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Demoted To Extra / Pro Wrestling

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  • The Pro Wrestling industry term for this trope is "getting buried." It refers to the worked lowering (relegation) of a popular wrestler's status in the eyes of the fans. It is the act of a promoter or booker causing a wrestler to lose popularity by forcing him to lose in squash matches, continuously, and/or participate in unentertaining or degrading storylines. It can be a form of punishment for real-life backstage disagreements or feuds between the wrestler and the booker, the wrestler falling out of favor with the company, or the wrestler receiving an unpopular gimmick that causes him to lose credibility regardless of win-loss record. It is also a result of a company seeing a wrestler as having no potential or charisma.
  • This also happens to some wrestlers towards the end of their careers. They get older and/or less interesting, but still have enough respect from the company that they aren't flat out fired. Instead they slide down the card to mainly work on the opening matches and put the new guys over. Tito Santana and Val Venis are two of the best examples of this. At his high point Venis was an upper midcarder who actually tested the main event waters by feuding with Mick Foley, but he spent the last 4 years of his career in WWE working opening matches, working Heat, and rarely winning.
    • Tony Garea, who held the WWE World Tag Team Titles on five occasions in the 1970s through early 1980s, was a jobber-to-the-stars (that is, a wrestler who still gets occasional wins over low-tier stars and jobbers, but consistently loses to mid- and top-card wrestlers) late in his career. Part of this was he used his position to help assess the skills of newly arrived heel wrestlers. Today, Garea remains with what is now World Wrestling Entertainment as one of the company's top agents.
  • Both played straight and inverted by The Acolytes. Ron "Faarooq" Simmons was the first African-American WCW World Heavyweight Champion and had one of the longest single reigns of the title (at 150 days). In the WWF, he became famous for leading the stable "The Nation of Domination," which was also responsible for jump starting the careers of Mark Henry, D'Lo Brown, and most famously, The Rock. After the Nation disbanded, he found success in the Acolytes (later the Acolytes Protection Agency, or the APA for short) with John "Bradshaw" Layfield, who had several failed singles pushes beforehand. After the APA split up, Layfield, now better known by his initials JBL, became a world champion with the Intercontinental, United States, and WWE Championships, while at the same time Simmons was reduced to making short cameos watching backstage promos and saying "Damn!" It is of course worth noting the 9 year age gap between the pair.
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  • The Barbarian in WWE and WCW. Luckily he did have The Faces Of Fear Tag Team with Meng to retain some relevance.
  • Big Van Vader. With both the WWF and WCW. He was more of a Mook than a stand alone star, when before he had been the closest thing pro wrestling had to a legit world heavyweight champion by holding the belts of the biggest promotions of the US, Mexico, Germany and Japan at the same time.
  • World renown high flying innovator 2 Cold Scorpio as Flash Funk in WWE. So much so that, when he did win a match, it was almost immediately forgotten as the focus turned to something bigger. Easily the most significant example of this was on the October 11 (taped October 6), 1997 episode of WWF Shotgun Saturday Night. Flash d. Rockabilly (Billy Gunn) after manager the Honky Tonk Man accidentally tripped up Gunn. "Double J" Jesse Jammes walked out and introduced his new name of "The Road Dogg." He made an offer to Rockabilly to leave HTM and team with him instead. Billy smashed HTM over with the head with his guitar and left with Road Dogg. Later that night, the announcers reported that Billy had changed his name to "Billy Badass." This was later corrected to "Badass" Billy Gunn. Thus, the New Age Outlaws, though not named as such yet, were born, and, despite the win, Flash was no better off than he had been before.
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  • All the cruiserweights in WCW. All the money spent bringing in the Canadians, Japanese, Mexicans, etc only for Larry Zbyszko and Tony Schiavone to flat out state that they didn't matter during the nWo angle, including champion Dean Malenko.
  • Bobby Eaton, formerly among the most successful Tag Team wrestlers ever, in 1997 after he broke up with the Bluebloods.
  • TPE in WCW, after having much more success in ECW.
  • Outback Jack. He'd beat the lower ranked guys but lose to more significant guys.
  • Paul Orndorff, as a WCW road agent and trainer from 1995-2000.
  • The Renegade. After Diamond Dallas Page defeated him for the WCW World Television Championship at WCW Fall Brawl 95 until he was released in December 1998.
  • When WCW folded, former tag team star Stevie Ray was doing colour commentary on Thunder.
  • Diamond Dallas Page went from years of building up to prominence in WCW to jobbing in WWE.
  • Happen to many WCW wrestlers who joined up with the WWF/WWE following the closing of WCW. Save for Rey Mysterio, and to a lesser degree Booker T, none of them managed to find much success in the WWE. In fact, Booker T himself also happens to be a pretty egregious example since he went from being one of the top wrestlers near the end of WCW, to not receiving a decent push in the WWE for about 5 years despite being very over with the fans. Some believe Booker was robbed at WrestleMania XIX and should have won the title from HHH.
  • Test, when Triple H ran a video that admitted he gave future real life wife Stephanie McMahon drugs and taken her to get married in Las Vegas. Stephanie was previously Test's on-screen love interest, and had taken down his push was basically hijacked by Triple H. It then allowed Test to undergo a Face–Heel Turn, forming a tag team with Matt "Albert" Bloom known as T & A under the management of Trish Stratus.
  • Val Venis. After his Chief Morley gimmick, he became Val again, but lost his hair, his charm, and rarely was allowed to use the mic. He was buried as a result.
  • "Stone Cold" Steve Austin:
    • Following his match with The Rock at WrestleMania XIX, Austin appeared on WWE programming in a non-wrestling capacity (mainly as an authority figure) until 2004, when he left the company due to contract disputes and a budding acting career. Austin had retired due to injuries at that time: he hasn't wrestled another match since.
    • In 2002, Austin was scheduled to face rising star Brock Lesnar on Raw in a match during the King of the Ring tournament; Austin would have jobbed to Lesnar (who, in fact, eventually went on to win the tournament). However, Austin - who had been shafted out of a match with Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania X8, facing Scott Hall instead - thus making it his first WM appearance since WMXIII where he wasn't in the main event- felt that losing to Lesnar on Raw would do neither man any favorsnote . After disagreements with the creative staff over the issue, Austin took his ball and went home, no-showing Raw and not appearing on WWE programming until 2003.
    • Austin didn't like the idea of facing Hall because he thought Hall was unreliable. WWE was aware of this, which was why they didn't announce a match ahead of time for Kevin Nash, since he was the Plan B. In the event that Hall, being Hall, had screwed up and gotten himself fired prior to the show, they could simply have plugged Nash into Hall's spot.note 
  • TNA:
    • Mike Rapada was a two time NWA World Heavyweight Champion but when TNA became the flagship promotions of the Alliance, he was relegated to jobbing in dark matches. On the other hand, he at least got some work, even if no one saw it. The same could not be said for Dan Severn.
    • D'Lo Brown as a Road Agent and Head of Talent Relations. Reversed when he was revealed as the VP of Aces & Eights.
    • Simon Diamond as a Road Agent and Color Commentator.
    • After disappearing from TV for several months, "The Pope" D'Angelo Dinero made his return to television on the 6/14/12 edition of Impact as a participant in the Bound For Glory Series. Unfortunately, he was eliminated early from the Series, due to injury.
    • Desmond Wolfe constantly punked out Kurt Angle within his debut, at one point ranked at #1 on the TNA online poll, and seemed to be on his way to becoming a member of Fourtune. After months of jobbing he and Douglas Williams seemed to switch places between who's partnering with Magnus and who's with Fortune, not to mention Wolfe was stuck in a dysfunctional relationship with Chelsea. Just when the London Brawling team was about to get some traction, Wolfe's medical issues caught up to him so much that he was forced to take a leave of absence, eventually causing his retirement.
    • (Ayako) Hamada and Awesome Kong were stripped of the Knockout Tag Team Title because they had not defended them in thirty days, even though that statement was a bald faced lie.
    • Winter. To the point that her 'storyline' with Angelina Love was ended off-screen. Despite her and Love being knockout tag team champions they were also completely ignored during the Immortal Angle, even though it was explicitly about getting all the titles in Eric Bischoff's group (though singles champion Madison Rayne was also ignored)
  • This happens to many women's wrestlers, especially after their Playboy pictorials came out and everybody's already seen them naked. Torrie Wilson suffered a very painful decline from "Top Tier" star to "Still on TV Every week" star to "In a stable" star to "maybe shows up on TV every once in a while" star. Candice Michelle and Maria Kanellis have similarly been released (though in Candice's case, her release was actually due to nagging injuries as she had gotten a title push years after her Playboy shoot). Non-pictorial-related Divas include Victoria, who went from top-tier WWE Women's Champion to a jobber to new girls before quitting. Molly Holly had all but vanished by the time she requested her release. WWE Divas such as Kelly Kelly, Beth Phoenix, and Layla have been relegated to competing on the C Show WWE Superstars in favor of their male counterparts such as John Cena, CM Punk, Triple H, Alberto Del Rio, Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes, and Sheamus. However, it has been averted since the latter half of 2015 as the female wrestlers are getting more meaningful storylines as well as unique gimmicks thanks in large part to the ascent of the "Four Horsewomen" (Charlotte, Sasha Banks, Bayley and Becky Lynch).
  • Nathan Jones, who WWE seemed to be high on because of his size to the point o pairing him with The Undertaker, after Team Angle d. Team Lesnar at Survivor Series 2003.
  • Maven, that guy who won "tough enough", that guy who eliminated The Undertaker from the Royal Rumble, pretty much slip-slided down the card after his one shot for the World Title in 2004, getting squashed by Batista and Shelton Benjamin and ending up in a low-tier tag team shilling Simon Dean's "health products."
  • After the 2004 draft lottery Yoshihiro Tajiri came to Raw as a big deal. Feuding with Evolution members Triple H and Batista and even pinning Kane. Did not last for him (or fellow SmackDown grab, Shelton Benjamin, for that matter).
  • Alex Riley had a toe-to-toe feud with the Miz. Pinned him clean on PPV at one point. After their feud was over, he promptly disappeared almost entirely from Raw. He was mostly seen on Superstars and NXT as a commentator afterwards, then became a jobber to the (upcoming) stars on NXT. After missing most of 2015 due to injury, Riley returned in 2016 with his preppy look replaced with long hair and a beard, but after more jobbing to the up-and-comers, he was released in May with seven other Superstars.
  • Ever since The Authority (led by Triple H and Stephanie McMahon) took a more active role making matches on TV since August 2013, RAW GM Brad Maddox and SmackDown GM Vickie Guerrero have had their onscreen roles reduced as a result.
  • David Hart Smith went from being tag team champions with Tyson Kidd while part of the Hart Dynasty, having a brief feud with him after their breakup, to not appear on TV at all. He was then released.
  • After losing the Tag Team titles, David Otunga disappeared off TV for a while before reappearing again with a lawyer gimmick before disappearing again and reappearing once again...only this time as a color commentator.
  • Drew McIntyre, would you believe Vince McMahon declared him to be a future world champion at one point? No?
  • When Ring of Honor moved from HD Net to Sinclair Broadcast Group's stations in 2011, they brought few women of honor with them. Sara Del Rey apparently wasn't told not to come back but did notice after a four month dry period she was no longer listed on the company's roster and would not receive another ROH booking for another year(a long anticipated match against academy graduate Mia Yim, who incidentally was the only woman who wasn't demoted during the transitional period).
  • Ezekiel Jackson was due for a renewed push in 2012, but before it even got started, he was bragging about it and annoyed others to the point where a fight nearly started in the locker-room. Vince McMahon got wind of the situation and thus the push was halted and his Badass Decay was part of his punishment.
  • The Great Khali was a force to be reckoned with when he debuted, but these days he is more of a comic relief character.
  • JTG was hardly ever seen on TV after Shad was released. He was mainly on Superstars or NXT. And it looked like JTG was going to get pushed after Cryme Tyme was broken up, which was surprising considering pretty much every WWE wrestler interviewed felt Shad had the most potential in the company.(another case of breaking up perfectly serviceable tag team and producing no stars from it)
  • Kayo Ozawa. However, Kayo was the only one of the three cut from the roster altogether for V3.
  • Matt Striker. Booker T replaced him on commentary on SmackDown, and he became a backstage interviewer and commentator on WWE Superstars.
  • Michael Tarver was part of one the biggest faction in WWE, before he was injured, and then only seen in backstage segments before his release.
  • The Miz seems to have been lost in the shuffle, going from a WWE Champion to a guy that has trouble getting meaningful TV time. He seems to be floating in the awkward camp of being above the status of a mid-carder (and therefore not being seen as a good candidate for a run with the IC or US titles), but not quite a true main-eventer.
    • Since late 2015, Miz has had a comeback of sorts, moving up to upper midcard heel status and, as of May 2016, holding the Intercontinental title and feuding over the belt with Cesaro, Kevin Owens, and Sami Zayn.
  • The Nexus:
    • What happened with the New Nexus group once Punk declared he would leave WWE with the WWE Championsip. Otunga and McGillicutty was the only one left of the group, Mason Ryan was out with an injury, and Husky Harris had been sent back to their developmental system. They lost their tag team titles to Evan Bourne and Kofi Kingston. Otunga was later repackaged with a lawyer gimmick, while McGillicutty was sent to NXT.
    • Darren Young went from main eventing SummerSlam with Nexus, to compete on NXT season 5 for seemingly forever, until he and Titus was moved to SmackDown. When the Prime Time Players split, this happened to both guys — Titus became a jobber (briefly a tag team jobber with Heath Slater) and Young got injured and didn't appear on TV for the rest of the year.
  • Roman Reigns was pushed as the WWE's next top babyface from the breakup of The Shield in 2014 until his cancer diagnosis in 2018 forced him into hiatus. In that time he won multiple single championships and main evented four straight WrestleManias. Upon his return following a miraculous recovery, he was exclusively a Tag Team wrestler, had his screentime drastically scaled back and, while he did get a big singles match at WrestleMania 35, it was a personal feud with no title at stake right in the middle of the card. Unlike many demotions, this was likely for Reigns' own good, as his run at the top had lead to legendary levels of X-Pac Heat, and WWE were probably trying avoid the appearance of over-pushing him again and squandering the goodwill that surviving a fatal disease had brought him.
  • Rosa Mendes was never an especially major player in the division, but all but disappeared in 2013 from a combination of being sent home and returning only to find that the tag team she had been managing had been repackaged.
  • R-Truth was a successful midcarder who never really flirted with the main event, but gradually slipped into jobber territory in the mid 2010s.
  • Sgt. Craig Pittman started out winning, but eventually became this.
  • Sheamus is a multi-time WWE Champion who fought Triple H in a high profile match at WrestleMania 26, put him out of action for nearly a year at the next PPV and became King of the Ring. Since winning KotR, however, he's subsequently lost more often than he's won. When Triple H returned, Sheamus interrupted his promo... and was promptly beaten down like he was an afterthought and then subsequently squashed by Evan Bourne. He managed to win the United States Championship from Daniel Bryan, who invoked his rematch clause for WrestleMania... in a match that subsequently got pushed off the card into a dark match that turned into a meaningless battle royal won by the Great Khali. From main eventer who put a legend out of action to not even on the show a year later. Isn't it sad, Sheamus? Happened again after Royal Rumble 2014. Part of it had to do with his being on the shelf with an injury for about four months, but with so many high-profile storylines happening, Sheamus was sort of pushed off to the side.
  • In Dragon Gate, Takuya Sugi got a clean win over a veteran like Genki Horiguchi in the Open The Brave Gate Title Tournament, but shortly after he was relegated to Mochizuki Buyuden and NEX shows. Then he left and never came back.
  • Ted DiBiase Jr., the other wrestler said to have the most potential by the wrestlers interviewed for WWE magazine besides Shad Gaspard rarely appeared on TV for months before his release. Another guy in successful tag team that was broken up.
  • Tony Chimel currently only announces on Superstars.
  • Tony Garea. As a WWE road agent.
  • Trent Barreta was mainly seen on Superstars or NXT. after the hyped up Dude Busters tag team split.
  • For the most part Triple H is semi-retired, mainly due to his backstage duties piling up in preparation for when he finally does take over the company.
    • This occurred to him in 1996. He was a part of the infamous kayfabe-breaking Madison Square Garden "curtain call" (where Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Trips, and Shawn Michaels hugged each other in the middle of the ring following a match); since Hall and Nash were heading off to WCW, and Michaels was the WWF World Heavyweight Champion at the time, Trips had to take the fall. His main event push was delayed for quite a while as punishment. Interestingly, Triple H was originally supposed to win the 1996 King of the Ring tournament. After the "curtain call", "Stone Cold" Steve Austin was booked to win the tournament as part of Triple H's punishment, and it's that victory over Jake "The Snake" Roberts that gave us the Austin 3:16 phenomenon.
    • Back when Michael Cole was first conducting his weekly sit-down interviews, Triple H was usually his guest but in the past year or so has been phased out in favor of other WWE wrestlers.
  • Tyler Reks brute-forced his way onto the Smackdown Bragging Rights team by taking out Kaval in 2010, and also made the Survivor Series team on the same brand. Then he got drafted to RAW in the 2011 draft and promptly disappeared from television. He then showed up on NXT along with Curt Hawkins, until the two briefly appeared as members of John Laurinaitis' informal stable in 2012.
  • Tyson Kidd went from being in a successful tag team to spending his days on NXT and Superstars. In 2014, he became a relevant midcarder again, teaming with Cesaro and winning the Tag Team titles with real-life wife Natalya as their manager. Unfortunately, there's a chance he may never wrestle again, as he suffered a severe spinal injury at a RAW dark match in July 2015, while at the height of his comeback.
  • Vickie Guerrero was rarely seen on TV in 2014, thanks in large part to The Authority.
  • Wade Barrett went from being a major threat with The Nexus on Raw and The Corre on Smackdown, to having a brief feud with Daniel Bryan, to not appear on television much at all. Then after appearing somewhat frequently on television as a midcarder, he vanished for no explicable reason before reappearing under the name Bad News Barrett & going months without a match as he spent most of his TV time giving people telling the crowds why they sucked.
  • William Regal is today hardly seen on TV, for a while he appeared on WWE NXT as the "match coordinator" and is now an announcer. He had a brief moment of spotlight when he got in the middle of Sheamus's feud with Big Show. As of 2013-2014 though, his position as announcer at NXT is fairly formalized, serving as a regular announcer signature to the show in the same way Jim Ross is treated.
  • WrestleMania 29 was an example of several WWE wrestlers being left off the card in order to give more time for the three main events (John Cena vs. TheRock, Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar, and CM Punk vs. Undertaker). This also marked the first time in 16 years that there was no Divas match.
  • WWE:
    • This happens whenever a wrestler who usually who is in the midcard, and his/hers storyline and feud ends, he/she all but disappears, but might show up just to have one off match against someone, as there is a another feud that is starting up. Can also happen in the top card and said wrestler get dropped to mid card (or lower). It can be due to they are not over enough, or someone got hurt and they just get dropped as a result.
    • Since the early 2010s, full-time WWERaw mid-carders such as Wade Barrett, The Miz, Kofi Kingston, Cody Rhodes, and Zack Ryder as well as the Divas have been demoted storyline-wise in order to make room for part-time (but very marketable) talent such as The Rock and Brock Lesnar (usually in the weeks heading into WrestleMania and SummerSlam) in an effort to give RAW a boost in the ratings.
  • On ECW Yoshi Tatsu was a number one contender for the title. Once that show was over he became a jobber.
  • During the last 12 months of the ECW brand, Zack Ryder was a perennial contender to the ECW title, having several standout matches with then ECW champ Christian. He also was given the honor of retiring the last ECW original Tommy Dreamer. He even interfered in the final ECW championship match. Upon arriving to RAW, he has not displayed any of that in-ring competence at all.
    • Lampshaded by CM Punk during his invasion of WWE Comic-Con
    CM Punk: "When's Zack Ryder gonna be on televison?"
    • Has sadly happened again. After a successful year in 2011, where he won the US title, he's hardly on TV anymore, and only show up on Superstars. Something that he complains about on Z! True Long Island Story.
  • Back on the subject of Cody Rhodes, he had been one of the top mid-carders from 2010 to 2013, including a couple of Intercontinental Championships during that period. But ever since becoming Stardust, Rhodes has been used mostly as a comedy jobber which included a tag team match against actor Stephen Amell and Neville at the 2015 SummerSlam PPV (which he and Wade Barrett lost, BTW). After appearing on Superstars and Main Event in the last several months, Rhodes left the WWE in May 2016.


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