PTBN’s WrestleMania List-a-Mania – Day Eighteen: Best WrestleMania Manager Performers
In honor of WrestleMania 33, members of the PTBN Staff has gathered to create a series of 33 lists, all dedicated to the rich history of WWE’s grandest spectacle. Each contributor assigned a ranking of 1-10 and votes were tallied accordingly. We will be releasing one list per day, with the final list to be posted on April 1, 2017, the day prior to WrestleMania 33! Be sure to share your feedback with us on social media! You can view the complete series here!
Day Eighteen: Best WrestleMania Manager Performers
Others Getting Votes: Johnny V (9), Freddie Blassie (8), Lou Albano (6), Stephanie McMahon (6), Cyndi Lauper (6), Ozzy Osbourne (6), Lita (6), Mr. Perfect (3), Ted DiBiase (2), Vince McMahon (2), Harvey Wippleman (1)
10. Sunny (11 Points)
Highest Ranking: #2 (Steven Ferrari)
In 1996, Sunny was at the top of her game and in her WrestleMania debut, she led the Boddydonnas to a big WWF Tag Title win in the Free For All. But just two short years later, in one last gasp to salvage the managerial career of Sunny and the tag team run of the Legion of Doom, the three performers were paired together for a reboot at WrestleMania XIV. Sunny would lead the legendary duo to a big battle royal win to open the show but the appearance was likely most memorable due to her red hot fireball themed bikini.
9. Jim Cornette (15 Points)
Highest Ranking: #5 (Neil Trama & Mike Eller)
Jim Cornette was around the WWF for quite a while in one way or another but really only had a major impact at three WrestleManias and each time Cornette was tied into Yokozuna. It started in 1994, when he navigated Yoko through a win over Lex Luger before the big man succumbed to a loss at the end of the night. A year later, Yoko reemerged from a layoff to team with Owen Hart for a WWF Tag Team Title win. And then in 1996, Camp Cornette picked up a big opening match victory to save Cornette from being pummeled by the now face Yoko. Of all that, his most memorable Mania moment likely came at WrestleMania X when he cut a great backstage promo in between title bouts.
8. Mr. Fuji (33 Points)
Highest Ranking: #4 (Neil Trama & Chris Jordan)
Mr. Fuji certainly found himself involved in many WrestleMania moments over the years and he always found a way to interject himself into the proceedings of his clients. In 1988 and led Demolition to a Tag Team Title win with an assist from his trusty cane, but his most famous interaction cam in 1989 when he actually stepped in ring alongside the Powers of Pain, eventually eating the pinfall against his old charges. Fuji’s other major impact, both good and bad, came at WrestleMania IX. Thanks to a handful of salt from Fuji’s holster, Yokozuna defeated Bret Hart for the WWF Title in that night’s main event. However, the ballsy Fuji would then accept the instantaneous challenge of a rested Hulk Hogan moments later, leading to Yoko becoming one of the shortest lived champs in company history.
7. Slick (39 Points)
Highest Ranking: #3 (Glenn Butler & Brian Bayless)
While his charges didn’t always have the most success on the biggest stage in the WWF, Slick was one of the all time great manager promos in WrestleMania history. His performances in 1990 and 1991 are as quoteworthy as it gets. In the ring, his top moment came in 1987 when Tito Santana tore his suit to shreds as a small measure of revenge for past sins.
6. Sensational Sherri (42 Points)
Highest Ranking: #3 (Tim Capel)
Often known as much for her revealing outfits as she was for her actual performances, Sensational Sherri was one of the most active Mania managers over a stretch from 1990 through 1993. At WrestleMania VI, she competed in the first ever WWF PPV mixed tag match and a year later she was involved in one of the most legendary Mania matches and moments of all time. Finally, in 1993, she was on the receiving end of a brutal beatdown at the hands of the wild Luna Vachon.
5. Paul Bearer (48 Points)
Highest Ranking: #2 (Chris Jordan)
With the Undertaker being so synonymous with WrestleMania, it only makes sense that Paul Bearer would rank so highly on this list as well. Bearer would lead Taker to his first five Mania victories before turning his back on the Deadman. In 1998, he led Kane to the ring for a big time tilt with Taker and then a year later he was back with the Deadman during the Ministry of Darkness phase. Of course, he also would make a big return appearance in 2004 when Undertaker eschewed his American Badass persona and returned to the Darkside.
4. Miss Elizabeth (59 Points)
Highest Ranking: #2 (Glenn Butler)
Considering her WrestleMania resume is fairly short, Miss Elizabeth clearly packed a lot of legendary moments into her handful of appearances, leading to her high ranking on this list. In 1986, she was the focal point of Randy Savage’s showdown with George Steele. Two years later she famously changed gowns to match Macho Man’s tights in each of his four matches. She also played a huge role in bringing Hulk Hogan to the ring to help Savage win the title. In 1989, she was again the centerpiece of a match, this time the explosion of the Mega Powers, one of the best crafted storylines in wrestling history. In 1990, she returned to torture Savage alongside Dusty Rhodes and in 1991, she and Macho Man reunited in one of the greatest Mania moments ever. And finally in 1992, she was once more the center of the story as Savage defended her honor against Ric Flair. It was a story that arced over seven years and all closed out as symmetrically as you will find in the wrestling business.
3. Paul Heyman (72 Points)
Highest Ranking: #2 (Neil Trama, Mike Eller & Tim Capel)
The 1 behind the 1 in 21-1 kicks off our top three. Paul Heyman’s entire WrestleMania run was pretty much tied to Brock Lesnar in one way or another, but each of those appearances were memorable spectacles in one way or another. He also of course aligned himself with CM Punk in 2013 and played a pivotal role in the build up to what would be an epic match with the Undertaker. Of course, the biggest moment came in 2014, when Heyman led Lesnar in his succesful quest to end the streak at WrestleMania XXX. Heyman was cocky the entire time and his facial expression at the pinfall was one of the greatest post match reactions of all time.
2. Jimmy Hart (76 Points)
Highest Ranking: #2 (Scott Criscuolo, Jason Greenhouse, Brian Bayless & Steve Riddle)
One of the legendary managers of the boom era, Jimmy Hart was a fixture at WrestleMania for its first nine years, often being ringside for multiple matches per show. His run of success started right at the top in 1985 when King Kong Bundy destroyed SD Jones and it rolled on from there. Hart was never really featured in any main event angles at Mania, but he was always in the mix in the upper mid card and tag scene, and brought us many great memories, like the one pictured above.
1. Bobby Heenan (100 Points)
Highest Ranking: #1 (Scott Criscuolo, Glenn Butler, Neil Trama, Mike Eller, Tim Capel, Steven Ferrari, Chris Jordan, Jason Greenhouse, Brian Bayless & Steve Riddle)
A rare unanimous choice among our voters, Bobby Heenan easily takes home the prize for greatest WrestleMania manager performer. Involved in lots of big time matches and storylines over the first six years, Heenan was as synonymous with Mania as anybody else during that stretch. From the1985 bodyslam challenge to the 1986 cage match to the 1987 showdown between Andre the Giant vs. Hulk Hogan match to stepping in the ring in 1988 and 1989 to helping Rick Rude upset Ultimate Warrior for the Intercontinental Title, Heenan did it all. Finally, in 1990, it all came to a head and closed full circle when Andre again swatted Heenan around just like did six years earlier when the odyssey began. Heenan even played a role at WrestleMania VIII, basically managing Ric Flair from the broadcast booth before being part of one the greatest Mania promos of all time. The Brain was certainly a major factor in the success of WrestleMania in its earliest years.