Class of 2017
Longest Tenured Smackdown GM; Consistently Employed
Hall of Fame Rating
4 out of 10
Hey look! Its Teddy Long! Holla Holla Holla!
It wouldn’t be a WWE Hall of Fame Class without an inductee who just isn’t in the same league as the rest of the group. For every Ricky Steamboat, there is a Howard Finkel (2009); for every Antonio Inoki, a Bullet Bob Armstrong (2010); and for every Diamond Dallas Page, a Teddy Long.
We all remember Teddy Long. He was on WWE TV for many years. He was the long time role of face Smackdown General Manager. Up until today’s Daniel Bryan, WWE never really did Good Guy General Managers well. They were always kinda boring and just there. That’s why Teddy Long was perfect; he was kinda boring and just there.
Teddy Long career in wrestling began as a gofer for certain stars. The stories include that he was “get me that kid” guy, for such superstars as Abdullah the Butcher.
The wrestling business used to be very structured. In pro wrestling parlance, “dues” were needed to get you to the next level. As a wrestler, that includes doing the job for a couple of years. (Not a current thing- looking at you Roman Reigns)
In the non-wrestler role, many men went to ring crew to get themselves into the business. Long followed this path. He moved from ring crew to part time referee, working as the NWA needed him to, throughout the late 80s. He even got to ref the NWA heavyweight match between Ric Flair and Ricky Steamboat…as a replacement.
The replacement might as well be Long’s nickname. Long had allies in NWA, including Kevin Sullivan and Eddie Gilbert (as well as Dusty Rhodes later). Due to this, Long was given a promotion from referee to manager. Generally speaking, refs don’t move up to different levels. This isn’t due to their lack of talent or caring, more so due to their lack of the dynamism. Long suffered from the same issue that Nick Patrick suffered when he turned heel in WCW. He just couldn’t be a believable bad guy.
That didn’t stop NWA/WCW from trying. Long was given WCW world champions Doom, The Skyscrapers (including Sid, and the Future Undertaker, Mean Mark Callous) among others. Long’s major issue was he just wasn’t that great at being a manager.
Yes, he was unlikable, but in 1990, heels were automatically booed. It was still a kayfabe given. Long was less on the level of Jim Cornette or Bobby Heenan and more on the level of Oliver Humperdink. Who is Oliver Humperdink?
Like Humperdink, Paul Jones, Sonny Onno or Harvey Whippleman, Teddy Long was an obvious 2nd tier manager. His promo skills were fairly lacking, something which in a managerial role, makes that performer useless and forgettable. Mean Mark, for instance didn’t need Teddy Long talking for him. Long was an accessory, and proof positive of WWE’s current belief that managers really aren’t needed.
Teddy Long was employed by WCW until 1996, even though his “memorable” management times stuck exclusively to 1990-1992. You see, Teddy Long was really good at keeping a job. In his wrestling career, he stayed with NWA/WCW from 1985-1996 and WWE from 1998-2014.
Longevity is in many ways looked at an asset. If you can stay with a company for a long time, you must be great. Right?
Not necessarily. Long’s longevity is due to being just nice enough to fly under the radar. He didn’t make problems and likely didn’t cost very much. Why not keep him around?
WWE brought Long back to his beginnings in 1998 as a referee. Long played this role for many years in WWE, doing a fine and extremely unmemorable job.
WWE promoted Long to manager in 2002, after the failed Invasion/WCW/ECW storyline and he proceeded to do exactly what he did in WCW, only worse. Long managed one of Mark Henry’s tenure’s in between injuries in the early 2000s as well as the easily forgettable Jazz and Rodney Mack.
After his less than memorable manger career ended in 2004 (and WWE mostly got rid of managers), Long was brought in as a Smackdown GM as a replacement for Kurt Angle. This is where most fans remember Long from. He “helmed” Smackdown from 2004-2007, ECW in 2008-2009, and Smackdown again from 2009-2012 .
Long was great as just being a means to an end. As a face general manager, the job mostly entailed giving heels a little bit of a hard time, something which in the grand scheme of general managers, is a fairly boring part of it.
Long’s most famous and well remembered contributions were making tag team matches or making a heel go one on one with the Undertaker.
And that’s about it. Who remembers anything he did as ECW general manager?
Or his relationship with Kristin Marhsall aka Mrs. Bobby Lashley?
Or his time as a maid with Vickie Guerrero?
Or his…nope that’s about it.
Long is a longevity inductee. Howard Finkel, Johnny Rodz, Gerald Brisco and Mae Young, none of them particularly that interesting, all made the Hall of Fame due to being there for a long time….without much attention paid to them. Like your cousin who is real nice and you like but you can’t think of anything he does.
Longevity gives us Finkel. And now it gives us Long.
Two major reasons. Teddy Long is old, so if they were going to do it, it should be soon. Wrestlers die and it always sucks to induct without the person (See Future Hall of Famer Ivan Koloff).
Most importantly, WWE likes to diversify their classes. One big issue is WWE and wrestling in general has been a white male sport mostly with a few hispanic, black and women performers thrown in until about 20 years ago. WWE is notorious for its lack of push to especially africian american performers. And they’ve kind of run out of people to induct and like the diversity element.
Teddy Long fits a slot.
Opens Door For?
Bob Holly. Longevity in the modern WWE. No one beats Bob Holly (except Henry and Taker)
Welcome to the Hall of Fame Hardcore…UGH
Reasons this shouldn’t have happened.
Name me another Teddy Long moment i missed. There aren’t any.