10 Greatest Wrestling Managers of All Time
Lately, I've done a lot of wrestling lists. The idea behind all these are conversations I've had with friends and people around the office. It's a fun debate and occasionally can shine light on people and things you might have not seen or stuff you've forgotten. I've already made lists for the best matches of all time, best Tag Teams and best Solo Stars.
But, I think this may be the most important list of all of them. Because wrestling managers are often the most overlooked yet most important member of the wrestling business. They help make stars out of guys who are struggling. They talk fans into the building. They enhance talents. They do a lot of things that often get ignored or taken for granted.
Every single person on this list has made huge contributions to the world of professional wrestling and have had a huge impact on talents they 'represent'.
1) Bobby Heenan
God, I don't even know where to begin when talking about the Brain. He was brilliant, infuriating, funny, yet annoying....Bobby could elicit emotions that you didn't know you could have about professional wrestling. In terms of overall performance, Bobby may be the most talented man to ever work in professional wrestling.
2) Paul Heyman
Paul Heyman has been associated with numerous talents over the years. He's worked with CM Punk, Curtis Axle, Ryback and several others. But, probably most notably, he's best thought of and remembered as the advocate for the Beast, Brock Lesnar. Somehow, Paul got paired with a once in a lifetime athlete and made him even better and more impressive.
3) Jim Cornette
Jim Cornette has worked with so many amazing talents, its hard to remember them all. The Midnight Express, Vader, Owen Hart, The British Bulldogs and many, many more. Corny always had an ability to get involved in the action without taking away from the talents he was paired with. Plus he could draw an insane amount of heat. People would bring guns to the arena and literally attempt to shoot Jim dead. That takes talent.
4) Paul Bearer
When I think of wrestling managers, the first guy that always pops in my mind is Paul Bearer. His work with the Undertaker and Kane was amazing. His character is eternal. He could cut a solid promo when called upon. I can't name one thing that made Paul great...but I know that I'll forget him clutching Undertaker's urn while delivering the creepiest laugh I've ever heard.
5) JJ Dillon
JJ Dillon got paired with Ric Flair and the 4 Horsemen. On paper, 90% of the various Horsemen could cut their own promos and didn't really need help getting heat in the ring. But somehow, someway, JJ was able to take some of the best heels in the business and get them more heat. He enhanced the overall Horseman package. And when they did get a member that couldn't cut a promo to save their life, JJ was able to step in and save the day. Plus, he wasn't afraid to mix it up and get a bit of color.
6) Jimmy Hart
Whether working as a heel or being a good guy mouth piece for Hulk Hogan, Jimmy Hart was fun to watch. From the air brushed jackets to the bullhorns, Jimmy Hart was a memorable character that was impossible to ignore.
7) Freddie Blassie
Classy Freddie Blassie got so, so much heat. People literally hated his guts. Yet despite the fact the audience wanted to kill him, Blassie's true talent was being able to take that heat and transfer it to whoever he was representing. Even if they had the personality and ability of fly paper.
8) Paul Ellering
Paul Ellering was awesome when he worked as manager for the Legion of Doom/Road Warriors. Hawk and Animal were so colorful and over the top, a lot of people tend to overlook how gifted Paul was in that role. Plus, in real life, Paul actually worked as Hawk and Animal's real life manager. He scheduled their travel, got them bookings...the whole 9. Which during their peak, I don't know how he had time to do the in-ring wrestling stuff. If you doubt Paul's ability, just watch his work with NXT's Authors of Pain. Guy is amazing.
9) Miss Elizabeth
As gifted and talented as Macho Man Randy Savage was, I don't think he'd be as loved or fondly remembered without the lovely Miss Elizabeth by his side. She was most wrestling fan's first love. Her love story with Macho Man brought tears to grown men's eyes. What she brought to Macho Man's character is gravely underappreciated.
10) Captain Lou
I know a lot of people will be pissed that Captain Lou is so far down the list. As far as 80s WWF goes, he's probably the most recognizable manager other than Bobby Heenan. Lou was one of the first wrestling personalities to branch out into the main stream. He was in movies, music videos...Captain Lou was EVERYWHERE. Lou worked with a lot of great talents, but I had to put him this far down the list because Lou, more often than not, was a bigger star than the guys he was trying to get over.