Wrestling jobbers made up my youth. Employed for the sole reason of getting pummeled, "preliminary stars" always intrigued me. If pro wrestling were real, then these were the toughest guys to step foot on the planet. I mean, hell, if Killer Kahn vomited green mist into your face at work, would you happily show up seven days later so Jake Roberts could wrap a python around your head? Neither would I.
Before we get to the list, I want to make two things clear. First, these guys are being listed for their lack of success in the stated companies. That doesn't mean they didn't achieve success elsewhere. Heck, in order to make it to WWF TV (even as an "enhancement talent"), you need talent. Second, this list isn't for jobbers-who-got-a-break. No Barry Horowitz or Brooklyn Brawler here. Just tried and true, introduced while their opponent's music is playing, jobbers. They beat them. They pinned them. We'll never forget them…
Ricky Ataki was the only Asian in WWF during the 1980s who couldn't kick your ass with kung fu. No karate. No kickboxing. No MMA. Nothing.
But that was fine because Ricky Ataki didn't come to scrap up. He just came to show up. When he did find himself fighting, he just lost. Pin me. Pay me. See you next Saturday. No big whoop.
My favorite thing about Ricky was that he had this weird pose he did when they'd announce his name. Just like you see above, he'd point to the upperdeck and make a blowfish face. That was his pose gimmick. I think he called it the,
"Hey! You up there! You're a f**kin' blowfish!"
Here's the best part about it all though - that was his good guy pose. He only did it when he fought heels. When he fought babyfaces, he just raised his arms in the air and spun. So at some point, somewhere, Ricky Ataki sat down and said, "I have to think of something new to do when fighting the heroes. If I do the upperdeck-blowfish -face, everyone will be cheering for me instead of my opponent! I can't steal his thunder."
Yes, brother. Blowfishmania was runnin' wild.
The only real memorable moment I have of Ataki was following a One Man Gang match. Gang destroyed him and when the referee tried to step in, Gang attacked him too. He hit both guys with "747" finisher. I remember wondering if it hurt the ref less and if he would win if he were to fight Ricky Ataki too.
He probably would have.
I'm about to ruin Christmas for everyone but here goes. Zan Panzer was Brad Anderson. That's the mystery.
What? You don't know who Brad Anderson is either? Oh good. I didn't kill the magic. He was Gene Anderson's son. Now before you get your panzers in a bunch, I'm not about to rip on Brad Anderson. This gimmick could have been played by Scooby Doo and it wouldn't matter. The real insanity was the Zan Panzer character itself.
To this day, I have no bloody clue what anyone was thinking with this. I guess someone wanted to think of a wrestling name that came as close to "pansy" as possible without actually being "pansy". Hence - Zan Panzer.
Oh and to add insult to insult, they dressed him up in all pink. Panzer in pink.
His first name was "Zan". Although the name is pretty damn uncommon, WCW made sure to have Van Vader and Van Hammer on the roster. That's great. WWE makes everyone change their first name if someone on the roster has the same one. WCW used to think up new ones that sound like the others.
Oh…and get this one. You want to know where he's from? Guess. Go on. Guess.
Netherlands Antilles? Nope.
Grenoble in the French Alps? Nope.
Truth or Consequences, New Mexico? Again, nope. Ready?
Where in Europe, you ask? You know. Up and down and all around. No set location. Most likely Central Downtown Europe. Europe City or Europeville or something. That's not important. The important thing is that he's pink and a Panzer. After that, nothing else matters anyway.
I always loved the name Omar Atlas. It made me think of an actual atlas. In grade school, when one of my teachers brought up a geographical "atlas", my mind immediately was flooded with Howard Finkel's voice screaming, "Omar ATLAS!"
Looking like a cross between Angelo Mosca and Dean Malenko, Atlas didn't have a win/loss record anywhere close to those two. He was a routine punching bag on WWF TV for years and despite his successful past in other companies, the Venezuelan star never came close to any success in WWF.
Oh, and if you're wondering, yes. That red shirt he wore to the ring had "OMAR" written on the chest in small yellow letters. It served two purposes. One, it confused people who thought it was a "USSR" shirt like Nikolai Volkoff would wear. Second, if someone tried to swipe it, he had proof it was his.
Needless to say, Omar "Don't Call Me a Geographical" Atlas beat almost no one. I say "almost", because everyone gets a surprise moment here and there like when a match like this happens…
Which brings us to…
Dusty Wolfe was king of the jobbers. Plain and simple. Hell, you just saw him lose to Omar Atlas!
If you get a hold of anyone who watched WWF TV in the 1980s, chances are they'll name Dusty when asked who their favorite job guy was.
Wait. I take that back. They might also name "Dale Wolfe."
Who's Dale, you ask? Is he Dusty's evil brother? His wife? Son?
Nope. It's him.
New name, same record. Even a pointless name change won't stop Wolfey D from his diligent losing duty. No matter who WWF put in front of him, Dusty Dale would raise his arms, shake his mullet, and go forth into a sure-fire butt kicking. And, on the rare occasion he'd get tired of jobbing to WWF stars, he went to WCW so he could lose to their guys too.
As of a few years ago, Dusty had been wrestling here and there as "Doink The Clown". When I heard about it, I was disappointed that he didn't choose to go by the name "Doinky Wolfe". But life is about disappointment.
I learned that from Dusty Dale Wolfe every single Saturday morning.
Iron Mike Sharpe
I hesitated to put Iron Mike Sharpe on here. After all, the guy was a long time star and before he was jobbing in WWF, he was known as a pretty accomplished wrestler.
But ask anyone who watched WWF in the 1980s and you'll be sure to hear about how he was the screaming man who lost a lot. Beloved by fans the world over, Mike Sharpe was one of the only people I've ever seen who would be cheered at introductions despite being a "bad guy" and never winning.
It was the scream that did it. Actually, I take that back. Mike didn't screach like Norman Smiley as his opponents battered him. It was more of a bellow. A
NONONONONNONO!" It sounded as if he was about to break into a rendition of "Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Rum" from Treasure Island.
As I mentioned, Sharpe had accomplished many things early in his WWF career and even earned a World Title match at one point. It's this early success that allowed "Canada's Greatest Athlete" a.k.a. "Iron" Mike to be one of the only jobbers in WWF history with not only one nickname - but two. Interviews like this one show the personality that made Mike memorable no matter what side of the W/L column his name was on…
To this day, there's a special place in my wrestling memories for Mike. He was one of the first wrestlers I ever interviewed as a teenager in the early 90s. He had tons of stories and did so much to help train new talent out of his school in Brick, New Jersey. But, above all else, he proved that jobbers could have personality. It's a personality people have never forgotten and helped make mundane squash matches more exciting.
But, as I mentioned, he wasn't always getting squashed. Take this match, for example…
And in the interest of maintaining a steady flow…
The Italian Stallion
Have you ever seen the movie Rocky? You have. Good. Know who else has? Every single person on the planet.
It's what people think of when they hear "The Italian Stallion." It's synonymous with Rocky. To give you an idea of what I mean, let's say Rocky Balboa was a pro wrestler who worked for WWE and Vince McMahon owns the name "Rocky Balboa". When Rocky Balboa gets fired from WWE and TNA hires him - TNA would call him "The Italian Stallion".
Know who else may have seen the movie "Rocky Balboa"? Gary Sabaugh. He was on the planet when it came out, right? But when Gary saw it, he thought, "You know, this movie would be better if the Italian Stallion was always getting beat senseless."
So that's what he set out to do. And, yo Adrian, he did it.
You know how they say so-and-so is the glue that holds this company together? Well, the Stallion was the glue of WCW. What else would you make out of the Stallion that never wins?
Growing up, I could never imagine Mario Mancini making it in WWF. I mean, with a guy like Dusty Wolfe or Omar Atlas, you could imagine a fluke win here and there. But someone named "Mario Mancini" seemed to have no possibility of getting his own T-shirt.
For starters, the guy was named "Mario" and had a giant moustache. Despite it being the 1980s, no one thought to put him in overalls and a plumber cap. It always seemed like he was a distant homage to the Super Mario Brothers, but there was never anything that verified it. You just thought it.
Even without wins, you can still make history. Mario's losing resume is one of the most impressive out of everyone on this list. His high profile losses are all over Youtube and some of WWF's most historic moments in squash history involved him. He was one of the two men to face Demolition on TV before Randy "Smash" Culley had been replaced by Barry Darsow…
Then, unfazed by this beating, he came back and faced them again in the first match with Darsow as Smash…
He also was the first opponent who "Cain The Undertaker" faced on TV…
Also, the first opponent to face the debuting WWF team of "The Hart Foundation"…
Say what you want about Mario, but he picked some high profile matches to lose in. I guess if you're going to get beaten, you might as well do it in style. You know the old saying, lose big or go home….or something like that.
Perennial 80s enhancement talent Barry-O is the real life uncle of Randy Orton. Although, it would make more sense if he was the uncle of Jackass's Steve-O because they both have the same last name and enjoy getting their asses tossed around like a pack of donkeys in a popcorn maker.
For some reason, Barry Orton was saddled with the last name "O" in the WWF - to remind you of that, he used his arms to mimic the shape of the letter. He was like an illiterate guy doing the YMCA dance all by himself each week.
However, despite his many losses, Barry's fame came from being the jobber most WWF management wanted to have homosexual sex with. Here, he'll tell you…
How horrible! These unwanted sexual advances were obviously made to the wrong guy. I mean, the last man you'd expect to be into other dudes is the guy in the long satin cape hailing from "The Fabulous Las Vegas".
Barry's days with WWF were all but over by the time he made the claims and the "O" motion was free for Perry Saturn to steal years later. It's a shame too. Had his career continued on, who knows what other matches Barry could have lost or what other letters we could have seen him make with his arms.
"Jumpin'" Joey Maggs
Like Iron Mike, I wasn't sure if I should include Joey Maggs on this list. WCW had a weird relationship with its jobbers that left fans confused about where they rested on the card.
In WWF, prelim guys were never given special moments unless they were used as glorified seat fillers in house show battle royals. In the early 90s, WWF had a 40 man battle royal and most of the wrestlers in it looked like people they found in the Home Depot parking lot.
WCW, on the other hand, liked to have gigantic tournaments that lasted for years at a time. So Joey, like The Italian Stallion and others, found himself listed in the results section of these events usually followed by the phrase "lost in the first round to".
Joey Magliano passed away suddenly in 2006. Following his passing, fans across the Internet showed respect for his career and what he had done. Aside from his non-WCW successes, Maggs amassed fans who remembered him simply from his WCW Saturday Night losses. He proved that you don't have to win every night - or
any night for that matter - in order to make a lasting impression.
Perhaps my favorite jobber of all was The Gambler. Out of every single person listed here, he had the most identifiable and unique gimmick. He was a - wait for it - gambler.
We never got an idea of how good of a gambler he was. We never saw him play cards, roulette, or dice. All I ever saw him do was fan out his cards and show the camera. Every once in a while, he'd follow up by throwing them. That doesn't make him a gambler, though. It makes him a litterer.
I mean, a four year old can do that. What was he gambling with? He obviously wasn't making a lot of money from his gambling venture considering that he still had to take work getting beat up for a living. Perhaps he was gambling with his life by taking the job to begin with. It was a mystery.
But at the end of the day, you remembered him. In fact, that was one thing WCW always had WWF beat on. Vince McMahon never cared much about his jobbers. Maybe they'd have a nickname here and there, but that was it. WCW really put thought into it. They came up with gimmicks and hometowns and pink masks and giant playing cards. I tell ya. If WCW knew nothing else at all about pro wrestling, it was how to get over their jobbers.