Managers have sadly faded in wrestling nowadays. For a time, it was very common for wrestlers, usually heels, to have a guy helping them out. They could cut the great promos a worker couldn’t and their interference could often help win matches. Several managers are terrific like Bobby Heenan, Freddie Blassie, Jimmy Hart, JJ Dillion and Paul E. Dangerously. Even a few women stand out like Elizabeth and Sherri Martel. The right pairing can do wonders for someone’s career.
Yet some pairings of manager and wrestler really don’t work out. Chemistry is natural, it can’t be forced and even the best managers could have charges that didn’t work out. Some pairings are notable for how they just made little sense in the first place. The styles clashed way too much and in some cases, they were workers who didn’t even need a manager to get over. Sometimes, these pairings just hurt the workers more than helped. Here are 10 wrestler/manager pairings that just made no sense and show how hard it is to make these work out.
10 Hiro Matsuda and Ric Flair
When Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard left JCP, the Four Horsemen appeared to be done. JJ Dillion also leaving basically meant it was over and Ric Flair and Barry Windham were set to move on. Instead, WCW brought legendary Japanese star Hiro Matsuda into the company as their new manager. He was supposed to be some sinister businessman with a “Corporation” but the fact the man couldn’t even speak English was a major mark against him and the entire “company” act didn’t work at all. Flair and Windham both hated the entire thing as Matsuda was soon gone to finally let the classic Horsemen die.
9 Slick and Kamala
While he didn’t have a lot of major success with titles, Slick was a very popular manager in the late ‘80s WWE. “The Doctor of Style” stood out with his great suits, great promos, and selling himself as a street guy who could be smarter than he seemed. In 1992, Slick had become a reverend in real life and WWE had him calling in as a face. He was then paired with Kamala on the idea of trying to “civilize” the savage warrior. It was as completely bizarre as it sounds as a “kinder and gentler Kamala” didn’t work and neither did a face Slick. It’s one of the weirder manager/wrestler pairings ever.
8 Jimmy Hart and Hulk Hogan
Jimmy Hart had been one of the best heel managers of all time. With his loud voice, ever-present megaphone and outrageous suits, Hart led scores of wrestlers to championships and fans loved to hate him. In 1994, when Hulk Hogan joined WCW, Hart was his manager. It wasn’t just how Hart had been a longtime foil for Hogan that made this so poor. There was also the fact that Hogan had never needed a manager at all as he hardly required help cutting a great promo.
Having Hart champion Hogan was bizarre and thus a relief when he finally turned on Hogan in late 1995. The “Mouth of the South” and the Hulkster just made no sense from the start.
7 Drake Maverick and the Authors of Pain
The Authors of Pain had become a monster force in NXT with Paul Ellering a great fit as their manager and soundpiece. When they joined the main roster, the duo dropped Ellering with word the man may not have liked the long traveling. Giving them a new manager made sense given the duo’s rough English. What made no sense was having that manager be Drake Maverick. The incredibly small guy looked ridiculous next to these hulking monsters and his promos were weak. They had a brief run as champs before dropping Maverick as this was a bad chapter for the Authors.
6 Coach and Mr. Perfect
The pairing of Mr. Perfect and Bobby Heenan really was a perfect teaming. Perfect was a fantastic in-ring worker and a terrific promo guy to boot. Heenan matched him with his own arrogance and helping sell Perfect’s greatness while acting as a distraction for opponents. That paid off with Perfect a long-running IC champion. But in early 1991, Heenan retired from managing to be a full announcer. WWE thus had John Tolos coming in as “Coach.” His act with blowing whistle and constant yelling didn’t work at all as Perfect should have been ignoring his “advice.” Losing Heenan also robbed Perfect of a great part of his aura in WWE.
5 Sunny and LOD 2000
After teasing a breakup, Hawk and Animal were out of the scene in WWE for a time and it looked like they were finally hanging it up. At Wrestlemania XV, they surprised everyone by coming out with a new attitude as LOD 2000 and, most surprisingly, Sunny as their manager. She may have looked hot in the outfits but Sunny’s presence as a fun lady had faded by this time. Even given her odd track record of pairings, Sunny and the Road Warriors made no sense from the start. It really led to nothing and one of the lower points in the team’s legacy.
4 Michael Hayes and the Hardy Boyz
Michael Hayes had entered WWE as the goofy announcer Dok Hendrix. By 1999, he was reclaiming his old name although far from his athletic pride. WWE had paired him with the Hardy Boyz, thinking this veteran would be a good mix for the rookies. It didn’t quite work out as Hayes seemed intent on turning Matt and Jeff into a new Freebirds with the same wild outfits and style.
They literally had to tell him “It’s 1999, let it go.” It did have success with the pair’s first tag title reign yet Hayes was barely even a mouthpiece to him. It was dumping him that truly led the Hardyz to the fame that fans know today.
3 Ted DiBiase and the Steiner Brothers
Ted DiBiase was always terrific as a heel and it fit him well. After years as the Million Dollar Man in WWE, DiBiase jumped over to WCW although he couldn’t use the same act. He’d also stopped wrestling and at first was an advisor for the NWO. DiBiase then turned on them to join with the Steiner Brothers challenging for the tag team titles. DiBiase as a face was just confusing to see and he and the Steiners were an odd pairing. It didn’t last long as Scott turned heel to break up the team as DiBiase’s attempts to be a manager were all wash outs.
2 Paul Heyman and Cesaro
In 2014, Cesaro was looking great in the ring and fans were hoping for him to turn on manager Zem Coulter. That pairing was bad enough due to Coulter’s act wearing pretty thin on fans. So having Cesaro go on his own would be a great idea. Instead, WWE had him put with Paul Heyman. Heyman is a great mouthpiece for Brock Lesnar but he and Cesaro just didn’t click anywhere near as well. It actually hurt Cesaro’s drive and thus the rare case where being “a Paul Heyman guy” was a bad thing for a guy’s career.
1 Stacy Keibler and the Dudley Boyz
The Dudley Boyz needing a manager sounded weird already. Having it be Stacy Keibler was even more confusing. Yes, the gorgeous blonde was a knockout but she and the Dudleyz just did not mix at all. It was a strange dynamic that was evident through the screen. WWE seemed to get the hint as, after costing them the tag titles, the Dudleyz put Stacy through a table. It showed this gorgeous lady just couldn’t click right with some workers.