Theodore Robert Rufus Long (born September 15, 1947), more commonly known as Teddy Long is an American wrestling personality who has in his time been a referee, manager, authority figure, and general manager for the WWE's SmackDown brand.
Teddy started out as an errand boy for wrestlers Tommy Rich and Abdullah the Butcher before being promoted to be part of the ringcrew, and eventually a referee for for Jim Crockett's World Championship Wrestling. Later, Kevin Sullivan and Eddie Gilbert convinced Jim Ross to give Long a managerial role, after learning that he used to be a radio DJ and could work the mic. Teddy soon became the manager for the tag-team Doom, with Ron Simmons, and Butch Reed.
Long later on moved to the then WWF where he worked as a referee once again. It was during this time that he was involved as the referee in the match that resulted in the real-life injury that left Droz (Darren Drozdov in real life) paralyzed.
Later on, Long's mic skills were called up again when he started managing various heels such as D'Lo Brown, Rodney Mack, Christopher Nowinski, Rosey, Mark Henry, Jazz, and, when he was drafted into SmackDown Mark Jindrak.
Long eventually got his start in the role he was most famous for when acting as a temporary replacement for Raw General Manager Eric Bischoff. Later on, when Kurt Angle was fired in story as SmackDown's General Manager, Long was replaced Angle in what was the start of the longest General Manager tenure in the brand's history. Immediately turning face after his appointment, Long's style contrasted with heel general managers such as Bischoff on Raw. In addition to this, Long also became known for his preferred method of resolving issues by having wrestlers compete in tag-team matches.
His tenure as General Manager ended when his Survivor Series team lost to the team of John Laurinaitis, who proceeded to become "Executive Vice President of Talent Relations and General Manager of both Raw and SmackDown." Teddy was "forced" to become Laurinaitis's "assistant," and then later served as Booker T's, until he was released from his WWE contract.
He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2017.
"Holla, holla, tropes, playa":
- Abusive Parents: Not necessarily a parent, but he was in charge of Norman the Lunatic in WCW. He would threaten Norman, who had the gimmick of the mental asylum patient, that he could send him back to the asylum at will, and he carried around a key to keep Norman in line.
- Ascended Extra: Opened both his careers in WWE and WCW television as a referee.
- Bald of Evil: Heel, dating back to his days as a manager in NWA and WCW. Although during those early days he was bald on top with a mullet in the back, rather than completely bald.
- Catchphrase: "Let me holla at ya, playa!"
- Chick Magnet: Despite being somewhat old, short, rather homely, and a Non-Action Guy of the highest order, Teddy's nonetheless had a couple of different Divas fawning over him. The guy must be doing something right.
- Easily-Distracted Referee: As expected, though he was better than most other referees in this area, truth be told.
- Gasp!: His default reaction to any sort of shock.
- Improbable Weapon User: During his time as a heel manager, he would threw shoes at people.
- Long Runner: Was the SmackDown GM from 2004-2012, longer than any other GM, on Raw or SmackDown.note
- Non-Action Guy: He mostly worked as either a manager or referee.
- Once per Episode:
- It wouldn't be uncommon for Teddy to interupt a Heel and say "Tonight, you're gonna go one-on-one with ... Da Undatakah!". If Undertaker wasn't available, Teddy would make them face Randy Orton instead.
- If there were four or six people in the ring and they were arguing or brawling with each other, chances were he'd interrupt them and place them in a tag team match, playa.
- Older Than They Look: Age wasn't the kindest to him, but he looked very good for a man in in his sixties!
- Out-Gambitted: Does this to Laurinaitis when faced with a Sadistic Choice of letting his girlfriend Aksana be placed in a match with Kane or laying down and letting Laurinaitis pin him. He refuses the latter and, while not outright said, is implied to have had Randy Orton take out Kane, allowing him to pin Laurinaitis, pick up the win, and save his girlfriend.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: After Rodney Mack was unceremoniously kicked off SmackDown and Teddy became his manager on Raw...
- Power Stable
- Ran two in WCW. Neither had proper names. One in the early 90s had The Skyscrapers (Sid Vicious and Dan Spivey) and Norman the Lunatic in it. The other was in the late 90s, and it was called Quittin' Time, consisting of Jim Powers and "Hardwork" Bobby Walker, which never appeared on anything besides the C and D shows like WCW Pro and WCW Worldwide.
- He ran "Thuggin And Buggin Enterprises" in WWE, but they were quickly pushed to the side because Triple H started his own called Evolution that included Ric Flair and won "All The Gold"...Jazz got the Women's Title belt at least.
- Put on a Bus: Once he no longer was General Manager, he disappeared off television, until he was finally released.
- The Bus Came Back: Teddy Long was in the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2017.
- Reasonable Authority Figure
- But once he became a GM, he grew out of it to become the authority who tries to give everyone a fair shot.
- Definitely plays this in juxtaposition to Laurinaitis.
- In Southwest Wrestling Entertainment he's forced to confront his bias towards Rodney Mack, and usually manages to put it aside and make the right choice, or close to it.
- Took a Level in Badass: Subtly in 2012 as his job was threatened by John Laurinaitis. Notable was the moment he suspended a rampaging Mark Henry and kicked him out of the arena face-to-face. (A marked difference from several months prior when he tried to no avail to placate the angry super heavyweight in a similar situation). Also, more than one heated argument between himself and the much bigger former wrestler Laurinaitis has ended with Laurinaitis getting knocked on his ass. Hell, he even won a match during the conflict.
- Ur-Example: Of the WWE General Manager. As seen in Long Runner above, nobody has been a general manager longer than Teddy Long. Michael Cole outright called him the greatest general manager of all time in 2017.
- Verbal Tic: "Playa", "Holla", "Ya feel me?" or "Believe that!"
- Now dat you read my tropes, I'm going to ruin yer life...in a handicap match against Randy Orton AND Da Undatakah! HOLLA!
Oh, and just in case you do happen to have a partner with ya, it'll be a tag team match, playa! Ya feel me?
But it ain't gon' be easy. Coz you will be doing this INSIDE a steel cage!