When the WWE decided to execute a brand extension by spliting different talent rosters between the two weekly shows, Raw and SmackDown!, Vince McMahon appointed two separate (on-screen) general managers to oversee their respective brand. The general managers are responsible for everything involving their show’s daily operation. So, let’s take a look at some of the best general managers the WWE has had to offer.
- Eric Bischoff
By the time Vince McMahon had acquired WCW and officially defeating them in the “Monday Night Wars”, a majority of the top stars in WCW had already jumped ship to other promotions, mainly WWE. When WWE was looking for a general manager for Raw, McMahon thought of the one person who he thought could run Raw better than anybody else… Eric Bischoff. Bischoff was the mastermind behind everything WCW and I assume he thought, “if you can’t beat em’, join em’” and he did just that. Bischoff’s WWE debut was one nobody would ever think to see. Bischoff returned to portray his evil, heel authority role like he used while working with the nWo and for WCW. Bischoff would favor the heel characters over baby-faces when making decisions. In 2003, this abuse of power eventually became too much to handle so McMahon decided that Stone Cold Steve Austin would be the best man to be co-general managers with Bischoff. Although predominantly an on-screen heel character, Bischoff is responsible for some of the most influential wrestling innovations in WWE which included the “Raw Roulette” and the Elimination Chamber. In the end, Bischoff ranks 2nd place on the list of longest combined reigns as general manager in WWE History, with 3 years.
- Vickie Guerrero
Those who were fans of the WWE in the early years of the 2010’s, know all about Vickie Guerrero. The annoying screeching of her voice when she would yell, “EXCUSE ME!”, everytime she appeared just made your skin crawl. While some say her WWE run is linked to the death of her husband, the late, great Eddie Guerrero, she did not appear to be used incorrectly. When Guerrero became general manager of SmackDown in 2007, she quickly began abusing her power in the favor of her odd, significant other, Edge. She would give him a World Heavyweight Championship opportunity after interfering in the main event at the Survivor Series event prior to her promotion. After leading a tyrannical reign on SmackDown alongside “La Familia”, she would begin another on-screen relationship with Dolph Ziggler which led to a feud with former “fiance”, Edge. At one point she even granted Ziggler the World Heavyweight Championship, which he would lose later in the same night to Edge in a three minute match. While Guerrero as always portrayed an on-screen heel, her general manager work always involved incredible storylines and surprise turns along the way despite her character being annoying and corrupt.
- Teddy Long
Holla holla, playa! When a lot of people think of “OG” SmackDown, one of the main figures that comes to mind is Teddy Long. Long started as a referee and was moved to an on-screen manager role and ultimately moved to a general manager role. Long was responsible for some of the greatest SmackDown memories. If you remember Teddy, you know that he helped plan and put together awesome tag team matches with the brand’s top talent. Long was also a one-time general manager of the rebooted ECW brand in 2008 until being replaced by Tiffany who was the last general manager of ECW. At the end of the day, Long finds himself in sole possession of 1st place ranking of time spent as general manager with a combined six years running his brands.
- John Laurinaitis
When WWE was going through the process of re-merging their two weekly, flagship show’s (Raw and SmackDown) rosters, WWE had Teddy Long (representing SmackDown) and John Laurinaitis (representing Raw) battling for ultimate brand supremacy. The build-up to the 12-Man tag team match between the two brand’s competitors at WrestleMania XXVIII was incredible. Although the match did not have a “clean” finish (a match finish that doesn’t include any type of interference or foul play), the match saw Team Johnny defeat Team Teddy and Laurinaitis was now the General Manager for both Raw and SmackDown. Laurinaitis brought his character to a very high level while on-screen as he incorporated the phrase “People Power” into his gimmick although he was the only one who had power. Laurenitis would fire people for the sake of firing people, most notable, Big Show, who dropped to his knees, cried and begged for his job even though Laurinaitis would not give in to keep him. That same night, the Board of Directors sent Laurinaitis a letter stating that he would be fired if he lost the no disqualification match against Cena at Over the Limit. At the pay-per-view, Laurinaitis defeated Cena despite taking a heavy beating after Big Show interfered and attacked Cena. Later that summer, at No Way Out, Cena defeated Big Show in a Steel Cage match. After the match, McMahon fired Laurinaitis, followed by Cena hitting the Attitude Adjustment on Laurinaitis through the broadcast table. Although Laurinaitis was a heel character/general manager, his on-screen time was crucial and essential to drawing ratings to the WWE’s weekly television product.
- Anonymous Raw General Manager (Later Revealed to be Hornswoggle)
When Raw had an anonymous general manager, it was certainly on odd time. The Anonymous General Manager controlled the show by sending emails to a laptop, the emails were usually read on-screen by its spokesperson, Michael Cole. The computer’s decisions would never usually sit well with the superstar the announcement was directed to. At one point, Edge had the computer as guest on his “talk show”, The Cutting Edge”. The interview ended with Edge destroying the laptop. One of wildest things about the whole concept of the anonymous general manager is that a laptop was in charge of the brand for over a year! Occasionally the Anonymous General Manager left hints at its true identity, such as dropping catchphrases from popular superstars, however these were bluffs. The Anonymous General Manager controlled Raw until July 2011, when it was taken out in favor of new COO Triple H and Vice President of Talent Relations John Laurinaitis. Up to this point, its identity had never been revealed. Now, the craziest development was that the person behind the emails was none other than Hornswoggle, the small “leprechaun” who was once made to be Vince McMahon’s illegitimate son. Just let that sink in…