Bring back the managers!
At WWE’s most recent pay-per-view, Vengance, Zack Ryder wrestled Dolph Ziggler for the U.S. title in what was a pretty quick, yet entertaining match. Dolph won the match and I did my usual celebration for the heel retaining his title. Dolph was able to win the match due to an enormous amount of outside interference. I am a big Dolph Ziggler fan for 3 main reasons. 1. His in-ring ability is sick and his mic skills can match anybody in the WWE right now (except CM Punk). 2. He’s ballsy enough to use the word “perfection” to describe himself, and anybody who welcomes comparisons between himself and Curt Hennig is an extremely confident individual and i respect the “ballsiness” of the declaration. 3. He has a manager! Vicki Guerrero may be annoying, obnoxious, ugly, and ear-piercing, but that’s why she’s so great at the lost art of being a professional wrestling manager.
For a very long time, managers have provided landmark moments in wrestling, and offer many practical services. Managers traditionally have amazing mic skills (Mr. Fuji being the exception to that rule) so they can make up for wrestler’s with in-ring ability but a serious lack of personality (Michael Mcguillicutty and Drew McIntyre come to mind). Also, managers provide for many fun and exciting ends to matches.
As a heel fan, it’s fun to watch them screw over the good guys and win in underhanded ways such as distracting the ref, throwing in foreign objects, or interfering with wrestlers on the outside of the ring. But managers aren’t just for heels. There have been several great “face” managers. Paul Bearer continued to manage The Undertaker after his face turn, and Miss Elisabeth was the manager for the Macho Man and Hulk Hogan while they were the two biggest faces in the biz. (Neither of these legends needed a manager, but I’m making a point.)
Managers are often more hated than the wrestlers they represent, especially if they represent multiple wrestlers (Guerrero, Heenan, Hart, Slick, and I’ll throw in Kevin Sullivan for you WCW fans). This is partially because they would be seen several times over the course of an event, but a bigger part is they are just great characters. They are THE characters people love to hate. For only modern wrestling fans, it’s hard to explain the magnitude of heat they can generate. At SummerSlam ’93 I was in attendance, and one of the few things i remember from that event is the only time i covered my ears due to loudness was when Lex Lugar hit Mr. Fuji during the main event. This applause was louder than when Lugar actually won the match (albeit by countout, and Yokozuna retained the title. Damn you technicalities!).
Managers are the little, runty, annoying pests that stand by ringside with too much confidence and too little ability. People loathe them, for managers are often the real reason their favorite wrestler loses. And when they get a title? Forget about it. Nothing more annoying than seeing an ego-filled manager kissing and holding up a belt that takes up 90% of his torso (see: Jimmy Hart & the Nasty Boys) and acting like he’s the man. WWE managers are the sterling definition of sports entertainment, and this is why the WWE NEEDS to bring them back.
Discussion question: what would be your in-ring alter ego?