Pro wrestling managers, where did they all go? Looking around the industry nowadays it seems like they have gone the way of the Dodo bird and when did their mass extinction event take place? I can’t pin point when the massive asteroid pounded them into oblivion. Yes, I know we have Paul Heyman but he is not a day in and day out manager, as he is only the “The Advocate” for Brock Lesnar and yes I realize we have Truth Martini in Ring Of Honor ( ROH ) but other than that there is only a smattering, if that, even on the indies and certainly all but one offs on bigger stages.
In the 70’s and 80’s the industry used managers to be his mouth piece if he wasn’t good on the mic or give the talent “the rub” if the manager was a former wrestler or a established guy truly legitimizing a new talent. Babyface managers were used to help get the talent over with the crowd but could also be used as a weakness for the heel the face was working with at the time. Heel managers were used to get heat for their boys and to help get “cheap” wins so that the face wouldn’t lose too much stock by not having to lose clean. The grand wizard, Lou Albano and Arnold Skaaland are amazing managers and got an amazing amount of talent “over” with the fans that just would not have otherwise.
The 80’s saw the Golden Age of the wrestling manager with the likes of Jimmy Hart, Slick, Mr Fuji, JJ Dillion and Bobby Heenan. These larger than life personalities more often than not, out-shined the talent they were charged with managing and were more often than not the center of the show. Hulkamania would not be what it was without a steady stream of monster heels for him to feud with and who year after year gave him that monster heel for the Hulkster to vanquish? Bobby Heenan and his ” Heenan Family”. Not to be out done while Heenan had the top of the card feuds, Jimmy hart had the mid card heels getting as much heat as anyone between managing the likes of Greg Valentine , The Hart Foundation and the longest reigning Intercontinental Champion of all time in the Honky Tonk Man. There are countless others like Slick managing titans like the Big Bossman and the One Man Gang, to Mr Fuji and his run with the now second longest reigning tag team champions in Demolition and of course the legendary run that JJ Dillion had with The Four Horsemen.
Time progressed in the mid 90’s counter culture hit and wrestling as a whole was starting to change. It got more graphic, the fourth wall was breaking, if not broken and kayfabe was becoming a thing of the past. Wrestling was going through an “Attitude” change and managers were seen by most to be old and tired. Teams or gang warfare seemed to be the new thing with wrestlers themselves leading groups not managers. Of course you had a few hanging on like Sonny Ono, James Mitchel and Jimmy Hart but by the time the dust settled from the Monday Night Wars in the early 2000’s The manager was essentially extinct. Now, while we have had a few glimpses of managers in the early 2010’s most notably Vicki Guerrero, Teddy Long and Stephanie McMahon, they were all authority figures who were abusing power and not true pro wrestling managers.
Now is the time to go all Jurassic Park and bring back those lovable cuddly managers. Why, you ask? To start; it’s been gone so long now it will be fresh and something the younger generation of fans have not seen. Secondly; with WWE alone producing over 6 hours of new TV each week and only Paul Ellering as a bonafide manager for Authors of Pain, that’s not counting TNA ImPact, ROH, Lucha Underground, among others. The point being is there is so much talent everywhere that a lot could use a “rub” from a manager that is established or a mouth piece while they develop. Managers help get heat, get talent over and are built in storylines it’s a win for the talent , win for the companies in ratings and angles and most importantly a win for us fans, because at the end of the day, pro wrestling managers are just entertaining and I like to be entertained. So wrestling world get off your booties and give me a new golden era of managers.