Jobber of the Week: The Gambler

12 Submitted by on Tue, 01 July 2014, 13:00

Note from Blade: You can’t think about watching WCW Saturday Night in the 90’s without thoughts of this guy getting squashed on a weekly basis.

You got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em. Know when to walk away, know when to……get your ass kicked?!?

Those aren’t exactly the lyrics Kenny Rogers crooned way back in the day, but I think those words sum up this week’s Jobber Of The Week better than ol’ gray beard’s original version. While my generation grew up watching the Mulkeys and Iron Mike Sharpe getting pummelled on a weekly basis, they had all but vanished by the time Generation Y rolled around and started watching wrestling. As countless new fans tuned in record numbers to witness the fresh antics of the NWO, the funfilled, silicone-jiggling action of the Nitro Girls, and half of the NBA’s active roster step into the ring, a new jobbing icon was on the rise. One that – in my opinion – became THE whipping post of the 90’s. He was perhaps the world’s last 100% full-fledged piece of nationally televised enhancement talent. The one and the only. The token stealin’, card flingin’, taxi cab ridin’ son of a gun himself – the Gambler.

Our bumbling low roller first appeared on WCW tv screens in late 1993. Going by the name of Jeff Gamble, he – much like all of WCW at the time – wallowed around and didn’t make much of an impact. He soon dropped the Jeff name and took on the alias that would later become famous. As the Gambler, he stuck around for a little while longer, but much like a casino in Vegas whose slots aren’t hitting, you gotta hit the road and try the next one. His next stop was destined to be the only ever jackpot he ever hit.

April 15th, 1995. A mid-nineties day like any other day for everyone back then. For the Gambler, it was the best day of his career. The day he hit it big. Teaming up with Brickhouse Brown, they defeated all 297 pounds of PG-13 to claim the USWA tag team championship. After a long dry spell, he finally tasted some gold. The good times didn’t last too long, however. Logic dictates if your partner’s gimmick is patterned after a song sung by Lionel Ritchie, then you’re in for a rough time.

And sure enough, after a two week title reign, PG-13 regained the straps from Brickhouse and the Gambler. After tasting success in Memphis, he decided it was time to return to where it all started. It was time to reattempt to strike it rich in WCW.

Upon his return, the Gambler sure was an odd sight to behold. He looked less an Atlantic City high roller than a long lost relative of Colonel Sanders. After initially looking like he was auditioning for the lead in Pepsico’s future summer blockbuster known as KFC:Episode I – The Leg & Thigh Menace, he wisely changed his looks.

Adopting a slick looking satin jacket, the look-a-like bug struck him again. The Gambler was now a spitting image of Arn Anderson. Look at this pic of them together and see if you can tell who’s who.

He may have looked like Arn, but he had one thing going for him that Double A never did. Props. Who could ever forget his that legendary deck of cards? You talk about intimidation. Hacksaw Duggan has a 2X4? Ha! That ain’t nothing compared to how bad the Gambler could muck you up by flinging a 3 of diamonds at you. And if the Road Warriors tried bullying him around and the s#!t was sure to hit the fan, the Gambler could always break out his jumbo-sized magic playing cards (on loan from the Black Scorpion of course) to try to even the odds.

Looking back at how deadly he was with the cards, it got me thinking about something. Nowadays comic book movies are all the rage. We’ve seen Kevin Nash star in the Punisher, and soon Triple H will cameo in Blade 3. I think Marvel really missed the boat with the Daredevil movie. The main villain, Bullseye, was lethal in his marksmanlike card-throwing. That role was custom-made for the Gambler, and Marvel goes and gives it to Hollywood wussy boy Colin Ferrell. Geez. Compare these two shots and tell me who you would want to have kicking Affleck’s ass on film. No wonder that flick bombed.

Despite his groundbreaking gimmick, it didn’t help the career out much. Years were spent making everyone else look good on WCW Saturday Night and Worldwide. Perhaps the Gambler’s biggest match would be when – after months and months and months and months of hype for the debut of Glacier – he faced off against him in the Mortal Kombat wannabe’s debut match on WCW Pro. Sure he went down in defeat to the master of the hard, soft, and semi-erect fighting styles, but hey, at least he got a little main event time.

Sadly, that was the only real highpoint that stood out in his time there. The years and losses mounted, but as 1999 approached he did what all wise bettors do. Before risking too big of a loss, the Gambler finally folded.

For a man who was around the mainstream for the better half of a decade, he surprisingly is shrouded in mystery. I was barely able to uncover his real name. Supposedly it’s Jeff Gann. Where the greatest and most talented enhancement talent of the Monday Night War-era is right now, who knows? Perhaps these guys here might have a better clue than I do.

A very wise..excuse me..very drunk Jake “the Snake” Roberts once mumbled on a national pay-per-view, and I quote, “to gamble you must accept losing.” Our JOTW definitely took those words to heart. He may have come up short in the win column, but if it came down to picking WCW’s Jobber of the 90’s, I think most everyone – even Pete Rose – has got his money ridin’ on the Gambler.

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12 Responses to "Jobber of the Week: The Gambler"
  1. BANG!BANG! says:

    Though I barely remember The Gambler, I think it is more proof that I really watched too much wrestling back then…..

  2. W.P. says:

    I remember in about 05 i was on a card,and during a match the two guys had a shall we say “disagreement”..The match quickly ended and both parties returned to a the makeshift locker room…wrestler B asked wrestler A the classic question “who trained you” wrestler A responded with “I was trained by THE MAN!!!”…..The man it turned out was in fact The Gambler….So thank you Gambler for this classic moment in my life i will never forget

  3. JB says:

    That’s my cousin! lol.

  4. Jay West says:

    The Gambler was booked for about a half-dozen-or-so consecutive cards for this show I used to call shots for in Graysville, TN (about 30 minutes outside Chattanooga if you’re keeping score). The promoter was friends with him, so he came in and worked in an adviser capacity for the big heel stable the show had at the time, late 2008-early 2009. Here’s what I was able to learn about him in that time: His name is Jeff Gann (good job digging that one up, Blade!), he is an atheist (a weird one, at that), and he (according to him) is very well-off. He isn’t the first person who has told me that WCW compensated their jobbers very well – so I imagine if he was telling the truth about his personal finances, he must have kept himself away from the demons of the road. He also remarked one night that he lived less than an hour from the show. That confirms that he lives somewhere in Tennessee, but one hour from Graysville could mean he lives either in the Chattanooga, Nashville, or Knoxville area.

    So, there ya go. A little info on the Gambler. Can’t confirm one word of it – but it did come straight from his mouth, and he seemed like a fairly honest guy. Pat Rose, Keith Hart (no relation), and Paul Lee also live around here and have all either worked for me, booked me on their show, or both. So if you ever decide to do a JOTW on any of those guys and want some extra info, hit me up. I’m actually working for Paul tomorrow night in Ringgold, GA.

  5. Alexandru says:

    WCW should have gotten the Gamnber to have Kenny Rodgers as his manager that would have been killer and it probably would have gotten him over huge

  6. Mister Forth says:

    A returning classic.

  7. Peter says:

    My favorite jobber.

  8. Will Rees says:

    Jeff Gann is his real name. I met him through a good friend of mine who was in a Heavy Metal band with his son. He had a completely soundproof recording studio in the basement so they could practice and record. More importantly though he had a wrestling ring down there too. I helped him in the early 2000s when he had his own indy wrestling show right outside Chattanooga, TN. NECW. New Edge Championship Wrestling it was called. He had a couple of wrestlers make appearances (Marcus “Buff” Bagwell and Glacier) to help promote NECW. Ultimately, however, it didnt work and the promotion folded within the first year. He was a good guy. Fun to be around and both Bagwell and Glacier were very happy to see him when they were there. Especially Bagwell. Best wishes to you if you read this Jeff, it’s “Waldo!”

  9. Justin Jones says:

    Yeah his name is Jeff. The stuff about the studio and ring in the basement are true. I grew up with his son, Jefferey. They lived in Chattanooga at the time and have since gone their separate ways. Good people. I spent most of my teenage years with that family and made a lot of memories. Not sure what they’re doing now, seems each family member has walked their own path and I haven’t seen any if them in several years.

  10. Sean Bateman says:

    The Gambler did have some wins in WCW and one wil was against Scotty Riggs as Scott Studd.

  11. R. Hopkins says:

    Always like The Gambler. Good worker that was a gimmick change away from moving up the card. Hope he’s doing well.

  12. Felicity says:

    In some of those photos he looks a lot like one of Conan O’Brien’s writers/sketch performers, Brian McCann!

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