“MANAGEMENT MUSINGS” — HOW WRESTLING MANAGERS INFLUENCED THIS WRITER’S LIFE …

Posted January 25th, 2013 by Bill Apter

1Wrestling.com Article – Management Musings

It’s so clear in my head now that you’d swear it happened yesterday; a good friend and I were enjoying some lunch prepared by my mother and watching some wrestling. No big deal, right? Well, this seemingly run-of-the-mill occasion would prove to be an extremely important day in my life.

I believe we were taking in the VHS of WWF/WWE Wrestlemania III, featuring the now-timeless battle between Hulk Hogan and Andre The Giant for the World Heavyweight Title. A classic match, regardless of any preference, and one which has went down in history as a huge moment in pro wrestling. My friend, much like myself, was a massive Hulkamaniac, and we loved watching Hogan slam the enormous Andre time and time again. In fact, yours truly still gets those old familiar goosebumps running down the arm every time when looking back to this one; it certainly hasn’t aged well in the eyes of some, but that has never mattered much to me. It seems to capture a specific time and place, when Vince McMahon’s radical new vision was bursting with colour all over North America.

My fellow wrestling-loving buddy was transfixed on the events happening inside the ring, but strangely I kept finding my eyes drawn to what was going on outside it. Bobby “The Brain” Heenan was the main culprit for this, and he was as colourful as the wrestlers themselves. The longer the match progressed, the more my intrigue grew as to what exactly his role was. I’ve been fascinated with the machinations of the wrestling business ever since I was a small boy, only growing fonder when I found out it wasn’t a genuine fight, and the curiosity inside me wanted to understand Heenan’s exact character.

From there, my love of the professional wrestling manager only blossomed, and I began to pay a lot more attention to those often-nefarious figures at ringside. From Bobby Heenan to Mr. Fuji, Jimmy Hart to Paul Bearer, the hits just kept on coming. Even when one of my in-ring favourites, The “Million Dollar Man” Ted Dibiase ditched the tights for the microphone, I lapped it up. There was something distinctly cool to me about these non-wrestling individuals, responsible for hyping up their charge and aiding those not-so-smooth on the mic get recognised and over with the fans.

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why the thought of being a manager became far more appealing to me than becoming a wrestler. Whilst all my friends would dream of being Bret Hart, I’d lay awake for hours and daydream about being Jim Cornette! The next step, when I became a little older, was to try and realise this fantasy.

The author (above) appearing as James R. Kennedy – a vain, vile snob who feels pro wrestling needs to lose itself to entertainment.

Never for one second did I think I’d be involved in the wrestling business, certainly not as a performer. I had already realised my other ambition of writing about the industry I’ve grown up with a few years prior to even trying. Whether it was writing for smaller websites, or amusing myself with articles I thought nobody was reading over at James Guttman’s WorldWrestlingInsanity.com, I was content with the thought of sharing my opinions on wrestling, putting up the “Out To Lunch” sign every once in a while and losing myself in a mental world of what it would be like to be a wrestling manager.

If I could only do it once, even just for a solitary match, I’d have lived out my dream. How was I to know it would become much more than that? Contacting Mark Dallas of Insane Championship Wrestling, I was merely looking for some guidance. Where could I go to learn how to become a manager? Replying to me when not many others did, Mark invited me to film a short promo and send it his way. Truth be told, I didn’t even think he’d look at it if I did, but here was a chance to show what I’d practiced in front of the mirror all those years.

With my sister’s help, I set-up the camera and became James R. Kennedy, an egotistically vain character. Shady and painfully self-centered, it’d likely be fascinating to look back on now. In all likelihood, it was a horrible promo, filled to the brim with nerves and non-belief in actually being the person I was claiming to be. That said, Mr. Dallas must have liked it – he offered to book me pretty much on the strength of it! Stressing that I must attend some training to learn how to bump, as well as some other rudimentary basics, Mark handed me my first pro wrestling booking.

Needless to say, I was stunned. It had all happened so quickly. I fondly remember calling up that same friend who had wondered why I was watching Bobby Heenan and not Hulk Hogan all those years ago, telling him the good news. There was a sense of achievement like no other; a dream fulfilled. Even if I turned up to the show, they thought I was terrible and never booked me again, I had still done what I pined for.

As it turns out, 2 years on I’m still playing the character in ICW, and having a blast. I personally feel I’m slowly but surely finding my feet in what can be an often-intimidating world. Some of these guys and girls have been doing this for years, training daily to realise their dreams. I guess in my own way, so have I. The tale of my first appearance in ICW is a story for another day, with all the excitement and good times that come with it, but I just wanted to share my own short adventure. If only I could meet Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, I’d shake his hand.

Category: Wrestling.

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