Friday Focus: Occupational Superstars

Up until now, Friday Focus has been concerned with examining the career of ONE superstar you may have forgotten about. But as I pondered who the focus should be on today, I thought it might be entertaining and worthwhile to look at an entire group of wrestlers I like to call “Occupational Superstars.”

What does this mean exactly? It’s guys like Duke “The Dumpster” Droese (left of top picture) whose gimmick was so specific that it shackled an otherwise limitless mediocre career . Was he a garbage man who wanted to be a wrestler? Was he a wrestler whose gimmick was a garbage man? It doesn’t make any sense! Let’s take a look at some of these less than stellar ideas.

The thought of a garbage man being your world champion seems so absurd that I’m going to think of Duke Droese as the Godfather of the Occupational Superstar. But of course, there are more. When you take a step back, it looks like the mid-90’s were a huge breeding ground for these types. Remember Hardcore Holly? Well, before he got Hardcore he was definitely Bob “Spark Plug” Holly (middle). Yep. He was a race car driver turned WWE superstar – with the checkered flag tights to prove it.

Need more examples of sports stars turned wrestling superstars? Look no further than the Goon (right above)! Yes, this hockey badboy turned grappler transferred his skills from the rink to the ring and would check opponents into the steel steps outside the ring. He famously won the Royal Rumble and would challenge Shawn Michaels in 5-star match at Wrestlemania. Oh wait. That never even came close to happening.

Obviously, not every wrestler can be CM Punk or Daniel Bryan. The occupational superstars serve their purpose by entertaining fans to some degree by providing foil to more popular wrestling needing credibility. Some of them are lucky enough to shed the doomed label and go onto better things. If you argue that a pimp and porn star count as occupations, than the Godfather and Val Venis were both successful in their own respective ways. In some cases, the wrestlers are able to make a connection with the fans and gain popularity.

Still, you’ve got to wonder what a wrestler says when the creative team says, “Well Mr. Jacobs, we want you to be a dentist.”

This was just a brief musing and of course there are others. Did we omit any of your favorites?

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