One of my favorite aspects of the independent wrestling scene is its abundance of managers. Unlike the WWE and like, bigger promotions, indy wrestling relies heavily on these managers (usually former wrestlers and current trainers) to cut impromptu promos, interact with the fans, and – of course – turn the tide in favor of their usually heel clientele.
At a recent FIP show in Ybor City, it dawned on Huricanrana and I just how essential these managers are to the live experience. So Cal Val, Truth Martini, Veda Scott, and Mr. St. Laurent bring the house down literally every match they participate in. They bridge storylines during a match, sell key moments, and serve as essential fan entertainment to keep things interesting. Truth be told, managers are often times the highlight of house shows based on their tremendous behind-the-scenes legwork.
Still – and in exception to the legendary Paul Heyman – the WWE is devoid of almost any managerial presence. Zeb Colter’s disappearance coincided with the same fate for Jack Swagger. Idiotic spouse attempts (Naomi, Natalya) or siblings (Bella Twins) end up a storytelling disaster that forces matches down rabbit holes no one is interested in. It saddens me to realize this once a league featuring Bobby Heenan, Mr. Fuji, Ms. Elizabeth, among there.
With the unfortunate rash of spinal and concussion injuries, the WWE should do the right thing in maintaining it’s top talent in non-contact roles. Daniel Bryan would be a stud for a character needing a dynamic personality behind him/her. The recently retired Goldust could go gangbusters in bringing his legendary flair to a ring corner. Finally, mixing genders (female managers for men…and vice versa) will add a much needed grey area for a women’s division ripe with bad stereotypes.