I was certainly surprised to read in the Wrestling Observer’s daily update that the Unpredictable Johnny Rodz turned 76 today.
Wow. Anyone who grew up watching WWF wrestling in the 1980s and earlier will no doubt remember Rodz, who was a career-long jobber in the federation, but one who was taken seriously.
That may be a hard concept to grasp these days, but there was an upper echelon of enhancement talent that got respect from the fans. People like Rodz, Jose Luis Rivera, Baron Mikel Scicluna, Jose Estrada, S.D. Jones, and others gave the stars real fights during bouts.
My friend Tom likes to remind me that Rodz actually was a star in Los Angeles in the 1960s before many became more familiar with him in the WWWF.
By the time I saw Rodz, he was a regular on Saturday morning Championship Wrestling on Channel 56 in Boston.
By the count of The History of WWE website, Rodz wrestled 29 times in the old Boston Garden in the 1980s. In fact, during my first live wrestling show in December 1981, Rodz lost to Dominic DeNucci in a prelim bout. Back in those days, the arena shows often had several jobber vs. jobber matches in addition to the featured bouts.
Rodz was one of the early inductees into the WWE Hall of Fame, going in during the 1996 class. One could argue whether prelim wrestlers should be in a hall of fame, but if you’re going to allow them, then Rodz is an obvious choice.