wrestling / Columns

Ask 411 Wrestling: Does WWE Need More Jobbers?

May 18, 2017 | Posted by Mathew Sforcina
The Brooklyn Brawler

Well I managed to get halfway through this thing before I remembered I have to put stuff up here so the banner is in the right spot.

Welcome to Ask 411 Wrestling! I am your host, Mathew Sforcina, and I’m also thankful no-one asked about the …Dives thing because that’s a landmine field I’m not diving onto.

Got a question for me, perhaps one about the … Dives thing because you’re just so clever and funny? [email protected] is where you send it, and I’ll try to answer it quickly. Yes, even ones about … Dives.



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Feedback Loop

Double Turns: I stuck the ‘arguably’ in the HTM/Jake thing because I remember Jake saying it was a double team but not thinking it was one, but I ran out of time to check. And one night crowd reactions don’t really count, so Canadian Stampede and such aren’t true double turns, because the transitions didn’t stick. At least in my book. You book could well be different.

Roadblock’s Infamous Match: Roadblock pretty much had no good matches, so a blatant botch is as good as he gets.

The Trivia Crown

Who am I? I didn’t wrestle on the exact version of the above, but a different one. I became a heel for the first time after I was turned on by my partner for his heel turn. I had a celebrity interaction on PPV, I was an authority figure, and I once caused someone to do an act that is deemed racist by most standards these days. I never hed gold in terms of wrestling titles, but I did hold items that were golden, as well as jeweled. A guy who got ripped off after he was gone, I am who?

Matthew has the answer 95% right.

He wrestled at Bash at the Beach 97, tagging with Glacier against heel team Mortis and Wrath. I also know that Glacier turned heel by attacking Miller, who immediately became heel in his mimicking James Brown days. He had a dance off with James Brown for the celebrity interaction. He was a commissioner in WCW as well. I also know that Buff Bagwell did a whole bald cap/black face paint thing in a feud, so that’s pretty racist. Never held any titles (which is a shame). I have no clue what the items he held that were golden (maybe awards that the movie The Wrestler won?), but I do know he wore jeweled ruby slippers as part of his gimmick. Oh and his theme song and catch phrase got ripped off by Brodus Clay.

I’m pretty sure the Who Am I is Ernest “The Cat” Miller.

The gold was from promos he did prior to coming into the WWE where he gave out golden ‘Cat Coins’.

Who am I? I once had a storyline with the above. A former world champion, my first televised match was a victory over a guy whose sole big leagues title reign was a sash. I was one of the guys who got included in a package deal. I debuted in the company I work for now by attacking a guy in a mask, albeit a different mask than the one I wore when I first attacked him years ago. I’ve retired twice now, both times due to injury, one shoot, one kayfabe. A guy who is rich and not-Asian, I am who?

Getting Down To All The Business

APinOz has a few questions about titles and jobbers. Not at the same time.

When was the first time the WWF and WCW titles changed hands at TV tapings?

For the WWF title, it depends on what you consider a TV taping. Hogan’s first title win was televised live on the MSG Network. So is that a TV taping? If not, then when Hogan lost the title four years later to Andre The Giant, that was on The Main Event, live on NBC.

If that doesn’t count, then the first time it changed hands at a TV taping was September 1st, 1992, when Flair won the title back off of Randy Savage. Didn’t air for a fortnight.

The WCW title, that’s easy, Ron Simmons on WCW Main Event in mid 1992, recorded August 2nd, shown a fortnight later.

Prior to the advent of Monday Night Raw and Nitro, it seemed that the only titles that did change hands on TV were tag titles (excluding the NWA’s TV title). Prior to 1987 when Honky Tonk Man beat Steamboat on Superstars, did the IC title (WWF) or the US title (NWA) change hands on TV?

The IC title should have two entries, but they only have one. Pedro Morales winning the title from Ken Patera should have been televised on the MSG Network, but that was the night John Lennon was shot, so the show didn’t go on the air, although whether or not it was taped is not known. The sole televised IC title change prior to Honky was Greg Valentine winning it from Tito Santana, that was on an episode of Maple Leaf Wrestling.

The WCW US title, that didn’t change hands on non-PPV TV until 1991 when Rick Rude won it.

One of the criticisms of today’s WWE booking is the “50-50” policy where opponents tend to “get their win back” against the same opponent quite quickly. Do you think this is because the concept of the jobber match on TV has virtually disappeared? I note that Braun Strowman got over initially by destroying unknowns, which is what all the major heels and faces did in the days of the 1 hour squash show format.

It’s not a cause and effect, as much as it is two related symptoms of the same general problem. 50-50 booking doesn’t have to mean that you trade wins back and forth, that you end up winning half the matches. It’s the notion of not letting anyone look bad, of having to get back heat immediately. Face wins match, heel has to immediately come back and beat them up. Heel cheats to win, face has to attack them instantly and send them packing. The thinking here goes that this way, everyone looks good, so everyone is over, and everyone can sell merch and such. Everyone has to be on par.

The lack of jobbers is another aspect of this, as unless you’re the one person at a time they allow to be doing the ‘Killing Jobbers’ storyline, you don’t get to look good over a jobber, you have to wrestle one of the lower guys under contract and give them a bit.

It’s the notion of trying to keep everyone over that’s the problem. You can have 50-50 booking with two people/teams and have them end up both over, if the booking is good enough, and the talent good enough, and the fans like/hate them. Likewise, squashing jobbers doesn’t always get someone over if they’re not doing it well.

Trying to fix WWE booking, or really almost anything in wrestling, is always a challenge, in that outside of very specific occasions where almost everyone agrees on what the ‘right’ move should be (Starrcade 97: Hogan Taps Like Buddy Rich Playing Cookie Clicker), any solution can turn into a worse problem is not done right. You can easily overload Raw with too many jobber matches, especially when TV rights and TV ratings are more important than ever. 50-50 Booking leads to boring, repetitive TV, but burn too many people out as jobbers and suddenly you have no stars anymore. These are possibly overreactions, but at the end of the day, jobbers making a comeback is not a silver bullet to fix the company. It needs an overhaul, not a jobber blood oil change.

Sam has a simple enough question.

I was just wondering if there was any information on what the unspecified “family issues” were that derailed the WWE career of Marcus Cor Von. I was a big fan of him as Monty Brown in TNA and he seemed like someone Vince would have loved, so curious why he didn’t make it

Yes, there is. His sister passed away, and she left behind some children. So Monty/Marcus was given time to look after them, he got several months of his downside, but eventually he decided that he wasn’t going to come back, he wanted to focus on raising his sister’s kids and basically retired from wrestling. So his WWE contract expired or was cut or whatever, and he now works as a personal trainer in Michigan. But he does have a WWE legends deal, apparently, so that’s a nice thing for him that WWE has done, if true.

Brian has a six pack of questions, in which to answer, I’ll need to bust out a song…

1. Do wrestlers sometimes get bored wrestling the same opponent too many times? (Purely from an in-ring perspective, not a “my story is going nowhere since he/she and I are still going at it) Or do they normally appreciate it because they know that person’s style and what to expect?

Depends on the wrestler and the opponent. Some wrestlers love switching it up, they love working different styles, different opponents. Some wrestlers love finding a guy they click with and then honing that night in and night out. It depends on if the wrestler values creativity or excellence more. If they need new, fresh stuff to keep them interested, or if they want to seek out the best they possibly can be, no matter how many times it takes.

And of course, who it is on the other side of the ring matters. If you think that there’s only one or two people in a specific locker room that are good and/or who you can work well with, you’re going to want to work them all the time. But then again, if you’re an older hand, and there’s mostly young guys, maybe you want to spread yourself around to teach them all.

There’s no standards in wrestling in terms of how wrestlers feel about something, alas. Would make things a lot simpler. More boring, but simpler.

2. Does wrestling someone multiple times lead to better matches because of the familiarity? If so, are “dream matches” and “first time ever” matchups doomed to be not as good?

Not always. From my personal experience, there’s a wrestler who has now retired, The Giant Kyote, who is a great guy, and who I’ve teamed with a bunch of times that went well. But we had a few singles matches, across a few years. He’s based in Brisbane, and often when I went up there, we’d have a match.

Our first match saw me as face, him as heel, and it went great. Each successive match got worse. We’d switched alignments, and we’d both picked up minor injuries, and in one match I tried a reverse neckbreaker that saw me go down to early and his head crack into mine which made for a few minutes there that I don’t quite remember, beyond calling out how if that move hurt me that badly, he must be dead.

All things being equal, sure, there should be some improvement across successive matches, as you should always be seeking to improve. However, with injuries, people changing their style, face/heel turns, personal issues… There’s no guarantee that a match will get better the more it happens.

As for first time ever matches, being the first often gives you more leeway than you would otherwise get. Especially if it’s a ‘dream match’, people will actively ignore problems to love it if it’s been hyped/wanted for a while. This leads to the issue where once the bloom is off, then people are less forgiving of mess-ups, so you actually have to have a better match in order to stay level, usually.

But no, there’s no hard rule that follow ups must always be better than first time matches.

3. Is it easier or more difficult to wrestle a match that has a previous story built to it vs. a random matchup?,/b>

Random is easier, in that you don’t have to worry about telling a specific story, you can just go out there and wrestle, it’s easier to put a match together if you don’t have spots to force into it. Telling a long story is more rewarded, sure, but in sheer ease, if there’s no point beyond have a good match, then you don’t have to get every detail set down in stone. And winging it to some degree is often easier, at least from my personal experience. As always, other people might have different opinions.

But yeah, random match? I could call one of those in the ring if I had to. A pre-existing storyline? That take more effort to plan.

4. Is it easier or more difficult to wrestle a match for a title (or contendetship or tournament or other external luchas de apuestas goal) vs. a match without a defined reward?

Every match has a defined reward, you want to get your hand raised at the end of it. But I get your meaning… There’s not a difference between the two as such, however, usually you’ll find that a match that involves a title or what have you will be more important, and thus a more important match will require more effort, for longer, to put on a show worthy of the position. And thus it usually ends up being harder.

But I mean, I’ve had a title match that was literally enter double chokeslam double pin leave. So it varies.

5. What was the most difficult match you’ve ever had? (Not kayfabe opponent difficulty, but difficulty to execute well-and ideally don’t answer about something while you were still in training or starting out)

Actually starting out was easier, I had the good fortune of mostly wrestling stronger hands, so I didn’t have too many matches were we were both nervous and lost.

Matches involving injury are always an issue. My first match in Newcastle Pro Wrestling saw me busted open hardway early on, that made the rest of the match difficult. My last match saw me wrestling 6 men in a row, which I was having some issues with in keeping everything straight, and then halfway through the first guy, my right leg got injured, so that made it more wonderful… (My knee is now half purple, for the record).

I once had to pretty much run a rumble match involving a dozen or so people with little planning beyond winner and runner up, that was an interesting experience too. And obviously any match against the best wrestlers in Australia or international guys like Sonjay Dutt or Travis Banks, that’s difficult…

I think my most difficult match would be a hardcore match I had, a feud ender against a gentleman called Shane Saw, that needed some work to make sure it built properly and we didn’t kill each other. (Fun fact: I broke a pool cue over his back, and he then grabbed it off me and then… tried to stab me with the end, unaware it had broken off into lovely points. I was very happy he missed that.)

6. What was the most fun you’ve ever had in a match?

My match with Sonjay was a lot of fun, as was a really awesome six man tag match I had, where I teamed with Travis Banks and Grimm Basso against Jack Bonza, Adam Hoffman, and Mick Moretti, that match was hot and awesome and cool.

But I think it’s probably the tag match that Ryan Byers actually reviewed on 411mania back in his Into The Indies match, myself and Traffic against Benny Coles and Apollo. That was just a fun little tag match, and I LOVED the helmet gimmick.

Except of course for my match with you, Australian wrestler who is reading this. Clearly that match was my favorite.

Back to other wrestlers and other titles, Connor asks if Ron ever got stepped to again.

How come ron simmons never got another wcw title match against Vader after he lost it back to him? I read a shoulder injury kept Simmons put if action but then Vader feuds with Sting and Cactus for most of 93 while Simmons was teaming with jobbers

There’s two answers there.

The technical answer is that he did, probably. Throughout the January after he lost the title to Vader, he fought Vader on the house show circuit. I presume there were sold as rematches on the night. He did also get matches with the NWA World Champion Barry Windham later in the year, so it’s not like he got no title shots ever again.

The actual answer is that he flopped in the role that Bill Watts was pushing him as. Watts was doing what most ‘successful’ wrestling bookers do, and redoing a past angle that made money. In this case, building the company about a big black champion. Watts’ Mid-South territory did great business with Junk Yard Dog as their champion, and Watts thought Simmons could do that as well, sell him as the first Black World Champion and all that.

Problem was, although Simmons was arguably a better athlete that JYD, he didn’t have anywhere near the same level of charisma at the time, plus his booking as champion wasn’t great. So once Watts realised it wasn’t working and put the belt back on Vader, Simmons was moved down the card since he hadn’t made money as a main eventer. Simple as that.

Staying with WCW, Brendan asks about music.

My question is about them songs in JCP… jimmy Garvin used ZZ Top’s sharp dressed man. The road warriors used Sabbath’s iron man. I know there were a few more but can’t remember of the top of my head. Did JCP pay royalties for these? Was licensing music not a thing at the time? Or were they cheap knockoffs (like DDP) and I was just too young to notice?

The Road Warriors did switch to a knock off of Iron Man from 1988 to 1990.

However, prior to that, they did indeed use the legit Iron Man song, from the AWA into the NWA. However, while licensed music was a thing, it was a matter of scale and of importance. Unlike today, where you kinda have to go after everyone online since it’s so easy to pirate stuff, back then you didn’t sweat arenas and the like from using your music for short bursts. Under fair use there is a finite amount of a song you can use, but even if it does go over, it just wasn’t worth the time to sue over it, because you probably wouldn’t get too much out of it when it’s just a small wrestling company. One the company gets big enough though, then you suddenly have knock offs appearing, because once a record company thinks it can fleece you, then it’s going to start throwing around lawsuits.

Even today, small indy feds might well skirt the issue and use licensed music for free, but once a company gets big enough, they’ll switch to stuff they own. Same as every other wrestling company before it.

From too small to bother to too strong to lose, thanks to Rahil.

Are Bret Hart (98) and John Cena (07) the only wrestlers to go a year on PPV winning all there singles matches ?????

Well sure, The Junkyard Dog won all his PPV matches in 1985, that being The Wrestling Classic.

Charlotte recently added her name to that list, 2016 she wasn’t beaten on PPV. Be the thing is, plenty of people will have one match on PPV and win it and then not wrestle again on PPV all year. Do they count?

In terms of people wrestling on almost every PPV in a year, no-one else really springs to mind, or to Google, that can join those three. But by all means dear readers, do make a suggestion if you have one.

Stu asks about Yokozuna’s weight.

When Vince McMahon reportedly wanted Yokozuna to lose some weight, how much weight was he expected to lose? Something down to a more normal body weight or just to the level of the early stages of his Yoko character when he was noticeably smaller than the end of his run?

They weren’t expecting him to come back looking like Roman Reigns or anything, no no. His announced weight during his last WWE run was around 660lbs, 300kgs. Part of the problem with that wasn’t just that WWE thought he was too fat, he actually failed a New York Athletic Commission physical, which revoked his wrestler’s license, and thus meant a lot of places were now off limits to him to wrestle in.

The reports indicate that WWE wanted him back to around 400lbs, which is about 100lbs less than his initial weight when he started the Yokozuna gimmick, roughly what he weighed back in the AWA.

He managed to get back to the starting Yoko weight, around 500lbs, but it wasn’t enough for WWE. I assume that had he been able to pass the physical at that point they might have stuck with him, but yeah, they wanted him back at 2/3 his size, which was doable, technically, but even off the road and with exercise and good diet, he wasn’t able to get there. Thus when he died, he was going the other way and trying to get the record for heaviest ever wrestler.

James asks about people who would persist regardless to finish us off.

For me I already rank Bray Wyatt as one of the greatest of all time because for me for someone to be considered a great that would have to be able to fit in every Era of Wrestling. My choices for those who would be great in any era are as follows and are in no general order who would you add and who would you take out? (again there are many left out but again you and the comments section will fill the void)

OK, let’s go through your list and see.

Bray Wyatt – Well first of all, how far back are we going? I don’t see Bray Wyatt fitting in too well with Gotch and Hackenschmidt. If we draw the line at say the 60’s, with Bruno in his first reign… Ignoring the argument that he’s not great now, I don’t think he’d work nearly as well prior to the 90’s. Like Satanic Undertaker, Wyatt needs light control, and I’m not sure how he’d play prior to that becoming a thing. Plus, you know, he’s not great now.
Stone Cold Steve Austin – Pre Owen Driver 97? Hell yes. Post Owen Driver 97? Considering they had to reinvent the entire company around him to make it work, I’m not sure.
Suit wearing Jericho – Of course, you sycophantic gelatinous tape-worms.
Deadman Taker – Not before special effects came in.
Pipebomb Punk – Yeah, I can see that working, probably.
Daniel Bryan – Flair/Steamboat/Bryan combos… Oh yes please. Yeah, he’d be fine.
Rock – … If he’s somehow third gen still, yes. But unless he managed to get to Bill Watts at the right time, the Rikishi Driver justification wasn’t entirely false, you know… But on pure ability, sure.
HHH – Not as a main eventer, but yeah, he’d fit in well enough almost anywhere.
Hitman – Yeah, wrestlers whose job is to wrestle tend to not go out of style too much.
Benoit (yeah yeah I’m talking about the wrestler not the man) – I guess, but there’s still the man, so no.
Flair – … He damn DID fit in everywhere and in every era!
Miz – Only if Maryse comes too.
HBK – Post Miracle Shawn, yes.
Cactus Jack/Mankind – This I’m torn on, in that I have a gut feeling he’d not quite fit in without the very specific career path he took, through Japan and ECW and such. But I wouldn’t begrudge you including him.
Damien Sandow (A talent that is vastly underutilized) – He was, but no, the TNA run showed that he’s not a miracle worker. There’s a difference between WWE not pushing someone hot and someone being hot all the time.
the Shield – The gimmick would need a little tweaking, but sure.
WCW Vader – WWF would ruin him most any time long term, but yes, he’d get a job anywhere.
Mysterio – As much as I respect Rey’s work and his charisma and ability, while I fully support him being one of the all time greats, no, he wouldn’t work before North American wrestling fans accepted the concept of tiny masked man who kicks ass.
Goldberg – Pretty much the inverse of Rey, he’d fit in anywhere despite his work and charisma and ability.
Razor Ramon – Eh, Scott Hall’s good, but in the running for GOAT? Even with this criteria? Not seeing it.

And that’s the list. People I’d add to this specific criteria? Tully and Arn, Trish Stratus, The Revival, Adam Pearce, and Bully Ray. What of you, dear readers? Make your suggestions below, and I shall return next week!