Managing To Survive: What Makes A Good Manager"
August 17, 2006 by Daniel Johnson

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Since the wrestling industry's emphasis has shifted from focusing exclusively on athletics to a combination of sports and entertainment in the 1980's, mic skills have almost become a necessity for a successful wrestler to have. In order to compliment these skills or at times to create the voice for a competitor altogether managers came to wrestling's forefront.

But are managers solely used for interviewing purposes" What other tasks might managers perform in order to make the most of their role" And most importantly overall what makes a good manager"

When contacted through his official website, former NWA star Pat Rose mentioned his trainer, Ken Hawk and the benefits that being a manager gave him as a trainer, "I think being trained by a manager he was more detail oriented as far as the things he seen me do out in the ring."

Rose later went onto describe, the physical roles managers can have such as in championship matches, "[There are] many different ways, to pull the attention of the referee, you know to let the heels do something to beat the guy, to hand the heels an object, to actually, like Jimmy Cornett used to do, you know hit him with a tennis racket or hit him with an object you know. So you can use your manager in a lot of different ways."

Prior to his run for Baltimore County House of Delegates, District 7, one individual who worked prolifically with heel managers was Nikolai Volkoff.

When contacted through his campaign website,, Volkoff recounted some specifics involving the managers that he had worked with, "They do lots of stuff for you behind the screen too, they make you bookings, you know they help a lot" and continued by mentioning one experience he had with former manager "Classy" Freddie Blassie, "He managed me not just here in the United States, but in Japan too and his wife was from Japan...she spoke English and Japanese, so we were in Japan we had a hard time going to restaurants and stuff...his wife was with us and she helped days [of] eating Japanese food, it's enough so he took us to different places, [a] restaurant and we ate good food there and you know it was very very nice."

Competitors having a good relationship outside of the ring with their managers may be one aspect of wrestling that will only grow with time. This is most likely due to the fact that the new generation of wrestlers grew up in the 1980's, a pivotal time for the growth of managers.

Johnny Riggs, one half of the Riggs Brothers tag team, which has competed in OVW, commented on his interest in managers during his uprising, "Probably first thing that comes to mind when I think of my favorite managers growing up I think of the likes of Bobby "The Brain" Heenan, Jim Cornett, Jimmy Hart, Sensational Sherri, Paul Bearer, [and] Miss Elizabeth," but also mentioned his interest in current managers as he stated, "now I'd keep my eye on Armando Alejandro Estrada."

Not all of this generations crop of young talent had positive experiences with managers growing up in the 1980's and into the early 1990's as IWC wrestler Shiima Xion proved by stating, "I didn't watch WWF as a child, due to a fear of the Undertaker and his manager, Paul Bearer. Paul Bearer's facial expressions would give me nightmares. So, I guess my most memorable moment involving a manager was my first (and last) time seeing Paul Bearer and the Undertaker on the Funeral Parlor. They locked the Ultimate Warrior in a casket, I cried, and didn't watch wrestling for the next three years."

Though perhaps upsetting, the Paul Bearer episode did not spoil managers altogether for Xion as beforehand he referenced his current manager as well as some ideas he had planned for the future, "In IWC (, Chris Maverick is currently my manager. We went through wrestling school together, and both have a similar love for fashion and the Ultimate IWC put us together, and the chemistry was there from the start. Although, I would love to have a female manager someday, I have so many raunchy ideas for the day I meet the lucky lady who will accompany moi to the ring."

As in some areas, managers have had a greater presence in the independent wrestling scene, so too has women's wrestling. It should therefore come as no surprise that in many cases the two should mix with amazing results.

When reached, through her official website,, former ICW Tag Team Champion, LuFisto remarked on both her personal favorite experience with a manager in wrestling and her favorite manager related incident in wrestling overall, "My most memorable moment was definitely when my manager Mr. Internet turned on me with fellow friend Excess 69 at ICW. Nobody saw it coming and the crowd went nuts. It almost turned into a riot! As for pro wrestling in general, my favorite manager moment would be a match...Alfonso vs. Beulah, bloody and cool manager stuff!"

With the immense amount of talent that have become managers over the years, one person that represents the epitome of a good manager may be difficult to say, but a few names stand out.

After Rose was asked how he would define a good manager overall, two names instantly came to mind, "A good manager to me is Jimmy Cornett or Bobby Heenan," later on Rose commented on the mic skills of the two, "Cornett was the greatest...I used to travel with him a lot in Louisiana and he and I, like say for instance we'd be going to the Superdome to work the Superdome he and I would leave early and go shopping and hang out...even on the road like that...he'd say 'Pat, always remember loose if you must, win if you can, but always cheat' and I thought that was so funny man, but Cornett's a funny person and an excellent excellent manager. I never got to hang around Bobby Heenan, but seeing Bobby Heenan work and take bumps he was a good worker too man and I would love to meet him and shake his hand." When asked who was the first manager that made him see the role in a higher light, Nikolai Volkoff stated, "Freddie Blassie manager for a large part of my wrestling career and I respect him very much...I learned a lot from him" when asked if there was anyone that could carry on Blassie's persona Volkoff replied, "Like they say in wrestling 'he was often imitated, never duplicated'"

When asked how she would define a good manager in a broad sense LuFisto commented, "A good manager is somebody who supports his wrestler. He fills up the blanks and helps the wrestler where he could have difficulties like generating heat at the same time he wrestles and [does] mic work. A good manager doesn't steal the show, he adds to the show."

In a nutshell what exactly makes a good manager a good manager may be impossible to say, but analyzing the matter can only provide more thorough and rational answers to this question.

by Daniel Johnson

Jon Rosaler wrote:
I have yet to see Greatest Managers DVD to be honest, but I think someone without at least 1 alley like a manger in their career might go downhill for them. Case and Point, TNA's Managers like James Mitchell. We all know Mitchell has worked well with New Church and with Tajiri as Sinister Minister, but his work with Abyss have really been showing great Handy Work. Booby Roode is searching for a manager, who I am Pretty sure will be D'more again.

WWE 's managers are doing well in their condition as well. On Raw, you got Melina,Lita and AAE, On SD! you got Michelle Mccool,Elijah Burke, and Daivari, and ECW has Kelly Kelly, Beulah (via houseshows). So, Managers's are great.
Charles Lalonde wrote:
Jon you also forgot the fact that James Mitchell managed a WCW upstart tag team of Wrath (Bryan Clark), and Mortis (Chris Kanyon), and you can also say that a manager is the key to a wrestlers success. For example Paul Heyman led Brock Lesnar, Big Show, and Kurt Angle to the WWE Title, and led Haas and Benjamin to their first WWE Tag Team Title, The late Freddie Blassie managed The Iron Sheik to The WWE Title (Before Hulkamania existed), Even on the TNA Side of things Traci managed Matt Bentley and Frankie Kazarian to the X-Division Title and The Tag Team Titles (100% sure to the X-Division)







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