Hello everyone, and welcome back to My Pinterest Is Piledrivers. I thought the comment section for my last column was excellent, and even included an appearance by “Starcade,” my favorite commenter who is seemingly and inexplicably contrarian to what 99% of the IWC likes… so, perhaps… he or she is the average sports entertainment fan? Oh, and I’m James A. Carter, but you knew that from scrolling down and seeing me sit on a stone wall in Spain.
Here is a promo between two wrestlers, Tyler Black (now signed to the WWE) and Austin Aries (now signed to TNA). Both of these guys are well-respected in regards to their in-ring physicality, although I’d say that only one of these guys is also well-respected in terms of character development, promo work and acting. So what’s to become of the other? Should he be cast off into the seedy worlds of reality show celebrity bodyguard or strip club bouncer? No.
Bring back the managers.
Now this is a promo. This is a guy with some serious mic skills. Notice how in-character he is, at this point The Rock is an egotistical, manic, yet also insecure heel. He goes from attempting to convince himself of his own superiority to becoming genuinely angry, from comedic heel to serious threat, all the while playing the audience like a fiddle. If there’s one guy who didn’t need a mouthpiece, it’s The Rock.
This guy? Ehhhh maybe we hire some sexy broad or a real smarmy douchebag, eh, Vince? Look, I like John Morrison, and I even think he has potential on the mic. His videos with the Miz were pretty funny, and he came across as game in his appearances in Zack Ryder’s YouTube shorts… but this is someone who could maybe have benefited from learning from an old veteran pro like Ted DiBiase (the old one, for God’s sake) or Mick Foley, or a manager hired expressly for the purpose of getting guys over, like a Paul Heyman or desperate-for-cash Jim Cornette. Best case scenario, Morrison (or whoever) learns to talk, becomes more comfortable, and ditches the manager who then moves on to another protege.
The element of managers can also add unexpected twists or viewpoints in storylines. One of my personal favorites is the heel wrestler/face manager (although come to think of it, is that ever reversed? It’s had to have been tried somewhere).
While he’s definitely got it both in the ring and on the mic, Daniel Bryan certainly was helped by having the sweet, naive AJ to play off of. And in a storyline sadly abandoned (what, WWE abandons storylines? Never!) Dolph Ziggler was being managed by fan-favorite Maria a few years ago.
That particular mismatch allows either a face turn by the wrestler when he inevitably sacrifices a match or championship to protect his valet, or a heel turn by said valet as she finally embraces the dark side and screws over some good guy to protect her man/investment.
Managers were a once important and vital part of professional wrestling. Used mainly by heels, they were heat magnets, with dastardly characters cheating and running interference in order to aid their “boys” in winning and keeping titles. On the flip side, an attractive female was a way to bring sympathy and invite cheers to the more bland of the faces out there. The WWE has plenty of road managers behind the scenes who were either former wrestlers or have been in the business for decades. They are a perfect source of knowledge of the subtleties and psychologies of ring work, and there’s no real reason why they couldn’t be brought out to the spotlight in order to kayfabe-and-actually help these young fellas. And hey, going on a suggestion in one of my earlier columns, it’d get Michael Cole away from the commentary desk! Bonus!
I can’t be the only one who misses seeing arrogant ice queens and rich yuppies get their sweet, sweet comeuppance.
Tags: AJ, Austin Aries, Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler, Jim Cornette, John Morrison, Maria, Michael Cole, Mick Foley, Paul Heyman, ted dibiase, The Miz, The Rock, TNA, Tyler Black, vince mcmahon, WWE, zack ryder