There was a time in professional wrestling that the manager was an indispensable and ubiquitous part of the art form. That tried-and-true role has fallen by the wayside, but that doesn’t mean the concept doesn’t still work. We still see it in action in scattered doses, like Paul Heyman and Lana.
There are different types of managers out there. There’s the advocate. The brains. The sports agent, the best friend, the family member. There are also many different reasons for pairing a wrestler with a manager. The wrestler by themselves may have microphone skills are lacking, or the character on their own just isn’t believable.
Managers can be more than a mouth piece, more than eye candy. And the WWE product is sorely lacking in a department that many fans in the 25-and-older demographic miss from their childhood.
James Ellsworth may not be a dominant presence in the corner for Carmella (though he did win the briefcase), but it’s a start. Here are five more Smackdown Live wrestlers who would benefit immediately from “being accompanied to the ring by” a manager.
Let’s start with the most obvious choice on this list. At his worst, Baron Corbin is a directionless sort of big guy whose personality range goes all the way from “I’d like to fight you” to “I’m about to fight you.” But there’s still a lot to work with here, including the look and the resume.
If the Lone Wolf can swallow his brand to run with a pack (of an additional one), it could do wonders for his career.
Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable
Since we’ve seen both of these men already have successful runs with previous teams made up of athletic amateur wrestlers, we gotta mix this version up.
Shelton and Chad hiring a coach with an amateur wrestling background could be a fun angle. Think someone like The Coach. Sweatsuit, whistle, and all — but minus the excessive use of the whistle. Please.
Tye Dillinger isn’t on this list because he’s lacking in charisma, ring presence, or believability. He’s here because pairing a manager with The Perfect 10 is akin to legends like Mr. Perfect or Ric Flair having Bobby Heenan by their side. There’s a rich tradition of phenomenal all-around wrestlers being enhanced by the addition of a manager. Nick Bockwinkel had it all and was an all-time great heel, but paired with Bobby Heenan, he was off the charts.
Charlotte Flair may have gone on record to say she wants to work with Paul Heyman, but the former women’s champion who is most suited for an associate is Naomi. There’s nothing outright wrong with Naomi at the moment, it’s just that her staying power is questionable.
Her new manager doesn’t have to match Naomi’s energy, nor does Naomi have to change hers. We’re not asking her new partner to be a rave kid who also rips the skin off their knees every week. We’ve seen pairings that contrast (and work) before. Think Jimmy Hart and … well, anyone. What if Naomi had a Jimmy Hart type who was feeling the glow throughout her contests?
A Ziggler repackage could work wonders. Someone who sees potential in his ring work, understands he’s a former heavyweight champion, and wants to get Dolph back to that Money in the Bank cash-in moment.
Worst case scenario, pair Dolph with an up-and-coming amateur wrestler who’s looking to get his or her foot in the door and will wear any sweater vest to do it. You know, like: