMW tag titles once, and the SMW Heavyweight Championship twice. Even in ECW, a promotion more Northeastern than clan chowder for breakfast, Smothers earned gold as a member of the Full Blooded Italians stable.
In the WWE however, Smothers became a jabroni jobber named Freddie Joe Floyd. In keeping with Vince McMahon‘s fondness for ridiculing Southerners, Floyd embodied the luckless hillbilly in and out of the ring. Also, according to Cornette himself, Smothers’ name in the WWE was all part of an elaborate rib on Jerry and Jack Brisco.
10. Aldo Montoya
As the reverse of Smothers’ trajectory, P.J. Polaco went from jobbing to being a main event player in another company. In ECW, Polaco became Justin Credible, one half of the Impact Players with Lance Storm and a one-time ECW World Heavyweight Champion. In the WWE however, Polaco was nothing more than a two-bit jobber who stuck around because of his connections with the infamous Kliq (Shawn Michaels, Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, X-Pac, and Triple H). Polaco’s most colorful persona was Aldo Montoya, the “Portuguese Man O’ War.” Polaco, who is of Portuguese ancestry, got wrapped up in hideous gear that combined yellow with the colors of the Portuguese flag. If this was some sort of ploy to gain the interest of America’s Portuguese community, then it failed miserably.
As Montoya, Polaco lost and lost again. Jerry “The King” Lawler poured Jim Beam down his throat during his feud with the known alcoholic Jake “The Snake” Roberts. Then, before finding a new home in ECW, Polaco got sent down to the developmental territory in Memphis. USWA gold eluded him there too.
9. Salvatore Sincere
If you haven’t noticed yet, here’s the trend: a guy jobs in the WWE, then becomes a major mover and shaker in ECW, or vice versa. Tom Brandi, alias Salvatore Sincere, is just another example. In ECW, Brandi went by the name of Johnny Gunn. Never a main event attraction, Brandi, as Gunn, still managed to hold the ECW tag titles alongside a very young Tommy Dreamer. How’s that for a strange duo?
After bouncing around a few other independent federations, Brandi took on a new name (Salvatore Sincere) and joined the growing ranks of jobbers in the WWE. As Sincere, a stereotypical Italian American “guido,” Brandi began his lackluster career in the odd year of 1996. In the history of the WWE, 1996 represents both a slow creep towards the Attitude Era (the Austin 3:16 promo, “Pillman’s Got a Gun” segment), while at the same time representing the waning days of early ’90s kitsch. Sincere fit into the latter mould. When he left in 1998, the WWE no longer needed kid-friendly jobbers. Thus ends the tale of Salvatore Sincere.
8. Johnny Rodz
Johnny Rodz is the only jobber in the WWE Hall of Fame. Think about that for a second – a guy famous for never winning gets to eternally rub shoulders with Bruno Sammartino, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, and Bret Hart. Probably makes all those loses inside of Madison Square Garden worth it.
While serving in the WWWF as the most athletic loser in New York City, Rodz put over the likes of Ivan Putski and Bob Backlund. He even managed to be part of several tag teams, including a partnership with Jose Estrada. Still, none of these things seem HOF-worthy. You’re right; Rodz is in the hall of fame because of his work as a trainer. Housed in the famous Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn, Rodz has trained men like Tommy Dreamer, Matt Striker, D-Von Dudley, Bubba Ray Dudley, Tazz, and Big Cass. For wrestlers in the Tri-State Area, Rodz is a veritable institution.
7. “Leaping” Lanny Poffo
Before becoming “The Genius,” and before becoming the poet laureate of Vince McMahon’s Golden Era, Lanny Poffo was just simply “Leaping Lanny,” jobber extraordinaire. However, Poffo spent his years in the WWE as a jobber closer to George South than Frankie Williams. Indeed, because of his aerial acrobatics and his versatility as a babyface, Poffo typically produced more offense than the average enhancement stooge. “Leaping Lanny” at least made things competitive.
Today, Poffo is better known for being “The Genius” and the brother of the late, great “Macho Man” Randy Savage. He should also be fondly remembered for being the guy who wrestled a few gimmick battle royal matches in a full suit of armor. Better yet, a heel Andre the Giant once busted Poffo up so badly that he had to be carted out on a stretcher. Most jobbers aren’t lucky enough to get a worthwhile payday.
6. S.D. Jones
Special Delivery Jones may be the greatest wrestling name of all time. As a mid-card babyface, Jones’ job was to give the heels a good fight, but to ultimately lose in the end. At least that was his job description in the WWE. Elsewhere, Jones, a native of the British Leeward Islands, found a modicum of success. In NWA Hollywood Wrestling, he held the NWA American tag team titles three times alongside Tom Jones and Porkchop Cash. In the Mid-Atlantic territory, Jones and Cash famously dethroned the original Hollywood Blonds, Buddy Roberts and Jerry Brown.
Alas and alack, Jones will always be remembered for the squash match that he lost against King Kong Bundy at the first WrestleMania. At the time, the WWE made a big stink about how Bundy beat Jones in record time. Go back on the WWE Network and count the seconds. The WWE’s official time of nine seconds is off by a mile. So much for Connecticut math.
5. Duane Gill
Duane Gill should’ve been just a cup of coffee in the big time. A pasty twerp of a man, Gill somehow managed to parlay his weirdness into a sustained career during the WWE’s Attitude Era. Between 1991 and 1994, Gill was just another faceless jobber who usually appeared on programs like WWF Wrestling Challenge and WWF Superstars. Then, between 1998 and 2000, Gill experienced a career revival when he was thrown into the J.O.B. Squad.
Although the biggest jobber in the J.O.B. Squad, Gill found the most success. Namely, on the November 17, 1998 edition of RAW Is War, Gill pinned Christian and won the WWE Light Heavyweight Championship in the process. Gill would go on to hold the belt for an astonishing 453 days–the longest reign by far. That should tell you something about how much McMahon and company valued the Light Heavyweight Championship. It should also tell you that they were very interested in keeping their Goldberg parody alive and well in the form of Gillberg.
4. The Mulkey Brothers
With bleach blond mullets and bodies that can only be described as “unfortunate,” Bill and Randy Mulkey were the great buffoons of the Mid-Atlantic territory. They weren’t just buffoons; no, these boys were pitiable buffoons. The pair of real life brothers got hammered so bad night in and night out that the NWA and Jim Crockett Promotions began keeping a running tally of their win-loss record. At one point, the record stood at 0-180. That could be Goldberg math, but either way, the Mulkey boys weren’t winners.
Then the unthinkable happened. On live television, The Mulkeys defeated the team of George South and Gary Royal, alias The Gladiators. The win sent the luckless brothers into the Second Annual Jim Crockett Sr. Memorial Tag Team Tournament. This is were Mulkeymania was born.
Despite their cartoonish quality, The Mulkeys did get the opportunity to put over legendary tag teams like The Midnight Express, The Road Warriors, The Rock-n-Roll Express, and The Fabulous Freebirds.
3. “Iron” Mike Sharpe
If Jim Cornette is to be believed, then “Iron” Mike Sharpe was a nice, yet highly eccentric guy obsessed with calisthenics and taking showers. Sharpe was also a well-traveled journeyman who wrestled across Canada and the United States. During one tour of Japan for New Japan Pro Wrestling, Sharpe, although a heel back in the U.S., partnered with Hulk Hogan of all people.
Sharpe’s time on WWE programming will always be what most people remember about him. He was the guy in black trunks who made weird grunts throughout his matches. He was also the guy who somehow managed to pin Boris Zhukov (Jim Harrell) in order to advance in the 1998 King of the Ring tournament. For the most part however, Sharpe will remain the greatest jobber oddball of all time. May his like be seen again.
2. Barry Horowitz
Leave it to the WWE to be a little too on the nose. Because he was one of the few Jewish wrestlers in the company, Horowitz got to come to the ring with “Hava Nagila” playing behind him. Just in case you still didn’t get it, the man wore a Star of David on his wrestling trunks. In fact, while working in the UWF, Horowitz’s oh-so creative nickname was “The Star of David.” Mazel and tov!
In the WWE, Horowitz is synonymous with jobbing. The guy just couldn’t trip over a win. Secretly, even though the WWE would like you to think that Horowitz’s 1995 win over Bodydonna Skip (Chris Candido) was his first win ever, Horowitz had previously picked up wins over the likes of Steve Lombardi, Lanny Poffo, and David Sammartino while wrestling for the WWE in the late 1980s. After pinning Skip, Horowitz enjoyed a nice push that included a PPV win. After this high point, Horowitz eventually came back down and spent several years jobbing on WCW’s Saturday Night program.
1. The Brooklyn Brawler
Steve Lombardi is the greatest utility player in the history of the WWE. As The Brooklyn Brawler, he played the stinky stumble bum who could never win or last longer than a hiccup in the annual Royal Rumble. Hidden under make-up or a mask, Lombardi became Doink the Clown, Kim Chee, the masked handler of Kamala, and the incredibly whacko Abe “Knuckleball” Schwartz, a professional baseball pitcher who somehow learned to wrestle during the off-season.
Of all of Lombardi’s gimmicks, The Brooklyn Brawler is the greatest. Alongside manager Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, the street fightin’ Brawler looked like a legitimate contender. Even though you knew that he’d never win, somehow you’d always think that it was possible. Had the Hardcore Championship been around in the late ’80s and early ’90s, then The Brooklyn Brawler might have had a title push. We can still dream, folks.