This past Monday night, I was grinning like a school kid on the last day of school when Paul E. Dangerously strutted confidently down the ramp and into the ring. The great Paul Heyman is one of the best talkers in WWE history, and is the man behind ECW.
The talented Heyman returned to help the “True Big Thing” Brock Lesnar express himself. To be honest, Lesnar needed Heyman to be his mouthpiece, and now the world and big Brock will benefit from his return.
Yet, I have to wonder…is this the beginning of something grand? Is Heyman’s return, and the budding stable of Abraham Washington the beginning of a resurgence? Are we in the midst of an awakening, a rebirth of sorts? The rebirth of the manager?
"You know they say money can't buy happiness. Give me 50 bucks and watch me smile" Bobby-Heenan.
As a kid growing up watching WWE, AWA, UWF and NWA programming, managers were everywhere. There was Percy Pringle, Skandar Akbar, Precious Paul Ellerling and JJ Dillion. Of course one has to mention Bobby Heenan, Jimmy Hart and my favorite Jim Cornette. If you want, we can go even further back by including Classy Freddie Blassie, Arnaold Skaaland and the Grand Wizard.
"They say these geeks come a dime a dozen. I want to get the guy who's been supplyin' the dime."
Managers are an asset, if used properly. They can be the focal point of a promo, like Jim Cornette. For years, Cornette, armed with a tennis racket and his momma’s money, talked trash as he promoted one of the best tag teams ever, the Midnight Express.
From insulting Dusty Rhodes: “I know you are an expert on things that smell like a horse...”
Extolling the brutality of the late, great Big Boss Man, aka Big Bubba Rogers: "the only man in the world who can strap a bucket of fried chicken on his back, and ride a motor scooter across Ethiopia...”
And moving: Just a couple of years ago, I left my home in Tennessee to move to Connecticut, which is like trading a Hawaiian vacation for a bed in the cancer ward…”
Jim Cornette knew how to talk. He was funny, articulate, and despite the spoiled man/child gimmick, he could at times be down right menacing.
Next you had men like JJ Dillion and Precious Paul Ellering, who were mangers of superstars. Dillon of course was the Phil Jackson-esque manager of the Four Horsemen, while Ellering was the silent but deadly man behind the Road Warriors. These two men got on the mic, but were not the focal point; the wrestlers they managed were. Dillion was backup, and Ellering was the man who helped put the Legion of Doom on the map.
Ellering took to the backseat in order for Hawk and Animal to shine. Ellering, who was an accomplished bodybuilder, actually managed the team by booking their matches, hotel accommodations and managing finances.
Dillion, who had a nice career as a wrestler, used his experience to guide the Four Horsemen to prominence. From the group’s inception in 1985, Dillion was a pivotal piece. So pivotal in fact that both Tully Blanchard and Ole Anderson said Dillion made the team complete. The leader of the Horsemen, Ric Flair, even went as far to say that Dillion, not he, was the true leader of the Horsemen.
Then in 1985, Randy Savage changed the game…
In a storyline played out on TV, Savage had accomplished managers like the Brain Bobby Heenan, Jimmy Hart and Mr Fuji, all vying for to manage the Macho Man. Then, in a great swerve, Savage introduced his manager, who was in fact his real life wife.
Elizabeth Poffo began her in-ring career as Miss Elizabeth. There were women managers in the NWA (Dark Journey, WCCW (Missy Hyatt and Sunshine) and AWA (Sherri Martel), but it was a rarity in the WWE, and Elizabeth started the promotions slow move from male managers to hot female valets.
“This Is for all the women who want to be me, and all the men who came to see me!” -Sable
So after Sunny, Sable, Trish, Melina and now Vickie, the WWE seems to be moving the clock back in favor of guys. One has to be intrigued with where the AW/All World storyline is going. AW proved he could talk during his first stint in the WWE under the ECW brand. Now, as an “agent,” he seems to be building towards the WWE’s first major faction since the Nexus ended during the summer of 2011.
In my opinion, there has not been a significant faction in the WWE since Evolution. CM Punk’s SES (Straight Edge Society) was cool, but what did they accomplish? Same with the Nexus and the Corre. Entertaining yes, but what did they do? Outside of a few Tag titles, some nice beatdowns and CM punk winning the WWE title during his stint with the Nexus, nothing memorable, especially when it came to championships.
"Hey (Vince)McMahon, I've gotta tell you something. You impress me as an announcer. If this WWF thing does not work out for you, we could actually give you a job in ECW" -Paul Heyman
So now we come to AW and Heyman. Heyman will most likely just be by the side of Big Brock Lesnar, yet it would be cool if he was allowed to form a crew. He can talk, and would be perfect for guys like Drew McIntyre and Ryback. AW can have Raw, and give Heyman SmackDown.
Does this mean Vickie and women of her ilk are gone? I hope not. Yet if there are going to be female valets/managers…allow them to be women who can talk and add to their wrestler’s gimmick instead of taking away from it. I like what is happening with Eve, and hope that at some point, she—not Johnny Clown Shoes—is running Raw and/or SmackDown.