By: Todd Eastman
Is The Art of Managing Dead in Aussie Wrestling?
One question I’m always asked whenever I do interviews or podcasts is “Is the art of managing
dead?” and lately, as I’m hitting 12 years in the business, I’ve been thinking about this more and
The truth is that a good manager can add a lot to a match and to a worker. A manager is
another tool for wrestlers to use in matches that differentiate yourself from every other match on
the card, and a good partnership between a manager and wrestler can really take the
performance and gimmick of a worker to another level. Don’t get me wrong; there have been
managers on shows that, either by bad planning or just not knowing the job, are nothing but
window dressing. If they don’t have a “spot”, they don’t work the crowd and might as well be
sitting with the fans. Those ones irritate me. Our job is to put over the wrestler we are working
with, our gimmick, and make our opponent look good whether or not we are up or down at the
end of the match. Our job is to not overshadow the workers, but to enhance, to add heat. At the
end of the day it’s not about us – that’s the main thing I think managers need to remember.
Now to answer the question, “is the art of managing dead?” Short answer, no, but it’s highly
under-appreciated – and not by the fans, but by the promotions and promoters themselves. I get
it; as someone who has been on that side of the equation, it’s an extra person on the card and
they aren’t actually “in a match”, but I’ll counter that by saying that having a good manager on
your roster can be a point of difference that other local shows might not have, and a good
manager can be a draw if booked and used right.
Speaking only for myself, we had only just finished running an angle that had me in a match vs
Punchdrunk Istria at Pro Wrestling League that, because of the story laid out and the reaction of
the fans, was booked as the Main Event of that show. As soon as the match was announced
there was a genuine spike in ticket sales. That’s a match with a guy (me) who is in no way a
wrestler or had even had a match before, but was able to work a main event because of the
heat we as a team (Mitch Ryder, Tim Hayden, & Solomun Blackwell, “Top Tier”) had generated
by smart working and knowing when to use me in matches and when I should just sit back and
work a crowd.
There are some really good and potentially really good managers out there, and I feel we are all
being under-utilized by the bigger promotions around Australia. For someone as myself who I
feels works hard at my craft and at helping the wrestlers I work with, while I love seeing those
guys getting great opportunities, in some promotions or tours on a personal note it can be
frustrating when my hard work or my part of the act goes largely ignored. In some cases you
hear “We don’t have a spot for a manager in that match” which, in my opinion, is a silly excuse
because any manager worth his salt doesn’t need a “spot”, they need a chance to help your show.