The art of the professional wrestling manager is something that has become a thing of the past in World Wrestling Entertainment for reasons that boggle the mind. A plethora of talents on the current WWE roster could possibly get over with fans if they only had mouthpieces cutting promos for them. Even more baffling is that certain individuals who are currently signed to WWE deals could be used as successful managers if only the company desired to have such characters on shows such as Raw and SmackDown. Corey Graves has been a great addition to the NXT commentary team, but he could be even more useful as a heel manager.
Back in the good old days of pro wrestling, companies such a World Championship Wrestling were not so foolish about such notions. WCW had a long history of managers being linked with wrestlers and with groups. J.J. Dillon was, for a time, the manager of legendary stable the Four Horsemen. Before he was the advocate for Brock Lesnar and the man responsible for bringing Extreme Championship Wrestling to mainstream wrestling fans, Paul Heyman was known as Paul E. Dangerously, a heel manager who had his alliance of talented wrestlers. One could see back then that Heyman was something special when compared with other characters.
Just as with many aspects of the wrestling business, WCW also had its fair share of bad and even terrible managers. First on the list is a woman who is one of the most recognizable names of her time, a manager who played a character that was strange and even, at times, hard to watch when she was featured on WCW television. The two individuals who top the list were, on television and behind the scenes, responsible for so many things going wrong in WCW. One has to wonder how different the wrestling business would be today if both of those men decided that being on-air characters was a terrible idea.
15 Miss Elizabeth
Long-time wrestling fans have, for years, viewed Miss Elizabeth as an iconic manager when she was linked with “Macho Man” Randy Savage in the WWE. That's fine and all, but it does not erase the fact that Miss Elizabeth was not anything special of a manager during her long stint in WCW. There were, in fact, times when she appeared as if she did not want to be part of angles or on television, at all. Now knowing all that we know about Elizabeth and about her tragic ending, it would not be a stretch to suggest that she would have been better off never entering the wrestling business in the first place.
The gimmick had by Midajah, when she first made the transition to an on-air character and a manager, was that she was one of the “freaks” who accompanied “Big Poppa Pump” Scott Steiner to the ring. Granted, Midajah did not have to do all that much during this portion of her career. It is also worth noting that Steiner did not need a manager or a mouthpiece, as WCW often left him with an open mic when doing so was not always the best decision. Midajah may not have been all that offensive of a manager, but that does not mean that she was great or even all that good by any standard.
13 Teddy Long
There were numerous times during his runs in WCW, and also in the WWE, when Teddy Long was an entertaining figure regardless of if he was playing a babyface or a heel. Long's run in WCW during the mid-1990s does not make the list. The company paired Long with acts such as Marcus Bagwell, Craig Pitman, Jim Powers and Ice Train. His gimmick, per storylines, was that Long was a manager for guys who lost all that time. This made Long literally a poor manager in WCW, let alone a character who did not serve much of a purpose minus feuding with referee Nick Patrick for a short time.
12 Sista Sherri
Sherri Martel was well known for her runs in the WWE and WCW, during which she was largely a heel and an opposite of the Miss Elizabeth character. As good as Sherri was throughout her career, she makes the list for her time in WCW when she managed Harlem Heat. Not only was it weird, it was also a reminder that the 1990s were a much different time, since she had the name “Sista Sherri.” The love storyline involving Sherri and another manager on this list was absolutely awful, it went on and on without much direction, and then it was basically dropped out of nowhere, almost as if WCW knew how bad that story had been.
11 Rick Rude
“Ravishing” Rick Rude was a tremendous talker during his day, so much so that one could even state that this aspect of Rude's game was underrated. With that said, Rude was really only brought into WCW because the company wanted to grab him from the WWE during the “Monday Night Wars.” Rude went from being a guy who barely did much of anything with D-Generation X to a guy who barely did anything while with the New World Order. It is too bad that injuries shortened Rude's in-ring career, because he deserved a run with a significant World Heavyweight Championship.
10 Col. Robert Parker
Col. Robert Parker was a blatant ripoff of Col. Tom Parker, best known for being the manager of Elvis Presley. Tom was a success who had ups and downs during his career. Rob Parker, per storylines, seemed to have more downs than ups, in part because he was a cowardly heel. Parker repeatedly feuded with Harlem Heat, who were his on-again/off-again clients. Worst of all was the previously mentioned love story involving Parker and Sherri. One thing we have to admit is that fans would pop whenever a babyface would hit Parker during a match. Parker admittedly drew heat, which is admirable even if his act does not live up to today's standards.
9 King Curtis
Nothing, absolutely nothing, could have saved the ridiculous and cartoon-esque act known in the 1990s as The Dungeon of Doom. King Curtis playing The Master did the group zero favors. The Master, in storyline, did not really do much of note except try to play a character who could have been out of an awful Star Wars remake. The least that The Master, Kevin Sullivan and The Dungeon of Doom could have done was put a dent in Hulkamania, but they didn't even manage to get that right. Considering Hogan's heel turn and alliance with the New World Order, maybe the Dungeon of Doom had it right all along. Hmm...
We will come out and admit that there were some segments involving Ralphus that were funny. We know, nearly two decades after the Ralphus character made his debut on WCW television, that he was linked with Chris Jericho in part because Jericho was never going to get a true main event push while working with the company. As funny as were some of the interactions between Jericho and Ralphus, the act got old once the “manager” was linked with Norman Smiley. There could be a whole section on the ridiculousness that was the Smiley character, but that will have to be for a different time and different piece.
7 Tony Marinara
We have to assume that we have television show The Sopranos to blame for this character seeing the light of day. Before he became the wrestler known as Tony Mamaluke and a member of the Full Blooded Italians in ECW, he was a manager in WCW who had the name Tony Marinara. Marinara was, in storyline, a mobster who was not all that scary or imposing. WCW programming and storylines had fallen off a cliff even before Marinara arrived on the scene, and he is just one of the many failed ideas that the company produced as it tried to regain the popularity that it had lost.
6 Ted DiBiase
“The Million Dollar Man,” Ted DiBiase, was one of the best characters that the WWE produced during the 1980s and early 1990s. DiBiase could, of course, only play so much of that role while in WCW because of copyright and trademark laws, and thus something was missing during his time with the New World Order. Worst of all were the times when DiBiase and Eric Bischoff would “take over” the commentary booth and then call matches. Good for DiBiase for earning a paycheck from WCW when he was no longer an active worker, but the nWo would have been just fine without him.
5 Dusty Rhodes
Wrestling fans of a certain age may fail to fully comprehend how incredibly dumb an idea it was to turn “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes heel and have him join up with the New World Order. Rhodes was, during his wrestling career, the ultimate babyface who was beloved by fans and who did not, unlike Ric Flair and so many others, turn heel and then back to babyface. Rhodes did what he could with this change of character, but the entire idea was a flop from the beginning. It did not help that the nWo was a watered down idea even before Rhodes turned heel.
4 Sonny Onoo
You probably won't ever again see a manager in a national company quite like Sonny Onoo. That is true for several reasons. Onoo was, in storyline, a successful Japanese businessman who was a heel mostly because he was a foreigner. Onoo managed multiple foreign acts while in WCW because of course he did. Does the idea sound a little racist to you? Onoo agreed with that assessment, as he and other WCW performers sued the company because of alleged discrimination and racism. There was one plus about Onoo's run in WCW and that occurred when he managed Ernest Miller. Those matches were terrible, but at least they were funny at the time.
Some may claim that Vincent was more of a bodyguard than a manager during his runs in the WWE and WCW. Let's be honest about the matter. Vincent stood outside of the ring while more talented wrestlers battled it out in matches. He sometimes offered encouragement for others. Vincent took bumps and even lost when facing babyfaces who were over with fans. That about sums up every cowardly heel manager who has worked in the business! Maybe, without those moments in WCW, we would not have those “Wrestling Superstar Virgil” jokes that are used on the Internet to this day. Thanks for everything, Vincent/Virgi.
2 Vince Russo
Don't bother going back to try to find a positive moment in which Vince Russo was on television during his time in WCW. You'll be looking forever. Russo could have been considered to be a manager during the failed “New Blood” storyline that was based on the idea that certain wrestlers were being shoved down cards in favor of veterans who were members of the “Millionaire's Club.” Just as with everything else that Russo tried while in WCW, this did not help the company overtake the WWE in popularity. WCW was doomed even before Russo became an on-air character.
1 Eric Bischoff
Little could anybody have imagined how the wrestling world would forever be changed when Eric Bischoff became a manager in the New World Order in 1996. Bischoff was a heel authority figure before the Mr. McMahon character ever officially began feuding with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. Thus, we could blame Bischoff and WCW for “The Authority” storyline that continues to play out on WWE television in 2016. It has literally been 20 years since Bischoff turned on WCW and joined the nWo. Wrestling fans everywhere are begging the WWE to come up with a new idea.