Bobby HeenanRaymond Louis Heenan
- Birthdate: 11/01/1944 (age 72)
- Height: 6'0"
- Weight: 190 Ib
Raymond Heenan is a former professional wrestli...
With that being said, let's take a look at our first batch...
Question from Ryan Ennis: "Thoughts and opinions of heel managers in the 1980s. [Bobby] Heenan, [Mr.] Fuji, Slick, Sherri [Martel], etc."
However, since you brought it up, I think the managerial scene of the 1980s was one of the more entertaining parts of the pro wrestling scene. Guys you mentioned, such as Bobby "The Brain" Heenan, Mr. Fuji, Slick and Sherri Martel were basically used as "heat magnets" for their "clients." Simply put, wrestling promotions would take generally unproven commodities, or newcomers to their territory, and as a way of giving them instant credibility, they would align them with one of their top managers. In most cases, the manager was designed to attract heat for the wrestler. If the wrestler was a newcomer, and they were put with, say, Heenan in the WWE in the 1980s, the fans would immediately know that this was a "heel" or someone they are supposed to dislike.
Other times managers were used to switch a wrestler from babyface to heel. If a wrestler was a "good guy," the promotion would align them with a top heel manager, such as Sherri Martel, and fans immediately knew that they were now turning against them and becoming a "bad guy."
I'm of the opinion that the manager in pro wrestling is a lost art that is badly missed by true wrestling fans. Paul Heyman is the best example in modern wrestling of a great manager. In fact, Heyman's current performances as a manager in WWE could be put up with any of those from the past as one of the all-time greats. Back in the day, in the 1980s like you mentioned, there was a plethora of managers, whereas today it's a more rare form of on-air packaging. Zeb Colter would be another example of a great current manager. In my opinion, WWE should utilize more managers in getting over younger, or less-experienced talent.
Question from Ian Jones: "Where do you see pro wrestling in five-or-ten years from now? Will we still be watching a PG-rated product, or can you see big changes coming for pro wrestling in the next five years or so?"
Answer: One of the biggest changes we could see in pro wrestling is the creation of the WWE Network. Depending on whether or not that concept sinks or swims, it could result in a drastic change in the way the pro wrestling product is presented. Of course that represents the way the product is offered to the fans, and will also include some additional original content.
As far as TNA is concerned, I've said it numerous times, I don't think the company will survive 2014. As I've mentioned, whether or not Viacom chooses to purchase TNA to retain their television programming for Spike TV, which hits the exact target demos they look for in a product, is a completely different story. TNA, the way we know it (and either love it, or hate it) right now, won't be around much longer. They are cutting costs across the board, resulting in the departure of top stars such as Hulk Hogan and AJ Styles, and I'm of the opinion that many, many more will soon be following upon the expiration of their current contracts. This could result in a dramatic change to the independent scene, as a number of wrestlers with name recognition will once again become available. Hell, a crazy billionaire could decide to jump into the business with an upstart promotion, and would have a realistic opportunity in putting together a legitimate roster of real talent.
When looking at the PG-rated version of WWE today, it is resulting in phenomenal business for the company. Because of that, I can't see them altering that formula at any point in the near future. You mentioned five-or-ten years. As far as five years is concerned, I don't think the WWE product will change in terms of the PG rating within...