Of the Sixteen Greatest Pro Wrestling Managers Who is the GOAT?
AfterBuzzTV’s Pro Wrestling Bracketology pits the Sweet Sixteen of wrestle managers against one another to see whose the greatest of them all from Bobby Heenan, Jimmy Hart, Vicky Guerrero and Bruce Prichard to Zelina Vega, Paul Heyman, Jim Cornette and more!
Founded by Emmy winning journalist Maria Menounos and Producer Keven Undergaro, AfterBuzz TV is the artist-friendly entertainment news platform that celebrates, discusses, interviews, promotes and reports on the widest range of stars, creators and content through video, audio and article publications.
ABTV Bracketology: The Greatest Wrestling Manager of All Time
We are currently in a renaissance of the manager in pro wrestling. The manager position was a staple of many wrestling greats from the very beginning. For the past few decades, it almost became a lost art as many superstars broke out on their own. Today’s WWE see’s Zelina Vega in a prominent spot, as well as a returning MVP, Robert Stone, and Malcom Bivens reprising the role.
Which got the AfterBuzz TV wrestling gang thinking, what would happen if we pit some of the greatest managers in history against each other? In lieu of the NCAA canceling March Madness this year, we put a new twist on bracketology. We took sixteen of the best managers to ever do it and placed them in a sweet sixteen format. Round by round we will eliminate based on different statistics. In the end only one manager can take home the prize as AfterBuzz TV’s greatest.
Bobby Heenan vs 16. Zelina Vega
A past versus the future matchup, Bobby Heenan is widely considered the G.O.A.T of managers. While Zelina Vega has reestablished the managerial role within today’s WWE. She has elevated Andrade and is doing wonders with Angel Garza now on the main roster. She is fearless on the mic and a sure bet to be in the main event spot for years to come. The quality of talent Heenan managed gives them the edge in this matchup. Heenan played a pivotal role in the WWF years.
Paul Heyman vs 15. Lou Albano
Captain Lou Albano was a major player in the 70s and 80s leading 15 tag teams to championship gold. Albano was the prototype heel manager leading villainous characters against the likes of Bruno Sammartino, Pedro Morales, and even Hulk Hogan. Lou was an entertaining speaker, but this matchup pits him against one of the greatest heel managers of all time. Heyman has been the advocate for five different world champions. That is the difference here, Heyman moves on.
Via What Culture
Mr. Fuji vs 10. Paul Ellering
Mr. Fuji had a successful wrestling career, but most might remember him for his second act as a manager. Known for tossing salt in the eyes of his opponent or using his cane as a competitive advantage. Fuji managed Demolition, the Powers of Pain, the Orient Express, and most notably Yokozuna. He would lead Yokozuna to a Royal Rumble win and two world titles. His competition managed one of the most successful, globally recognized tag teams ever in the Road Warriors. Ellering repped the Road Warriors for 16 years and played a large role in their success. His second act leading the Authors of Pain to prominence in NXT was just as good. Ellering gets the nod here.
Brother Love vs 9. Sensational Sherri
Brother Love (Bruce Pritchard) has had a major role in WWF/E for years. His on-screen character was known for the Brother Love show where he constantly berated “face” superstars. Love was also the original manager of the Undertaker. Sherri Martel has had her fingerprints on a ton of talented acts. Managing the likes of Randy Savage, Shawn Michaels, Ted Dibiase, and the Harlem Heat. She practically gave birth to the heartbreak kid character. For that reason, Sherri moves on to the second round.
Paul Bearer vs 14. Slick
The doctor of style, Slick, was a smooth-talking manager during the WWF years. He managed the Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff, and saw his best success with Akeem and the Big Boss Man. His confident swagger reigned through in his promo work. Paul Bearer donned a mortician gimmick into an extremely successful run as a manager. His best work was with the Undertaker, and he also had runs with Mankind and Kane. Bearer repped one of the greatest characters in wrestling history and for that he wins this matchup.
Classy Freddie Blassie vs 11. Teddy Long
Freddie Blassie had a long wrestling career and began managing in his 50s during the early WWF years. Blassie repped George “The Animal” Steele, Jessie Ventura, and a plethora of others. His most notable success as a manager was leading the Iron Sheik to a WWF world title over Bob Backlund in 1983. As for long many fans may remember him as the general manager of Smackdown. But his catalog as a manager is deep representing the likes of Mark Henry, D-Lo Brown, Rodney Mack, and Jazz in WWE. He is also notable in his pre-WWE years by managing Doom, the Skyscrapers, 2 Cold Scorpio, Marcus Bagwell, and Johnny B. Badd. Both characters built a lot of great talent, but the edge goes to Teddy for his hands touching more performers over the years.
Jimmy Hart vs 12. Miss Elizabeth
Two perennial characters of the 80s and 90s in this matchup. The “Mouth of the South” rode shotgun with many of the WWF Greats. Hart represented the Hart Foundation, the Natural Disasters, the Nasty Boys, Jerry Lawler, the Honky Tonk Man, Ted Dibiase, I.R.S, and is most notable for his many years donning the red and yellow with Hulk Hogan. Miss Elizabeth is not your normal 12 seed as she was an international figure. Mostly known for managing (and marrying) the Macho Man Randy Savage, Elizabeth also represented the Mega Powers (Hogan and Savage), Lex Luger, and the Four Horsemen. Miss Elizabeth was often a key figure in storylines. The pendulum swings in Hart’s way for he was the more vocal manager and played a bigger role in leading his clients to success.
Jim Cornette vs 13. Vickie Guerrero
Some fans may only know Jim Cornette from his rash outtakes on Twitter, however, he has been a part of the wrestling business for a long time. Cornette is most notable for managing the Midnight Express. During his WWF years he was the spokesperson for Yokozuna, and led a heel stable that consisted of Vader, Owen Hart, and the British Bulldog. His fingerprints are all over the industry. Guerrero was a major player in Smackdown storylines for many years. Outside of being a GM, her managing credentials showcase Chavo Guerrero, Lay Cool, Dolph Ziggler, and Edge. You could hear Vickie shouting “EXCUSE ME” simply by looking at an image of her. She had a great impact on Edge as well Ziggler’s success leading both to title reigns. This is our first major upset as Vickie moves past the three seed.
via What Culture
Bobby Heenan vs 10. Paul Ellering
The 10 seed ran into a steep hill to climb in facing “The Brain.” Ellering was great but Heenan is the measuring stick for a manager. His mic skills and comedic presence led to many years as a color commentator post management. Heenan was the reason many heel acts got over and it continues to get him over in this tournament.
Paul Heyman vs 9. Sensational Sherri
Sherri Martel is a former WWF Women’s champion in addition to managing some of the WWE greats. She oversaw a lot of young talent that would go on to become hall of fame worthy. She even appeared in her opponent’s company ECW. Our number two seed keeps adding to his hall of fame resume. His on-screen character has delivered countless memorable promos over the years with or without the talent he represents. Heyman moves onto the final four.
3.Paul Bearer vs 5. Jimmy Hart
Both our 3 and 5 seed have impressive resumes. If you are currently watching the Undertaker’s “Last Ride” documentary, there may be call backs to his time with Bearer. Bearer once enhanced the WWF/E’s most unique character, and even made Mankind more menacing in a feud against Taker. Hart’s extensive talent pool is too hard to ignore. Jimmy was effective as both a heel and face manager. There are too many years boasting talent under his belt for him to make an early exit.
Teddy Long vs 13. Vickie Guerrero
We have seen these two paired on camera for many years, in many cases as adversaries, in which one person fires or embarrasses the other. Both are synonymous with the Smackdown Brand and have unforgettable catchphrases. Vickie gets the nod for having arguably more successful talent in her WWE run. Her storylines with Edge and Ziggler were big deals at the time. In this round, our favorite “Playa” bows out.
via Wrestling News Source
1.Bobby Heenan vs 5. Jimmy Hart
The standard versus the “mouth of the south.” Both characters epitomized the WWF brand in the 80s and 90s. They also swapped talent between each other on occasions. Heenan’s managerial power extended to so much talent which is the deciding factor. He was a major factor in opposing Hulk Hogan in the main event of WrestleMania two and three. Hart is formidable, but Heenan continues to roll through the tournament.
Paul Heyman vs 13. Vickie Guerrero
These two have spent plenty time together on-screen. Most of time, when either were in a power position on Raw or Smackdown. Both have strong superstars on their resumes, however, when it comes to elevating a talent, this is where Heyman distinguishes himself. His work on the mic sets his clients apart and lends credibility to them as a threat. Underrated “Heyman Guys” include Curtis Axel and Cesaro, which alludes to Heyman’s power. He moves onto the finals.
Via What Culture
1.Bobby Heenan vs. 2. Paul Heyman
A final matchup where the tournament’s top two seeds face off. Bobby “The Brain” is widely considered the best manager ever. He led tons of top talent and was also a great entertainer which aided him in his commentary days. The Heyman legend continues to grow, however, as he has mastered the art of selling a match. Heyman has gotten Brock Lesnar over for years, even with Brock being absent. That same skill he has used to boost the profiles of Curtis Axel, Cesaro, and yes C.M. Punk. Simply put, when Heyman has a mic in hand, he commands attention and captivates an audience. Number two has surpassed number one.
Winner: Paul Heyman
Paul Heyman is today’s standard of everything a manager should be. He builds the credibility of his talent without them needing to step foot in a ring. A style that you could see Zelina Vega implementing well with her new stable. Paul Heyman injects a noticeable passion into storylines that is unmatched. When he speaks about a match, it becomes more significant and has a main event feel regardless of card placement. Heyman’s second act with Brock Lesnar has also been more money than the first. Hence leading Lesnar to the biggest upset of all time with ending the Undertaker’s WrestleMania streak.
What is your take on the greatest manager of all time, and how would your bracket look? Let me know in the comments and continue to get your wrestling fix at AfterBuzz TV Wrestling.
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Cedric Welton is an aspiring journalist. In addition to creating content for TSFJ, he works part time at the NFL in Next Gen Stats and is a Reporter/Host for Torrance CitiCable’s Sports Desk. He is a proud Arizona State Alum and enthusiast of all things WWE and combat sports.
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