Jeff Cobb’s wrestling career saw him become one of the most unlikely success stories in the business. Cobb is a rare athlete to make the jump from competing in the Olympics to the world of professional wrestling. Only a small group of names have managed to find success like Kurt Angle, Mark Henry and the recently signed Gable Stevenson.
Cobb has become an important player in New Japan after a unique trip to the industry. Cobb’s talent and improvement led him to create his own name and momentum as a rising star. Fans have high hopes that Cobb continues to rack up the achievements. Cobb showed a different path from the Olympics to wrestling without the need for WWE.
Jeff Cobb has a unique story
The passion for wrestling began in amateur wrestling for Jeff Cobb. Legendary talents like Brock Lesnar, Kurt Angle and Rick Steiner have all proven that the transition from amateur to professional wrestling can be a smooth transition. Cobb, however, has achieved a level of success that only a handful of other stars have achieved before joining the professional wrestling industry.
Cobb’s training with the Guam Amateur Wrestling Federation helped him qualify for the 2004 Summer Olympics. Cobb represented Guam as a member of the Men’s National Team and even had the honor to be the flag bearer for Guam at the opening ceremony in Athens. The men’s light heavyweight freestyle competition saw Cobb working out, although he didn’t finish with a medal.
Amateur wrestlers usually reach a peak when athletes are past their young age. Cobb was 22 when he competed in the Olympics, but he wouldn’t get another chance in future events. The dried up well in amateur wrestling led Cobb to start training for professional wrestling in 2009 and get down to it like a fish in water.
Jeff Cobb’s Unique Debut in Professional Wrestling
Jeff Cobb started wrestling in Hawaii, but there were so few shows there to make a name for himself. The West Coast became Cobb’s primary wrestling home with appearances on smaller independent shows there. WWE got wind of Cobb’s story and brought him in for a tryout at the Performance Center in 2014, but they didn’t end up signing him.
The first major break in Cobb’s career came in a role where he couldn’t show his face or use his name. Lucha Underground had just had a solid first season when they approached Cobb with the idea of a major role. “The Monster” Matanza Cueto was her new name and new gadget in a mask as the terrifying brother of spectacular heel authority figure Dario Cueto.
Cobb enjoyed huge success early on, winning the Lucha Underground Championship in their first official match at the end of a playoff game. Lucha Underground protected him with a full-season winning streak until Rey Mysterio pinned him in the same stipulation match a season later. Cobb did so well in the role that other promotions started reaching out.
PWG was the first major independent promotion to start booking Cobb maskless and under their own identity to create more name value. The ability to show off his strength for power moves and his wrestling skills for technical moves led to a perfect path for Cobb to become a leading independent wrestling name.
Unique NJPW Success Story
Each stage of Jeff Cobb’s career presents an unlikely path, and the start of New Japan was no different. NJPW initially got Cobb to team up with Michael Elgin as a powerful tag team. The two seemed to be complimenting each other, until Elgin was caught insulting Cobb on social media. The duo eventually broke up with Cobb getting more opportunities on his own.
Cobb’s biggest title win at NJPW came during the historic joint show with ROH at Madison Square Garden. Cobb defeated Will Ospreay to win the NJPW NEVER Openweight Championship and retain the ROH TV Championship in a show-stealing opener. NJPW began to believe more in Cobb as a great all-rounder with a demeanor that made him appear stronger in Japan.
Cobb was used in a few roles throughout his NJPW tenure until he found his current place in the United Empire faction of Ospreay. Running in the group as an unofficial executor builds credibility as a singles star. Cobb has shown his ability to thrive in tough situations, from the Olympics to the Lucha Underground gimmick to now become a huge asset to one of the biggest promotions in the world.
The moves WWE fans see every week are pretty dangerous, but Japanese wrestling has moves that are way too dangerous.
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