Hello there Storm Chasers! This is your “Manager of Champions” Chris Havenstorm here with an article that will share my thoughts and opinions in tackling a question I get asked by fans often and that is “Who do you think the best managers in the history of professional wrestling are?” Now being that I am one of and will someday be known as Pro Wrestling Fit’s greatest manager and hopefully on a list like this as one of the best of all time, but I can see why people want the opinion of the best as top who he thinks the best are. There are so many managers that I admire for so many different reasons. So while everyone may have different opinions here is MY opinion on the best managers in pro wrestling history. Oh, and being the non conformist that I am this will be a top 11 and not a top 10. Deal with it Mr. Editor. Anyway without further ado…
11. “Sensational” Sherri Martel– Sherri is the only female on this list. No I am not sexist and in fact I love women’s wrestling just as much if not more than a lot of the men’s. It is just that I feel that most that were labeled managers were really valets and only a select few deserved to really be called true managers and of those, Sherri was head and shoulders above the rest. More than any other woman Sherri had some of the best names in wrestling walk down with her and she was active in promoting her men in interviews, influencing matches even interfering in them at times when needed, and in EVERY area was a proactively hands on manager who has very much earned her place on this and any other list.
10. Classy Freddie Blassie– Admittedly, I am one of the only managers I believe on earth who did NOT grow up a Blassie fan so he does not rank very high on my personal list but I still recognize his contributions to our great sport. He was not only charismatic enough to hire and land some of wrestling’s best talent like Hulk Hogan and get them to listen to him, but he also got one of his most famous catchphrases to be entered into the Oxford English Dictionary: “pencil-necked geek”.
9. Mr. Fuji– On one level I share a special kinship with Fuji where we were both once active competitors who transitioned in different ways to managing. Also as both a wrestler and as a manager, Fuji held the WWWF/WWF Tag Team Championships (actively with Professor Toru Tanaka; managerially with Demolition ) and I personally have an extensive background with and love tag team wrestling as well so I do identify with him on those levels.
8. “Precious” Paul Ellering– Paul was mostly known for managing Hawk and Animal, the Road Warriors or The Legion of Doom, which were the only team to ever hold all of the recognized World Tag Team gold of their time (the WWF, NWA/WCW, and AWA belts) but back in the day Paul managed an entire stable of wrestlers collectively known as The Legion of Doom that included Hall of Fame talent like King Kong Bundy and Jake “The Snake” Roberts.
7. James J. Dillon– Personally, I do not think a really great deal of JJ Dillon or his managerial style. Yes he’s on this list because he managed one of the greatest collections of talent ever in our sport’s illustrious history, The Four Horsemen, however I believe even someone like Leroy Jenkins or Lee Dobbins could have managed the Horsemen without messing it up just due to the immense talent that constantly surrounded almost every pairing of any four men that got together under that banner.
6. James E. Cornette– I LOVE Corny as a manager! I really, REALLY wanted to put this man in my top 5 but it is just a testament to how great those 5 really ARE that I cannot. Unfortunately, Cornette never had the immense success of those other names as far as who he managed, but if you ask me who the actual BEST 5 managers are, Cornette WOULD be in that top 5. So, who would he have replaced?….
5. Captain Lou Albano– While I feel that Cornette was a better actual manager, you can’t argue with this man’s success. The man who was known as “The Guiding Light of Professional Wrestling” managed a veritable who’s who of wrestling talent in the tag team division to 16 different tag team championship reigns in the WWF. It is a feat that has never and WILL never be equaled or surpassed.
4. Paul Bearer/Percy Pringle– Known to most simply as the Undertaker’s manager, he also managed both Kane and Mankind in various WWE stints, all three who will join him someday as first ballot Hall of Famers. Even before his WWE career when he was known as Percy Pringle, he caused havoc all over the Mid South and other territories. Like me, he has also managed in spite of battling physical ailments his whole life. His immense depth of character and longevity in it alone earns him his place here as far as I’m concerned.
3. Jimmy “The Mouth of the South” Hart– If Jimmy Hart had never managed Hulk Hogan, if Jimmy Hart had never led The Hart Foundation to their first tag team title reign, if Jimmy Hart had never done anything else in his entire career, managing an at best mid card level talent named Wayne Ferris aka The Honky Tonk Man, with a ripoff Elvis gimmick and a HORRIBLE finisher that was just a swinging neckbreaker with a booty shake, and leading him to an Intercontinental Championship victory over my idol, Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat one month after Steamboat’s best match ever against “Macho Man” Randy Savage at Wrestlemania 3, and THEN by hook or by crook helping him keep it in a historical IC Title reign that to this day has never been broken, THAT earns Jimmy this spot.
2. Bobby “The Brain” Heenan– To almost everyone Bobby should be number one and this will be heresy. He is The Brain in every way: who all he signed, his distractions and interferences, how he stood up for him self and even laced up his boots and foolishly wrestled when he had to. But, mostly he just appeared to cower and make everyone underestimate him in every way. Bobby had a proven record of winning both matches and championships and being a winner. Currently I believe Heenan IS the best manager ever. So how could anyone beat him and who holds the Number One spot??
1: Paul E. Dangerously/ Paul Heyman– Yes it’s true and I am not afraid to admit it. I AM A PAUL HEYMAN GUY. Paul E. Dangerously had a career in NWA/WCW that ALONE could have earned him a top10 spot on this list. He managed the “original” Midnight Express, Randy Rose and Dennis Condrey. He managed “Ravishing” Rick Rude to the WCW World and US Championships. At one time he even managed what was in my opinion one of professional wrestling’s BEST factions ever in the Dangerous Alliance consisting of Rude, “Beautiful” Bobby Eaton, “The Enforcer” Arn Anderson, “The Living Legend” Larry Zbyszko, and “Stunning” Steve Austin. THAT alone is an amazing pool of talent and could be a veritable Hall of Fame Class by itself! Later, he began and ran Extreme Championship Wrestling back when Extreme meant something, not in the WWE’s watered down version. And along the way, the whole time he ran ECW, Paul earned a very bad reputation of lying to and screwing so many people in the business…and yet so many people still listened to and believed in him. This man could sell an ice cream maker to an Eskimo. Since then, he has been a General Manager where he alienated even MORE people to get his way. By the time Heyman wanted to manage again, NOONE in this business should have wanted to give him the time of day. But, not only COULD he still sign people, he could still sign some of the very best this sport has ever seen. “The Beast Incarnate” Brock Lesnar, the Big Show, “The Olympic Hero” Kurt Angle, “The World’s Greatest Tag Team” Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin, Curtis Axel, and “The Best in the World” CM Punk. Even now, he is the only manager on this list still active and still building his legacy. Curtis Axel is continuing to bring prestige back to the IC Title like Cody Rhodes before him, and at Summerslam Heyman led Brock to victory over his former best friend CM Punk in a “Best vs. Beast” match. And I am sure Paul Heyman has A LOT left in him. As great as he has been and as much as has already earned a very high place on this list, I believe Heyman has more to go and THAT is why he is #1 Greatest Manager in the History of Professional Wrestling because when all is said and done I believe his entire body of work together will be enough for him to leapfrog legitimately to the top of most everyone’s list whether you like him or not.
Thank you for taking this ride with me. Who knows? Maybe someday hopefully when the next most promising wrestling manager ever comes down the pike and offers his insights into this list maybe yours truly will have earned his name mentioned in these same breaths. With the Havenstorm Experience and my Storm Chasers support, there’s no limit to what we all can accomplish together. But that is a much longer ride that we are taking together and only time will tell how the final chapters of that story will find us. But for now, thanks for reading and I look forward to seeing you all at the next Pro Wrestling Fit International TV Show.