One of the most crucial skills a professional wrestler needs to succeed in their industry, especially in WWE, is charisma. They need to be able to capture a crowd and hold them within the palm of their hands for occasionally lengthy and always passionate promos, or else the crowd won’t be able to relate to them and truly get behind them as character. Even some of the greatest wrestlers in the world have lacked this skill, and that’s why wrestling has managers. Managers do the talking for a superstar who either isn’t comfortable enough to speak yet or just doesn’t have the mic skills to back up their ring work, and as long as the manager is good at talking, it can make up for the wrestler’s shortcomings and turn them into a total package that rules the WWE Universe.
Of course, if the manager sucks, too, things don’t go so well. There’s a number of reasons a manager can be bad at their job, but it mostly comes down to having no talent on the microphone. Sometimes a manager can talk well enough, but their entire character is offensive or simply ridiculous in hindsight, and WWE has an entirely different reason to want fans to forget them. Others still just didn’t match the superstars they were paired with at all, and the combination only served to hurt the legacies of otherwise Hall of Fame-worthy performers. Join us as we look through WWE and wrestling history and dig up the memories of 15 terrible managers Vince McMahon wants us to forget about.
15 Jose Lothario
There’s a pretty solid argument behind calling Shawn Michaels the most charismatic superstar in WWE history. Never was this on more display during his bombastic and controversial first run as WWE World Champion, which lasted the better part of 1996. Michaels wowed fans with his wild interviews, flashy move set, and boundless energy during matches and promos that made fans connect with him on a far deeper level than any other wrestler in WWE at the time. And for some reason, his manager during this time was Jose Lothario, who was pretty much the exact opposite of all that on every level.
14 The Commandant
The Commandant was so short-lived in WWE, it’s almost hard to come up with that many reasons to forget about him. Luckily, his character was just a pretty bad idea in the first place, so we’ll focus on that. The Commandant was the original leader of The Truth Commission, a military group from South Africa with some pretty racist undertones. The Commandant wasn’t that great on the microphone, but it probably didn’t help that his clients were all pretty horrible, too. There was Kurrgan the Interrogator, famous for being very tall and having a litany of bad gimmicks, Recon, famous for being very bald and having a litany of bad gimmicks, and Tank, famous for being very hairy and having a litany of bad gimmicks.
Daivari was a very famous and talented manager for WWE while he was with that company. Unfortunately for him and those around him, his character was far too controversial for television, and a particularly poor decision on the part of WWE guarantees he won’t be mentioned on their programming ever again. Daivari debuted in late 2004 as the manager of Muhammad Hassan, and the two were proud Muslims offended by America’s unfair treatment of them after September 11th. They were instantly amongst the most hated heels in WWE history, but were unable to capitalize thanks to real life tragedy intervening on an already tasteless wrestling storyline. Daivari lost a match to The Undertaker, and afterwards was carried off by five masked men and referred to as a martyr by commentary. The incident was aired the same day as the 2005 London bombings.
12 Coach John Tolos
John Tolos is one of many performers on this list who had a lengthy and successful career as a wrestler before moving on to a terrible career as a manager. As “The Golden Greek,” Tolos was famous in California for his many vicious battles with “Classy” Freddie Blassie, and was once a WWE United States Tag Team Champion with his brother, Chris, who were together called The Canadian Wrecking Crew. All of this happened well before wrestling was the global phenomenon it is today, so fans didn’t know any of that when he appeared in WWE years later as the Coach of Mr. Perfect. WWE didn’t tell them, either, despite that fact there was no other reason to connect Coach and Perfect, and a reminder he had a successful career years earlier could have helped.
11 Abraham Washington
had two short stints in WWE that were extremely quirky, but still managed to be highly forgettable, or at least they would have been had it not been for a controversial joke Washington made on commentary in 2012. Washington started as the host of The Abraham Washington Show, a traveling interview segment for the developmental FCW and Syfy’s version of ECW. He attempted a short career as a wrestler in FCW, but came back to national attention in WWE as a manager, dubbing his company All World Promotions. It looked like his first clients were going to be Primo and Epico, but he quickly turned on them to become the manager of The Prime Time Players.
10 Mr. Yamaguchi-san
The saga of Mr. Yamaguchi-san is one of the most embarrassing and ridiculous ideas of the Attitude Era, and something that should be remembered throughout it is that there’s no way any of it could have ever worked in the first place. Yamaguchi-san managed the original Kai En Tai consisting of Dick Togo, Men’s Teioh and Funaki. They initially feuded with Taka Michinoku, but Val Venis was dragged into the mix when it was revealed Venis was sleeping with Yamaguchi’s wife. Until this point, Yamaguchi was a bad but harmless manager of a midcard comedy act, but after Venis stole his wife, he became outright misogynistic, a little bit racist, and absolutely insane.
9 Shelton's Momma
WWE loves mainstream attention and will take any celebrity involvement they can get, and we kind of understand the desire for press that spurns this mindset. However, having a famous actress play an obviously over-the-top comedy character kind of hurts the believability of the entire show, and it really hurts the talented wrestler acting as her foil. Thea Vidale has been a successful stand-up comedienne since the 1980s, and has made appearances and even starred in major network shows. Her own show only lasted one season for ABC, but she later appeared in bigger hits like Ellen and The Drew Carey Show. As far as wrestling is concerned, her most famous role was on Monday Night Raw as Shelton Benjamin’s Momma.
8 Sonny Onoo
Sonny Onoo never appeared in WWE, but he was such a major and important presence in WCW and wrestling history, the company probably doesn’t want us remembering him, anyway. Onoo was a friend of Eric Bischoff who served as the real life link between WCW and NJPW, helping to negotiate talent exchange deals between the two companies. As a result, Onoo began appearing on WCW television as a wealthy and enigmatic Japanese investor, who would eventually start managing the majority of Japanese wrestlers in the company. Onoo’s biggest success as a manager was helping Ultimo Dragon become the most decorated superstar in history by winning 9 major championships at one time.
7 The Iron Sheik
The Iron Sheik is a WWE Hall of Famer and former WWE World Heavyweight and Tag Team Champion, and it’s all but impossible to forget Sheiky Baby. It probably isn’t that hard to forget his time as a manager, though, and that’s exactly how WWE wants it to be. Sheik has two very brief runs as a manager, both of which were embarrassing and confusing both in retrospect and at the time. Sheik left WWE in the mid-80’s after his championship success and returned in the early 90’s as Colonel Mustafa. Mustafa was one of two managers of the Iraqi sympathizer Sgt. Slaughter. Although this gimmick was highly maligned and almost instantly outdated, it somehow lasted a full year, with Mustafa even stepping in the ring once and awhile.
John Cena became the biggest WWE superstar of the modern era by rapping his way to the ring, but he wasn’t the first sports entertainer who could drop a beat. In the early and mid 90’s, Men on a Mission were a fun loving tag team of fun loving giants named Mo and Mabel. They were lead to the ring by their rapping manager, who would spit positive rhymes about improving the community for everybody while Mo and Mabel danced. The act actually got fairly over, thanks to Mabel’s size and efforts in the ring, but Oscar never really added much to the team. They achieve the WWE World Tag Team Championships very briefly as a mistake, but Oscar again had nothing to do with the success, and Mabel’s size can be blamed again.
There are bad wrestling characters, there are stupid wrestler characters, and then there is Jamison. Jamison was a character played by improv comedian named John DiGiacomo, who performed in a comedy show with friends for a few years before Vince McMahon happened to be in the audience one night. McMahon was extremely impressed with one of DiGiacomo’s characters in particular, an ultra nerdy character who apparently looked and acted nothing like the man behind the character. This is pretty normal in acting, but McMahon was hugely impressed, so much so that a few days after the performance he hired DiGiacomo to play Jamison on WWE television.
We mostly left valets off the list, because if all they did was walk around with a wrestler, it’s obvious they were only memorable for one thing in the first place. Debra was more than the typical valet, though, as she often did a lot of talking for the many wrestlers she managed over her career. She started in WCW with her then-husband Steve McMichael, managing him and his friends in The Four Horsemen. She eventually turned on McMichael to join Jeff Jarrett, and followed Jarrett to WWE after divorcing McMichael for real. She stayed with Jarrett during his turn as a misogynist, applauding him and standing by him as he attacked the other women in WWE. After Jarrett left WWE, she disappeared for a few years before joining her new husband, Steve Austin.
Jacqueline Moore is a WWE Hall of Famer for her career as a wrestler and her longevity in the business. It’s probably notable that WWE never once mentioned her lengthy career as a manager in the build-up to her induction, nor did she mention any of her former clients in her acceptance speech. The reality is, Jacqueline was a horrible manager, despite the fact she had several former championship winning wrestlers under her command. Although she primarily was a wrestler on the independent scene, Jacqueline debuted in the major leagues for WCW as the manager of Kevin Sullivan. While working with Sullivan, she often got physical in his matches and attacked his opponents, setting her apart from the usual valets of the era. After ditching Sullivan, she joined Harlem Heat, but perhaps unsurprisingly none of that team’s 10 WCW Tag Team Championship reigns came during her time as their manager.
2 Harvey Wippleman
Harvey Wippleman is one of the longest tenured superstars in WWE history, having held a variety of positions since the early 90’s. He started his career in sports entertainment working for Jerry Lawler in Memphis a few years earlier, calling himself Downtown Bruno and managing wrestlers like Sid, The Moondogs, and Cactus Jack. His relationship with Sid would pay off in a major way when both joined WWE and instantly entered the main event. After changing his name to Harvey Wippleman, he managed Sid all the way to the main event of WrestleMania VIII to face Hulk Hogan.
1 Frenchy Martin
Frenchy Martin hits almost every category of bad manager: he was vaguely racist, he wasn’t very good on the microphone, and all he did for any of his clients was drag them down well beneath the talent level they would have had on their own. Martin started his career in the Hart family’s Stampede Wrestling, where he was an over-the-top French Canadian, as his name would imply. He kept the gimmick when he joined WWE in the mid-80’s, and added the catchphrase “USA is not OK,” which he had written on a sign he constantly carried around with him.
Martin’s only noteworthy client was Dino Bravo, who would become equally controversial thanks to the circumstance surrounding his early death. Martin’s promos were mostly incoherent and had nothing to do with wrestling, and the only reason anybody booed him was bizarre and misplaced xenophobia based on a sign he carried. It’s cheap heat of the absolute cheapest variety, and the fact he had nothing to back it out only made it more pathetic. To his credit, Martin at one point did have a pretty successful career as a wrestler in Puerto Rico, but fans of his would probably agree his time as a manager is best left forgotten.
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