Wrestling jobbers are a dying breed. The WWE has given up on them and it has hurt the product due to top stars never getting the right build up. The term jobber isn't even used anymore, at least for the most part, as wrestling companies and workers use the word 'enhancement talent' to label these lovable losers. In 2017, jobber is a word that many take as derogatory even though that is exactly what they are; and jobbing is what they do.
Not all WWE jobbers were born into the role when they emerged from wrestling school. Sure, some like Frank Wiliams didn't have the look or mic skills to rise to the top. But he was still able to produce believable matches with top talent. Others like Tony Anthony and Tracy Smothers had long, distinguished careers before moving to New York. However, once those two entered the WWE machine, there was nothing for them to do besides put over the company's stars.
There is no shame in being a jobber. It is a job, and a way to make a living in the business. The top enhancement talent can even be regularly requested by top wrestlers, like in the case of George South. Not every one can be the world champion, and not everyone can draw money. But the wrestling business always needs someone to make other stars look good, and that is the art of being a jobber. In the immortal words of former Smoky Mountain Wrestling and WCW wrestler Bobby Blaze, "pin me, pay me".
15 Bill "The Goon" Irwin
The Goon is often listed as one of the worst gimmicks in wrestling history. After a long career in the sport, Bill Irwin pitched the Goon character to Bruce Prichard. Vince McMahon's right-hand man at the time, Prichard shared Irwin's hockey player gimmick to his boss. According to interviews, Irwin created the Goon character over the phone while pitching it to Prichard. Despite getting some early victories on WWE television, the Goon soon settled into the role of a WWE jobber. The fans hated the gimmick, and it wasn't long until the Goon was shelved. After leaving the WWE, Irwin wrestled on the independent circuit. He did return to the WWE occasionally for gimmick battle royals. According to a 2015 interview with a Duluth, Minnesota news channel, Irwin still appears on shows around the world, although he doesn't perform often.
14 Duane "Gillberg" Gill
Duane Gill had two stints with the WWE, one forgettable and one incredibly memorable run during the Attitude Era. In 1991, Gill joined the company to get beaten up every night as an enhancement talent. Gill was given the break of a lifetime as he was repackaged as Gillberg. According to Gill, the Gillberg gimmick was a one-off deal. However, it was so popular that it continues to this day. Gill makes the rounds at wrestling conventions and autograph signings. He also gets booked on shows sporadically, and has worked several times in 2017 under the Gillberg moniker. Gill also continues to sell his own Gillberg merchandise. According to a recent interview with SI.com, Gill even hopes to return to the WWE for one last chance to work a Wrestlemania match.
13 Colt Cabana
Colt Cabana joined the WWE's developmental program with plenty of fanfare. However, his time with the company is remembered for a handful of losses under the name Scotty Goldman. Cabana was still able to use his 15-minutes of jobber fame to become one of the hottest properties on the indie wrestling circuit following his WWE departure in 2009. It didn't hurt that he was – at the time – CM Punk's best friend in the business. After leaving the company, Cabana started the wildly successful Art of Wrestling podcast, and became the first wrestler to have a top-rated show. In 2016, Cabana returned to work with Ring of Honor. He has also continued to pursue an acting and comedy career. Cabana has remained one of the cornerstones of indie wrestling as it looks ever more apparent he will never get his chance with the WWE.
12 Chuck Austin
In 1990, after less than a month of wrestling training, Chuck Austin talked his way onto a WWE television taping. Teaming with Lanny Poffo, the pair took on Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty. During the match, Austin took Jannetty's Rocker Dropper finishing move. However, the rookie didn't know how to take the move and landed on the top of his head rather than on his stomach. The jobber then laid in the ring for 20 minutes as medical attention arrived. Paralyzed, Austin filed a lawsuit against the WWE for damages. The lawsuit sought $3 million from the WWE. The company fought it vigorously, and even brought in wrestling mats to demonstrate the move to the jury. Austin won the lawsuit, and in a rare case, received more money than asked for. According to the Wrestling Observer, Austin won $26.7m. Austin remains wheelchair bound to this day.
11 SD "Special Delivery" Jones
SD "Special Deliver" Jones had a long 22-year wrestling career. But it was his Wrestlemania I match against King Kong Bundy that many fans remember. Jones lost to the big man in just 24 second. Prior to the match, Jones was worried the loss would hurt his career, but decided it was best for business to build up Bundy. He also got a big payday for the loss. It was his only match on the big stage of Wrestlemania. Jones was so well-known as a WWE wrestler, he even had a WWE LJN action figure created in 1986. Jones retired from wrestling in 1991 and lost a lot of the muscle mass he had accumulated as a worker. He took a job at the New York Daily News delivering newspapers. In 2007, at the age of 62, Jones retired and returned to his native Antigua. He passed away there on October 26, 2008 after suffering a stroke.
10 "Rebel" Dick Slater
Like many WWE jobbers, Dick Slater had a long career in the territories before joining the company in 1986. The WWE played on his southern heritage and gave him the "Rebel" nickname rather than his heel "Dirty" persona. Although he started out looking strong as a performer, he soon nestled into the role of a jobber. He left the WWE in 1987 and returned to the NWA as it morphed into WCW. After retiring from wrestling, Slater has gone through numerous health and personal problems. In 2004, Slater was arrested for assaulting his girlfriend Theresa Halbert. Slater later blamed the incident on his addiction to pain killers. In 2013, Slater was again arrested in Florida. It was his fifth arrest in Pinellas County in six years. On an episode of Ric Flair's now defunct Woo! Nation podcast, he reported Slater was unrecognizable and living in a nursing home in 2015.
9 T.L. Hopper
Tony Anthony, aka The Dirty White Boy and T.L. Hopper, was a fantastic heel in Smoky Mountain Wrestling. Paired with the devious Ron Wright when the promotion kicked off, Anthony was a throwback to rough and tumble heels that were no longer found by the mid-90s. Anthony arrived in the WWE in 1996 after the closure of SMW. Thanks to his history of working a day job as a plumber, Anthony was given the T.L. Hopper gimmick. Introduced to WWE fans through vignettes showing him in sagging jeans and unclogging toilets, Hopper became well-known to fans due to the terrible gimmick. While Anthony's matches weren't anything special, he is remembered for his SummerSlam 96 pre-show segment. In the scene, Hopper investigates a "poop" in a swimming pool. Realizing it isn't poop, but a candy bar, he eats it to Jerry Lawler's disgust. Since leaving the WWE in 1997, Anthony has worked in various independent promotions along with appearing as commissioner for Xtreme Wrestling.
8 Tim Horner
Tim Horner began wrestling in the late 1970s, and bounced around the territories in the south learning his trade. He later joined Jim Crockett Promotions, and along with Brad Armstrong, formed the Lightning Express tag team. The two had success and won the NWA National titles and the UWF tag titles. According to Horner in multiple shoot interviews, the two were recruited by the WWE in 1988. Horner left the WWE in 1989 and returned to the NWA. In 1992, he was a part of Jim Cornette's underrated Smoky Mountain Wrestling promotion. Although many consider Horner a co-owner, Cornette has repeatedly stated that not to be true, as Horner never bought into the company. Horner has continued to profess otherwise. The grappler was a part of the office until he was fired for being inept at his job. Upon retiring, Horner has worked as a bails bondsman in his hometown of Morristown, Tennessee. He did have a short return to the WWE as an agent in the 2000s.
7 Freddie Joe Floyd
When your wrestling gimmick name is based on a rib, you can bet the expectations for your time with the company are low. Tracy Smothers joined the WWE in 1996 after the collapse of SMW. Smothers brought a wealth of experience, and was a fantastic babyface fans could get behind. However, the first thing WWE did was give him the ridiculous ring name Freddie Joe Floyd. The rib was on Jack and Gerald Brisco, whose real first names are Fred and Floyd, respectively. Despite starting his WWE career with a victory over Justin "Hawk" Bradshaw (the future JBL), it was all downhill for Freddie Joe Floyd. Smothers continued working the indie circuit, and at 55, wrestling fans can still see him working matches for companies such as WildKat Sports. Smothers also hosts his own podcast, School of Smothers. Wrestling has been something Smothers hasn't given up on, and his own words, he works odd jobs to support his wrestling habit.
6 Tom Brandi
Tom Brandi was the typical northeastern indie wrestler when he started out in the early 1990s. A great look, but no charisma doomed Brandi from the start. That is why many believe he never really caught on with any top 1990s promotion. A solid hand, he did catch the eye of WWE officials and joined the company in 1996. Named Salvatore Sincere, Brandi worked as a heel until reverting back to his real name during a feud with Marc Mero. Brandi worked with the WWE until 1998, and spent many nights putting other, top wrestlers over. Following his departure from the company, Brandi returned to the indie circuit in the northeast. Today, he still wrestles on shows under the Salvatore Sincere gimmick. He also makes appearances as the Patriot. Although he has stated the original Patriot, Del Wilkes, gave him permission to use the masked gimmick, Wilkes has disputed the claim in interviews.
5 Italian Stallion
The Italian Stallion, Gary Sabaugh, is one of the best-known wrestling jobbers. Although he worked more extensively in other promotion, the Stallion did work in the WWE in the 1990s. As a worker Italian Stallion made a number of lower card wrestlers look good during his short time in WWE rings. Along with good friend and wrestler training partner George South, the two helped provide jobbers for WWE television tapings. The Italian Stallion helped to train the Hardy Boyz, and according to the duo, he would charge them $100 of their $150 paycheck as a booking fee for appearing on WWE shows. Italian Stallion's last match as a wrestler came in 1997 in the Professional Wrestling Federation. The PWF was a company owned by Sabaugh and South. Unfortunately, it would go out of business in 1999. Today, Sabaugh continues to train wrestlers.
4 Frank Williams
Frank Williams wrestled for the WWWF in the 1970s and with the company well into Vince K. McMahon's national expansion. Williams had no physique. He had ridiculous hair, an unkempt moustache, and his mic skills were awful. But Wiliams was still a solid hand in the ring. A perennial jobber, Williams would be a forgotten figure if it wasn't for one lasting moment. On the April 14th edition of WWF Championship Wrestling, Williams was a guest on Piper's Pit. "Hot Rod" verbally assaulted Williams throughout the segment until Williams finally responded. He slapped the mic from Piper's hand, before receiving the beating of a lifetime. It got Piper over as a vicious heel and a serious threat to Hulk Hogan. Unfortunately, Williams would pass away six years after leaving the WWE. The former WWE jobber was a victim of cancer. His appearance on Piper's Pit has immortalized him and if he was still alive today.
3 George South
George South's time in the WWE was short lived, however he was one of the top jobbers of NWA/WCW during the 1980s. Ric Flair loved working with South as the journeyman wrestler was perfect at making the World Champion look great in the ring. Flair loved wrestling him because it was so easy when they locked up. Along with working, South was also in charge of bringing other jobbers to television tapings. After leaving the WWE, South worked a variety of independents along with WCW. While he was a great hand, South has proven he is just as good as a wrestling trainer. South trained the late Reid Flair for his career, Richie Steamboat and Bobby Eaton's son Dillon. The 55-year-old South continues to work shows around the mid-Atlantic area today, when he isn't training wrestlers. The veteran grappler also released a book in 2012 titled, Dad, You Don't Work, You Wrestle.
2 Barry Horowitz
Barry Horowitz was a fantastic technical wrestler and severely underrated. That is exactly why it was his job to put other wrestlers over most nights during his career. He started out working in Florida and around the NWA, and joined the WWE in the late-80s. Horowitz gained a surprise win over Skip (Chris Candido) and he appeared at SummerSlam and Survivors Series in 1995. Horowitz finally left the WWE in 1997 after a tour of the Middle East before resurfacing in WCW until its demise. He retired in 2013. According to WWE.com, Horowitz spent much of his time following WCW's closure running his own business, Vitamin Discount Centre. In a 2015 Rolling Stone article, it was stated Horowitz is a consultant for a nutrition business. Horowitz is 57-years old.
1 Brookyn Brawler
There is no more well-known WWE jobber than the Brooklyn Brawler Steve Lombardi. Although the Brooklyn Brawler didn't enter the WWE until 1989, Lombardi had been with the company for five years prior to the gimmick. He worked as a jobber under his own name before gaining a more prominent role in Bobby "The Brain" Heenan's feud against The Red Rooster. Lombardi also worked his way into a job backstage, which made him more than just an opening match wrestler. Lombardi continued wrestling up until 2013, when he was used to put Ryback over. However, it was his ability to work as a producer and agent that kept him with the company until he was let go in 2016. When he left, it ended a 33-year run with the company. Since leaving the WWE, Lombardi has done the podcast round and has shared his story with the likes of Jim Ross, Eric Bischoff and Colt Cabana. Other than making podcast appearances, Lombardi has released an audiobook entitled Brawler Unfiltered. Fans of Lombardi can also follow him on social media where he posts inspiration messages daily.