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The importance of jobbers


JerryvonKramer
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Alright, so as I've said, I'm very down on the current mainstream product and have been really for a long time now. Going on for about 10 years now. The reasons for wrestling being "broken" now have been noted many times before by many people - meaningless titles, too many PPVs, every wrestler being invincible/ able to take 2-3 finishers at big shows, underselling, the total eradication of any semblance of realism, the death of kayfabe, the inability to run long angles, the fact that we seem to be perpetually stuck in the same moment, etc. etc. I've given up a long time ago, hell, I mean even if someone told me that WWE was the best it's ever been, I couldn't bring myself to watch it. The music and presentation style alone is enough for me to hate just about every thing about it.

 

But, anyway, one thing people don't point to all that often is the good old-fashioned "wimpy". I guess these were phased out in the Monday Night War era, when every match became a star vs. star match and you had massive marquee matches just happening on random free TV every week. Generally no one complains because jobber matches sucked, right?

 

Or did they? Against a jobber, you can generally get to see a guy's main repertoire, his chief offense - what a "routine win" for that guy looks like. You know if it's say, a WWF DiBiase match against a jobber, you'll get a suplex, a piledriver, a falling fistdrop, maybe a backbreaker or that sweet powerslam, axe-handle from the second rope, million dollar dream, $100 bill in the mouth. That shows you in 5 minutes how this guy can really hurt you.

 

So the five other squash matches you got in a row back on Prime Time or Worldwide or whatever all served the same function. More importantly, they were keeping the big stars, even the midcarders, separated so when they actually got to the big blow off matches it actually meant something. Even like Dino Bravo vs. Greg Valentine could feel like a big deal in the "main event anywhere in the country" match at the end of the show.

 

After a few years of this, almost every guy on the roster, including Koko B. Ware, could seem like legit stars. Ok, so Koko isn't going to be beating Mr. Perfect any time soon, but he'll still beat Iron Mike Sharpe, Barry Horowitz and SD Jones. (not sure why, but I always thought SD Jones was like the toughest of the jobbers, like the one who might possibly cause an upset -- he might have actually been the lowest on the roster you could be without being a pure jobber.)

 

More importantly, it saves most of the roster from getting over-exposed. If you think about it, on any given night, you'll only see at best half the roster on TV in any given week, maybe even less. Maybe you only got Hogan once or twice a month.

 

Whether or not we enjoy jobber matches, this seems to me to be the most logical way of building momentum for wrestlers and for selling PPVs.

 

I don't know if it's ever possible to go back, but what are the arguments AGAINST the above? Seems to me that from the promotions point of view, you are just making life as difficult as possible for yourself.

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They have used jobbers pretty regularly in the last decade.

The Angle challenges and Masters challenges were all about jobbers.

Deuce and Domino were set up in a ton of matches v jobbers.

They will wheel out a bunch of joobers as needed. They just don't want to overdo the gimmick.

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When was the last time they used them on WWE tv? Was it Khali squashes?

 

Alex Koslov got signed to the WWF after working as a jobber for a Del Rio Smackdown match last August.

 

From Online World of Wrestling:

 

August 27, 2010--SmackDown!: World Heavyweight champion Kane defeated Rey Mysterio in a No-DQ Match..

~~~After the match; Alberto Del Rio put Rey in the Cross-Armbreaker, then squashed Rey's arm between a folding chair!

~~~LATER: Alberto Del Rio defeated Carlos Sanchez (aka Alex Koslov) in a squash match with the dreaded Cross-Armbreaker..

I'm sure there have been a bunch since then.

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There was a period where they were using them a ton just a few years ago. These days, not as much, though as mentioned, you'll still see it from time to time.

 

And no, there's really no going home again on this one, at least not on a widespread level. I've said it before and I'll say it again (in fact, I'm really just C&Ping something I wrote at DVDVR a while back), taking a cue from our friends overseas and south of the border and focusing more on 6/8/10-man tags is probably the best solution to the problems Jerry outlined above. It gives people star vs. star matches on TV. It allows big singles/tag matches to be built up without burning out the match-up before they can even get to PPV. It gives lower-ranked wrestlers a chance to associate with higher-ranked ones that they might not have had otherwise, and in doing so, gives them the chance to make a bigger impression and opens up the possibility for them to get tied up in feuds or alliances with big names. It also means less time in the ring per match for everyone involved, and less wear and tear as a result.

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I've always been baffled by why, once the Monday Night Wars era had started and you had companies putting out as much TV as possible per week (huge portions of which even now are still filler), the 6-man tag has never really caught on either in WCW or in modern WWE, for pretty much all the reasons outlined above.

 

It also means less time in the ring per match for everyone involved, and less wear and tear as a result.

All the other points aside, from a pure business standpoint this alone makes it an easy sales pitch, I would think. Yet it's just never come to pass.

 

I really think they've missed the boat on this, personally.

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Guest Slickster

What's to say you can't go back to more squash matches on TV? Have 1-2 marquee matches on Raw and 4-6 squashes. Add in interviews and other segments and they'll still be able to get all their stars on the show in some form without burning through money-drawing matches.

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Jobber matches really need to come back. There are many great things about them:

1 - None of your stars ever have to job again. This would do wonders for people like the Woo Woo guy(I know his name, but I like this one better), Bourne, Dragon and anyone else under 6'2/250.

2 - The star usually looks good. They look dominant and make you wonder what they would do against other superstars. They also lessen the gap from midcarders and main eventers.

3 - The star becomes the focus of the match more so than they would in a regular match.

4 - Less bumps and less injury risks for your main stars.

 

 

I'm also totally for 6-mans and more tags as they are usually better than single matches but unfortunately, Vince has programmed his audience to think that tags don't matter. Less wear & tear/less ringtime are also great reasons for more tags as well. This has been one of my theories for years.

 

With all this said, I still don't expect to see more jobber matches. WWE cares about ratings and giving away big matches for free on tv for meaningless .1's, not sensible and careful booking.

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It's a lot easier to get guys over, even if it's just as a midcard act, if they're allowed to showcase what they can do occasionally. It would create better builds for PPVs since it wouldn't be filled with matches you've seen a million times already, the only reason I can see why they wouldn't is because now giving away matches on TV is the new How Things Are Done and no one wants to change it.

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Guest Slickster

I don't get how it's meaningless .1's. They had a show with basically squash matches and look what happened? It got canceled in the states.

WWE Superstars was a repackaged version of Heat or Velocity featuring lower-card guys facing each other in matches with no angles or build bookended by Raw recaps and PPV hype. It was by no means a squash-oriented program.

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Superstars had angles. Like the Trent Barretta/Curt Hawkins and Tyler Reks/Chris Masters feud. Some of those Masters/Reks matches felt like squashes. So did the Masters/Hawkins matches. It's probably the closest WWE will ever get to a "squash-oriented" show.

Superstars is a bottom of the card show(more like PTW without Heenan/Monsoon), not a squash match show and not that many jobbers were on it. Also, there were no serious angles on there. Have John Cena on there squashing nobodies and the rating might have raised, but with the formula they used, it was doomed to fail.
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I'm surprised that no one has brought up the finances:

 

$127.0M - TV Rights Fees

$104.6M - Live Events Revenue

$70.2M - PPV Revenue

$51.7M - Licensing Revenue

$32.1M - Home Video

$19.6M - WWE Studios

$18.4M - Venue Merch

$14.9M - WWE.com

$14.0M - WWE Shop

$11.0M - Magazine

$5.9M - Advertising/Sponsorship

$4.6M - WWE Classics on Demand

 

That's from the last fiscal year.

 

TV Rights Fees are the #1 revenue generator in the company. We also need to consider that the Live Events that draw fans are the tapings: Raw, SD and PPV events along with the international shows.

 

Any thoughts on what ratings Raw and SD would do if they're more than 50% old school jobber matches? Massive ratings drop would mean a major drop in revenue.

 

Some of us are old school fans, some of whom didn't mind jobber matches. But there are also a lot who like their Free TV Matches.

 

I would worry about impacting one of the revenue streams that's continues to grow. If you pull up the 10-K and look at the PPV numbers, they are jaw dropping in their decline. It's not clear that going to jobber matches will pump of those revenues, as there was plenty of growth to it even in the era of TV being filled with competative matches as it was in 2010.

 

John

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Why would there necessarily be a drop? What's the highest rated free-to-air wrestling TV show of all time? Is it still The Main Event from 1988?

 

I don't necessarily buy the logic that jobbers = ratings drop. Why? Because star vs. star matches ONLY EVER MEANT ANYTHING BECAUSE OF JOBBERS. So now a star vs. star match has no value, and no meaning.

 

What is going to sell your show? Haku vs. Bossman, who have both routinely destroyed jobbers for the past 6 months, as the main event of superstars? Or yet another random, meaningless, utterly devalued Kane vs. Cena match?

 

I'd be interested to see WWE's ratings over the past two years vs. ratings over the period 1987-1990. Where the peaks are, and what matches were on those shows.

 

"But ah, tastes in 1988 are different from tastes now".

 

Nonsense, I say! If the average Joe back then could watch stars being built and protected and then mark out when they faced each other, then why can't the average Joe now?

 

I think to suggest otherwise is to concede Vince Russo's point that the audience basically has ADHD - that they'll flick over the very moment they are bored.

 

I think that moment has gone. The people still watching wrestling in 2011 are watching it because they are still into it and they'll watch no matter what (I mean CLEARLY, because they tolerate the rubbish they are served week in-week out).

 

How many people do you think would actually switch off if 50% of your RAW and SD matches were jobber matches? Don't worry, you'll still get your 20-minute HHH promos and stomach-churning/ cringy Orton-crawls-like-a-snake segments, just that some people can have their chance to shine. And PPV matches can actually mean something again.

 

I'd love to see the creative have the balls to do that. Jim Ross would do it.

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Why would there necessarily be a drop? What's the highest rated free-to-air wrestling TV show of all time? Is it still The Main Event from 1988?

From Graham's site:

 

WWF @ Indianapolis, IN - Market Square Arena - February 5, 1988

The Main Event - shown live on NBC (15.2); featured Vince McMahon & Jesse Ventura on commentary; included a video package showing WWF World Champion Hulk Hogan in training for his title defense against Andre the Giant; featured Gene Okerlund conducting a backstage interview with WWF IC Champion the Honkytonk Man, with Jimmy Hart, regarding his title defense later in the night against Randy Savage, during which he claimed he would keep the title and win Miss Elizabeth; included Okerlund conducting a backstage interview with Savage, with Elizabeth, regarding the upcoming match; the audio didn't pick up until several seconds into the interview; featured a video package recapping the Hogan vs. Andre feud dating back to WrestleMania III, then Andre attacking Hogan on Saturday Night's Main Event in Landover, MD, and the contract signing during the Royal Rumble; included Okerlund conducting a backstage interview with Andre, Ted Dibiase, & Virgil regarding Andre's upcoming match with Hogan; featured Okerlund conducting a backstage interview with Hogan regarding his upcoming title defense:

 

Randy Savage (w/ Miss Elizabeth) defeated WWF IC Champion the Honkytonk Man (w/ Jimmy Hart & Peggy Sue) via count-out at 8:39 after Savage threw the champion shoulder-first into the ringpost; after the bout, Hart hit Savage in the back of the head with the megaphone but Savage fought off Honky, cleared him from the ring, and destroyed the guitar (Macho Madness: The Ultimate Randy Savage Collection)

 

Andre the Giant (w/ Ted Dibaise & Virgil) pinned WWF World Champion Hulk Hogan at 9:05 to win the title even though Hogan's shoulder came up before the three count; Ted Dibiase paid off Earl Hebner to fill in for his twin brother Dave as the referee for the match; moments later, Gene Okerlund interviewed Andre from the ring apron in which Andre surrendered the title over to Dibiase; after the bout, Dibiase put the championship belt on as Dave Hebner ran into the ring and argued with the other referee, who looked exactly like him; the other referee then knocked Dave to the floor, with Hogan then tossing the other over the top rope and onto Dibiase and Virgil; voted Pro Wrestling Illustrated's Match of the Year (Earl Hebner's surprise debut) (Hulkamania 3, The History of the WWE Heavyweight Championship, Best of Saturday Night's Main Event)

 

WWF Tag Team Champions Rick Martel & Tito Santana defeated Bret Hart & Jim Neidhart (w/ Jimmy Hart); following the ring entrances, Gene Okerlund conducted a backstage interview with Hogan regarding his title loss, with Hogan questioning how much Ted Dibiase payed to have his referee look exactly just like Dave Hebner; only the beginning of the match was televised due to time constraints

Three title matches which I think we'd find main evented areas around the circuit (though obviously Hogan-Andre didn't get run much). Not a single Jobber Match on the show. :)

 

 

I don't necessarily buy the logic that jobbers = ratings drop. Why? Because star vs. star matches ONLY EVER MEANT ANYTHING BECAUSE OF JOBBERS. So now a star vs. star match has no value, and no meaning.

I think Raw hit its ratings peak *years* after doing away with Jobber matches. Not one year, or two years... but quite a few years.

 

Nitro also peaked in ratings several years after dropping jobber matches, since Nitro never was jobber tv anyway.

 

If star vs star only means something relative to star vs jobber, the two shows would have peaked instantly, and never shown any ratings growth.

 

Instead, they grew. Why? Because the stars on them became bigger stars. Austin and Rock didn't become monsters by beating up the Mulkys.

 

 

What is going to sell your show? Haku vs. Bossman, who have both routinely destroyed jobbers for the past 6 months, as the main event of superstars? Or yet another random, meaningless, utterly devalued Kane vs. Cena match?

Cena has drawn in his career, right? How many Mulky Brothers has he beaten? Somehow he got over, and the WWE has sold shows with him.

 

 

I'd be interested to see WWE's ratings over the past two years vs. ratings over the period 1987-1990. Where the peaks are, and what matches were on those shows.

1987-90 ratings aren't terribly relevant because cable penetration was spotty. If we can point to something, it might be SNME which was on network TV and was noticable absent of Jobber Matches. And it drew far more eyeballs than watched WWF syndication every week at the time, and WWF cable TV on USA.

 

 

Nonsense, I say! If the average Joe back then could watch stars being built and protected and then mark out when they faced each other, then why can't the average Joe now?

I think you need to pull yourself away from this:

 

"I love jobber matches"

 

and again ponder this:

 

"Is there a risk to the #1 revenue stream in the company if we go this direction?"

 

Again, TV Rights Fees grew last year, and have for several years. There is a lot in the company that isn't growing. Smart business don't put their top revenue stream at risk. They try to improve the shakey ones, and look to develop new ones.

 

 

I think to suggest otherwise is to concede Vince Russo's point that the audience basically has ADHD - that they'll flick over the very moment they are bored.

I really don't give a shit about Vince Russo and have more than a decade track record of pointing out the he's delusional idiot.

 

What I'm suggesting is that the WWE's #1 revenue stream is in producing Television Content. 4 major hours of programing a week in the US, 52 weeks a year, that the WWE sells to networks. The value of that programing is in the ratings. The ratings are driven by the fans sticking with the show from start to finish as much as possible, and those fans feeling like they're watching a good show. There is a lot of competion for those eyeballs, to you need to keep them entertained.

 

I'm not an advocate of Crash TV, and have long said that I think it's utter bullshit. So that's not what I'm pushing.

 

I am pushing that until the WWE comes up with revenue streams that are larger than TV Rights Fees that the WWF needs to continue to look at putting on good TV as a core objective of the company.

 

This frankly gets even more important when they launch their own TV channel and eventually look to moving something like SmackDown over there if the offers for its next TV aren't up to snuff. If you're going to get eyeballs over to your channel, you've got to put on good product. Even more important in that instance since it will be the WWE back in the business of selling advertising for their programing, something they moved away from over the course of the last decade.

 

 

I think that moment has gone. The people still watching wrestling in 2011 are watching it because they are still into it and they'll watch no matter what (I mean CLEARLY, because they tolerate the rubbish they are served week in-week out).

I don't think that's the case at all. There always is a movement of fans away from the product, and new fans coming in. Look even at the small sample on this board where people say they don't watch much anymore versus those that do. Most of those that do, such a Dylan, find stuff they enjoy on the shows.

 

 

I'd love to see the creative have the balls to do that. Jim Ross would do it.

Ross was a business man in the WWE. Something tells me that he'd have little desire to "grow" a $120M revenue stream into a $60M stream if it didn't work out.

 

A key concern: if it bombs and a large chunk of the fan base wanders off, it's extremely tough to put the genie back in the bottle.

 

John

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Guest Slickster

Another benefit of squash matches is that it allows you to promote two things at once.

- While Daniel Bryan is squashing a local competitor, he's cutting an inset promo talking about how dangerous the LeBell Lock is.

- While Vladimir Kozlov is giving Conquistador #2 a Zidane headbutt, Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel are cutting an inset promo warning him and Santino Marella not to come after their WWE Tag Team Championships again.

- While Wade Barrett is giving El Gran Luchador the Wasteland, an inset shows how The Corre are the subject of a featured article in the latest issue of WWE Magazine.

 

With a squash, you can push characters, feuds, and your own products while also showing what Wrestler X's signature moves are.

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I think they could benefit from having one or two jobber squashes on each show; as mentioned, it would let stuff happen like Evan Bourne finally getting some wins on television. But it's a pipe dream to think you can stuff the genie back in the bottle and go back to a mostly-squash card on Raw in 2011. The young fans today would hate that. "Who the fuck are all these nobodies? I want to watch the stars I care about!" It would be like telling someone that they're now only allowed to eat one meal per day instead of three, because that one meal will taste so much better.

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Guest Slickster

Well, to be honest it's not as if fans have anywhere else to go to watch pro wrestling. People lived through the WWE name change and the turn to PG. Surely they can survive a change in formatting, especially once this formula produces main events with superior build and anticipation.

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They've gone. Have you looked at the decline in PPV buys over the past few years? If they don't like the product, they wander off.

 

What's they've done for the most part if wander off from paying for the PPVs. They still, to a degree, tune in to watch free WWE product that they enjoy. Turn that into WWE product that they don't enjoy and they're gone.

 

We can't be so arrogant in think that the WWE can throw any old shit on the air and folks will tune in. WCW did that in the late 90s and half the audiance said "Fuck it, we're out of here." If the WWE loses half their current ratings, they aren't going to be make $120M+ in rights fees, nor sell advertising for their new channel.

 

John

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They've gone.

Exactly. Russo drove me out of WWF. Then he drove me out of WCW. Then ECW died. And WCW died. And although I watched a lot of big WWF matches from 00-04 for the GWE poll at SC, I never ever got back at watching US wrestling regularly. And I won't, I tried to watch Mania this year, and it was a chore. I tried to watch TNA PPV's over the last 3 or 4 years, but the promotion sucks too much. Bad wrestling just drove me away, and I'm not coming back.

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I think they could benefit from having one or two jobber squashes on each show; as mentioned, it would let stuff happen like Evan Bourne finally getting some wins on television. But it's a pipe dream to think you can stuff the genie back in the bottle and go back to a mostly-squash card on Raw in 2011. The young fans today would hate that. "Who the fuck are all these nobodies? I want to watch the stars I care about!" It would be like telling someone that they're now only allowed to eat one meal per day instead of three, because that one meal will taste so much better.

But you ARE still getting to see a star in every match, it's just instead of getting to see star vs. star, it's star vs. a nobody.

 

Hey, they don't even have to be pure "nobodies", they could do it with JTTSs just as well I guess.

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