Kue’s Korner: Condiments Galore! A Look at Managers Today
by Jonah Kue on March 17, 2011

Salutations, my fellow ring watchers. Welcome to this week’s edition of Kue’s Korner. I, of course, am your dashing (somebody’s gotta use it) host, Jonah Kue, and I am definitely in the category of people who are, how do the kids say, “amped” for ‘Mania.

By and by, I did want to mention that this week’s ending of Raw, the Miz beatdown of Cena, was about as close to perfection as one could get out of a segment. I say this admittedly out of bias, since I’m a huge Miz mark and love when Cena gets his purple and yellow ass handed to him. Because of this attitude, I was accused of being an asshole towards Cena and far to full of admiration for the Miz. Seriously, kids, I know, as a columnist with a bit of a smark status, I know of the analytical prerequisites that should shape my perspective on our fake sport, but to say that we can’t enjoy our favorite Superstars and their victories (not to mention our least favorite Superstars and their comeuppance) is simply, as my former neighbor from Brooklyn would say, “ig’nant”. So, sorry, my accusing friend. I will continue to enjoy Miz’s tyranny and Cena being beat down for as long as I deem fit. You’re welcome.

Twitter: @jonahkue

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It’s fantastic to see the use of managers coming back to ‘E. We’ve seen this in the likes of the Miz and his protege, Alex Riley, Del Rio with both Ricardo Rodriguez and his NXT protege, Brodus Clay, and even the potential for Michael Cole to be Jack Swagger’s mouthpiece. So, when Alex Riley lost his “epic” steel cage confrontation with Cena, which led to his abrupt firing from the Awesome One’s employ, why is it that the character of the Miz suffered not even the lowest of proverbial speed bumps? Let’s look at the use of managers, kids.

The Mouthpiece – This is probably the most prominent use of a manager. Several grapplers have always had their skills in the ring. But you can’t sell a match on ring work alone, friends. It’s also about hype. And hype comes from promos. So, what do you do when you’re the fighting type but need a bit more hype? Get somebody who can build it. We’ve seen this combination in Andre the Giant and Bobby Hennan, Jim Cornette and the Midnight Express, Freddie Blassie and the Iron Shiek, Yokozuna and Mr. Fuji, Undertaker and Paul Bearer, and Umaga and Alberto Estrada to name a few. This is proof that, even if one man isn’t the definition of the “complete package” (refrain from any Val Venus-esque innuendos, please), all that’s needed is a simple verbal addition to make world champs.

The Muscle – Even if you’ve got the talent and the mic skills, it doesn’t help to have a little extra padding (Metaphor, ladies. This does not apply to padded-ass jeans. False advertising will not be tolerated). Why not? And hell, an effective heel is always looking for the fans to boo the living hell out of them. A bulked-up bodyguard interfering in matches is plenty reason for the crowd to get riled up against you. Not only does it help the cheating aspect of a developing heel, but it highlights the cowardly attributes as well. There have been a number of effective duos that fit this criteria; HBK and Diesel, HHH and Chyna, Y2J and Curtis Hughes (points for a fucking hell of a throwback there), Kendrick and Big Zeke, and Punk and Gallows to name a few. Yep, even if you’ve got everything going for you, it never hurts to have a Whitney Houston movie pulling for you. And I’m not talking about “The Preacher’s Wife” (points for sneaking a Denzel film into the column!).

The Madame – No matter how freaking perfect you are in the world of sports entertainment, it’s almost never a bad idea to add a bit of “optical Wonka” to the occasion (that’s “eye candy” for those of you who need a Rosetta Stone for Kueism). Not only is it a bit of fan service, but it adds another layer of personal investment with the male/female dynamic. Feuds tend to get more personal as female managers/girlfriends/wives get involved, and storylines are up a notch in the drama department. Savage and Miss Elizabeth were a perfect example of this So were Austin and Debra, HHH and Steph, HBK and Sherri, and recently, Vickie and Edge or Vickie and Ziggler. Steph and Vickie particularly shined as valets due to their “women with power” angles, which helped them generate more heat than several wrestlers on the main roster by themselves. Goes to show you hell hath no fury than a woman in the wrestling biz. Except for Madison Rayne. She sucks.

With these little levels of managerial occupation laid open for your eyes, it’s clear to see why A-Ri’s unemployment will not be a detriment to the Miz in any way, shape, or form. Riley simply wasn’t needed at all. He didn’t boost the Miz’s character. He was inadequate on the mic, especially when standing next to his mentor. And he’s certainly not eye candy (well, I could be wrong. Chantal, what do you think?). This little move could, in fact, be used to elevate both Riley and the Miz individually. Riley has a chance to shine on his own without being compared to main event guys like the Miz, which allows him a chance to build, while Miz has a chance to show the kind of threat he is on his own (a la the ending of this week’s Raw).

In any case, it’s nice to see a resurgence of this qualified managers out there in ‘E. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be filling out my application to be a Cole Miner.


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Jonah Kue

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  • Rhett Davis

    Great article but is there any way you can send one of those Cole Miner applications my way? To be honest… A-Ri needs Miz wayyy more than Miz needed him.

  • Wally Kovacs

    A-Ri was firmly in the lackey camp, which is like a lesser version of muscle. A lackey works better in a stable environment… you either have enough lackeys that they can at least pull something off together, while still being able to get beat up. In most relationships, the manager isn’t going to get beat up. The moutpiece is the one people want to see hurt (Sometimes more than the actual superstar), but outside of rare occaisions, you only get to see the managee get beat up. The idea behind the muscle is to prevent the managee from being beaten, so he expectation is that the muscle is harder and less likely to be beaten up. The lackey is the otherway around, their job is to be beaten up, and it’s only satisfying in that it’s because he’s a stand in for his leader/mentor.

    The lackey role is likely unable to get you over in the long run, barring a face turn similar to that by the muscle (although, in this case you are probably a sympathetic underdog, instead of a badass that’s been held back). Most of the recent lackeys however have been sort of disappeared only to return repackaged later. Their role seems to be to learn for a future actual push, and in the mean time put heat onto the people that aren’t stuck with go nowhere gimmicks. The New Nexus were basically just given to Punk and then fed to Orton to get them both over more, and then destroyed, while the Corre (which is pretty much the best parts of the original Nexus with Zeke thrown in) are turned into a semi-legit stable on Smackdown (they at least have a real stable formation now, as Wade is still a potential World Title contender, Gabriel and Slater are tag champs, and Zeke is both muscle, and could easily be made into an IC title contender if they bother to do anything in that division.)

  • Wandrelust

    Of course, the ultimate lackey, was Virgil, to the Million Dollar Man. Virgil couldn’t talk, couldn’t wrestle, and wasn’t a threat. But he helped DiBiase get over.

  • Sebastian Howard

    I thought the Miz beatdown was pretty lame, since Cena just kept popping back up selling it terribly.

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