The professional wrestling business is definitely missing managers. Guys and ladies who could help talent get to the next level. In the era I grew up in managers were big deals. They did a lot of the talking for the wrestlers and really helped the heels get heat. New wrestlers got instant credibility by their associations with level managers. So I decided I would share with you some of my favorites of all time.
Now this list is in no particular order or trying to assign any kind of ranking. Basically if I was putting together a Mt Rushmore of managers who would be the candidates to sit next to Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. The Brain will not be a part of this list because he stands alone to me in the legendary of corner men in the business. The people I will talk about in this piece are the people who come right up under that Heenan level status.
There has never been a manager like Sherri Martel in professional wrestling. Whether you know her as Queen Sherri, Sensational Sherri or Sista Sherri; she has been a successful manager in any company with any wrestler she has been with. Because her wrestling background she was never afraid to throw punch on the behalf of her clients. Sherri was trained by the Fabolous Moolah broke into the business in Tennessee and was managed by Jim Cornette early on. She has always been associated with the top guys in the business. Working in the AWA with Doug Somers and Buddy Rose or in the WWF with Ted DiBiase and Randy Savage she always got her guys to the top. That is why when trying to launch a young Shawn Michaels solo career the WWE put him with Sherri to give him some credibility. Her stellar career as a manager and as wrestler led her to the WWE Hall of Fame.
One of the few guys out there still practicing the art of managing is Paul Heyman. Thanks to CM Punk everybody now wants to add the term “Paul Heyman Guy” to their resume. Past Heyman guys are a who’s who in the wrestling business. The man with the big mobile phone has been tearing up ringside since the 1980’s. His time as promoter and booker sometimes over shadows his stellar career supervising his wrestlers.
In a career that is almost 30 years long we have seen Paul do it everywhere. The AWA, WCW, ECW and WWF/E have all been better because of his efforts. The man who had managed Mean Mark before he became The Undertaker has taken us on great ride. Through the magic of YouTube I would suggest going back watching some of his work with the legendary Dangerous Alliance that included a young Steve Austin, Arn Anderson, Rick Rude and Bobby Eaton. I could do an entire article about Paul and I probably will. His work now could easily make him the number 2 manager of all time when it’s all said and done.
The “Mouth of The South” Jimmy Hart is one of the most colorful characters in the history of professional wrestling. The man was named manager of the year 2 times in his career (1987 and 1994) by Pro Wrestling Illustrated, is always ready with his megaphone. From the world of Rock N Roll as a part of the group The Gentrys, Hart was brought into the world pro wrestling by Jerry Lawler. Jimmy Hart has to have managed the most tag team champions in WWF/E history. The Hart Foundation, Money Inc, The Nasty Boys all found tag team gold working with Hart. He also was the manager of the Honky Tonk Man during his legendary Intercontinental Title run. Jimmy has never been afraid to be the outrageous one to distract the referee so one of his guys can get the advantage. There is Hall of Fame list attached to Hart that includes even the Immortal Hulk Hogan. If you ever want to see the genius at work I recommend watching Wrestlemania 3. He is all over the place making his presence felt.
There has never been a greater tag team feud in wrestling than the Midnight Express versus the Rock N Roll Express. The man at the center of that is none other than Jim Cornette. The “Momma’s Boy” from Louisville, KY has been a staple in the wrestling business for over 30 years. Cornette got into the business as a photographer and then he started working for the one the best promoters of his time Jerry Jarrett. Starting in the Tennessee territory Cornette first got with the Midnight Express in 1983 and started carrying that infamous tennis racket. Jim might be one of the most entertaining men to ever touch the microphone. He can talk about anything and make it worth listening to. Jim has worked in WWE/F, WCW/Jim Crockett Promotions and even managed in his own company Smoky Mountain Wrestling. The “American Spokesperson” for WWF Champion Yokozuna, Cornette brought his southern flair to fans up north. Also while in the WWF he created “Camp Cornette” that included Vader, The British Bulldog and Owen Hart. Cornette has been a success everywhere he has been. If he is around you better watch out for the racket.
Now some may feel that I left some guys out but the list had to stop somewhere. Trust me I know that guys like Gary Hart, Slick, and Mr Fuji are worthy of mention and maybe will get discussed at a later time. For now these are the managers that I felt most impacted my viewing experience.
Keith B. Holt
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