Wrestler “Flawless” Clay Drasher has been friends with his manager, Tom Floyd, since the first grade. Like many kids who grew up watching wrestling on TV, the two idolized their favorite grapplers. And, like many longtime friends who grew up together, the pair – both now in their early 20s – shared a single dream.
Someday, they would both become wrestlers. Then they would form their own tag team. Together, they’d be unstoppable.
Alas, as the old saying goes, the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.
“I obviously always wanted to be a wrestler. I don’t think anyone grows up and wants to be (legendary manager) Bobby Heenan,” Floyd explains. “But, me, I was born with a discoid meniscus, which is a deformation of the cartilage in your knee. I had surgery on it when I was 15 and, after that, I was never really athletically the same. I actually just had surgery again two weeks ago.”
Despite not being able to dedicate himself to the business in as physical a fashion as Drasher, Floyd found that becoming a manager requires more than just yelling encouragement from the sidelines and sauntering around ringside.
“When I first started training, I thought, ‘OK, I’m a manager; I’ll learn how to take a couple bumps and I’ll do a little promo work on the mic and that’ll be it,’ but I ended up getting hit with so much knowledge,” Floyd says. “The best way to describe it is that I’m the wax that gets put on the Ferrari – the Ferrari being Clay – that makes him shine. I’m not putting myself in the background necessarily, but I’m making sure the spotlight stays where it’s supposed to.”
Additionally, Floyd notes that the wrestler-manager relationship is an interesting storytelling device all its own.
“It opens up a number of opportunities you normally wouldn’t have with just a straight-up singles wrestler. While Clay is in the ring focusing on his moves, I can get up and distract the ref and interfere with the match or I can interact with the crowd,” he says.
To make the most of their pairing, Drasher and Floyd have spent countless hours watching old matches showcasing classic wrestler-manager teams in action. Their own in-ring personas are heavily influenced by the dynamics of traditional “showboating narcissist wrestler plus fast-talking loudmouth manager” duos.
“Tom is always watching Bobby Heenan and I’m always watching Mr. Perfect and Rick Rude,” Drasher says. “I’ve even adopted a few mannerisms from Rick Rude, like having someone spray me down with water or taking the sweat from my body and flinging it at the crowd. People eat that stuff up.”
Such audience-baiting antics have helped Drasher and Floyd become staple performers for regional promotions such as New Era Wrestling Federation, Grand Slam Wrestling, and Pennsylvania Premiere Wrestling. That the pair found a way to realize their dream of getting into the wrestling business together, despite Floyd’s physical limitations, speaks not only to the perseverance of that dream, but also to the unifying strength of their friendship.
“I honestly don’t think you could find a better wrestler-manager duo around here. We have a great advantage because of how long we’ve known each other. We know what the other is going to do at all times; we mesh so well,” Drasher says.
Then he slips into character and adds, with a cocky chuckle, “It’s like poetry in motion. It’s almost unfair to everyone else.”
Until next time, remember: when fact is stranger than fiction, wrestling is as real as anything else.