The union between wrestler and manager is based on a simple mechanism: the second hides the faults of the first and highlights his assets. Such a partnership can benefit both careers, which is why pro wrestling has seen many such pairs step into the ring and perform their act.
This means there have been some very successful wrestling manager pairings, like Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar in WWE, while many others fell short of expectations and died slowly. When the latter happens, it invariably brings both performers down, and while the reasons for this failure could be many, it mostly boils down to a lack of connection between the two.
ten Curtis Axel and Paul Heyman
Curt Hennig’s son was always going to have a platform to show off what he was made of. After all, he is none other than the offspring of Mr. Perfect.
And that’s how Curtis Axel joined WWE’s main roster under Paul Heyman after a stint with NXT. However, neither the company nor the manager seemed entirely behind Axel, and his own limitations as a performer meant that it ended up being a failed project.
9 Authors of Pain & Drake Maverick
A more recent example of a partnership that initially seemed great but fell apart involved Drake Maverick becoming director of the authors of pain. When they were in NXT, the duo had the legendary Paul Ellering as their manager, but they kicked him out after he joined the main roster.
WWE apparently wanted someone younger, and Maverick was cast in the role. However, the three didn’t spoil each other despite some funny moments, as Maverick was more of a comedic character while AOP needed a more serious approach to suit their personalities and style.
8 The Dudley Boyz and Stacy Keibler
This is another example of a hugely popular tag team paired with equally in-demand female talent. However, The Dudley Boyz and Stacy Keibler never seemed like a natural fit.
It didn’t help that the former was a hated team after joining the Alliance, while Stacy was a new female face on the scene that the public wanted to cheer on. These conflicting feelings caused them to break up soon after, and for the better.
seven Steve Austin and Ted DiBiase
Looking back, this couple seems too good not to have worked. However, despite being billed as The Ringmaster with Ted DiBiase as his manager, Steve Austin wasn’t able to achieve as much success as he would have liked.
With the legendary DiBiase, an all-time great heel, talking the most, Austin barely got to cut promos or show off his personality. Fortunately, the Million Dollar Man made his way to WCW soon after, and Stone Cold, now unfettered, became the biggest star in the company’s history.
6 Cesaro and Paul Heyman
There just has to be something between WWE wrestlers whose names start with C and Paul Heyman being their manager. When the talented and impressive Cesaro joined WWE, fans drooled at the thought of the wrestling monster becoming a star.
Pairing him with Heyman seemed like a no-brainer, as the foreign-born star was still getting to grips with the English language. However, right off the bat, it again seemed like Heyman was too busy elsewhere, in this case Brock Lesnar, leaving Cesaro feeling like the forgotten and unwanted second child.
5 Legion of Doom and Sunny
It never felt right, neither on paper nor in execution. On their own, Legion of Doom and Sunny were incredibly popular and more acts, but when put together they just didn’t click.
In 2000, WWE decided to freshen up the LOD act by pairing them with Sunny. While the latter was very successful as a team manager, this pairing lacked that chemistry.
4 Mark Henry and Teddy Long
Teddy Long’s infectious personality meant he was always a better general manager than a manager in WWE. However, when asked to handle Mark Henry, a potential monster heel character, it seemed like a great pairing.
The company hoped that the future SmackDown General Manager would help Henry recover from the mob after years of mediocrity. The two soon had Rodney Mack, Jazz and Chris Nowinski joining them in a solid act, but somehow they didn’t click meaning Henry was a solo act for a short time. after.
3 The Undertaker & Brother Love
During the first few months of his WWE stint, The Undertaker had Brother Love as his manager. While the latter spoke a lot for “The Old West Mortician,” they lacked that chemistry to keep the character interesting.
The Deadman went on to enjoy a strong first year at the company, but that spark with his manager just wasn’t there. Fortunately, in January 1991, Brother Love decided to hand over his management duties to Paul Bearer, and the rest is history.
2 Shane Douglas and Torrie Wilson
Many male wrestlers have been managed by women. Some good examples are Randy Savage/Miss Elizabeth and Shane Douglas/Francine.
Speaking of Douglas, when he debuted in WCW, he had Torrie Wilson as his manager, looking to replicate his success with Francine in ECW. However, while Wilson gathered nuclear heat, Douglas was left floundering as the company never treated him as a serious threat.
1 Kurt Angle and Bob Backlund
When Kurt Angle joined WWE, it was feared that he would take time to learn the ropes as he had an amateur background. However, he proved everyone wrong by enjoying one of the best rookie years in company history as a heel.
However, that didn’t stop Vince McMahon & Co. from hiring Bob Backlund as their manager to speed up their development and gain more heat. The pair were quickly let down after the Olympic gold medalist quickly improved on the mic and the ring, showing he doesn’t need managerial guidance to be a star.