Greetings one and all. My apologies for my recent absence as I have lots on my plate at the moment, but in between personal and professional responsibilities, I have still found time to squeeze in the weekly five hours of WWE television, alongside snippets from NXT and other WWE-related content. My title for this piece is due to the recent interactions between the WWE Universal Champion, Brock Lesnar, and his advocate, the irrepressible Paul Heyman. What the future holds for their in-ring relationship going forward and the possible fallout remain to be seen. Whatever happens, it’s fair to say that even though Brock Lesnar is a beast, his success wouldn’t be all due to his physique and talent. A huge amount of credit must go to Heyman who has excelled and raised the bar time and time again in his role of advocate or manager of the former UFC Champion. So, given that Heyman has had such an impact, should WWE look to invest more time in managers for their talent? Let’s take a look.
Firstly, let’s draw a line in the sand and understand what a ‘Manager’ is in professional wrestling terms. There are other stars who accompany wrestlers to the ring who at first glance, may look like they are leading their charge, but on further inspection, aren’t in the same mold as a Paul Heyman. The ‘arm-candy’, more popular in a bygone era, was an important tool in the professional wrestlers armory, but the changing times we live in, plus the positive moves away from old-style thinking into a more inclusive society, make me think that we won’t see the like again anytime soon. Let’s face it, they were only put out there to make grown men ogle and drool. For examples, please google ‘WWF Godfather Ho-Train’.
Then there is the ‘Valet’ who, though usually appealing to the eye, had a more serious role in that they would actively watch their star in action and interfere where possible. The heel valets were usually outspoken, walked a tightrope when it came to promos or simply got physically involved to ensure their star won the match – for example, Lana and Rusev (when Rusev was from Russia). There were face valets who didn’t interfere but cheered their star every step of the way. Their reluctance to get involved meant they could be liability and a vulnerable target for opponents. Their safety was almost always paramount and even if it meant ignoring a pin to win a title, their star would always run to their rescue. For example of that, recall Miss Elizabeth & Macho Man Randy Savage.
With that cleared up, it leaves us with the managers. The mouthpieces of wrestlers who weren’t great at cutting promos, or those who needed a helping hand in getting to the top. Traditionally, managers are usually aligned to heels in wrestling. They’re there to build up the new star or be part of a freshening up of a character. They can be the figurehead of stables or give credibility to a rising star – their vote of confidence and belief transcends out of the ring and into the audience who will believe in a wrestler if the high-profile manager does. The previously-mentioned Paul Heyman is testament to this. His involvement early on with big name superstars lent them that edge and credibility in years gone by. His alignment with CM Punk wasn’t required in the promo department, but it showed the fans that this pair were serious about what they wanted to do and could back it up. Same could also be said of Lesnar, although I think we all know that Heyman was paired up with him primarily to speak for the beast. Heyman’s magical touch doesn’t always work however, as what may have come from the Cesaro-Heyman pairing (or Axel-Heyman?), if they’d stuck with it long enough, will always be a ‘what if’ for the WWE.
To today’s product and if managers could be of some benefit to the current WWE roster. Taking Brock out of it for a moment, who is in need of some improvement? Who could do with a mouthpiece or cunning heel in their corner? Who could do with a little help?
Authors of Pain – I have no big gripe against these guys, but I never understood why they took such an established, well-known manager like Paul Ellering away from AOP. If this was a year or two after their main roster debut, then perhaps I’d be more sympathetic to that issue. The fact that they’ve only just begun to appear on the main roster and already lost their manager is very strange. Though they have a look and style of their own, they’re not set apart from other tag teams. Ellering could’ve been a difference maker in their early days on Raw.
Mojo Rawley – I seriously believed that Mojo was on a roll in WWE and that he’d start to slowly climb the ladder up to the US Title / Intercontinental Title level of the card. Then he lost to Bobby Roode this past week on Raw. I think the likes of Rawley, who has had a stop-start career in WWE, desperately needs to stand out in some form. He’s hype (bro) and enthusiastic, but perhaps he needs someone to reign in that excitement and focus his attention on defeating stars above him on the card to gain some credibility and be considered a threat. A manager in the style of the incredible Sherri Martel would be great for him.
Roman Reigns – May as well. WWE has tried everything else (sigh). A heel Reigns with Heyman as his manager could work.
Sasha Banks – Here’s where I think WWE are missing a serious trick. They don’t have managers for their women wrestlers. Yes, there are the ’friends’ of the talent, like Mickie James accompanying Alexa Bliss, and Charlotte Flair buddying up with Becky Lynch, but would having a manager make that much of a difference? I believe it would. As I’ve said above, the introduction of a manager (male or female – I don’t care) should be a shot in the arm for the talent who work with them. Though there are many women who I believe should be given that proverbial shot (Bayley as one example), I think Sasha Banks could benefit most. She’s way better as a heel and with a real asshole as her manager, I think she could be reinvented to achieve great things. There’s no real heel women in WWE, seeing as they flip-flopped with Nia Jax too early, so I think Sasha could be the one. A new direction and new management could work wonders.
Those are a few suggestions, but what about you? Who do you think could benefit from having a manager? Do they need more in WWE at all? If so, who would you have paired up? I’d love to hear your thoughts. As always, thanks for reading.