In professional wrestling, one of the most long-standing traditions throughout the history of the sport is that the young wrestlers on the roster have to pay their dues in a multitude of ways. Whether it’s carrying bags, setting up the ring, buying veteran talent dinner or picking up a bar tab, it is known that respect isn’t given; it is earned.
One of the biggest ways to make your way up the totem pole is by being a jobber. While it isn’t a choice to be a jobber, if you perform admirably in the role, it will open the eyes – and hopefully open the doors – of some decision makers.
For those who are unfamiliar, a jobber – or enhancement talent – is the title for a wrestler who is generally put into matches against established talent, with the point being to make the veterans look stronger and more credible in front of the live audience.
Some wrestlers never have to go through that transition, which typically is reserved for blue chip prospects, like The Rock, Kurt Angle or Brock Lesnar. It was so obvious they were going to be big stars that the WWE didn't bother having them go through that ordeal. They came onto the main roster and stormed through the competition right away.
Although they are rare in today’s world of wrestling, squash matches pitting top stars against young jobbers were what were typically portrayed on television. While bouts pitting known wrestlers against one another were saved for pay-per-views, it was jobbers who played the roles as opponents on the weekly programs.
If you look back on a list of wrestlers who portrayed jobbers, more names than not would be unrecognizable. However, there are select few wrestlers who began their careers as jobbers and ended up having great careers – championship victories and Hall of Fame inductions notwithstanding.
With that being said, take a look at these 15 wrestlers who began their wrestling tenures as jobbers, but ended up turning into stars in their own right.
16 Justin Credible
Before becoming one of the mainstays of the original ECW, Justin Credible worked for the WWE as a jobber named P.J. Walker. However, after enhancing talents for two straight years, Credible earned a pinfall victory over Irwin R. Schyster and received a full-time talent contract soon thereafter. After initially getting a push as Aldo Montoya, it only took a couple of months until Credible was, yet again, used to put others over.
15 Christopher Daniels
Although Christopher Daniels is best known for his time with Total Nonstop Action and Ring of Honor, the Fallen Angel was once a jobber, smack dab in the middle of the Attitude Era. After signing a developmental deal in with the WWE in 1998, Daniels jobbed to different talents before episodes of Shotgun Saturday Night, Jakked and Heat. Although he slightly made his way up the card, as he wrestled on the actual shows mentioned above, Daniels was never used as anything more than to get others over with the crowd.
14 Curt Hennig
13 Samoa Joe
Nowadays, you can catch Samoa Joe on NXT each week on the WWE Network. While fans were happy to see Samoa Joe in WWE for the first time, it's not the first; he used to be a jobber for the company many years ago. For a brief time in 2001, Samoa Joe wrestled as an enhancement talent on the WWE’s smaller shows during their working relationship with wrestling company Ultimate Pro Wrestling.
12 Mikey Whipwreck
Yes, Mikey Whipwreck was the resident jobber in ECW. And while his status never really changed with the promotion, he earned the respect from his peers and the audience, which brought him moderate success in his career. Starting out as a crewmember who would assemble the ring, Whipwreck offered to job to wrestlers just so he could say that he participated in matches. The result of that was Whipwreck being involved in some of the most lopsided contests in recent memory.
In terms of Sean Waltman, his jobbing career can be seen as slightly similar to that of Mikey Whipwreck. Although he impressed on the independent scene, Waltman, known as the Lightening Kid, earned a WWE contract in 1993. While he was at first positioned as an enhancement talent, he easily impressed the decision makers, and his fluke win over Razor Ramon on Raw led to a successful run as a key member of the Attitude Era wrestling scene.
While Edge is now seen as one of the greatest wrestlers over the last 10 years, he too was once a jobber. Known as Damon Striker, Edge was on the wrong side of squash matches against the likes of Meng, amongst others, on different episodes of WCW B-shows. However, after being noticed by different WWE officials on the television show, Edge was contacted and signed in 1998.
9 AJ Styles
8 Hardy Boyz
7 Daniel Bryan
When Daniel Bryan was making a name for himself across the country, the WWE’s partnership with Memphis Championship Wrestling gave Bryan the opportunity to sign with the company under a developmental deal. Although they two groups severed ties a little while after, the WWE used Bryan, first as an enhancement talent on Heat and Velocity, and then as someone who would gain longer matches on those shows, yet still lose.
6 Mick Foley
When Mick Foley made his highly anticipated debut in the WWE in 1996, many fans were happy because he finally had his chance to make it on the biggest stage in professional wrestling. However, what people don’t know is his actual WWE debut came 10 years prior. While he was still undergoing training, Foley was chosen amongst others as a jobber, usually going under the names of Jack or Nick Foley.
5 John Cena
No, you’re not reading the name wrong. John Cena, the man who currently beats every single wrestler on the roster once made a living by losing to everyone he faced. During the same time when Samoa Joe was used as an enhancement talent, Cena signed on and worked various house shows and Heat and Velocity tapings that resulted in losing efforts.
4 Bret Hart
Bret Hart had become a big name in his father's Stampede Wrestling, but when Vince McMahon bought the territory, Hart found himself in the WWE. Hart was seen as undersized when he went to the big company, so he was given a cowboy gimmick, and regularly jobbed to inferior talents who were higher than him on the food chain. Teaming with Jim Neidhart to form the Hart Foundation saved his career. He would use that success to break out as a singles star in the early 90s, where he became the best there is, was and ever will be.
2 Shawn Michaels
If Shawn Michaels has a spot on this list, it means that any wrestler could be a jobber at some point. The Heartbreak Kid, who is widely considered as the greatest in-ring performer of all time, used to help elevate established talent in NWA territories back in the early-to-mid 1980s.
1 Triple H
Rounding out the list of famous jobbers is the man who is currently running the entire operation. Yes, Triple H was used as an enhancement before he broke out with the WWE. Although he had a character, Triple H, then known as Terra Ryzing, was predominately used a bad guy to help put over the good guy characters.
After plateauing in the company, Triple H jumped ship to WWE, where, after paying his dues, became one of the top names in the company throughout the decade of the 2000s. Many complain about the way Triple H used to bury the talent he faced, and rightfully so; however, no one can deny that the 13-time WWE Champion paid his dues.
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