Marty Jannetty gets a bad rap at times. In the Rockers (or Midnight Rockers), he was one-half of an exciting, young tag team with Shawn Michaels. One legendary kick through a "window" on a WWF televised skit later and Michaels was headed for superstardom leaving Jannetty to become the standard bearer for guys left behind.
Andrew Ridgeley to George Michael. Peter Scolari to Tom Hanks. Jim Messina to Kenny Loggins.
It's never really fair. How does one partner far exceed the one left behind? Fate? Luck? Talent?
I'm not taking anything away from Michaels. Despite his own demons, he had a Hall of Fame career. Still, at one point, Michaels and Jannetty were seen as fairly equal. What happened and could it have been reversed?
In the world of pro wrestling, the promoter can make or break you. In this case, Vince McMahon saw something special in Michaels and he was proven right, but what about Jannetty? He went on to have a solid career, but nothing like Michaels. Jannetty's lot in life is to be the guy referenced when one partner leaves the other far behind.
Jannetty had some personal problems, but so did many wrestlers, especially during that era. If McMahon had switched the roles, what would have happened to both of these men? It is hard to say. It's easy to say talent rises to the top, but it is also easier to rise above when you are given a better chance.
By any other measuring stick, Jannetty beat the odds and had a lengthy, if unspectacular, career as both a tag team wrestler and as a singles wrestler. At least, Jannetty seems to be in a good place in his life and that is the most important factor of all.
Marty Jannetty and me in Elk Grove Village, IL-March 2013.