Before the stars of wrestling hit it big, they're learning the ropes to varying degrees of success. Some you've seen well before you even realized, as they claw their way to a big break. Whether it be extra work, or getting crushed on cable TV, everyone has a different path. Now, they'll tell you about it.
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Jimmy Jacobs is responsible for some of the most creative moments in recent WWE history behind the scenes, but he also got a couple of moments of glory on the screen as well.
In 2005, Jacobs would appear several times on WWE TV. The one he talks about most is when he technically defeated former WWE Champion Eddie Guerrero via DQ in the midst of Eddie's heated rivalry with Rey Mysterio in May. The match was an important statement in a top feud on Smackdown live, and saw an angry Eddie take his frustrations out on Jacobs, even to the point of putting a mask on him to wail away. The three minute showing was enough to impress WWE officials, including Vince McMahon himself.
"The thing with Eddie was so well received. I came to the back and Vince was like 'thank you, good job.' You feel like a million bucks after something like that," Jacobs told Fightful.com.
Based on how well Jacobs ended up making Guerrero look in their match in May, other WWE superstars were hoping to share the same experience. During one of Jacobs' appearances, he remembers a couple of wrestlers in particular saying they would have liked the opportunity to have Jacobs work their match.
"So they had called me a few times," Jacobs recalled. "You show your face more and people start to know you. Jon Heidenreich is like 'I wish you were in my match tonight instead of the guy I wrestled.' You're like 'Oh! Jon Heidenreich thinks I'm great, I'm one step away from getting signed by WWE! I think even that day I was supposed to work with Nunzio, Nova was working with someone and wanted to work with me."
As it turns out, Heidenreich would end up working with Rory Fox in a 20 second Squash. Mike Bucci (Nova) ended up losing to Chris Benoit in quick fashion, so he was likely referring to his win over Mo Sexton on Velocity the prior week.
The outing worked out so well that Jacobs got repeated calls to come back and do extra work for the company, including a highlight situation with the aforementioned Nunzio that many may have forgotten in the shadows of the Guerrero match.
"That was a pretty cool time. I did the thing with Eddie in Redding, then the next week I was in Milwaukee for Smackdown. I wanna say there were two shots I did in between. I did St. Louis and Kansas City before Nunzio in Columbus. That was awesome," Jacobs recalled.
Lost in the archives of WWE programming, Nunzio actually defended his WWE Cruiserweight Championship on this show. While it seems out of the norm, it was surprisingly regular at that point in time. The previous week, Nunzio had won the Cruiserweight Title on the program by beating Paul London. The week after Jacobs, Nunzio would defend the title on Velocity again, beating Chance Thompson in 8 seconds. Despite the title match, Jacobs wasn't happy with the match, and theorized it could have been a reason why he wasn't back for a while. The commentary during the bout even referenced the Eddie Guerrero vs. Rey Mysterio storyline, which was still raging along months later.
"The match with Nunzio -- not my best performance of all-time. That was a little deflating. That was probably August of 2005. I didn't go back and do anything else with WWE until like January 2011. So a long time in between appearances," said Jacobs.
Jacobs pointed to several issues in the match, mainly based on timing and communication issues between the two. Even though he was open about his disappointment with the match, he still had a very lighthearted approach about it.
"It's Youtube, you can go watch it," Jacobs laughed. "I remember a couple of things like 'this is just not good.' I remember one of the spots, he hits the ropes and I went for a dropkick and I had lead in my feet! I looked like I slipped on a banana peel and sent him through a dropkick. There was a miscommunication where he got me in a chinlock and we're talking and there was a little something when I hit the ropes, he goes 'bend over' and we went up into each other. I think it was a kick, and I gave him a couple of punches, and when he went down I almost kneed him we were so close together."
This go around, Jacobs got at least a little offense, including a hammerlock. However, that banana peel he mentioned set up a big punch to the face from Big Vito, who was ringside for the match. It didn't stop there, as the two ECW alumni took their turns getting their licks in on the WWE newcomer, who was wearing half-trunks, half-tights. He'd manage a few punches before things went south.
One piece of miscommunication actually ended up being a "happy accident." Jacobs threw himself off of the second turnbuckle and would come down across Nunzio's knees in what is now known as the Codebreaker. All unintentional, according to Jimmy.
"That was supposed to be a dropkick out of midair, 1,2 and he hits his finish if I remember correctly. Accidentally setting trends over here," before joking that if he was in the ring with Heidenreich the accident might not be so happy.
Nunzio would pick Jacobs up before a three count in order to win with his signature Sicilian Slice. Nunzio's bodyguard Big Vito would take to the ring and place the title belt around Nunzio's waist, and Jacobs would never wrestle for WWE again. Instead, he became a writer for them ten years later, and lend to some of the most fondly remembered storylines of the era.
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