4. An Effective Manager Acts As A Plug From The Fan To The Ring
One of the things that I remember nobody ever having to teach me is that as a manager you should probably sell (whether by face or by whole body) the level of assault the wrestler you are representing is taking in the ring. A manager that merely stands outside the ring is a useless eyesore that detracts from the story of the match because a fan ostensibly could be trying to figure why you're out there as much as they're paying attention and engaging with the in-ring action. However, if as a manager you're wincing, grimacing, bending, bowing and generally interacting with what's happening with the wrestler you manage, you add a believable aura to what's happening in the ring. If I'm in theory "managing" a wrestler, then I'm invested in whether he wins or loses. Thus, I should really care about their well-being. However, as my career progressed, I learned more about the reason why me being engaged in what's happening to my charge ultimately makes sense. Imagine a wrestling ring and a crowd as a socket and an object. The object and socket ultimately need a plug so that the energy from the socket can allow the object itself to serve its purpose. Some wrestlers are so great that while wrestling, they're effectively able to extend themselves not just by wrestling in the ring (but through strength of persona too) to serve as a connector from the fans to what they are doing in the ring. However, for wrestlers lacking that little something extra to make themselves great in that regard, a manager makes a world of difference. In effectively feeling the energy of the people (and knowing how to manipulate it in the desired direction), a manager can provide an invaluable assist in the evolution of a wrestler's talents. For three years in Virginia's Fusion Wrestling I managed Virginia-based sometimes Ring of Honor performers Jefferson Early and Zack Hilton, A1. Now retired, Zack was an incredible athlete with terrific charisma, who (unintentionally) bore a resemblance in gimmick to a hybrid of Zack Ryder and Dolph Ziggler. In a smaller frame, Jeff is literally the walking spitting image of wrestler of NWA and WWF tag-team, singles and Four Horsemen fame, Tully Blanchard. At the time that I managed them, it was my job to serve as the connection between them ad the crowd, insofar as on-the-fly teaching them when, where, how and why to put the crowd on an emotional roller coaster. As much as both were gifted in-ring competitors, I attempted to provide the psychological cherry on the pie of their success. A great manager does exactly that sometimes. Manage. In being able to impart to two wrestlers how, when, where and why to effectively manage a crowd's response, I served a necessary developmental purpose in the careers of both Zack and Jeff.
Besides having been an independent professional wrestling manager for a decade, Marcus Dowling is a Washington, DC-based writer who has contributed to a plethora of online and print magazines and newspapers writing about music and popular culture over the past 15 years.