Wrestling is cyclical, with most stars becoming cogs in a wheel that never stops turning. Sometimes a wrestler is the main gear that keeps the machine running, and other times they may just be their for cosmetic appearance with no real use. In either case many performers have been subjected to either working the bottom or top of a wrestling card. Even John Cena was forced to move to the mid-card during 2015, in order to bring some integrity to the United States Championship.
Cena’s “demotion” wasn’t seen as a negative, as he was being asked to use his name to bring prestige to a title. In other cases however, a former main eventer moving into the undercard can mean trouble for a wrestler’s career.
Today we are going to take a look at 15 former main eventers, who have been reduced to jobbers, or jobbers for the stars. A jobber is someone who takes nothing but losses, and a jobber to the stars is someone who only does it for main event talent. None of the men mentioned today are by any means on the same level as the Brooklyn Brawler, but they certainly lose more than they win.
Sheamus was given a main event spot since he debuted on the WWE main roster in 2009, with the Irish born star winning the WWE Championship during his rookie year. The good times continued to roll for Sheamus as he took part in WrestleMania that same year, losing to Triple H in a singles match. After his impressive first year, Sheamus would go on to have feuds with all of the big names in the company as well as win heavyweight gold on three more occasions.
Although his numbers aren’t as staggering as some on this list, Sheamus’ career is starting to level out. His first few years were filled with nothing but victories, but the opposite has been true for the past three years. Though he has held multiple championships during that time, his reigns have been short, and his wins have not been significant enough to warrant main event status.
When the Kane character debuted on WWE television in 1997, fans were legitimately terrified of his ominous presence. Arriving to the company as the younger brother of the Undertaker, Kane instantly jumped right into the main event scene. As time went on the character evolved (as all good characters should), and little by little he began to lose his edge.
After not holding any major titles for a few years, Kane floated around in the mid-card, teaming with Rob Van Dam for most of 2003. After losing a title match against Triple H in 2003, Kane was forced to remove his mask in front of everyone after the match. This moment marked the highlight of Kane’s career, where his character was reborn into a monster who terrorized the WWE roster. Sadly for the former WWE Champion, this would be the last time he actually meant something in the main event picture. Since then, Kane has been used as a utility performer, to either put over younger talent, or make an established star look dominant.
13. Kofi Kingston
Believe it or not kids, Kofi “Booty-O’s” Kingston used to be a main event talent in the WWE. Despite being a tag team all-star now, Kofi actually was sharing promo time with Chris Jericho and Randy Orton in 2008 and 2009 respectively. Despite headlining a few pay per views during this time, and being an absolute standout for Raw, Kofi just couldn’t hang with the top dogs in the company.
Watching Kofi struggle to break the glass ceiling of the WWE was hard to do for many fans, especially after seeing him do so well in previous outings. Luckily for Kofi, he hasn’t been completely thrown to the wolves, as he consistently has been featured on WWE television, despite not wrestling a singles match for any major titles in nearly a decade. The former Intercontinental Champion may not want to get too comfortable though, as many of the NXT performers can easily perform his annual Royal Rumble stunts.
12. The Miz
How the mighty have fallen. The Miz is one of the very few people to ever headline a WrestleMania, and fall off the face of the Earth within a few months. Miz never really had a shot of being “The Guy”, well not as long as guys like Cena and Orton were still in the picture in the WWE. Although The Miz held the title for an impressive 160 days, he was still treated like a second class citizen in the WWE booking room.
Miz could have used his main event run as a way to cement himself as a top guy, instead he was blamed by WWE management for lower pay per view buys and attendance. It can be argued that neither one was his fault. Since falling out of the main event, Miz has done alright for himself, becoming a main fixture in the mid-card picture. Only time will tell if the former WWE Champion will ever be elevated to the top of the card again.
11. Dolph Ziggler
It’s hard to say why Dolph Ziggler has never been given a real chance as a top guy in WWE. Ironically enough, Ziggler has worked matches with almost every top name that the WWE has had to offer over the past decade yet has never been a true top-card talent. It’s almost as if WWE has a problem believing in the two time WWE Champion. You may be thinking, well at least he held the WWE Heavyweight Championship multiple times, but those title reigns were mediocre at best.
Oddly enough Ziggler still remains one of the biggest fan favorites in this era, and still holds the record for the biggest crowd pop received after cashing in his Money in the Bank contract in 2013. Ziggler’s path is probably the least predictable of anyone on this list, as the Show Off literally works every single place on the card on any given night.
10. Big Show
The Big Show is to wrestling, what Dwight Howard is to basketball; a waste of God given ability. For some reason Big Show has never been used as the giant freak athlete that he was portrayed to be in WCW. Sure recently the years have caught up to him, but even when he debuted he was never touted as one of the top guys in WWE. Sure he had programs with Stone Cold, The Rock, and Triple H, but was mostly used as an obstacle for those stars to overcome.
It didn’t take long before a legitimate seven foot giant was wrestling in goofy matches with low mid-carders for irrelevant titles. Could you ever imagine Andre the Giant being booked the same way that The Big Show has been in the past decade? No, of course not, because it’s nuts to have your monster heel running around crying and switching from babyface to heel every single week. Big Show has relished in this though, having lost more matches than he has won since leaving the main event scene.
9. The Great Khali
What could you really expect from a guy who can’t even bend his legs? The Great Khali debuted in WWE in 2006 on an episode of SmackDown, absolutely destroying The Undertaker in the course of three minutes. The only person to ever destroy The Deadman upon their debut was Kane, so fans had high hopes that Khali could be a dominant force in the main event scene. Boy were they wrong.
Even though he worked with both Undertaker and Cena on top, it was painfully evident that Khali just couldn’t wrestle. The former WWE Champion wasn’t even take bumps convincingly, which is why he was bumped down to jobber status by 2009. In fact Khali was only utilized as a sideshow act, portraying an Indian playboy and comedy act for the latter part of his WWE career. In his defense, Khali won a significant amount of matches at non-televised events, but on WWE programming he lost…a lot.
8. Mick Foley
The Hardcore Legend Mick Foley would be exempt from this list, if he would have just stayed retired in 2000….or 2003…or in 2006. Sadly Foley didn’t stay retired, and would tarnish his legacy as a main event WWE Champion by joining the ranks of TNA in 2009. Originally Foley was only supposed to be a mouthpiece in TNA, using his mic skills to earn his paycheck, but soon transitioned into an active performer under the newly formed Hulk Hogan management regime.
Foley may have lost a bunch of matches during his run in TNA, but at least his losses were to stars of the company; he did the honors for the likes of AJ Styles, Sting, Kurt Angle, Abyss, Jeff Jarrett, and Samoa Joe. Foley has gone on record as stating that he regrets his decision to come out of retirement, and most fans would agree after watching a WWE Hall of Famer become a jobber to the stars.
7. Chris Jericho
There are a few running jokes on the internet that involve Chris Jericho, one being that the former WWE Champion only loses matches whenever he returns to the WWE. While it started as a joke, there is some truth to the previous statement, as Jericho has lost more matches than he has won since becoming a WWE part-timer. If you look at his win-loss record it looks as if he wins frequently, but those numbers reflect WWE Live Events as well as WWE television programming. Live events shouldn’t factor into this debate, as they don’t reach a mainstream audience. What does reach them however, is Jericho losing to guys like Ryback, Fandango, Evan Bourne, Jack Swagger, and Rey Mysterio. Keep in mind that Jericho still does work some programs in the main event, but only as a jobber to the stars who can make a champ look good in the process.
6. Jack Swagger
Jack Swagger has had multiple opportunities to become a main event mainstay in the WWE. There is no doubting that the former WWE World HEavyweight Champion has the look, and the mat ability to go with anyone on the roster, but something always seemed to be missing. After cashing in his Money in the Bank contract in 2010, Swagger developed a more serious persona, but it was negated by his inability to speak on the microphone. After holding the title for a few months, Swagger was swallowed up by the mid-card again unless a current champion needed an easy victory.
When Swagger obtained a mouthpiece by the way of Zeb Coulter, it looked as if The All American American was going to be one of the few wrestlers to make it back into the main event scene after becoming a jobber. Sadly for Swagger his hopes were squandered after he was arrested for drug possession right before his scheduled title run. Can you guess what happened next?
When Christian left the WWE in 2005, he did it on bad terms, engaging in a legal battle with the company over usage of a trademarked nickname. Christian wanted to use the name “Captain Charisma” on promotional material in his new company (TNA), which understandably rubbed WWE the wrong way. WWE never got over the case apparently, because despite making himself a main event talent in TNA, Christian received mid-card status upon his return to the WWE in 2009.
Before you destroy this entry in the comments arguing that he was the World Heavyweight Champion within two years of his return, keep in mind that his two reigns lasted a total of 30 days. His run as champion was the definition of transitional, and his subsequent rivalries were nothing to write home about. Throughout this article you’ve read about guys who at least won at WWE Live Events, and Christian is the guy that most of them won those matches against…ouch.
4. Mark Henry
What a roller coaster the career of Mark Henry has been for the past 20 years. The World’s Strongest Man didn’t become an actual main eventer until late in his career, actually being named PWI’s Most Improved Wrestler in 2011. The reason that Henry received that title was mostly in part due to him being repackaged as a monster heel, one who would induct his opponents into the “Hall of Pain”. This character change cemented Henry as a legitimate threat in the main event picture, which eventually led to a title run that year.
The reason that Henry lost his place on the card is due to injury more than anything else, as his age and size caught up with him. Since losing steam Henry has been regularly been putting over younger talent, most notably during his feud with Ryback for the Intercontinental Championship in 2015, where he loss three consecutive times.
3. Bray Wyatt
There is absolutely no reason that Bray Wyatt should be on this list… but yet somehow here he appears. The second generation star has been on the main roster since 2012 portraying this character, and has gotten over pretty well. For some reason, despite him being one of their most popular stars, Wyatt has been booked losing nearly 70% of his matches. You read that right, one of the biggest main eventing stars in the WWE only wins three out of every ten matches. Most of said matches lost, are against already established talents like John Cena, Kane, and most notably The Undertaker.
Bray still has a ton of time left in his career, so he will undoubtedly bring up his win count to a respectable amount before calling it quits. If he does continue to lose at this rate, let’s hope that it at least against some up and coming talents from NXT.
2. Booker T
Although Booker T is one of the most versatile wrestlers to compete in the sport, he was frequently left without much to do. Luckily for the WWE, Booker was able to make all of his camera time count, using his natural showmanship to win over fans. It’s a good thing he was able to win those fans over, because one thing he wasn’t doing, was winning matches. In fact during his last full-time run as King Booker in the WWE, he lost a ton of matches to everyone on the roster. Despite being a six time Heavyweight Champion at the time, Booker was a glorified jobber during his final two years at the company.
Even when he made the transition to TNA, Booker T still lost most of his matches on his way out. Although he has been given legend status, the WCW Alum went out of the business losing more than his fair share of matches.
1. Wade Barrett
Wade Barrett has got to have the worst post King of the Ring career of anyone who has ever won the competition. During the previously mentioned stretch, Barrett was losing to guys like Kalisto, R-Truth, and even Hollywood actor Stephen Amell. That string of losses is a far cry from main eventing pay per views with John Cena back in 2010. Every time Barrett would get something going for himself, it seems like he would get injured, with injuries ending literally every single gimmick that he ever had.
To his credit Barrett was able to get over most of the gimmicks he was given, most notably the Bad News Barrett character, which nobody really believed in. Maybe his opinion of his booking in WWE is what led to the English star asking for his release. Perhaps with some time away from the company Barrett can re-emerge into the WWE as a title contender, rather than a glorified training dummy.