It’s something that I’ve been wondering about for years:
Where are all the managers?
My childhood memories are chalked full of guys like Bobby Heenan, Jimmy Hart, J.J Dillon, and even “The Doctor of Style” Slick. They were all great colorful characters that added so much, not only to the guys that they were managing but to my overall enjoyment of the shows. The basic premise, for those of you not old enough to have lived through this by-gone era, was that you took a heel who had a great look or was great in the ring but couldn’t talk and gave him a manager that could cut promos for him/her. It was so simple.
As the 1980’s moved into the 90’s, managers began to become more and more scarce and/or less and less talented. Bobby Heenan retired from managing and can NEVER be replaced. Jimmy Hart moved into tag teams, went to WCW, and eventually managed the Dungeon of Doom. Yes I was sorry to hear that too. Slick turned babyface (never a good move for a manager) and disappeared. This made way for the new generation of wrestling managers like Col. Robert Parker (probably the best of this bunch), Sonny Ono (think Mr. Fuji but not as cool), Johnny Polo (pre Raven Scott Levy), and Harvey Whippleman. None of these men were able to capture the fans imaginations like their predecessors.
Then enter Vince Russo and his “Crash TV”, Attitude era booking where managers were replaced with valets. Actually managers were replaced by chicks…plain and simple. Valets were women like Elizabeth, Sensational Sherri, and Madusa who had there own personalities and long standing connections to the fans. Vince Russo’s “chicks” were Sable, Marlena, Mariana, Ryan Shamrock, and I’m sure many others that I am missing. These chicks also tended to only be aligned with one guy or team and never really formed a stable of any kind.
As the Attitude Era faded to….well whatever the hell this era is called now, managers just went extinct. There was the occasional manager that would pop up like Armando with Umaga or Teddy Long with Rodney Mack but for the most part the art of the manager had gone the way of the Dodo bird.
Now word is coming that Vince is open to revisiting the use of managers for his “Superstars” and I couldn’t be happier. In my perfect world this new crop of managers would have their own stables and not just stand beside one superstar or diva. Given the current WWE roster, here is a list of whom I would like to see as the new group of heel managers:
Vickie Guerrero: Yes, I would keep this screeching heat magnet. There are episodes of RAW where I just sit back and picture Eddie smiling in heaven as the crowd is not letting Vickie get one word out. She’s already managing El Generico’s American cousin Dolph Ziggler and I think RAW could really benefit from Vickie expanding her client base.
Michael Cole: As a heel lead play by play man he’s horrible but that’s not really his fault as the entire concept of a heel lead announcer is atrocious. Michael Cole has the exposure on RAW that could translate into a lead heel manager role where Cole lines up guys for John Cena to take out. He’s currently hanging out with Jack Swagger and is in love with the Miz so he has two potential lead proteges already. Cole also has interacted with The Rock, which can do nothing but help build his heat.
Michael Hayes: Obviously he will need to change his name since they already have a Michael on the show but P.S. Hayes is definitely one of the most legendary talkers in the history of the business. He’s recently shown up once on Superstars with Tyson Kidd and Hayes is the perfect guy to be helping the younger heels on the roster really learn what it takes to break through and get heat.
Arn Anderson: Speaking of legendary talkers in the business, Arn is apparently under consideration for a manager’s role and why not? His propensity for cutting “story telling” promos is classic and Arn, like Hayes, has a lot that he can be teaching the “young guys” on the road and at RAWs or Smackdowns. Heck, Arn has a lot he can be teaching the old guys too. I could see Arn with a group of big, bruising heels that like nothing more that to fight.
Abraham Washington: Remember him? He’s still on the roster and has cut some decent promos in Florida Championship Wrestling despite the stain of his “Abraham Washington Show” on the now mercifully defunct WW-ECW. He’s a smooth talking young guy that could add a nice mix to the above noted names, as the key to a great crop of managers is to have a variety of characters and backgrounds to play off of. Washington would make a nice entry level manager for the new heels.
Those are just a few names that jump out to me. The real benefit of managers is that it can put an emphasis back on the titles as every manager wants to manage the “Champ”. This can be expanded to include the United States Champ, the Intercontinental Champ, and *gasp*…..the Tag Team Champs. Remember those?
Hopefully this idea does come to fruition because I can think of a whole bunch of Superstars and Divas that would benefit from a mouthpiece and the possibility of the titles being elevated is something that I would really like to finally see.