Between the classic pro wrestling video clips I’ve watched recently and some of the great comments from visitors of this blog, I’m reminded about the many, many WWF jobbers that I grew up with each Saturday morning on TV and also saw in person at the monthly shows at the old Boston Garden.
Here are some of the guys I remember well:
The Unpredictable Johnny Rodz – Rodz was one of those prelim wrestlers who was a step above the normal jobber, in that he occasionally won a watch and people still respected him even if he often lost. Rodz currently runs a wrestling school in Brooklyn, NY, that has turned out big-time names, such as the Dudleys and Taz.
Jose Estrada — Estrada appeared on many Boston Garden shows from 1980 through 1982, and then later spent time as one of Los Conquistadores under a mask with partner Jose Luis Rivera. I believe he continued to wrestle in Puerto Rico after his WWF days were over, and his son, Jose, Jr., was also a star on that island’s wrestling scene.
Jose Luis Rivera — Those of us who are really old school remember that Rivera was known as “Mac Rivera” in his early days. He had his biggest run with Estrada as Los Conquistadores. I don’t know much about what happened to Rivera since he stopped wrestling in the WWF.
Tiger Chung Lee — Lee originally came in as a mid-level star and actually challenged Tito Santana for the Intercontinental Title, but he eventually settled into jobber status (although he always got his offense in). Dave Meltzer noted in the April 24, 2011, issue of the Wrestling Observer that Lee, under the name Tiger Toguchi, was considered one of the two top talents fromKorea while wrestling in Japan 1979. I’m not sure whether his skills dropped several degrees before he arrived in the WWF or whether Japan wasn’t the hotbed in ‘79 that it later became (I’m betting on the former excuse).
The “Duke of Dorchester” Pete Doherty – Doherty has already been the subject of several blogs here, as I’ve called him Boston’s favorite jabroni.
Baron Mikel Scicluna – Hailing from the Isle of Malta, Scicluna once held the WWWF Tag Team Titles with King Curtis Iaukea in the 1970s. However, by the ‘80s Scicluna became the guy who played the stepping stone to upcoming stars on the house shows. I saw Scicluna on the first WWF house show I ever attended live.
Pete Sanchez — Sanchez was always one of those guys who sandwiched the main events at the Boston Garden by either wrestling really early in the show or really late. He was a pretty bland wrestler in the ‘80s and I don’t know a lot about his earlier career.
Dominic DeNucci — By the 1980s, DeNucci was similar to Lee, in that the rising stars beat him on the way to fighting Bob Backlund or Pedro Morales. DeNucci held the Tag Team Title twice in the 1970s. After he retired, he helped train Mick Foley and Shane Douglas.
Swede Hanson — Hanson had a long career as a tag team wrestler in the 1960s and 1970s, often with Rip Hawk. By the time he got to the WWF in the 1980s, he was close to retirement.
Curt Hennig – Sure, Hennig became a huge star in the AWA and later in the WWF as Mr. Perfect, but in 1981, a skinny Hennig was a young buck who gave the heels all he had before losing. But you could tell he had the ability to make it big.
Eddie Gilbert – Gilbert was often on the losing end of matches to the star heels in the early ‘80s, although he did get a rub from Backlund when the Masked Superstar attacked Gilbert with the corkscrew neckbreaker on the floor and Backlund helped him out. Gilbert had been legitimately injured in a car wreck months earlier, which became part of the plotline leading to Superstar’s angle. Similar to Hennig, Gilbert became a huge star, this time outside of the WWF before dying way too young.
S.D. “Special Delivery” Jones – Jones is an interesting choice here, because you could argue he wasn’t really a jobber. He and Tony Atlas challenged for the Tag Team Titles against champs Mr. Fuji and Mr. Saito (and there were always rumors that the team was going to win the straps before Atlas got in the doghouse for some reason). Jones was also in the first WrestleMania, which few jobbers can ever claim. Of course, he lost to King Kung Bundy in about 20 seconds on that big show. And I distinctly remember Jones getting promo time. One line I’ll never forget from him: “I’m so cool they can feel the breeze across their face.” All that said, his win-loss record seems to say jobber to me (but a very popular jobber).
Salvatore Bellomo — Bellomo was another fella who seemed on the verge of being a star but never hit it big. For example, he beat Mr. Saito in the Boston Garden in 1981, and Saito was an established star. But he also often lost to other people. And I must also tell you that Bellomo’s more recent photo with the Undertaker is one of the most clicked-on links from my blog to an outside site.
Other prelim wrestlers whom I recall include Israel Matia, the Hangman, A.J. Petruzzi, Ron Shaw, the Black Demon, and Charlie Fulton.
How about any others you remember?