Marty Jannetty vs. Shawn Michaels, WWE RAW Photo Credit: WWE.com

Marty Jannetty: Wrestling with being better than HBK


Former WWE superstar Marty Jannetty was a lot of things to a lot of different people. Some remember him as the cool, hip, and always dashing member of The Rockers. Others remember him strictly as a person who helped define what the meaning of being a tag team specialist actually was. Above all else, though, everyone remembers Marty Jannetty.

Jannetty’s story is not that different from one you or I might have had. It started with a dream. Marty’s was to be a professional wrestler. For those who have been living under a rock for their entire lives, pro wrestling is the most important sport to ever be invented. So, obtaining his goal of being one of the best wrestlers in the world was not going to be an easy one.

Still, through hard work, dedication, and sticking to a strict regiment of taking the right kind of medication, Jannetty would eventually find himself in the (then) WWF with his former friend and future rival, Shawn Michaels. And that, my friends, is when the legacy of Marty Jannetty would begin to be built. Built, mind you, off a foundation of breathtaking moves, too much charisma for a microphone to handle and a gimmick that would alter the way people would interact with each other — forever.

As with all fairy tales, the Marty Jannetty story had more twist and turns than an actress struggling to pay bills… so she decides to take a role in a Peter North film.

It started innocently enough. Michaels and Jannetty, who never technically captured WWF tag team gold (a house show title reign, apparently, does not count), started to clash. Michaels, clearly jealous of everything that Marty oozed (mostly, awesomeness), decided to cowardly hurl Jannetty through Brutas the Barber Beefcake’s Barber Shop window.

Which left such a lasting, strong and strange impression on many young people’s lives, that it left some people scarred for life. Busting Brackets and Bro Jackson writer, Jared Mintz, who by all accounts is a sane, normal, insightful and rational person, clearly took it too hard when The Rockers split.

Mintz opened a tearful interview with, “Marty Jannetty was the first person who i thought smoked crack, before i knew what smoking crack was,” Clearly, still reeling from the heartbreak of the split of the greatest tag team in the world, Mintz elaborated, “Shawn Michaels was my least favorite wrestler, I still liked him more than Marty Jannety. And I’m maintaining that Michaels was my least favorite.”

Do you see what I mean. That moment, one single stab in the back, has put Jared Mintz into denial for life. 

Bret Hart after his stroke still had better mic skills than Marty Jannetty.

Still, without any more questions being asked, Mintz went on a rampage of statements that were clearly being steered by some form of misguided angst. “Wasn’t Marty Jannetty’s finisher a dropkick? Or did he not have a finisher because he never won matches?” Mintz paused, as if he realized the error of the ways, but still, the pain was too much to handle.

Here are a few more quotes a shamed Mintz shared with me.

“I knew a homeless guy i used to call Marty, because he reminded me of Marty Jannetty.”

“To this day i think less of people named Marty, because of Marty Jannetty.”

“Marty Jannetty reminds me a lot of Eddie Guerrero, a dead guy with long hair.”

“Bret Hart after his stroke still had better mic skills than Marty Jannetty.”

You might think those are words from a person who doesn’t like Marty Jannetty. However, you weren’t there to see the pain in his eyes while he said these lies. The same sort of lies a scorned lover would tell others to help get over their ex.

Unlike Mintz, some fans of Marty Jannetty were able to move on from The Rockers splitting.

Jannetty, who had to miss some time because being thrown through glass isn’t healthy, eventually came back to the WWF with a vengeance.

Shawn Michaels, now known as HBK and being managed by Sensational Sherri, was wrestling on a Sunday morning because that is what the early 90s were. Unbeknownst to Michaels, however, was the fact that a Guns N Roses t-shirt wearing Jannetty was about to attack the ring.

Long story short, Michaels hurled Sherri into a window that Jannetty intended to hit Michaels with. Really, only highlighting the cowardice that is HBK.

The two would have their grudge match at the 1993 Royal Rumble. But as soon as Jannetty came out through the entrance, you could tell he wasn’t going to win. Something was amidst. Jannetty was wearing some strange fighting outfit. Maybe he was being trained in some new wrestling style and that was his homage to it, but the get-up alone would not allow Jannetty to win. Not because Michaels was better, but because Marty’s new gear would clearly limit his range of movement.

Jannetty would disappear yet again. To debunk myths, it has nothing to do with run-ins with the law or drugs, it was because the bottom of heels really hurt.

However, the sweet taste of revenge would finally be in Jannetty’s mouth. After time off to recoup, Jannetty did the only thing that someone as awesome as Marty Jannetty can do. He won the Intercontinental Title with a towel.

Unfortunately for fans of greatness, Michaels had far too much political power in wrestling back then. While Jannetty could only control what happened inside the squared-circle, HBK did everything in his powers to get Jannetty out of the WWF all-together.

Despite all of Michaelss whining, Jannetty would keep on keeping on. Doing things he couldn’t do with HBK, like when a tag team title without him and having people chant “Marty” in the crowd. Honestly, at no point in his career, can Michaels say that anyone chanted Marty at him during a match or that he won a tag team title without himself.

Time would pass, the WWF’s ears only a whisper away from HBK’s smelly mouth, and Jannetty would eventually be terminated by the World Wrestling Federation under false pretenses.

That could and would not keep Jannetty down. Marty would eventually land with World Championship Wrestling. Naturally, he immediately made an impact. However, an ankle injury that Jannetty suffered after saving (WWE censored wrestler) from the Flock, his tenure with WCW was over.

As Jannetty recovered, something mystical most have happened. Since Marty happens to be the most altruistic person to ever step foot on this, or any other, planet, Jannetty took it upon himself to try to mend some broken fences (note: The New Rockers were a dream, never happened).

Marty Jannetty would help HBK turn the Spirit Squad into a bunch of wussy cheerleaders. Still, because jealousy, other “friends” of HBK had to interject themselves. Namely, Hunter Hearst Helmsley, who was obviously jealous of the undying love between the former Rockers, would help make Jannetty an afterthought to wrestling fans.

I won’t go into all the backstage manushea of what exactaly happened because that’s not important. It is certainly not important to the lasting legacy that Marty Jannetty left on all of us. But because Helmsley runs the WWE today, we may never be able to again see the transcendent star that was (and still is) Mary Jannetty.

While wrestlers today do not directly credit Jannetty for any influence (they are all clearly scared by WWE management backlash), it could be seen every Monday Night Raw. Between Billy Gunn using the Fame-asser (which is Marty’s Rocker Dropper), to Dolph Ziggler taking a beating but never giving up, all the way to the revolutionary in-ring style of The Big Show, Marty’s presence can be felt.

I’m not a historian, scientist, doctor or anything else that would qualify me to say this, but I feel like I could because it is true; Marty Jannetty is the most important person to ever step foot on this planet and certainly the most talented wrestler to ever wear a pair of spandex in a wrestling ring.

He did all of that, mind you, without Vince McMahon having the stones to let Jannetty show off his other worldly charisma on the microphone.

Let Jannetty be a reminder to all of you with dreams out there. You can do anything you want. Anything at all. As long as you do everything Marty Jannetty has ever done. And I mean ALL OF IT.

Marty Jannetty, a hero? At least. Marty Jannety, a revolutionary? Certainly. Marty Jannetty, my father? I could only dream of it being true.

Tags: Marty Jannetty Pro Wrestling Shawn Michaels WWE