Wrestling Salvage Yard: Marty Jannetty

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Marty Jannetty is a former WWE Intercontinental and WWE World Tag Team champion—with 1-2-3 Kid. I always thought it was odd that Jannetty never won with HBK in the Rockers. Then again, they were always depicted as being on the rise in a division that had mainly heavyweight tag teams.  

When the Rockers were still together, you had the Natural Disasters, the Hart Foundation, the Nasty Boys, Demolition, the Fabulous Rougeaus, and for a couple of months: the Brain Busters. It might sound like the field was pretty crowded for the Rockers but these name teams came through at different times during that four-year period that they were together in WWE. 

Where Did Things Derail For Marty Jannetty? 

This is about salvaging Marty Jannetty, not the Rockers. Where did things start to derail creatively for Marty? You could say early 1992 when he got into some legal trouble and had to sit out six months for house arrest. It’s unknown how far Jannetty could’ve gone with the original plan to take on Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania VIII. It’s one of those “What if’s” in wrestling. What if Marty managed to stay out of trouble for those three months? 

Speaking of “What if,” check out Walter Yates’ What If series here on The Overtimer. He takes veteran wrestlers in their prime and explains if they could fit in with modern wrestling. 

Now, you could trace back to early 1992 but Jannetty was brought back later that year after some time in USWA—which was working with WWE at the time. Not only that but the company picked up the feud as if Marty never left that October. In the following year, he would win both the Intercontinental Title and the World Tag Team titles. 

What would finally do it for Marty was being taken off national TV as a result of Chuck Austin’s case in 1994. His second return to WWE was largely uneventful with him being in the lower part of the midcard towards the end of his run in 1996. 

Salvaging Jannetty 

As is the case with any salvaging situation, it’s heavily up to someone to take a chance on these wrestlers. Marty Jannetty should’ve been an easy job. The guy was a good hand in WWE who could hold a solid-at-minimum match with roughly anyone featured on TV regularly. Not only that, but he was also good as a singles competitor and great in a tag team. 

Jannetty’s character was also dated by 1995. It should’ve been freshened up or modernized for a new generation of the same demographics. A regular career with All Japan would do it but the thing there is that it wouldn’t do anything for him in the U.S or for his character. That is unless he’s just putting on good matches just as the tape trade picked up in the late 90s. 

He’d pop up in WCW towards the end of the 90s as a part of bolstering the roster with Thunder being introduced. The problem here is that if he was going to join WCW, his window was 1992-1994. If he’d gotten in then, he would’ve likely remained until it closed. He wasn’t going to advance much in WCW any time post-1996.  

Solution: An ECW Stint 

Promotion-wise, ECW would’ve been the best home for him to develop creatively. You’d think his style would be out of place in the Land of Extreme but Jannetty could’ve probably gone down as a multiple-time TV champion or picked up a short reign with the World title. 

See, while all the blood, guts, and extreme content draws eyes to the product and puts asses in seats, you’re going to need to consistent talent and guys who are mostly safe. The Chuck Austin incident aside, he was a safe worker most of the time—plus Austin had training but little to no experience.  

Another thing you’re going to want is guys who are consistent with their work. ECW’s locker room probably wouldn’t have been the best place for Jannetty in 1996, and he did whip through the company in the spring and summer of 1995.  

Since he was brought back again, the fans weren’t hostile towards him and he did well enough in the ring. Actually, his shot at Douglas’ World Title was pretty good. Jannetty had an athletic, flexible style that is compatible with most opponents. He’s not going to try anything complex or extremely dangerous but it could be enhanced to be dangerous in the right setting. 

Who knows, he probably would’ve developed more tricks by being in ECW. Often times, wrestlers have different styles to fit different environments. It’s just their core style tweaked as needed. A good example of this is Jerry Lynn. He was very technically sound and could take to the air as needed. His style was flexible enough for national TV and he fit in well with ECW. Same with Al Snow and Marty Jannetty. 

You Salvage His Career 

What options do you have for making the most out of Marty Jannetty’s career? Would you even take a risk on him? Where would you see him go and what would you do with him creatively? Let us know in the comments! 

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