Bobby “The Brain” Heenan was named the No. 1 manager in WWE history on the federation’s website last week.
Strangely enough, while I think you could easily rank Heenan as the greatest manager ever in wrestling, I might take umbrage with him being called the top WWE manager.
Don’t get me wrong – Heenan was menacing, funny, and effective as a mouthpiece for his various wrestlers. But his performances from the AWA may be even better than his WWF material.
Plus, being nostalgic as I am, I view the “holy trinity” of WWF managers as Captain Lou Albano (No. 5 on the list), the Grand Wizard (No. 7 on the list), and Classy Freddie Blassie (No. 4).
When I first started watching wrestling in 1981, these three personalities managed just about any heel of consequence in the WWF. Each had their own style with promos that was very effective, particularly Albano. If you saw him, you’ll never forget the Grand Wizard’s house show promos, which usually included a point at which the wizard said sarcastically, “McMahon…”
The WWE.com list includes these other 1980s managers:
- “The Genius” Lanny Poffo (this was after he gave up his Frisbee-throwing role as mid-card wrestler)
- Oliver Humperdink (he managed Bam Bam Bigelow and Paul Orndorff as a rare babyface manager)
- Slick (ugh, what a racist character)
- Miss Elizabeth (a no-brainer on this choice, she was one of the most influential women ever in WWE history)
- Mr. Fuji (without Fuji, there would have been no “Fuji Vice” with Don Muraco)
- Arnold Skaaland (most us remember him for throwing the towel in to end Bob Backlund’s WWF Title reign)
- Sensational Sherri Martel (she was probably the best women manager ever – her stuff with Randy Savage was great)
- “Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart (he was such an energetic personality at ringside with his megaphone, and quite honestly, my blog hasn’t given nearly enough credit to this guy)