Thursday, October 14, 2010

Five Count: Wrestling's Greatest Managers

With Paul Bearer back in WWE, the subject of managers has been weighing on my brain lately. It's a lost art, something you don't see much anymore, but the response to Bearer's return can't be denied. WWE's treating it like a big deal as well, which makes it a big deal, so could we see a return of the manager? If we do, these are the people they should study.

5. Sunny
Sunny was way ahead of her time, a WWE Diva before the term was even coined, she had a quality about her that made anyone she associated with more interesting. Hell, she got people to care about The Godwinns and the Body Donnas, that's a pretty impressive feat. Though she wound up becoming a bigger star than the people she managed, you can't deny her ability to catch an eye.

4. "The Doctor of Style" Slick
This might be more of a personal bias, but I love Slick. Oh sure, his theme song, accompanying music video, and character in general, are absurdly racist, but Slick somehow made the character work. Hilarious, ridiculous, and easy to hate, he had all the makings of a great 80s manager, and the addition of Akeem just sent it into head-shakingly awful/awesome territory. Oh wrestling, sometimes being decades behind the cultural progress of the nation can at least be entertaining.

3. "The Mouth of the South" Jimmy Hart
Pure annoyance. Take a guy with the most obnoxious clothing you can find at the airbrush booth at the flea market, then give him a megaphone to yell into. It's cheap heat, sure, but a crowd reaction is a crowd reaction and the crowd loathed Jimmy Hart. His legacy lived on with Bill Alfonso: let's see what happens when we take the ugliest man on the planet, who talks like a crazed meth head, then give him a whistle, daddy!

2. Jim Cornette
Say whatever you want about Cornette's opinions on wrestling or his loud, confrontational style, but it fit perfectly as a wrestling manager. There's nothing particularly special about Cornette, he looks like an eight grade science teacher, but he knows how to get under your skin and he can scream with the best of them. Cornette is old school to the core, but when he's working as a manager, it gets results.

1. Bobby "The Brain" Heenan
I didn't let you vote for Brain in the greatest managers poll because the results would've been a forgone conclusion. The funniest man to ever work in wrestling was also a master of getting the crowd in the palm of his hand. The only question about Heenan is whether or not he's wrestling's greatest manager or wrestling's greatest commentator. Anyone getting into the wrestling business, whether you're a wrestler, manager, commentator, even a friggin' referee should study Bobby Heenan.

Now let's take a look at the top five as voted by Kick-Out!! readers:

5. Paul E. Dangerously
4. Miss Elizabeth
3. Jimmy Hart
2. Jim Cornette
1. Paul Bearer

Paul Bearer edged Cornette out by just one vote, but when Bobby Heenan's not in the picture, Paul Bearer is your all-time favorite manager... OHHH YESSSS!!!!

Bobby the Brain: Wrestling's Bad Boy Tells AllThe Mouth of the South: The Jimmy Hart StoryJ. R.'s Cookbook: True Ringside Tales, BBQ, and Down-Home Recipies (WWE)


  1. J.J. Dillon was pretty super. I was never a big Jimmy Hart fan, though his Memphis stuff I've seen is better than most of his WWF run.

    Of course, there's the Albano-Blassie-Grand Wizard crew from the '70s, but I'm guessing that's before most of our times.

  2. Bearer winning is a travesty. I like the guy, but comparing him to Cornette is comparing a Whopper to a thick porterhouse with mushroom sauce.

  3. Bearer had timing on his side here, I'm sure.