The Manager: Wrestling's Lost Art
I am going to take some time out from talking about what's going on with the Royal Rumble, CM Punk, and The Rock to talk about something that has been missing from wrestling for a very long time; that something is the lost art of the wrestling manager in mainstream wrestling. This isn't just something that is missing in WWE, but it's also something that is missing in TNA too. I miss managers like Bobby Heenan, Slick, Sir Oliver Humperdink, and Jim Cornette. When I was a kid, one of the things that I remember when I watched the WWF was Bobby "The Brain" Heenan. This guy would make you hate not only him, but the guy that he was managing as well whether it be Andre the Giant, Rick Rude, or King Kong Bundy. You hoped that both his wrestler and he got clobbered as well. When he was on commentary, you had someone who always put his own guys over while dissing any good guy who dare to take on one of his guys. One can listen to his commentary during the 1992 Royal Rumble where he put Ric Flair over huge en route to the Nature Boy becoming the WWF Champion. Heenan was able to get something out of a person whether they could talk or not, he knew how to draw heat for the wrestler he managed. You don't see much of this now in wrestling, it seems all promos are already scripted and all of the wrestlers on the roster are forced to sink or swim. Part of the reason why Brock Lesnar got over the way he did when he first arrived in the WWE was because he had Paul Heyman as his mouthpiece. Brock was a monster heel, and Paul Heyman in his sleazy chicks-hit heel way, put Lesnar over as "The Next Big Thing". You hated Lesnar right off the bat all because of Heyman's words which you can also see now when you see him with CM Punk. Of course, Heyman was always able to do this since his days as a manager of the Dangerous Alliance stable. The Undertaker's early career got a huge shot in the arm with Paul Bearer managing him. His promos wouldn't have been nearly as awesome or memorable without Paul Bearer's and his high pitched, haunting voice that brought so much more to the promos. In the NWA, Jim Cornette and his tennis racket caused quite a stir among southern fans. Not only was he the "Louisville Lip" who hid behind his tag teams while talking large amount of shit, but you also knew at some point his tennis racket was going to come into play when the referee was distracted. Then there are those female managers like Ms. Elizabeth, Sunny, and Marlena who used their looks as a way to get their charges over. After, all who wouldn't give in to someone who is hot? The only issue with this is that it became something of over-saturation after a while especially during the Attitude era and in the late years of WCW when it seemed like every wrestler needed to have surgically enhanced bimbos on their arms. Of course, the female manager is something else that could also make a comeback if done correctly but I feel it should be done in a tasteful way like how Ms. Elizabeth was or she could be batshit crazy like AJ Lee (because babygirl gets it!). When I look at wrestling now, I feel that someone like Tyson Kidd could use a manager. You have someone who is a great wrestler with decent charisma, he just need that manager who could help him get over. A guy like Ryback should NEVER talk, he should have someone doing the talking for him talking about how he can kick anyone's ass. I felt that the Primetime Players were more awesome with Abraham Washington as their manager than without him, before he got himself fired for saying something stupid. Maybe the Usos would benefit from having their father Rikishi managing them. In today's wrestling climate the manager can not only live on, but thrive! Follow me on twitter @whosantcox, and you can also email me at email@example.com. I respond to all emails and tweets.