WWE and More: Top 50 Managers in Wrestling History
Whether they are great wrestlers themselves, celebrities, or simply eye candy, managers are crucial to boosting the career of some superstars. Over the years, managers have been utilized as coaches, sex symbols, mouthpieces and much more.
Here are the 50 greatest managers in wrestling history. There is no particular order to this list. It was difficult to conjure up 50, but if there are any you feel were left out, please say so in the comments area.
We start off this list with the original embodiment of the term "Diva," Sunny. Wherever she went, success quickly followed. At one point, she managed three consecutive tag team champions.
Initially starting with The Bodydonnas, who she helped form, she turned on them in favor of the Godwinns, who had just won the championships back. She then aided The Smoking Gunns into taking the belts away.
Sunny also was in the corner of Faarooq during his quest of the Intercontinental Championship. Despite the reasons of her being removed from WWE programming, she helped to produce the idea of being "smart, sexy and powerful" that the WWE Divas live up to today.
There isn't a guy who hit puberty in the late 1990s that doesn't know who Sable is. The definition of a sex symbol, Sable has accompanied Triple H and Marc Mero, her ex-husband, to the ring in the past.
Sable had her issues with WWE as well, but came back in 2003 to patch things up with the company.
After leaving the company for a second time, Sable divorced Marc Mero and married another good fighter, UFC competitor Brock Lesnar.
For anyone who still refers to large breasts for women in wrestling as "puppies," thank Debra. Debra used all of her, ahem..."assets" to help her wrestlers win matches.
She helped to aid Owen Hart and Jeff Jarrett to tag team gold. The team was going to begin using the name Talent and Attitude (T&A), until Hart died suddenly in 1999. The name would later be used by another blonde bombshell on the list.
Debra would manage many more wrestlers over the years, but ended her stay in WWE with then-husband Stone Cold Steve Austin, with whom she is aligned most often.
Before becoming one of the best Divas in WWE today, Melina was a regular person like the rest of us. She is the only member of this list to have come from Tough Enough.
She used her sexuality and unusual way of entering the ring to help MNM (which stood for Melina Nitro Mercury) to tag team gold. After Joey Mercury was released, Melina stayed by the side of Johnny Nitro, her boyfriend whom she met during Tough Enough.
After Nitro went to ECW and became John Morrison, Melina was on her own as a singles competitor and has been fine ever since.
They were always different.
They never said a word.
They were always beautiful (well, most of the time).
Whenever The Godfather rolled into your hometown, teenage boys would pray that their older sister wouldn't be coming down the ramp as one of The Godfather's Ho's.
They never did anything to help The Godfather win, but the post-victory dancing was what made the crowd want to see him win every time.
There was even one instance where one of the Ho's got a little greedy and went for a pinfall in a Hardcore Championship match, winning the belt for a short time. Oh, those ho's...
The name just makes you not like the guy. The guy brings instant heat no matter where he manages. And where he has managed has been everywhere.
Seriously, check his Wikipedia page and see the long list of superstars and teams he has stood in the corner for. I don't have all day to even get into what people have done under Wippleman.
In 2000, Wippleman actually won the Women's Championship. He is the only male to ever do so, not that it is an accomplishment to be proud of.
A great manager can be a mouthpiece for their wrestler in order for their message to come across clearer to the fans. This idea was thrown on its side with Daivari, who normally addressed the fans speaking in Persian (not Arabic, not that it matters to most people, since they cannot understand either).
When he initially managed Muhammad Hassan, Daivari brought instant heat and helped Hassan during his massive push. However, politics beyond Hassan's control forced him the pink slip and seemed to leave Daivari with nothing to do.
He also had himself aligned with Kurt Angle, even being his personal referee at one point. Daivari can also wrestle himself, winning the X Division Championship in TNA.
Nicknamed "The Ninth Wonder Of The World," Chyna was menacing alongside of Triple H during his rise into the main event. She was the unusual female muscle in the faction of D-Generation X. She combined the sexuality of a female manager with the fear of an enforcer in the way that only she could.
She was also Women's Champion once, but Chyna is known more for the firsts that she did. She is still the only female to win the Intercontinental Championship, something that she did three times. She was the first woman to be in the King of the Ring tournament and the Royal Rumble.
Chyna was also a No. 1 contender for the WWF Championship before losing the honor later .
Speaking of enforcers, how can you forget the original enforcer, Arn Anderson? While Anderson is never officially billed as a manager of anyone, Anderson's ties as the enforcer of the Four Horsemen helped Anderson be a living legend.
When you use your muscle to make sure that people like Ric Flair get their victories, you know that you are doing something right.
One of my all-time favorite valets, Stacy Keibler made everything look sexy. She dressed up as Super Stacy when she came out with the superhero team of Rosey and The Hurricane.
She made being a Dudley look sexy when she was aligned with the Dudley Boyz. She also walked around as arm candy for Test, Randy Orton and Scott Steiner.
She was so distracting that...
.... I'm sorry, what was I gonna say?
One of the most intelligent wrestling minds around today, Matt Striker makes the list for the potential he had as a manager.
Sure, he was only really managing Big Daddy V during his lone brief push, but Striker, a former teacher in New York City, has forgotten more about professional wrestling than you will ever know.
He also aligned himself briefly with Mark Henry, but his wit, intelligence and charisma remind me of a young version of a "brainy" guy we will get to later.
Since when did I say that a great manager had to be human?
Damien, the snake carried around Jake "The Snake" Roberts, is the entire reason that we even view Roberts as a legend in this business.
Damien would sit in his bag at ringside during the match, only for Roberts to unleash him at will to bite an opponent.
Damien's simple presence in that bag was enough to give Roberts an edge in a match and the snake a spot on this list.
Flair, a 16-time world champion, likely owes a lot to a few people on this list, but it was his guidance in Evolution that earns his spot here.
While Triple H was already well-established, Flair helped to put The Game in a place that his career had never been before. He also helped to launch the careers of Batista and Randy Orton, who would both win world championships as well.
The only way to become truly heel in ECW was ventured by Bill Alfonso.
In his first appearance with the company, Alfonso was a referee who called a match straight down the middle and would disqualify wrestlers for things such as using steel chairs, which are about as legal as an Irish Whip.
Alfonso has managed some of the best that the Land of Extreme has ever offered us, including Taz, Sabu and Rob Van Dam.
Before becoming arguably one of the best Women's Champions of the past decade, Trish Stratus first managed Test and Albert, referring to them as T&A. She would use her seductive nature to distract other wrestlers with her sexuality.
Along with eventually becoming a six-time Women's Champion, the most in history, Stratus managed everyone from Christian to Triple H, even managing women like Mickie James and Ashley Massaro.
Shame on you if you have no idea who this man is. "The Golden Boy" Arnold Skaaland managed both Bruno Sammartino and Bob Backlund to two of the longest WWF Championship reigns in history.
Skaaland was inducted in the WWE Hall of Fame in 1994, just the second class ever and is seen as the second man to ever be inducted, after the late Andre the Giant as the lone inductee in 1993.
Think of WCW and who do you think of?
No, not him. We will get to him later.
Eric Bischoff constantly tried to breathe life into World Championship Wrestling and, while being who many consider to be the manager of the New World Order, Bischoff was greater as the manager when it came to WCW as a whole.
During the Monday Night Wars, Bischoff did whatever he could to make his product better, which often led to the bad ideas that we still remember to this day.
Bischoff is still one of the best men to have in your corner, but don't bother trying to not turn your back on him. He's already plotting to stab you in the back.
The eccentric Rico may look like a joke to many of you, but his managerial skills helped Billy and Chuck be one of the more underrated tag teams in the 2000s.
He also led Three Minute Warning around after Eric Bischoff had moved on from Rosey and Jamal.
Little known fact: he also did some managing in Ohio Valley Wrestling, prior to being brought up to WWE. He managed an up-and-coming wrestler known as The Prototype, who would one day become John Cena.
Scott D'Amore was known more in the wrestling business as a road agent and a jobber before joining TNA in 2003.
Initially a road agent, he helped bring Chris Sabin to TNA and helped form Team Canada, the most dominant faction TNA had seen before the Main Event Mafia and, more recently, Fourtune and Immortal came onto the scene.
D'Amore became known as Coach D'Amore, guiding Team Canada to more victories than there are moose in the country of Canada.
D'Amore also became head writer for TNA, which eased him off of television until Team Canada disbanded permanently.
Sure, she can't sing, but she was a pretty good manager before she thought she was a pop star. Jillian Hall came onto our television sets as a "fixer", helping MNM win matches and land photo shoots.
She is most known as a manager for helping John "Bradshaw" Layfield and becoming his "image consultant."
The ironic part in all of this was that Jillian Hall had this weird growth on her cheek, which was eventually bitten off by The Boogeyman.
Gotta love wrestling storylines...
I have never really been a fan of Hornswoggle. I have never liked the gimmick. I don't like that he is still around.
But you cannot argue with the fact that he is distracting and can act as a great manager.
By the way, thanks for killing the Cruiserweight division, little guy.
Lauper was not a regular manager, but her appearance in the corner of Wendi Richter at the first WrestleMania helped to strengthen the bond between WWE and Hollywood that made WrestleMania the juggernaut that it is today.
Vince Russo: the Voldemort of professional wrestling.
The simple idea of calling Vince Russo a great manager? Are you serious?
Well, yes. He was great in the fact that he impacted the history of sports entertainment. His name still lives in infamy.
I'm holding out hope for him to release a book full of all the bad ideas he had for WCW that he never followed through with. Now THAT would be a stocking stuffer.
The former Nitro Girl Sharmell is most known for her managerial duties to her real-life husband Booker T.
She may not have done much, but her portrayal as queen to King Booker made her memorable. I still hate that fake accent that she had, but it worked.
It wasn't too often that women normally managed other women, so it was a treat when Victoria hung around Torrie Wilson and Candice Michelle.
Seriously, it was a treat. They kissed and stuff. It was awesome.
Okay, back to serious business...
The Bella Twins
The Bella Twins are the best managers in WWE right now. Don't believe me? When they manage each other, they are almost unbeatable.
If one is in trouble, they switch off, almost never getting caught. What other manager could do that?
James Mitchell was one of the more popular managers in the history of ECW and worked well as manager to The Gathering, Abyss and Judas Mesias in TNA.
Mitchell was a creepy guy in general and almost seems like a poor man's Paul Bearer at first glance.
However, Mitchell was his own breed of general manager, acting more like a sinister version of a lion tamer, pushing his talent to be ruthless.
SMH was a good manager with Test, but became a great one when she turned heel with Triple H. Her back and forth with Chris Jericho is memorable.
The love triangle with her, Triple H and Kurt Angle also sticks out. Perhaps her greatest work was as a member of The Alliance as they tried to take down the WWF.
Ellering is one of those managers that is great and is seldom known by wrestling fans. Ellering is best known as the manager of the famous Legion of Doom.
The group has been selected to be inducted into the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame in May 2011.
This hottie was one of the most sought after managers in the late 1990s. That fact is so true that there was actually a best-of-five series between Edge and Christian and The Hardy Boys in order to win her services.
Her most memorable managerial jobs were with Goldust, whom she married, and Perry Saturn, who ditched her in the storyline for a mop. Those Radicalz and their head trauma... Too soon?
Teddy Long was initially a referee who turned into a manager. Initially, he was very critical of the treatment of African-American wrestlers.
He aligned with Jazz, who dominated the women's division for a time, as well as Mark Henry upon his push toward the main event.
I only wish that his management of Rodney Mack had worked out better, but if not for that, Long would have never gotten the kick-ass theme song that he still parades around with today. Holla, holla...
Richards was your typical worker who would job for the sake of a young guy getting a push.
However, his storyline of Right to Censor was perfect for the time and brought in many wrestlers such as Ivory, The Godfather, Val Venis and Bull Buchanan. Right to Censor was the Straight Edge Society a decade in advance.
While it was wildly successful, you have to believe that the faction, at least partially, won the good fight, judging by the current PG format.
Michael "P.S." Hayes
Michael "Purely Sexy" Hayes has had a great impact in professional wrestling, mainly in the sense of tag team wrestling. In NWA, he was a part of the Fabulous Freebirds with Terry Gordy and Buddy Roberts.
When they were tag team champions, they created the Freebird Rule, which meant that any two of the three of them could defend the champions. This rule has since been used by many teams.
In WWE, Hayes seemed to try to create a new Freebird alliance with The Hardy Boys when they won the tag team championships. However, it was Hayes who lost them the titles when he was pinned in a match alongside of them.
He was then fired by the team and has stayed with WWE since. He currently is the head writer for Smackdown, so we can all thank him for the last shred of legitimate wrestling in WWE now.
Armando Alejandro Estrada worked perfectly with Umaga. It was a little strange to have a Cuban character paired with a Samoan monster, but there have been stranger pairings. Since Umaga never spoke, Estrada's thick accent made him more difficult to deal with.
Estrada called the shots for the Samoan Bulldozer until Vince McMahon took control. Estrada would eventually become a part of ECW and show his wrestling ability toward the end of his career with WWE.
Wherever Mr. Fuji went, he won. Period. It only made sense since Fuji won tag team gold of his own back in the World Wide Wrestling Federation.
Despite being voted by PWI as Worst Manager of the Year for a very long time, Fuji is a legendary manager.
His aligning with Yokozuna was perhaps his greatest work, changing his look and helping Yokozuna become a two-time WWE Champion.
"Classy" Freddie Blassie
Speaking of legendary, there is "Classy" Freddie Blassie. Blassie actually was never going to stop wrestling except for the law that prohibited him from getting a wrestling license in California after the age of 55.
Blassie managed virtually anyone that meant anything to wrestling in the late 70s and most of the 1980s.
He was a member of the WWE staff until the day he died, appearing on an episode of RAW three weeks before his death.
In the episode, he told D-Von to get the tables and put Rico of Three Minute Warning through it.
Find me a creepier manager. It's hard to imagine what The Undertaker would have been without Paul Bearer. Without his mouthpiece, I don't know if the scariness of The Phenom would have set in as well.
Without The Undertaker, there is no Kane. Without either of them, there is no Hell In A Cell, Buried Alive Match, Inferno Match or Casket Match. What a scary thought.
Thank God for Paul Bearer and his creepy-ass voice.
Paul E. Dangerously
You may know him better as Paul Heyman, but as Paul E. Dangerously, he turned ECW into the cult following that it was.
When Heyman came to WWE, he brought out the momentum of The Alliance, helped form Team Angle and introduced us to The Next Big Thing, Brock Lesnar.
Luna was not the sexiest Diva around, but she was intimidating enough to get the job done.
Gangrel, Tommy Dreamer, and the Oddities were among her managerial stops. Her most unique job was as Goldust's manager, especially while he was The Artist Formerly Known as Goldust. Now THAT was some weird stuff...
The Grand Wizard
The Grand Wizard of Wrestling is the original wrestling manager personality and the one that every other one since has been modeled after. If you want to be a manager one day, you need to do your homework, and The Grand Wizard is your textbook.
The Grand Wizard was solely responsible for Stan Stasiak taking down Pedro Morales and ending his 1,027 days as WWWF (World Wide Wrestling Federation) champion, shocking the wrestling world in the process. The rest is just icing on the cake.
The legendary manager of The Four Horsemen, J.J. Dillon sat pretty with one of the best jobs in the history of wrestling: walk around and tell Arn Anderson, Ric Flair, Ole Anderson and Tully Blanchard what they need to do.
The best part of The Four Horsemen is the fact that their formation was literally a fluke. Due to time constraints at a television taping, the men were thrown together and it was all`uphill from there.
The first African-American manager in WWE history, Slick was thrust into the spotlight for managers.
As Freddie Blassie's health deteriorated, Slick gradually took over all managerial duties of Blassie.
It is a shame that Slick has now fallen out of grace and is seldom recognized by the average wrestling fan.
Most fans during RAW Goes Old School must have scratched their head and wondered what the hell happened to The Godfather.
Miss Elizabeth was the kind of manager that made you want to be a professional wrestler just so that you could have a woman like that in your corner.
She took Randy Savage and made him that much more legendary. Their wedding is still one of the more memorable ones in WWE history, which is saying something.
Victoria's song may have said "I ain't the lady to mess with...", but I think that song was written for Sensational Sherri.
Known for her managing of teams such as Harlem Heat and The Midnight Rockers, she was a part of the storyline that helped establish Shawn Michaels as The Heartbreak Kid.
She may be the most extreme Diva around, but she began as Essa Rios' sexy manager. Pretty soon, people became more impressed with Lita than Essa Rios.
Her move over to The Hardy Boys to form Team Xtreme and her relationship with Matt Hardy is well-documented and her managerial duties led her to Kane and, eventually, Edge.
Regardless, Lita had success on her own, while also being responsible for singles gold and tag team gold on multiple occasions for the men in her life.
There are few managers more well-known than Jim Cornette. If there was one man involved in wrestling that I would want to do a shoot interview with, it is Cornette...well, after the Iron Sheik.
Cornette has managed The Midnight Express, The Heavenly Bodies, The Headhunters, The Briscoe Brothers and many others.
"The Mouth of the South" Jimmy Hart can give any wrestler instant credibility. He was there for the beginning of the Hart Foundation, helped The Honky Tonk Man be the longest-reigning Intercontinental Champion and managed a wrestlers with every championship you can think of.
He even managed the Glamour Girls, who won the often-forgotten WWF Women's Tag Team Championship.
I could only imagine where her husband Eddie's career would have ended up if she had managed him. Vickie brings gold no matter where she goes.
She helped Edge win world championships and formed La Familia. She even helped Chavo Guererro win the ECW Championship.
She also helped manage Lay-Cool to championships and is the reason Dolph Ziggler is Intercontinental Champion. She also was the pro of NXT Season 3 winner Kaitlyn.
Capt. Lou Albano
The Wild Samoans, The Headshrinkers and The Moondogs are just some of the tag teams that this legendary manager has been in charge of. He has also managed nearly 30 singles competitors and was a big part of the Rock N' Wrestling Connection in the 1980s.
Albano's legend still lives on and the world truly showed appreciation for the man after his death last year.
He was also known as Mario in the live-action part of the Super Mario Brothers Super Show, a cult classic in the world of television.
Bobby "The Brain" Heenan
I started with a picture of "The Brain", so I had to finish with the same thing. Heenan's health lately has been thrown into question, which leaves this as perfect a time as any to show this long list.
Regardless of the fact that there is no order to this list, Bobby Heenan should be No. 1 on the list of any rankings of wrestling managers.