A favorite pastime of the internet wrestling community is to rush to the comment section and cry about their favorite indie darling getting jobbed out to Vince McMahon’s hand-picked guys. It’s true, just look at the backlash the IWC gave WWE when A.J. Styles lost to Roman Reigns at Extreme Rules this year. Fans can be vitriolic and vociferous and we don’t see that changing anytime soon. However, jobbing is part of wrestling and pretty much everyone not named Andre the Giant or Hulk Hogan had to do it.
What is jobbing? It is to lose a match fairly without any kayfabe rules being broken, however, there are many perceptions of what happens when a wrestler jobs. Many fans think if a wrestler is jobbing, he or she won’t be pushed for greater things in the company's near future. Others see it as the promotion’s booker trying to make the winning wrestler look strong. It can also be seen as a wrestler paying their dues in the industry. However you interpret it, jobbing in the wrestling industry is a way of life and comes with the territory.
So for those out there that may get fluster the next time they see their favorite wrestler lose a match, try not to rage and remember, all wrestlers have jobbed at one point or another.
15 Randy Orton - Lance Storm
Before wrestlers feared the “RKO Outta Know Where,” Randy Orton was tearing it up in WWE’s developmental promotion, Ohio Valley Wrestling. When Orton got the call-up to the big leagues, he was put on dark show duty. This means he wouldn’t be on television but would perform in the undercard matches before the event, such as Sunday Night Heat or SmackDown. During these dark shows he would lose to mid-card talents such as Tommy Dreamer, Chuck Palumbo, and Val Venis.
14 Edge - Meng
Watching Edge and Christian drench their opponents in a blood bath during The Attitude Era was pretty cool, but did anyone think at the time that Edge would become a great champion for the company? After winning the Tag Titles with his best friend, Christian, Edge would go on to become an Intercontinental and World Heavyweight Champion in the WWE. He would be involved with some of the most memorable segments ever in the WWE and morph into one of the best heels of this century. Inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2012, Edge is truly one of the greats.
13 Kane - Bret Hart
Glenn Jacobs was something of an enigma in regards to what to do with him and his character before he became known as Kane. His very first performance in the WWE was against the face of the company, Bret Hart, in a dark match. At the time, his character was every kid’s worse nightmare, an insane dentist with a drill named Isaac Yankem DDS. His second match was against Hart at SummerSlam ’95, which speaks volumes to how much WWE was impressed with this young Superstar.
12 Dean Ambrose - Daniel Bryan
The face of SmackDown Live and the WWE Champion, Dean Ambrose, was the last of The Shield members to win the prestigious title. Many fans love Ambrose while others can't stand him, but you can’t deny the man’s work ethic and durability. Ambrose has also put on some great matches and is currently involved in an important feud with AJ Styles. With that said, it took Ambrose a different route than his fellow Shield brothers to get to the WWE.
11 A.J. Styles - The Hurricane
A.J. Styles is one of the best wrestlers today and proves it at each event. His in-ring work can be debated as the best, he can cut a promo, and he has the “it” factor that has made him the face of many promotions. Everyone was excited to see Styles make his “debut” at this year’s Royal Rumble, but it wasn’t really his debut. In 2002, Styles made his television debut in the WWE, losing to non-other than a superhero named The Hurricane.
10 Daniel Bryan - John Cena
'Yes! Yes! Yes!' wasn’t always a hallmark chant for Daniel Bryan and his fans. Before he became the goat-faced hero of the WWE Universe, and before he was known by the indie crowd in Ring of Honor, Bryan was a glorified jobber for the WWE during the early part of his career. He would be called in several times a year and job for the company. If anyone was watching WWE’s Velocity on Febuary 4th, 2003, they would have watched Bryan Danielson lose to John Cena in less than four minutes.
9 The Hardy Boyz - Headbangers
Whether you like TNA’s Final Deletion story or not, you have to admit that at least Matt and Jeff are trying to evolve their characters and revolutionize the way stories are being told in wrestling. For three decades, The Hardy Boyz have been one of the more impressive and prestigious tag teams in the industry. You can see the strong bond between the two, even if they're fighting each other. Before achieving titles in both the tag and single divisions of several promotions, The Hardy Boyz were living in Jobber City.
8 Ric Flair - Greg Gagne
Wooooooo! It’s the 'Nature Boy', Ric Flair. This limousine riding, son of a gun wasn’t always racking up the wins that would pay for his parties. When Richard Nixon was President of the United States, Flair was just getting his feet wet in the business. The 16-time world champion got his start in American Wrestling Association which was owned by Verne Gagne in ’72.
7 Triple H - Alex Wright
The King of Kings was once a squire believe it or not. Triple H's story is a tale of a young man coming out of one of the finest wrestling gyms in the country at Killer Kowalski’s school in Massachusetts and becoming a member of the most prestigious family and name in wrestling history. After learning the do’s and don't's in the industry, he got a major break with WCW in 1994. In less than a year after his start, he would face Johnny B. Badd, known as Marc Mero in the WWE, for the WCW World Television Title.
6 The Undertaker - Jerry Lawler
Ever heard of Mean Mark, Texas Red, or Master of Pain? We didn’t think so. Before The Undertaker became the ruthless mortician that fans have grown to love, he was finding his way through the independent circuit in the late 80s. With an athletic background in basketball and literally being almost 7 feet tall, The Undertaker had no problem working with a promotion to help his resume.
5 Shawn Michaels - One Man Gang
Most fans remember HBK getting his start in the WWE as a Rocker with his former tag team partner, Marty Jannetty, but it’s not where he got his start in wrestling. Before the WWE, Michaels would work for AWA as well as WCCW. His task was to be a glorified jobber, most likely due to his inexperience and small frame. You know you’re a legit jobber when you’re losing squash matches.
4 The Rock - Chris "Skip" Candido
Once The Rock started cooking, it was all sunshine and pineapples for the former wrestler and now multi-millionaire movie star. The Great One, The Brahma Bull, The People’s Champion, The Most Electrifying Man in all of Sports Entertainment, once jobbed to Chris “Skip” Candido during a dark match for the WWE. It was only his second match with the company, but maybe some of the bookers thought Skip needed the win more.
3 Stone Cold Steve Austin - Jim Duggan
Give me a hell yeah if you knew that the toughest S.O.B. in wrestling wasn’t always bald and actually jobbed to plenty of wrestlers. A lot of youngsters found out the history of Austin when playing WWE2k16’s showcase mode. Like many on this list, a wrestler doesn’t always start out at the top and can take years, even decades, to become a bonafide Superstar in the industry. Before the fans got used to the beer drinking, Stone Cold Steve Austin we all grew to love, he was a mid-carder that would job to a lot of babyface talent.
2 John Cena - Shelton Benjamin
After a brief stint at Ultimate Pro Wrestling around the turn of the century, Cena’s hustle, loyalty, and respect got him a contract to work in WWE’s developmental promotion, Ohio Valley Wrestling. His rise to the top was as fast as a lightning bolt and before you knew it, the young and hungry Cena was making his way into live events for the WWE. His very first match under the WWE banner was against Shelton Benjamin at a house show in ’02.
1 Brock Lesnar - Billy Gunn
The Next Big Thing, The Beast Incarnate, The Conqueror, The King of the German Suplex, The Mayor of Suplex City, and The One in 23-and-1 also jobbed at one point in his career, believe it or not. After a quick stop at WWE’s developmental promotion, Ohio Valley Wrestling, Lesnar was brought in to perform at several house shows and dark matches before a televised event for the company.
During a dark match for both WWE’s Jakked and Sunday Night Heat, Lesnar lost to former NXT coach Billy Gunn. This booking happened again just two weeks after the first time. Gunn vs Lesnar made for an intriguing match at the time, but we believe if you’re a betting man, you would pick Lesnar ten out of ten times. Lesnar went on to lose to Mr. Perfect and Hugh Morrus before becoming an absolute monster in 2002.
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