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Holla, Holla, Holla! A Look Back at Theodore Long's GM Tenure

Theodore Long's most known role in his four decades in the wrestling business, was his longtime role as a popular General Manager

By Clyde E. DawkinsPublished 3 months ago 6 min read
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I've said many times that I'm grateful to WWE for filling that void left by the NHL lockout in 2004-2005. Fortunately, a lot of wild stuff was happening on WWE television at that time. The tail end of 2004 saw the World Heavyweight Championship picture become quite interesting on Raw, while SmackDown had a lot of interesting developments going on that brand. Among them was the hiring of a new General Manager: Theodore Long.

I'll never forget the episode of SmackDown that saw Long officially hired as GM. I also know this: as Eric Bischoff would say in late 2005, the SmackDown GM role was a revolving door. The whole General Manager thing started in 2002, with Raw seeing the aforementioned Bischoff as their new boss, while SmackDown's first GM was Stephanie McMahon. After over a year, Paul Heyman took over the gig until he quit in response to being drafted to Raw in 2004, which allowed Kurt Angle to serve as the GM for a few months.

As for Theodore Long, he already had quite an established wrestling career by the time he joined the then-named World Wrestling Federation in 1998; having spent several years as referee and a (villainous) manager. Long served as a referee in his first years in WWF/E before returning to the role of a villainous manager, usually managing Mark Henry, D'Lo Brown, Rodney Mack, and Jazz, as well as Christopher Nowinski. When Long was moved to SmackDown via the 2004 draft, he appeared on Velocity (SmackDown's B-show) as the manager for Mark Jindrak.

As I said before, SmackDown had three GMs in two years, and in the summer of 2004, Kurt Angle's reigh of terror (which saw him use his power to mess with John Cena and Eddie Guerrero) ended after he was caught faking his injury as part of a ploy to keep Eddie Guerrero from regaining the WWE Championship. The evening of July 29, 2004 saw Long officially hired as GM, which surprised me a bit. Even more surprising: Long turned face in his debut as GM, and the face turn was mainly established when he chewed out Booker T in response to his assumption that Long would award him the vacant United States Championship.

Turning Long face made a lot of sense, because ever since WWE started doing the whole "on-screen authority figure" thing, the bosses have always been heels, with the exception of Mick Foley as WWF Commissioner, and Stephanie McMahon as SD's first GM. Long made history as WWE's first-ever Black GM, though in-character, Angle attempted to uses that fact to kiss up to him.

We would get a lot of amazing moments from Long following the hiring. His tenure began while John "Bradshaw" Layfield was gaining steam as WWE Champion, leading to Long creating so many of those crazy main events that JBL would loudly protest, yet somehow survive. JBL was the main foe for Long back then, as he often accused Long of attempting to keep him from the main event. This went on for just a hair under two years, which included the moment leading to JBL's first "retirement": losing the US Title and then storming into Long's office in a huge fit, before being told that he would get one more chance at the World Heavyweight Championship, with the stipulation that he would quit SmackDown if he lost.

We would also see Long take center stage for SmackDown in the brand feud in 2005, which came to a head at that year's Survivor Series. The event's theme, for the most part, was Raw vs SmackDown, which even included a match between the brands' GMs, which actually saw Long victorious over Eric Bischoff. Long continued serving as SD's GM, and it was in 2007 that Vickie Guerrero would return (after spending the latter 1/3 of 2006 as the villainous manager for her nephew, Chavo Guerrero) as Long's assistant. That's not the only development for Long, as he would gain a love interest in Kristal Marshall. I remember that angle so well, and I also remember the wedding that took place, as well as how it ended.

So yeah, the wedding ended with Long suffering a storyline heart attack, and this resulted in Vickie Guerrero becoming the GM in Long's place. Vickie turned heel after Survivor Series and became involved in a relationship with Edge, and regarding Long, he would return as the Assistant GM, but after Edge regained the World Heavyweight Championship, the faction known as La Familia started forming, with Vickie and Edge as the heads, and consisting of Chavo Guerrero, Bam Neely, Curt Hawkins, and Zack Ryder. As for Long, he was reduced to pushing the wheelchair-bound Vickie around for weeks on end, until finally having enough in May of 2008.

Just a few weeks later, Long became ECW's GM, but that didn't last long, as he was back running SmackDown in April of 2009. Long's second tenure was quite interesting. For one, he found himself in an interesting position at Breaking Point later that fall. Here's what went down:

The main event of WWE's only Breaking Point PPV was The Undertaker challenging CM Punk for the World Heavyweight Championship in a Submission Match. Of course, both champion and challenger had their submission moves. CM Punk had the Anaconda Vice, while Taker had Hell's Gate, which he would use on Punk to win the title.

Or so he thought.

Seconds after the bell rang, Teddy Long came out and said the unthinkable: Hell's Gate was deemed an illegal and banned move by Vickie Guerrero (a year prior), and after that Long ordered the match restarted. Once it was, Punk locked Undertaker in the Anaconda Vice, and referee Scott Armstrong called for the bell...with no submission from Taker. A few statements that entered my mind when I read this back then. Number one, "Wait, what?" I assumed that once Vickie left as GM, the ban left, too. And secondly, "Did Teddy Long turn heel?" It sure seemed that way, though weeks later, Long basically gave an explanation revealing that what occurred at Breaking Point was part of a conspiracy to prevent Taker from winning the WHC. Yeah, you don't really see heels making confessions like that. Long hoped for forgiveness from the Deadman.

Yeah, about that.

So Taker took Long on quite a rough ride in that limo, and we would see Long in a casket, visibly shaken once Punk saw him. Even in his state, Long removed the ban on Hell's Gate, and ordered a rematch at the first Hell in a Cell event, which Taker won. Long's second run continued unscathed until Vickie Guerrero returned to SmackDown as Long's advisor in 2010. It was very early in 2011 that Long was attacked, leading to Vickie being in charge. Oh boy. Vickie wasted no time getting championship matches for Dolph Ziggler, and using her power to help Dolph and screw over Edge (the latter half out of revenge). Just as Vickie had awarded the World Title to Dolph, Long returned and outed the pair as being behind the attack, resulting in Long firing Dolph that week, and Vickie the following week.

Long's lengthy tenure as GM ended in 2012, though that year would see him as a Senior Advisor to SD GM Booker T. He was out of WWE by 2014, though he would make a number of sporadic appearances on WWE TV, most recently during last year's Raw is XXX special.

Theodore R. Long was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2017, with the APA (John "Bradshaw" Layfield and Ron "Faarooq" Simmons) inducting him that year. To say that Long is my all time favorite GM would be an understatement. I always loved his catchphrases--"Holla, holla, holla!," and "Now, just hold on a minute, playa!" The best thing was that he was a babyface boss during a time where WWE needed one badly; it was so much fun watching Long just mess with heels. And every fan knows that Teddy Long had two main go-tos. One of them was making tag team matches; whenever it was a big group dispute, Long would come out and settle it by placing the participants in a tag team match. Didn't matter the size; standard, six-man, eight-man, even 12--a tag team match would take place.

Of course, the better of Teddy Long's two go-tos was, "You will go one on one with The Undertaker!" When some heels got too out of line for Long's liking, he would have the Deadman deal with them, and the expression on their faces was priceless, while the fans simply ate it up. Long is, IMO, the greatest GM in WWE history, and as a wrestling fan, I absolutely enjoyed his long run as GM on SmackDown and ECW. As a Black wrestling fan, I remain over the moon regarding the immense respect and pomp and circumstance that Teddy Long has received and continues to receive from fans, as well as a number of wrestling legends.

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About the Creator

Clyde E. Dawkins

I am an avid fan of sports and wrestling, and I've been a fan of female villains since the age of eight. Also into film and TV, especially Simpsons and Family Guy.

Feel free to follow my social media:

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  • Philip Gipson3 months ago

    This is a true heartwarmer right here. Thanks for writing about Theodore Long.

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