Hey, remember the Anonymous Raw General Manager? As much as we’d all like to forget that annoying beeping sound and Michael Cole asking us to give him our attention, the anonymous GM was a pretty big storyline when it was around in 2010 and 2011.
People speculated for literally two full years about who was behind those emails before it was revealed to be recently released WWE superstar Hornswoggle because sometimes wrestling is the worst.
Former WWE writer Kevin Eck recently wrote a blog post about the angle and finally gave some clarity on how the whole thing came about. As Eck tells it, Hornswoggle was not always the plan for the anonymous GM (shocking, I know). In fact, no one had any idea who the GM was going to be. Eck pitched Kevin Nash, but that didn’t stick, and neither did another writer’s suggestion of it being Shawn Michaels, as all of those ideas were turned away by Vince McMahon.
“As it turned out, the anonymous Raw GM story line was dropped without a conclusion the month before I started working for WWE. To my knowledge, there never was a firm plan regarding the identity of the GM. Every now and then during my first several months on the job, someone on the creative team would pitch an idea to tie up the loose end and reveal who the anonymous Raw GM was. I recall that one suggestion was for it to be Shawn Michaels. Whenever we presented one of those ideas to Vince McMahon, he would always shoot them down and say that the audience had moved on and didn’t really care anymore who the anonymous Raw GM was.”
As for how it became Hornswoggle? It started as a joke in the writers room and eventually turned into Hornswoggle portraying a new character called Lou Manfredini, speaking in an old-timey accent, and calling women “dames.” Wait, what?
“Recalling how bad it was when the payoff to the story line of Mr. McMahon’s illegitimate son was Hornswoggle, one of the head writers jokingly said during a brain-storming session with the creative team that Hornswoggle should be the anonymous RAW GM. We all started laughing and throwing out suggestions for how it would play out and what the back story would be. It was all so ridiculous that the head writer actually thought it could be a so-bad-it’s-good scenario that Vince just might go for. The idea was that after Hornswoggle was outed as the GM, he’d reveal who he truly was. Saying that his name was Lou Manfredini (the last name of one of the writers), he would speak with a W.C. Fields-like accent, chomp on cigars and refer to women as “dames.” He would say that he hated being the lovable Hornswoggle character, but playing the role was what he had to do to get a job with WWE. Being the anonymous Raw GM gave him the opportunity to mess with all the Superstars that (in his mind) laughed at him because of his size and treated him more like a mascot than a person. We had planned on making Hornswoggle a heel manager going forward.”
The only problem was, at least according to Eck, that the former WWE Cruiserweight Champion didn’t have the acting chops to pull off such a nuanced character in such a short amount of time.
“The idea was pitched to Vince, and sure enough, he OK’d it. There was only one problem: Hornswoggle couldn’t pull it off. I was the writer assigned to work with Hornswoggle the night on the reveal on Raw. He did take after take as the Lou Manfredini character backstage, but he still sounded like Hornswoggle. It just wasn’t working, and one of the producers went to Vince and told him so. In Hornswoggle’s defense, it’s not like we gave him weeks to prepare for the role. Vince decided that we would still do the segment, but after Hornswoggle was revealed as the anonymous Raw GM, that would be the end of it. Sadly, Lou Manfredini would never see the light of day. Understandably, Hornswoggle was pretty bummed about it.”
Who knows, maybe if Hornswoggle could have just pulled off the voice in time for the show, Lou Manfredini could have been the next great manager in WWE hist…okay, I can’t even say that sarcastically.
The blog in its entirety can be read here. Needless to say, it’s well worth your time.