Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Once a Rocker, Marty Jannetty

One year after Marty Jannetty started to wrestle professionally, he formed a tag-team with fellow rookie Shawn Michaels, known as The Midnight Rockers. The duo wrestled together for about a year, before joining the old AWA.
Once there, their careers started to flourish. The Midnight Rockers won the AWA Tag-Team Championship twice during their 2+ year run in the AWA.
The Rockers joined the WWF (now WWE) in 1988 and quickly became fan favorites. They never officially won a Tag-Team title, although technically they did. The Rockers wrestled and beat the Hart Foundation (Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart) in a match taped for later viewing on Saturday Nights Main Event on NBC.
The real story behind the victory was that Jim Neidhart was negotiating his release from the company, so the Hart Foundation had to lose the titles before he left. Unfortunately for the Rockers, before the match aired, the situation was cleared up and Neidhart agreed to stay.
The title change was never acknowledged (the good old pre-internet days of wrestling). Later, when the story started to come out, it was explained that the turnbuckle had broken and the match (and title change) had been thrown out.
Jannetty's luck continued to spiral downward, as the Rockers eventually split up in a move which would launch Shawn Michaels into superstardom. Michaels would go on to win numerous titles in the WWF/E, including the WWF Championship 3 times. Jannetty continued wrestling (in singles and other tag-teams), winning the Intercontinental Championship one time and the Tag-Team Championship (with the 1-2-3 Kid) once, but he never attained the success of his former partner.
In the 90's, Jannetty split his time between the independent wrestling scene and the WWE, jumping back and forth several times. During one stay in the WWE, Jannetty and Michaels wrestled for one night only as the Rockers, much to the delight of their fans.
Jannetty has battled various problems in his life. At one point, a court order in Florida prevented him from working in the WWE due to travel restrictions.
I always wonder how he feels seeing Michaels attain such success. Still, Jannetty seems to be a pretty happy guy. He is one of the friendliest performers at wrestling events and appearances.
Marty Jannetty and me in Kokomo, IN-October 2007.

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