Today is the five year anniversary of the passing of Sensational Sherri. Sherri is one of the few performers that I go out of my way to intently watch her stuff. She knew how to enhance the people that she managed, get heat, and to never gain sympathy when the babyface finally catches her. Unfortunately I never got to be around Sherri too often, since we were always in different places.
The first time I ever talked to her was by the weirdest coincidence. I was at an airport in 1991 when I was trying to change a flight. The person at the airport was a wrestling fan, so we started chatting about stuff. Next thing you know, Sherri called the air lines to change her flight. The airport worker told Sherri over the phone that he was right now changing my flight; he then gave me the phone to talk to her. I told her how I loved her work with Randy Savage & Ted Dibiase. I even joked around about how I loved her maid outfit that she had when she managed Dibiase. Sherri told me if I wanted the costume, she would gladly send it to me. Sherri was too generous, especially considering we only talked for a few minutes.
Before I was fired from WCW in 1994, they had plans in bringing Sherri to work against me. It was one of the biggest missed opportunities of my entire career. Sherri was smart enough of a worker to probably carry me in the ring & smart enough of a worker for me to not receive any sympathy, since both of us would have been heels at the time.
Ironically enough, I would end up taking Sherri’s spot in managing Shane Douglas for one night when Paul Heyman booked a WWN TV taping in NYC for Jim Crockett in 1994. I thought Douglas & I had potential as an act, but Sherri was a superior act with Shane in ECW in 1993.
In 1999, for some stupid reason I wanted to reinvent myself by trying to work actual wrestling matches. I was booked against Sherri in Canada. I was beyond psyched & I had a mark out moment in working against a person that I considered myself a fan when I watch her work. I wanted to call the whole match in the back in order to “idiot proof” the match for myself. Sherri gave me the finish & she told me that she would call the rest of the match in the ring. The match ended up being the greatest match that I ever been in [not very high praise]. The match got over with no blown spots. Plus Sherri would drop the promotions title to me in the ring. Just the experience of working against Sherri & her putting me over was one of the fondest moments of my career. Sherri literally carried a broom to a watchable match.
I remember in 2005, I had a heated discussion with Bobby Heenan at a Q & A. Heenan dismissed the role of the valet. His complaint was a valet can’t take bumps from the babyface without the crowd turning on them. I pointed out Sherri took bumps from the babyface & received NO sympathy. She even took beatings from The Ultimate Warrior every night & retained her heat. That’s how smart Sherri was as a manager. She was similar to Bobby Heenan in the sense that they “managed like a wrestler” & “wrestled like a manager”. They knew the psychology enough to take bumps to enhance their wrestler’s matches & they knew enough shortcuts for their own matches.
Sherri is one of the few valets that I go out of my way to watch. When AWA reruns started airing on ESPN Classics in 2008, I started watching it specifically in order to see her work with Buddy Rose & Doug Somers. I even saw a match with Randy Savage with Sherri against Genichrio Tenryu in Japan from 1990. Sherri was so great at ringside that she even got a reaction from the stoic crowd.
In 2010, I worked a show in Germany for Deutche Wrestling Alliance. The promoter’s wife & myself had a discussion about how we were both fans of Sherri. The wife told me that she had an autographed dress that Sherri gave to her as a gift that is framed in her house. When I came home to the U.S., I mailed the promoter’s wife an autographed dress from my collection. I joked to her about how the Sherri dress is probably more valuable.
The last time I saw Sherri was in June, 2006. I ran in to Sherri & her new husband at an indy show in Ybor City, Florida. I was walking in to the building & I had no idea that Sherri was booked on the show. Sherri would call me over. We ended up talking about our careers, the mischievous trouble that her son got himself in to at the WWE HOF, & her new marriage. I’m sure that the one hour conversation probably meant nothing to Sherri, but it meant more to me.
Once again, I marked out that Sherri treated me more then a peer on the few times that I met her. I’m forever grateful that she carried myself to my only decent match & was always nice to me. I’m still happy that I had taken a picture with Sherri & her husband on that day, since it was almost a year later that she passed away. I still have the picture & I always look at it fondly, since I always considered myself a fan of Sherri, but she always made me feel like I was much more when I saw her in person.
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1.st Lady Of Wrestling