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.
Jose Lothario had been a decently successful and regionally popular wrestler himself throughout the 1960’s and 70’s, but his biggest claim to fame is that he trained Shawn Michaels in the early 1980’s. Michaels brought Lothario into WWE as his manager during the lead up to his first WWE World Championship win at WrestleMania XII, but Lothario’s single noteworthy moment was pointing to the sky when Michaels made his famous zipline entrance. Lothario also has the indignity of suffering two terrible angles: first, he wrestled a terrible match with Jim Cornette at Mind Games, and then even worse, he faked a heart attack at Survivor Series 1996. Everything about Lothario’s legacy as a manager only serves to cheapen HBK and the wrestling industry at large, so it’s probably best he’s left out of WWE history.
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.
The Truth Commission is mostly and fairly forgotten by wrestling fans for all of these reasons, but even if you have some vague memories of the group, The Commandant probably isn’t in them. That’s because even WWE realized how bad the whole idea was and decided to at least start over by getting rid of him and replacing him with The Jackyl. Jackyl would later go on to be known as Cyrus in ECW, an entertaining and hated heel, and quite possibly the only good that ever came out of the Truth Commission.
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.
Hassan was fired from WWE not long after the incident and has since retired from wrestling, but Daivari somehow managed to keep his job. He next managed Kurt Angle, followed by being the manager to first introduce the world to The Great Khali. Considering Angle’s standing with WWE and the fact Khali is usually called one of the worst World Champions in recent memory, neither of these clients are going to help Daivari get remembered, either.
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.
Tolos having no clear connection to Perfect wasn’t his only problem. He may have been a good wrestler years earlier, but he never had much charisma, and looking like an out of shape high school gym coach might have sold the character, but it didn’t make Perfect look like he was that great at choosing his help. Tolos also had the unfortunate and impossible task of replacing Bobby Heenan, which only made him look worse. Other than Perfect, Tolos also managed The Beverly Brothers, and though that pairing was more equal in talent levels, it was still completely unmemorable for it.
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.
In late July of 2012, Washington said of his client Titus O’Neil, “[He’s] like Kobe Bryant in a hotel in Colorado—he’s unstoppable!” Michael Cole apologized for Washington’s behavior the next segment, and Washington himself took to Twitter to explain there was “no malicious intent” behind what he said. He was fired from the company 10 days later anyway, and they’ve never mentioned his name again on television. Especially with O’Neil’s character and reputation as “the dad of the year,” the company would probably prefer we forget someone once made rape jokes about him.
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.
First, he demanded his wife submit to a public spanking for having shamed him, which was interrupted before it got too unsettling. Jerry Lawler screamed on commentary about how this sort of thing is normal practice in Japan, which seems a little bit outdated to say the least. And in the coup de grâce, Yamaguchi-san attempted to “choppy choppy” Val Venis’s penis off. Most of this is completely ignored by WWE, and the only Kai En Tai anyone remembers is the two-man version reformed later by Taka and Funaki. The original are too embarrassing to remember, and most of that is the fault of their ridiculous manager.
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.
Whenever a wrestler relies on their family to help their wrestling character it feels cheap and manipulative, but to invent a family member is even worse. Inventing a family member most people recognize for sitcoms less than ten years old makes the whole thing confusing. Momma Benjamin was also offensive in and of herself, as she was yet another one of the several wrestling personalities who faked a heart attack as part of an angle. Her fake heart attack may have been one of the scummiest of all, as it lead to her using an oxygen tank as a weapon, mocking the number one cause of death on the planet even more than usual.
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.
Onoo was fairly successful as a manager, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he was good. He had a decent look, but his interviews were mostly cartoonish laughing and screaming clichés, and the way commentators reacted to his character were often slightly racist. Perhaps as a result of this disrespect, Onoo sued WCW for racial discrimination in 2000. Several wrestlers were also involved in the lawsuit, and most people agreed they had a pretty good case, which is why WCW settled with them out of court. The whole episode is a messy episode in wrestling history, and WWE would probably do best to just forget about Onoo and not call attention to the history of racism in the wrestling business.
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.
Sheik’s second run as a manager was more traditional, but even worse. He still had an assistant manager in fellow former WWE World Champion Bob Backlund, but this incredible duo for some reason managed The Sultan. The Sultan would later go on to decent success as Rikishi, but at this point he was a midcard nobody, and giving him two highly respected managers made no sense. Sheik made no sense as a manager in general, too, which is why he makes the list and Backlund doesn’t. Backlund at least had a crazy character, while Sheik was simply crazy himself, and he would just ramble and add nothing to the Sultan’s character or matches.
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.
Eventually, Mabel became a main event superstar by turning heel and becoming King of the Ring, and Mo joined him on his way up. The duo dropped Oscar when they turned, though, which was a sign right from the beginning that he was going to be forgotten in the long run. Mabel’s run as a heel is one of the lowest points in WWE history, and his match with Diesel for the WWE World Championship at SummerSlam 1995 is generally called the worst main event in the history of that show. Nonetheless, his time as a face wasn’t exactly any more memorable even if he was kind of popular, and his manager has appropriately been forgotten along with him.
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.
Jamison debuted as Bobby Heenan’s sidekick on “The Bobby Heenan Show,” wearing broken glasses and chewing on his tie while screaming in a high-pitched voice, much to Heenan’s irritation. While this isn’t a terrible comic foil, it’s one of an obviously annoying variety, and it only got more annoying the more attention he got. His attention reached a peak when he managed The Bushwhackers, which might have been slightly popular with children, but his nasally nerdiness was anything but endearing to most adult members of the crowd. Jamison’s tenure in wrestling ended shortly after teaming with the future WWE Hall of Fame team, and his time with the group predictably wasn’t mentioned when they earned that honor.
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.
Debra wasn’t that great of a manager, and often dragged down the more talented men she was paired with through her bad acting and unconvincing interviews. Through no fault of her own, Debra was also the victim of a domestic assault perpetrated by Austin. While a more moralistic company might side with her and snub Austin, WWE has sided with Stone Cold since the incident, welcoming him back to the company shortly after the assault while leaving Debra in the wayside. It’s impossible to mention Debra now without remembering the fact one of the biggest superstars in history viciously attacked her without cause, and in order to protect his image, they’ve ignored Debra’s.
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.
Jacqueline then made the jump to WWE, where she managed Marc Mero, acting as his replacement for Sable. It was during this time Jacqueline gradually transitioned into being a full-time wrestler, and won her first WWE Women’s Championship. She would eventually return to managing by forming a short-lived alliance with The APA. The fact WWE doesn’t acknowledge any of this even while praising her legacy makes it clear they see her only as a wrestler, and with good reason. She didn’t add anything to the groups she managed, and during her time with Harlem Heat especially, all she did was drag down wrestlers that were far more successful without her.
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.
Although Wippleman had a pretty big debut into the company, he very quickly fell from grace and became a huge joke. Even when he was on top, Wippleman’s biggest characteristics were smoking a cigar and wearing a goofy suit, neither of which exactly screamed great manager nor said anything about his clients. Wippleman’s career became even more embarrassing after he stopped managing, as he was the only male to hold the WWE Women’s Championship. Wippleman won the title by donning a dress and wig, calling himself Hervina, and competing in a “Lumberjill snow bunny” match with The Kat. He lost the title almost immediately thereafter, but has worked with the company in various backstage roles ever since.
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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