When talking about great managers in WWE, there are several people that come to mind. Names like Miss Elizabeth, Paul Bearer, Sensational Sherri, and Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan are always brought up in conversation amongst wrestling fans.
A good manager can add extra layers to a wrestler that they couldn’t achieve by themselves. They can make an average superstar great, or a great one even better.
So, that’s why I believe another name that needs to be mentioned is Zelina Vega.
In just a few short years she has mastered the art form of being a manager, something seldom seen in today’s WWE. She commands your attention every time she is on the mic, with her passion and tenacity apparent in every word.
But at the same time, she brings a strong presence to ringside that doesn’t take away from the action inside the ring. You want to pay attention to the competitors, but to her as well. It’s no wonder she, along with Andrade & Angel Garza, are prominent features in this empty arena era of wrestling.
But let’s go back in time to see where all of this started. Vega signed with WWE back in June 2017. Shortly after, she began confronting Andrade about his laissez-faire attitude. The following month, she accompanied him to the ring and officially became his manager.
The duo found themselves in the title picture just four months later. At NXT TakeOver: WarGames, thanks in part to interference by Vega, Andrade captured the NXT Championship from Drew McIntyre.
They went on to feud with Johnny Gargano & Candice LeRae in early 2018. Andrade successfully retained the title against Gargano at NXT TakeOver: Philadelphia, a match that was the first in NXT history to receive a five-star rating from Dave Meltzer. Vega also got her first taste of in-ring action that February, with her and Andrade losing to Gargano & LeRae at an NXT house show.
Andrade would eventually lose the title to Aleister Black at NXT TakeOver: New Orleans, ending his reign at 140 days. His and Vega’s last NXT appearance came on the April 18th episode of NXT TV, where the latter lost to LeRae.
When Vega signed with the company, Andrade’s career was, quite frankly, subpar. The in-ring talent was always there, but he couldn’t connect with the fans. Then Vega came in and used her magnetic presence to make them take notice. She was the final puzzle piece that helped bring him success.
It also carried over to the main roster, albeit not right away. They went to SmackDown as part of the 2018 Superstar Shake-Up and immediately entered into a feud with Sin Cara. While Andrade won those encounters, he and Vega went on to suffer various losses at the hands of Rusev & Lana, AJ Styles, and Finn Balor.
They then moved to RAW during the October 2019 draft and began feuding with then-United States Champion Rey Mysterio. Andrade defeated Mysterio for the title at a December 26 house show at Madison Square Garden. But on January 27th, WWE suspended him for 30 days after he violated the wellness policy.
This could have easily derailed his and Vega’s momentum, but she had a trick up her sleeve. She brought up Angel Garza from NXT to be her new associate, and eventually Austin Theory as well. Once Andrade returned, the group tormented RAW for weeks after WrestleMania 36.
She also isn’t afraid to cut out people who she deems unworthy, which was apparent when Theory was kicked out of the group a month later.
Since then, her, Andrade, and Garza have flourished as a trio in the last several months. Granted, we’ve seen some cracks forming, but Vega remains steadfast in keeping both men in check.
I think it’s safe to say that without her, both of their careers would not have turned out the same. That’s the essence of Vega; she possesses this aura that draws attention to not only herself, but to whoever she’s associated with. All they need is the in-ring talent and she’ll provide the captivating promos.
It’s honestly hard not to believe whatever she says because she owns it so well. She walks like she’s six-foot-tall, knows how strong of a woman she really is, and isn’t afraid to show it.
Vega was criminally underrated for a while, so I’m glad she’s starting to get the recognition she deserves. She’s definitely shown what she can do outside the ring, so hopefully we’ll get to see more of what she can do inside it in the future.
But for now, let’s all just admire the brilliance of one Zelina Vega.