Don’t ask me why, but I’ve had my mind on Jose Luis Rivera recently. Rivera was a jobber in the WWF in the 1980s, and even though he rarely won a match, he is easily one of the most remembered prelim wrestlers ever.
Why? I’m not entirely sure. I mean, he wrestled all of the time on Saturday morning wrestling back when all you got was squash matches. Some of the jobbers from back then were just as famous as the true stars — I’m sure the Unpredictable Johnny Rodz was recognized at airports.
But Rivera had little charisma, was unspectacular in the ring, and never seemed to be a crowd favorite. Back when I started watching in 1981, he was known simply as Mac Rivera. Sometime in late 1982, he started going by Jose Luis Rivera. I don’t know the details behind the switch in names. Did a promoter originally tell him, “You look like a Mac, so that’s your ring name” ? Or maybe instead someone thought the WWF would better grab the Hispanic demographic if a Jose Luis wrestled?
Either way, I saw Rivera fight countless times on TV and watched him live at the old Boston Garden and other local venues, and I cannot remember a single match of his that stands out or who any of his opponents were.
I don’t understand how someone like that remains burned in my memory, yet I know for a fact I will never forget the name Jose Luis Rivera. Ever.
p.s. Rivera probably had his greatest run as one half of Los Conquistadores with Jose Estrada, but I’m not sure it was common knowledge at the time that Rivera was one of the golden masked men.