COMMENTARY | During the halcyon years of professional wrestling, managers served an important role in the industry. Usually working with heels (bad guys), managers did most of the interviews and promos for their wrestlers, as well as interfering in matches to draw heat from the crowd. Many of these great managers from the past are still involved in wrestling, while others are enjoying retirement and other projects.
Take a closer look at where 10 great pro wrestling managers are today.
After a successful wrestling career, Dutch Mantel became a WWF manager in the mid-1990s. As Uncle Zebekiah, he managed a young Justin "Hawk" Bradshaw. After launching JBL's career, Uncle Zeb moved on to other ventures.
Today, Mantel is Zeb Colter and he is part of the revival of managers in the WWE. He is managing Jack Swagger and Antonio Cesaro with a creative gimmick of being patriotic heels. In this role, Colter's promos are outstanding.
I first saw Jim Cornette as the manager of The Midnight Express in Mid-South and I instantly became a huge fan. His promos were hilarious and he also used his tennis racket to help his team defeat The Rock 'n' Roll Express for years.
Since 2000, Cornette has worked for wrestling promotions such as OVW, TNA, and ROH. Today, Cornette still lives in Louisville, Kentucky with his wife Stacey "Synn" Goff and he has written "The Midnight Express Scrapbook."
James J. Dillon
Usually, heels get over by acting mean and nasty. But James J. Dillon and The Four Horsemen brought a level of class and decorum to wrestling that rarely works for heels. Dillon managed his troops to countless championships.
In addition to a brief role with TNA, Dillon has appeared as both a manager and a wrestler on the independent circuit in recent years. In 2012, James J. Dillon and The Four Horsemen were inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
Paul Ellering looked to be destined for greatness as a wrestler. However, an injury turned Ellering's fortunes towards managing The Road Warriors. Under his tutelage, The Road Warriors became the best tag team in wrestling history.
After leaving pro wrestling, Ellering participated in the Iditarod dog sled race to assist a legally blind competitor complete the event. In 2011, Paul Ellering and The Road Warriors were inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
Following a very successful wrestling career, mostly as a tag team competitor, Mr. Fuji became a heel manager in the WWF. He always had an evil, sinister smile and he often interfered by throwing salt into the eyes of his opponents.
Also a WWE Hall of Famer, Mr. Fuji moved to Dandridge, Tennessee after retiring from pro wrestling where he briefly operated a wrestling training school. Mr. Fuji has difficulty traveling today due to numerous knee operations.
Before joining the WWF and WCW, Jimmy Hart had an incredible run as a manager in Memphis. In fact, he managed Andy Kaufman in his famous storyline with Jerry Lawler. Hart was also a babyface manager for Hulk Hogan.
The WWE Hall of Famer has had no trouble keeping busy in recent years. Now living in Tampa, Florida, Hart helped run the all-female Wrestlicious promotion and he still sometimes appears in movies, television, and even the WWE.
Perhaps the greatest manager in wrestling history, Bobby Heenan was equally terrific as both a manager and as an announcer. Heenan guided many wrestlers to glory in the AWA and WWF, before becoming a full-time announcer.
It came as no surprise when the WWE enshrined Heenan in its hall of fame. He and Cindy, his wife of 47 years, live in Tampa, Florida where he has written two books. He has also successfully overcome a battle with throat cancer.
WCW manager Paul E. Dangerously carried a cell phone that was almost as big as Cornette's tennis racket. While he was terrific as the manager of The Dangerous Alliance, he is most famous as the creative force behind ECW.
Like Zeb Colter, Paul Heyman is once again a manager in the WWE. He is so great in this role that Brock Lesnar doesn't even need to speak to be the promotion's best heel. Paul Heyman still resides in Scarsdale, New York.
During the heyday of managers in southern wrestling promotions, Paul Jones was a fixture in Georgia and the Mid-Atlantic region. He called his heel stable Paul Jones' Army, which was highly successful in the NWA prior to WCW.
After leaving pro wrestling, Jones moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, but he now resides in Tampa, Florida. For many years, he owned and operated the Paul Jones Body Shop until he moved to Florida in the late 1990s.
Wrestling historians consider Slick to be the first African-American manager in the WWF. As a heel manager, he guided wrestlers such as Rick Martel, Power and Glory, and Akeem. But he later turned face as Reverend Slick.
Slick is a born again Christian. In fact, he graduated from Trinity Valley Bible College with a Master's Degree and he is now an ordained minister. He also presided over the WWE wedding ceremony between Daniel Bryan and AJ Lee.
Patrick Michael lives in New Orleans and has always been a big fan of pro wrestling. Patrick's favorite wrestling promotion was Mid-South Wrestling back in the 1980s. Patrick's favorite wrestling angle of all-time was the NWO and his favorite wrestler is Roddy Piper. Follow Patrick Michael on Twitter at patmichael84.
More from this contributor5 things I'd like to see in the WWE in 2013
- Sports & Recreation
- Paul Ellering
- Jim Cornette
- pro wrestling
- Zeb Colter
- Paul Heyman