Bobby Heenan, Jimmy Hart, Paul Heyman, Jim Cornette, Sherri Martel, Freddie Blassie, and Paul Bearer are just a few of an extensive list of managers who assisted with creating future stars for NWA and WWE.
Without Heenan, the Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant rivalry would not have the level of intrigue that it did. Without Paul Bearer, The Undertaker would not have been accompanied by the perfect mouthpiece to complement his character.
Steve Austin was recently discussing the concept of managers with MLW’s Court Bauer on a recent episode of The Steve Austin Show. Austin, who developed his craft in an era where managers were an integral part of the pro wrestling business, voiced on the podcast how much his missed the manager presence.
“You just don’t see [managers] anymore,” said Austin. “To me, they were the salt and pepper on a great steak. Such colorful, flamboyant personalities, either that mouthpiece, or that dressing, or whatever it needs to be to enhance that talent further, or be the crutch, or be an addition to, and just make that person a superstar.
“The way I grew up watching wrestling when I was seven or eight years old, and going through the territories, and having my share of managers. Whether I liked them or not, or wanted them to be with me, I learned a lot from them. To me, they’re part of the landscape that is pro wrestling.”
Bauer added that the role of managers kept the babyfaces from getting stale, because they would fight the entire stable or faction instead of just one heel.
Examples of this is J.J. Dillon managing the Four Horsemen, Paul Jones managing Paul Jones’ army (rivaling against Jimmy Valiant), and Paul Heyman managing the Dangerous Alliance (often rivaling against Sting). For babyfaces like Sting, Dusty Rhodes, Jimmy Valiant, and The Road Warriors, the entire heel group targeted them, which made them look even more heroic to the fans.
Austin credits Robert Fuller (Col. Robert Parker) as a manager who gave him a lot of tools to become successful in the business, as well as enhanced his character as a heel. Parker can now be seen in MLW managing Jake Hager (fka Jack Swagger).
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