In professional wrestling slang, a job is a losing performance in a wrestling match. It is derived from the euphemism "doing one's job", which was employed to protect information related to kayfabe from being revealed. The term can be used a number of ways. When a wrestler is booked to lose a match it is described as "a job". The act itself is described with the verb jobbing, while the act of booking (rather than being booked) to job is called jobbing out. To lose a match fairly (meaning without any kayfabe rules being broken) is to job cleanly. Wrestlers who routinely (or exclusively) lose matches are known as jobbers. A regular jobber skilled at enhancing the matches he loses, as opposed to a mediocre local rookie or part-timer, is called a carpenter. In the post-kayfabe era the term has taken on a negative connotation, leading to the use of the neutral term enhancement talent.
A job which is presented as being the result of an extremely close, entertaining match, or underhanded tactics on the part of an opponent, will not necessarily tarnish a wrestler's reputation, especially if the situation is presented as one where the wrestler "deserved" to win but was cheated. At other times a high-profile loss, particularly one which makes the wrestler in question look weak, foolish, or otherwise damages their reputation, might signify certain behind-the-scenes events that have real-life implications on a wrestler. Such a job may mark the end of a push, a departure from the company, or a loss of faith in the wrestler as a marketable commodity. As a result, it may also mark a downward slide in a wrestler's career. This is especially the case when the wrestler is beaten very easily, or squashed.
Sometimes, jobbing is presented to a wrestler because of the problems and bad working relationship that the wrestler and the owner of the promotion actually have. At other times, it is a requirement of a wrestler's on-the-job training, learning how to perform in front of a live audience while helping make the more established wrestlers look credible.
World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) has referred to jobbers as lovable, adorable "losers". Sometimes they euphemistically use the term "local competitor".
Jobber is a professional wrestling term used to describe a wrestler who is routinely defeated by main eventers, mid-carders, or low-carders. Most promoters do not use the term because of the negative connotation. Jobbers have been used since the 1950s, and they were popular in promotions of the United States and Canada around this time.
World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) made greatest use of full-time jobbers during their syndicated television shows in the 1980s and early 1990s, Superstars of Wrestling, Wrestling Challenge and All-Star Wrestling. Barry Horowitz and Steve Lombardi were the wrestlers most prominently identified with this role; other wrestlers who performed mainly as jobbers during this period included "Leaping" Lanny Poffo, Brady Boone, Tiger Chung Lee, Barry O, Reno Riggins, Duane Gill, Barry Hardy, Mick Foley, Scott Casey, Dangerous Danny Davis (also wrestling as Mr. X), The Shadows (Randy Colley, and Jose Luis Rivera), Los Conquistadores (Jose Luis Rivera and José Estrada Sr.), "Iron" Mike Sharpe, Von Krus, S.D. Jones, George South, Dusty Wolfe, Mario Mancini, Tim Horner, Sonny Rogers, Brian Costello, Red Tyler, and Tom "Rocky" Stone. Many of these wrestlers also did work matches against each other at larger arena cards at venues such as Madison Square Garden and were usually more competitive against their opponents, with several of these wrestlers gaining victories. In some cases, a number of these wrestlers had main-event matches at some point (such as Sharpe receiving matches against then-WWF World Heavyweight Champion Bob Backlund or Danny Davis working in six-man tag-team matches with The Hart Foundation, usually against Tito Santana and the British Bulldogs (during the "dishonest referee" angle)) before being pushed toward the bottom of the roster's hierarchy; others, such as Mick Foley, would later become main-event wrestlers. Some were given gimmicks of their own, such as Poffo (a poet laureate as a face and as a snobbish intellectual, known as "The Genius", who also read poems as a heel) and Lombardi ("The Brooklyn Brawler", a smug, tough-talking brawler).
World Championship Wrestling (WCW), just like the WWE, made huge use of jobbers during the late 1980s and 1990s. Jobbers like Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker, George South, Bobby Walker, Joe Gomez, The Gambler, The Roadblock and Trent Knight lost the majority of their matches. However, they usually scored clean victories against other pure jobbers. Wrestlers who worked as jobbers for WWE were also employed as jobbers in WCW during this period.
A jobber may not necessarily lose, only make the superstar look powerful—or at least make another wrestler interfering with the match to look more powerful. One example is Jimmy Jacobs: employed by WWE as a jobber for a time, Jacobs wrestled Eddie Guerrero during the latter's last heel run. Though Jacobs was squashed, he actually won by disqualification when Guerrero beat him with a chair. Another example of a jobber winning was when "The Kid" suddenly won an upset over Razor Ramon on the May 17, 1993 episode of Raw. He then renamed himself the "1-2-3 Kid". This win (and the Kid) were worked into Ramon's feud with Ted DiBiase, with DiBiase taunting Ramon repeatedly over losing to a nobody until he too was pinned by the Kid. On the September 20, 1993 episode of Raw, I.R.S. was pinned with a rollup by P.J. Walker thanks to Ramon's interference.
Jobbers can also get recognition on social media after appearing on a major promotion, giving them exposure they wouldn't receive otherwise. While being interviewed by Byron Saxton before his match against Braun Strowman in 2016, independent wrestler Johnny Knockout said he wanted to wrestle Strowman because "he likes big, sweaty men". The unexpected response led to Knockout eventually trending on Twitter ahead of other events on that night's Raw.
Heels and some faces used to abuse and humiliate jobbers during or after a match: Jake Roberts would allow his pet snake slither over his opponents once he pinned them; Brutus Beefcake would cut their hair off (on those sporting long hair or a mullet); Big Boss Man would cuff them to the ropes and beat them with a baton; Ted DiBiase would put them under the Million Dollar Dream and then stuff a hundred-dollar bill in their mouths; Lex Luger, under his "Narcissistic" gimmick, would make them stand up by holding them by the hair and make them look at themselves in a mirror; the Islanders would chew some fruit (usually pineapple) and then spit it over their chests, and so on. Some jobbers like Trent Knight, Cougar Jay, Tim Parker, Reno Riggins, Tommy Angel, Bob Emory, Ricky Nelson, Curtis Thompson, the Mulkey Brothers, Kenny Kendall, Red Tyler, Eddie Jackie, among others, grew to become household names to fans due to this, and fans would expect to see the humiliating act after the match. Jake "The Snake" Roberts got Bob Emory's and Trent Knight's heads inside the sack where he kept his python snake; Dick Murdoch smashed the aforementioned Emory against a podium and then hit him with a piece of wood, Kenny Kendall got hogtied twice by Bunkhouse Buck at the end of a match, Reno Riggins was made to put a woman's dress on.
A slightly higher position is "jobber to the stars" (also known as a "glorified jobber"), which is a wrestler who defeats pure jobbers and mid-carders, but who consistently lose to top-level or up-and-coming stars. For example, Dolph Ziggler in the WWE is widely considered to have these traits. This often happens to popular faces and sometimes heels towards the end of their careers. Many of these jobbers to the stars are "heels" (villains) who routinely beat up on "nice guy" jobbers ("faces") so as to build up a reputation of being reasonably capable competitors (which makes the stars all the more impressive when they in turn defeat them easily) as well as to earn the contempt of the audience who enjoy seeing them finally get their comeuppance when they take on the tougher wrestlers. Heels can also be jobbers, such as Steve Lombardi during the 1980s and early 1990s. In the 1980s, Lombardi teamed with Barry Horowitz, to form a heel team. However, Lombardi and Horowitz ended up losing most of their matches in the WWE. In addition, Triple H was given the role of "jobbing to the stars" by WWF owner Vince McMahon in the summer of 1996 as punishment for the Madison Square Garden Incident.
On the independent wrestling circuit, including the Mexican independent circuit, the star wrestlers with sufficient name recognition to be a draw, would travel with their own jobber. Free from televised exposure, the star could beat the same opponent from town to town. Such a jobber could even be elevated to champion status, entering the ring with an impressive sounding title belt only to have it removed at the end of the match night after night.
There are times, however, when a jobber will prove their skill, determination, and/or loyalty to the business, and move beyond jobber status. Curt Hennig and Eddie Gilbert, who served as high-level jobbers during their initial WWE runs, later became main-eventers. Billy Kidman initially started out as a jobber in World Championship Wrestling (WCW), before moving up the ranks to become a champion in both the WCW and WWE. Paul Roma, who started as a jobber for the WWE in the 1980s, gained enough popularity in WCW to win that promotion's Tag Team Titles with partners such as Paul Orndorff and Arn Anderson, the latter as part of the Four Horsemen; however, in Roma's case, he went downhill again some time later. The brothers the Hardy Boyz began their careers in WWE as jobbers for a few years, before receiving their first push as legitimate contenders in the tag division.
Sometimes the opposite will occur, as was in the case of "Iron" Mike Sharpe, who started as a normal wrestler in the independent circuit and the WWE and ended up being a heel jobber. Another example is Siva Afi, who was a successful main-eventer/mid-carder in the independent circuit, including challenging Ric Flair for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship to a 60-minute time limit draw in front of 20,000 people, ended up being a jobber in the WWF, which eventually led to other local promotions to give him a jobber position. A tag-team known as The Undertakers that did well on the independent circuit became jobbers when they joined the WWF in 1992 and became known as Double Trouble.
Sometimes, jobbing may be used as a gimmick. While in ECW, Al Snow began referring to jobbing on-screen as part of his gimmick. He subsequently formed a stable called The J.O.B. Squad, composed of prominent jobbers. In World Championship Wrestling, the tendency of the Armstrongs, (particularly Brad Armstrong) to lose matches was referred to as the "Armstrong curse". On average, however, Brad Armstrong was more of a jobber to the stars, while his brothers were pure jobbers for the most part, though Brian Armstrong would find the greatest success of the brothers in WWE as the Road Dogg. In 2003, after he returned from his neck injury, Chris Kanyon did a jobber angle, in which his gimmick was "Who's Better Than Kanyon? Nobody". He ended up jobbing to opponents on WWE Velocity. A jobber angle involved Montel Vontavious Porter (MVP), whose continual losses during the end of 2008 – including embarrassing losses in which he was pinned by roll-ups from mid-level WWE superstars – cost him the signing bonus he received when he joined WWE.
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