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WRESTLING COLUMNS

What Happened to Managers in Wrestling"
October 5, 2006 by Brendan G.


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When I grew up in the '80's and the early '90's there were managers everywhere. Bobby "The Brain" Heenan, Sunny, James E. Cornette, Harvey Wippleman just to name a few. These names bring a smile to many faces now that they are gone. Two decades ago, when you saw "Ravishing" Rick Rude come to the ring, the first thing you would ask yourself is "what will Heenan do today"" When Owen Hart came to the ring, one would wonder what Mr. Cornette might have up his sleeve. Today's wrestlers could use managers because some of their skills on the microphone leave a lot to be desired, and it added to the intrigue of the matches.

Let's go back to one of the greatest events in WWF history: Wrestlemania V. Rick Rude was challenging the seemingly unbeatable Ultimate Warrior for his Intercontinental Title. How did that match end boys and girls" Did it have anything at all to do with the two men it the ring" Nope. The ending revolved around the man on the outside, Bobby Heenan. Today managers can't get involved because they do not exist. Johnny Nitro has Melina, Umaga has Armando Alejandro Estrada. That's it. That's the roster of managers. Imagine if someone like JBL were to return and manage someone like Shelton Benjamin. Benjamin can't talk, but he may be the best wrestler in the WWE today. Give Benjamin a mouth piece, who knows what could happen"

Another perfect example for creating longer careers for those who are truly worthwhile would be allowing Dusty Rhodes to manage. Dusty was one of the most colorful speakers in wrestling history. Dustin Rhodes might actually still have a career if he allowed Daddy to speak on his behalf. Dusty has always been a favorite of so many. This would add a lot of time on television for his fans to root him on.

Ted DiBiase was the perfect example of this. He came back in the mid '90's and managed his "Million Dollar Corporation" consisting of wrestlers who could wrestle, but did not have the skills to speak. King Kong Bundy, I.R.S. and perhaps most famously The Ringmaster, the man you and I know as "Stone Cold" Steve Austin.

It's not only the speaking that I would like to see again, what about the interference from a manager" I'm tired of seeing wrestlers run down to ringside and hit people with chairs. What happened to J.J. Dillon's boot" What happened to Sunny shaking her rear end in Phineas Godwinn's face" That was fun! The mangers today don't do this, (with the exception of Melina, who uses a boot as well as, if not better than Mr. Dillon). Estrada stands on the apron with his cigar and speaks broken English. That's not what managers were born to do.

Maybe it's just me, but I miss the days of Howard Finkel saying "About to come down the aisle, accompanied by his manager..." I'd love to hear that again. Either that, or team Estrada up with Umaga's new "American Spokesperson" James E. Cornette.

By Brendan G...


Stephan W. Hall wrote:
Brendan- I couldn't agree with you more. Managers used to be a lot of fun to watch when I was growing up. I loved seeing guys like Fuji hitting people with his cane, and Jimmy Hart using the megaphone and usually getting his butt kicked at the end of the match. You make a good point. Wrestling now a days is so predictable. I mean it seems like everytime Kane is in a match for example you just know Umaga is coming down to interfere. Bring back the days with managers, not interference from other wrestlers. It makes for boreing TV. Great article.
Aaron Stone wrote:
I agree with you. I loved the days of managers. Though I felt you left a few important managers out including Paul Bearer (how can you leave him out), Mr. Fuji, and Mouth of the South Jimmy Hart. These are all legends in my opinion. Anyway, I do find Estrada pretty entertaining actually. I think he does a pretty good job (when was it not allowed for managers to speak broken english...i mean Mr. Fuji did this all the time...that does not make him a bad manager).

By the way, I can't believe you said Steve Austin can't speak. Do I have to remind you of King of the Ring 96 after he beat Jake Roberts for the King of the Ring crown...that was one of THE best promos I've ever seen. I was fortunate to see this on PPV and I'll always remember my friend and me saying "This guy will be huge later on". However, other people in million dollar corp could NOT talk (Tantanka, SID (oh god was he awful), 1-2-3 Kid)).

Overall not a bad article...but it could be improved.
Tony Francioni wrote:
This is a great article, how many more supermodels can they throw out there with wrestlers nowadays. Are we supposed to believe that they really handle the wrestler's buiness and money" Jimmy Hart, Bobby Heenan, Slick (and the list goes on and on) pulled off the job of a manager perfectly. And there was nothing like when the good guy wrestler finally got a hold of the pesky manager and gave him a beating for costing him the match. IT was timeless. Bring back weasels, runts and other low lifes to be managers
Jonathan Preston wrote:
Man, I can agree with this article and the other 2 guys that commented as well. Hey, who remembers the Dangerous Alliance back in the old WCW days in the early 90's" Paul E Dangerously aka Paul Heyman. He was a great Manager for that faction. I used to love it when he used to smash people with that big "Zack Morris from Save by the Bell" cell phone of his. That was awesome!!! Or when Chyna used to Manage DX back in the day. She used to always physically involve herself in matches. I miss those days as well. Good article though. I look forward to the next one!!
Jeffrey Long wrote:
I have to agree that I miss managers. From Bobby Heenan, Jimmy Hart to the "Dr. of Style" Slick. The manager was the mouth piece for a wrestler and always entertained the crowd as well. They were always crafty and full of surprises. The crowd was always responsive when a heel manager got taken down. Alot of the managers did the transformation from wrestler to manager. They had knowledge of the game and shared it with their protege. Look at two of the biggest managers in my eyes. Bobby Heenan and Jimmy Hart. I believe that Jimmy has the record for the most champions in his stable. So we transport to wrestling of today. There are still managers today, but they not former wrestlers making the move to managers, they are wrestlers still active. Armando, Michelle, Gail Kim, Daivari, Melina are some out there still doing double duty. So in closing the position of manager may have been filled, but the position for manager/wrestler is still open.
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