At the time of the wrestling boom in the mid-1980s, managers were a concept that had exploded in popularity. Across the NWA, AWA and WWF (the big three wrestling promotions in North America), there was talent such as Bobby Heenan, Jimmy Hart, Sheik Adnan Al-Kaissie, Miss Elizabeth, Oliver Humperdink, Mr Fuji, J.J. Dillon, Baby Doll, Paul Ellering, Jim Cornette, Slick and many others dominating the wrestling screen. Since then, although dying out in the modern-day, this has been a widely-used idea so much so that there is a whole list worth of wrestling managers that will forever slip the mind of the wrestling fan.
10. James Dudley
You may be forgiven for initially presuming with a name like James Dudley, this entry is one of the many forgotten members of The Dudley Boyz like Chubby, Dances With or Snot Dudley however he just happens to share the surname and actually predates them by many years.
James Dudley was actually inducted into the WWE (then WWF) Hall Of Fame in 1994 – the first year where multiple entries took place.
The reason for this? He was Vince McMahon Sr.’s cab driver. However, he also had a forgotten run as a manager.
The reliable second-in-command to Vincent J. McMahon had a short stint as a manager. Known for breaking down boundaries (such as being the first African-American to manage an arena), he was an early black manager, managing the likes of Bearcat Wright, Sailor Art Thomas and Sweet Daddy Siki. He did this under the name Leroy Brown. Yet the biggest was likely Bobo Brazil who Dudley would run out swinging a towel for to hype up the audience.
Citing Vince as a father figure, Dudley’s role in the company was one of the most significant behind-the-scenes contributions of the era and would be willing to go to great lengths for McMahon. His life is a fascinating read – living until the age of 94, last appearing for WWE at the age of 91 and having many children (38 grandchildren, 34 great-grandchildren and 16 great-great-grandchildren).
Yet despite his major contributions off-screen, one thing that nobody ever brings up about the WWE Hall Of Famer is his short-lived stint with managerial duties.
9. Lance Wright
The 1997 ECW invasion on WWF TV may have seemed a surreal experience but it was certainly memorable. However, what about the WWE invasion of ECW?
The stable from WWE that invaded ECW mostly consisted of mostly lower-card or forgotten WWF talents like The Can-Am Express (Doug Furnas and Phil LaFon), Droz and Brakkus.
Titan Team as they were sometimes referred to, were led by a particularly forgotten manager in that of Lance Wright.
Wright was the stereotype corporate shill, buying heat on his WWF association alone. Wearing suits and with immaculate hair, Wright portrayed the depiction of a preppy, northern rich kid who was pro-WWF.
Wright’s actions as a manager even include the concept of draping a defeated opponent with a flag emblazoned with the WWF logo.
8. Vivacious Veronica
Cocaine aside, one thing that the 1980s had but the 1990s likely had less of was alliterative names. Whilst the 80s were abundant with these, the 1990s tended to see less usage of this in naming wrestlers. Yet there is no name more than the 80s than Vivacious Veronica.
Vivacious Veronica was actually the first manager of a big-time Steve Austin. “Stunning” Steve debuted with her at his side and would quickly capture the WCW Television title from Bobby Eaton. Behind the scenes, no chemistry was seen by management. After only a few weeks, Veronica was dropped in favour of Lady Blossom, Jeanie Clarke – the real-life wife of Steve Austin (and ex-partner of “Gentleman” Chris Adams and Billy Jack Haynes).
Veronica would make a solitary ECW appearance and go on to marry Rex King, better known as Timothy Dunn in the WWF. Considering she was the first manager for wrestling’s biggest star on a major stage, her short stint there seems to have gone forgotten by history.
The manager with the most ECW name ever, Chastity would manage the likes of The BWO, Raven and Justin Credible during his most memorable run, which took place in Extreme Championship Wrestling.
Under the recommendation of Raven, Chastity was hired by ECW in 1998. She was originally given the gimmick of a superfan of The Blue World Order. She would eventually turn on The Blue Meanie, Stevie Richards and Nova in order to join up with Raven’s Nest.
Raven would leave for WCW soon after as Chastity was forced to move on and manage a new client: Justin Credible. She joined the larger inner circle surrounding the future Impact Player such as Jason and Nicole Bass. Here, she would guide him to wins over Mikey Whipwreck and Jerry Lynn and take a fair few solid bumps of her own in this time.
She herself would jump to WCW to manage Raven again, this time as his kayfabe sister. She would turn on him to join a relationship with Hak – the WCW name of The Sandman.
Likely the most memorable part of her WCW run was her firing. She was eventually let go when it was discovered she had produced an adult film performing oral sex on a man alongside another woman. The video was titled Live Bait – and yes, please stop typing it into your incognito browser, I can see you.
Ultimately, mostly a background character or in a group, Chastity has been relegated to the leagues of forgotten wrestling history.
6. Uncle Cletus
Former multi-time Smoky Mountain Wrestling world titleholder The Dirty White Boy was drafted into the WWF in the mid-1990s and repackaged as hapless lower-card plumber TL Hopper. Yet it would take a real hardcore fan to know his other gimmick. After a hiatus away, he returned in September 1997 as Uncle Cletus. In this, he aided kayfabe relatives The Godwinns to a victory over World Tag Team champions The Headbangers.
At the next PPV, Badd Blood: In Your House, The Godwinns win the titles but drop them only 2 days later to The Legion Of Doom and then Uncle Cletus disappeared.
There is very little to remark about the typical slack-jawed yokel Cletus. Wearin’ denim dungarees and with a big beard, he blends straight into the stereotypical wrestling southern farmer mould. After only about a month, he left Phineas I. Godwinn and Henry O. Godwinn, which was still only the second-best team the duo made, ranking below their WCW run.
Despite bafflingly never winning the WCW World Tag Team titles, The Bluebloods were one of the greatest tag teams to ever come out of WCW.
The team – most famously comprised of Lord Steven Regal and Earl Robert Eaton (Bobby Eaton) – would take in new members in the form of both Squire David Taylor as well as a new manager. More memorably, Regal in particular was managed by Sir William, as portrayed by Bill Dundee – the real-life father-in-law of Eaton and performer renowned in his own right in the Memphis territory.
However, alongside Taylor, a new manager was introduced – a butler named Jeeves. This was perhaps named after the British P.G. Wodehouse character famously played British actor Stephen Fry a few years earlier (in Jeeves And Wooster, starring alongside double act partner Hugh Laurie). Other than him managing on big matches such as Regal’s brutal bout against Fit Finlay at 1996’s Uncensored, he did very little of note. On an episode of the ‘What Happened When’ podcast, Tony Schiavone revealed the person who played Jeeves also dressed in the costume of the WCW mascot Wildcat Willie. He was eventually dropped after showing defiance to the group when aiding rival Bobby Eaton.
4. The Lock
From the mid-1970s onwards, W(e/i)nona Littleheart played the role of the Native American – a role played by Chief Jay Strongbow, Wahoo McDaniel, as well as Tatanka in more recent times.
She would battle across various NWA territories and even the WWF, where she challenged for Leilani Kai’s Women’s title belt.
In the Tampa territory, she played Cindy Lou – a childhood friend of the Windham family. She was then abducted by Kevin Sullivan who renamed her The Lock (sometimes stylised as The Lok), due to “The Prince Of Darkness” keeping her under lock and key. She would often wear dark face paint and rock a mohawk in this more Satanic gimmick. She would even team with another member of the group, Luna Vachon, to become The Daughters Of Darkness.
Although perhaps remembered by some in that territory, her legacy as manager of the faction has likely been forgotten by the contributions of more famous managers such as Woman and Luna Vachon. Perhaps lost in the cult, the many migrating members have perhaps left her linking in the darkness of common knowledge.
3. Hunter Q. Robbins III
Resembling a slightly more yell-prone Richard Ayoade, Hunter Q. Robbins III was a manager in Eastern Championship Wrestling who led multiple teams to title gold.
Initially, Robbins managed The Super Destroyers – Super Destroyer #1 (A.J. Petrucchi) and Super Destroyer #2 (Doug Stahl) to become the inaugural ECW World Tag Team champions. The super heavyweight tandem aided by Robbins managed to win a title vs title match against the WWA tag titleholders and successfully defended the belts on the first televised edition of ECW TV. The longest singly reign in the ECW World Tag title history ended at the hands of Tony Stetson and Larry Winters after 282 days.
Afterwards, Robbins went on to manage The Suicide Blondes, consisting of Chris Michaels, Chris Candido and Johnny Hotbody. The team would be 2-time World Tag title holders, utilising the Freebird Rule and only dropping the belts when forced due to Candido leaving for Smoky Mountain Wrestling.
For a short period before he left, Robbins also managed former ECW champion Jimmy Snuka. The most memorable moments of which include Snuka beating a young Tommy Dreamer at The Night The Line Was Crossed – in a match where “The Innovator Of Violence” became the first wrestler to ever kick out of the Superfly Splash. Robbins also would aid Snuka in a victory over Kevin Sullivan at When Worlds Collide 1994 before himself being assaulted by Sullivan.
Robbins even got in the ring a few times wrestling talent as diverse as British Bulldog to The Sandman and Sherri Martel to Tod Gordon.
2. The Baron
When it comes to old school wrestling heels, there may be none who fulfil the role better than the bruising Baron Von Raschke.
The first holder of the NWA Television title (after it was renamed and he had won a tournament over other regional titleholders), Raschke was one of the top heels of the era. Perhaps most famous for his dreaded Iron Claw hold and his gimmick of being a Nazi paratrooper – which I’m sure would get over today(!). A multi-title holder across the NWA and AWA, his biggest exposure in the WWF beforehand was challenging Bruno Sammartino for the WWF title.
In 1988, Raschke was brought into the WWF. Yet rather than rekindling his previous dominance, the 48-year-old was repackaged as a manager. Given a dark hood and face paint around his eyes, he has simply renamed The Baron without acknowledgement of his past.
He was only there for a short period, cropping up at the first SummerSlam in 1988 to manage a face Powers Of Pain team in a victory over The Bolsheviks. He was gone by November, not reappearing on a big scale again. The management of The Powers Of Pain would be taken over by Mr Fuji after they turned heel.
Recently reappearing at AEW’s Full Gear PPV, many likely remember the foreign heel role played effectively by Raschke but not his time as a face manager in the WWF.
1. Kristal Marshall
An ex-model and beauty queen, Kristal Marshall made her first appearance on WWE TV in 2005 as a competitor in the highly-acclaimed Raw Diva Search, finishing 4th. After training in WWE developmental brand Deep South Wrestling, she became an on-screen personality as an interviewer and correspondent.
Later, Kristal became a wrestler and a feature of the SmackDown brand, fighting alongside the likes of Michael McCool, Jillian Hall and Ashley Massaro.
Amidst her in-ring career, she would form an alliance with The Miz. Early in the career of the youthful and obvious heel, the two would start a relationship after The Miz showed bias officiating in a Trick Or Treat Battle Royal, letting Marshall win.
The next week, the duo beat Vito and Layla before facing off against The Boogeyman, resulting in a no contest. She would revert back to a non-wrestling role afterwards.
Yet she would resume her managerial duties in TNA alongside real-life partner Bobby Lashley. Kristal Lashley was originally an overexcited, overzealous fan towards Lashley, cheering him during his 2009 Bound For Glory bout against Samoa Joe. A short program with Scott Steiner ensued, resulting in her only TNA match on the 285th edition of Impact in a mixed tag loss against “Big Poppa Pump” and Awesome Kong. She would similarly not last long as Lashley left the company to focus on his MMA career.
As for the most memorable moment in her managing career, your best guess is as good as mine.
So, there we go. Not all managers can be as memorable as Jim Cornette, Bobby Heenan and Miss Elizabeth. Due to short tenures, obscure clients or being present in a populous scene – these are the ones lost to wrestling history that would be the very last ones mentioned in wrestling trivia questions. Across WCW, ECW, WWF/E, TNA and across the whole wrestling industry we see those who would ultimately sink in the immense pool of wrestling managers and it seems there forever will be those who can be found as shipwrecks, lying derelict on the seabed.