Professional wrestling career
National Wrestling Alliance / World Championship Wrestling
Long started out as an errand boy for wrestlers Tommy Rich and Abdullah the Butcher. He eventually became a member of the ringcrew and was promoted to referee in the NWA's Jim Crockett Promotions in 1985 as Teddy Long. In 1989, at the Chi-Town Rumble event, Long ran in and counted three, making Ricky Steamboat the NWA World Champion. Shortly thereafter, Long began to turn into a villainous character when he started to bend the rules for the villains. On April 2, 1989 at the Clash of Champions in New Orleans, Long blatantly made a fast count allowing Mike Rotunda and "Dr. Death" Steve Williams to defeat the Road Warriors for the NWA World Tag Team Championship. After this match, the National Wrestling Alliance relieved Long of his refereeing duties. This was actually a story lifted from Championship Wrestling from Florida, where Long had been a referee and did several heel-decisions in the ring, including one for Ron Simmons over Skip Young. While riding with Kevin Sullivan and Eddie Gilbert, Long would DJ for them. After hearing Long talk, the two convinced Jim Ross to give Long a managerial role, managing "Norman The Lunatic".
Long became the manager of Doom (Ron Simmons and Butch Reed) and led them to the World Tag Team Titles. He also managed Johnny B. Badd, One Man Gang, Norman the Lunatic, The Skyscrapers (Sid Vicious, Dan Spivey and Mark Calaway), Marcus Bagwell, 2 Cold Scorpio, Joey Maggs, Craig Pittman, Jim Powers, Bobby Walker, Ice Train and Bobby Eaton while in Jim Crockett Promotions and WCW.
World Wrestling Federation / Entertainment
Long debuted in the WWF as a referee in 1999 at the Royal Rumble and stayed with that role until September 2002, when he was taken off the road. Like his previous referee stints, Long went by the shortened Teddy Long name during this period. He was a referee at the Over The Edge 1999 PPV, during the match after Owen Hart's tragic death: a mixed tag match between Jeff Jarrett/Sable and Val Venis and his female partner. Long was the referee when Darren Drozdov ended up paralyzed and can be seen in WWE's Don't Try This At Home warning looking at the paramedics lift Droz up on a stretcher.
He was re-packaged as a villainous manager once again under his full name, and perhaps his most notable managing stint in this period came when managing D'Lo Brown, Rodney Mack, Christopher Nowinski, Rosey, Mark Henry and Jazz at different times, telling fans to get "Down wit' da Brown" and to "Back da Mack." When he was drafted to SmackDown!, he managed Mark Jindrak.
After Kurt Angle was fired from the General Manager position in July 2004, Long became the new and first African-American General Manager of SmackDown!. Long immediately turned face on his first night as GM when he fined Angle $5,000 for not having his wrestling gear with him. Because of his face turn, his new position saw him giving the fans what they wanted and making matches that put villains at disadvantages, notably JBL, a stark contrast to other WWE managers, such as Eric Bischoff and Mr. McMahon, who would blatantly favor heels. At first, he continued use of his "Hate-orade" talk, but less aggressively, and with humor. One example was when he stripped Booker T of the US Championship for "drinkin' Hate-orade." Long would also introduce the New Talent Initiative during this time, which saw the likes of Bobby Lashley and Mr. Kennedy debut in 2005 and MVP in 2006, among others. The New Talent Initiative would continue when Long moved to ECW in 2008 and would see the debuts of Kofi Kingston, Evan Bourne, Braden Walker, Ricky Ortiz, Gavin Spears, and Jack Swagger.
Theodore Long still had problems with Booker T and his defense of the United States title, however, as Booker T attempted to get out of title defenses on a number of occasions by pretending to be injured, and having other wrestlers fight on his behalf. Eventually, Long got tired of these shenanigans, and at No Way Out 2006, Booker was told to face Chris Benoit or be stripped of the US title. Benoit won the match and was congratulated by Theodore Long.
After Randy Orton had cheated to obtain Rey Mysterio's title shot at WrestleMania 22, Long placed Mysterio back in the match and made it a Triple Threat match, at the same time warning Orton that he could still remove Orton from the match if he disobeyed Long.
At Judgment Day 2006 Long fired Melina and Johnny Nitro from SmackDown!. On the following SmackDown!, JBL suffered the same fate after losing the United States Championship to Bobby Lashley, and then losing a World Heavyweight Championship match to Rey Mysterio in his Judgment Day rematch.
On the September 4, 2006 episode of Raw, Long appeared to a tremendous ovation in his hometown. During a six-person, intergender tag match between Randy Orton, Edge, and Lita against Trish Stratus, Carlito, and John Cena, some fans chanted Theodore's name.
In April 2007, Long became the on-screen boyfriend of Kristal, after weeks flirting with each other backstage. Long then began to look for an assistant so he could spend more time with Kristal, eventually revealing Vickie Guerrero as his new assistant on May 25, 2007, an appointment made partly at Kristal's request. On the June 22, 2007 episode of SmackDown!, Long asked Kristal to marry him. Kristal ran out of the ring, crying, but later agreed to marry him. On the July 27, 2007 edition of SmackDown!, Ron Simmons was named the best man for "Theodore Rufus Long" and Kristal's wedding on the September 21, 2007 edition of SmackDown! emanating from Long's hometown of Atlanta, Georgia. The wedding was not completed, however, due to constant disruptions and Long having a heart attack just as he started to say "I do". He then fell in to a coma. The storyline never finished out as planned as Marshall left the WWE shortly afterwards due to creative differences. Long returned on the November 30, 2007 edition of SmackDown! as the Assistant General Manager and made a match at Armageddon for the World Heavyweight Championship. On May 16, 2008, Long quit his role of Assistant General Manager.
ECW and Return to SmackDown (2008–2012)
On the April 7, 2009 edition of ECW, Long announced he was returning to SmackDown! as General Manager, with Tiffany replacing him on ECW. By doing this, he became the first person in the history of the company to have a second term as General Manager. He made his official TV return to SmackDown! on April 10, when he announced that Matt Hardy and Jeff Hardy would face each other in the first stretcher match in SmackDown history.
At Breaking Point, Long turned on The Undertaker and helped CM Punk with his match, stating that The Undertaker's move Hell's Gate was banned a long time ago, turning him into a villain again for the first time in years, but this time with a different gimmick, his gimmick was that of a cocky arrogant man that is a coward, which gained him more heat than his old villain run. On the September 18, 2009 edition of Friday Night Smackdown, WWE Chairman Mr. McMahon instructed Long to go down to the ring and explain his actions regarding the conclusion of the World Heavyweight Championship Submission match between champion CM Punk and The Undertaker in which he (Long), as well as referee Scott Armstrong and CM Punk played key roles in recreating the infamous Montreal Screwjob at the WWE Breaking Point Pay-per-view event (held at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada), site of the 1997 fiasco. This time, with The Undertaker being the target of a planned conspiracy. As he returned from the ring to the back stage area, he entered his waiting limousine only to have The Undertaker in the drivers seat. Undertaker locked the doors and told Long "Buckle up, Teddy" (this itself is reference to an event which took place at the 1999 WWE Backlash event where The Undertaker had, after waiting for her to enter a limousine, abducted Stephanie McMahon. On that night he said to her "Where to, Stephanie?"). The limousine drove off with clouds of smoke blowing from the rear windows. The following week on SmackDown Long was brought into the arena inside a coffin by Undertaker's druids where he again legalized Undertaker's Hells Gate submission hold. Long's heel turn was short because he later congratulated The Undertaker after defeating CM Punk at Hell in a Cell, thus turning Face again. Teddy Long made a guest appearance on RAW and then later got superkicked by Shawn Michaels after Long refused to draft him to Smackdown. He then began a feud with Drew McIntyre, the first part of which revolved around McIntyre qualifying for the Money in the Bank ladder match at WrestleMania XXVI, which was instead won by Jack Swagger. On the 7th May episode of Smackdown, after McIntyre brutally assaulted Matt Hardy, Long stripped McIntyre of his Intercontinental Championship and fired him. As a result, the Intercontinental Championship was vacant. Thus, Long issued the Intercontinental Championship tournament involving Christian, Kofi Kingston, Cody Rhodes and Dolph Ziggler. However, after Kingston emerged victorious against Christian, Long was issued a letter from Vince McMahon reinstating McIntyre and forcing Kingston to give his title back to McIntyre. He then made a match for McIntyre's Intercontinental Championship at WWE Over The Limit against Kofi Kingston.
On the May 28th edition of SmackDown, Long read the letter from Mr. McMahon's office given to him by Drew McIntyre and stated that Matt Hardy was going to be suspended until further notice after Matt attacked McIntyre at WWE Over the Limit, and told Matt not to go near McIntyre and if he did so, Long would be fired as the General Manager of SmackDown.
On the June 11th edition of SmackDown!, a frustrated Drew McIntyre announced a match between Long and McIntyre would take place the following week on Smackdown per orders of Mr. McMahon. Drew said if Long didn't compete, he would be fired. McIntyre then went on to win the match the following week, after it was ordered that Long had get down on his knees, proclaim Drew as "The Chosen One" and then lay on his back and let McIntyre pin him without a fight. The next episode of SmackDown!, Long reinstated Matt Hardy into the SmackDown! brand and made Drew McIntyre compete against the returning Matt Hardy. Hardy would win the match, but after the match, Long came out and told McIntyre that his visa had expired, and made security carry him out of the arena. On the July 9 tapings of SmackDown, McIntyre was reinstated and pleaded forgiveness from Long, even going so far as to nominate Long as a member of the WWE Hall of Fame as well as get on his knees and proclaim Long "the best boss he ever had." Long, however, did not believe him and announced a Money in the Bank qualifying match (for the upcoming Money in the Bank pay-per-view) against Kofi Kingston. McIntyre won the match, earning a place in the match, but McIntyre lost the SmackDown Money in the Bank Ladder Match with Kane winning it.
In 2011 Long fired Dolph Ziggler and Vickie Guerrero in successive weeks. The next week on the March 4th edition of WWE SmackDown he threatened Drew McIntyre that if he didn't compete in a match with Edge he would fire him. On May 6, Long scheduled a World Weavyweight Championship match between Christian and Randy Orton. On the June 3 episode, Christian was chosen by Long to be the speacial guest referee for a World heavyweight Championship match between Randy Orton and Sheamus who beat Christian and Mark Henry in a triple threat number one contenders match for the title the week before. Christian would turn heel by hitting Orton with the title he had retained and lost to Orton at Capitol Punishment despite his foot being under the bottom rope. Christian blamed Long and as a result Long scheduled Orton to defend his title against Christian at Money In The Bank. Christian would manage to find a way to include a clause that if Orton were to get disqualified, the title would change hands.
On the November 25, 2011 episode of SmackDown!, after Daniel Bryan seemingly successflly cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase on Mark Henry to win his first World Heavyweight Championship, Long rushed down to the ring and declared the title change void, as Mark Henry had not been medically cleared to compete in an official match. He would schedule Bryan in a fatal-four way match with Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes and Wade Barrett to determine the number one contender for Henry's world title which would be defended on the November 29 episode inside a Steel cage.
Feud with John Laurinaitis (2012)
on February 21, 2012, Long was criticized by interim raw General Manager John Laurinaitas, Which resulted in the WWE Board of Directors switching the GM's of the respective shows for one week. Long took charge of the March 6 episode of Raw and Laurinaitis of the March 9 episode of SmackDown! During Laurinaitis' time in charge of SmackDown!, he set up a match between himself and Teddy, where if, Teddy lost, Aksana, Teddy's girlfriend, would have to face Kane in a match. Long won the match when Randy Orton attacked Kane at ringside, which distracted Laurinaitis. The Aksana vs Kane match never took place.
A 12-man Tag Team Match was set up to take place at WrestleMania XXVIII, where six superstars would represent both general managers. Long chose Santino Marella as his team captain, along with Kofi Kingston, R-Truth, Zack Ryder, The Great Khali and Booker T over the following weeks. A stipulation was added that the winning team at WrestleMania would determine who would become the heneral manager of both Raw and SmackDown!. At WrestleMania, Long's team lost to team Johnny, thus ending Long's run as SmackDown! General Manager.
On the April 6 edition of SmackDown!, Long was prepared to give his farewell speech, but Laurinaitis threatened to discontinue a trust fund Long set up for his grandchildren's college education unless he took a job as his new assistant, to whick Long reluctantly accepted.
For the next few weeks, Lauriniaitis would humiliate Long by doing ridiculous antics; such as wearing a huge name tage and having Teddy stand guard by his door as a queen's Solider. When things would go wrong, he would also blame Teddy saying "Why Teddy", in which the other heel wrestlers would agree.
Senior Advisor (2012–2014)
On the June 18 episode of Raw, John Laurinaitis would make a 3 on 1 handicap match featuring John Cena vs Big Show, David Otunga and Laurinaitis. Big Show and Otunga both left Laurinaitis in the ring alone with Cena. Teddy sat at ringside enjoying the final time that John Laurinaitis would be in a WWE ring as Laurinaitis got fired by Mr. McMahon at No Way Out 2012. He told John Cena to continue executing his finishing move on Laurinaitis as Teddy looked on smiling. On the June 29 episode of SmackDown!, Long announced that he would be the GM of both Raw and SmackDown next week, Then Long announced that Aksana and Antonio Cesaro would team up against The Great Khali and the Divas Champion Layla in a mixed tag team match. On the August 3 edition of SmackDown, Long became the senior advisor to the new General Manager of SmackDown, Booker T. Booker began to get angry at Teddy for booking matches without his permission on both Raw and SmackDown. However, from mid April onwards, Teddy began running SmackDown again temporarily with Booker T away due to surgery. On the July 19 episode of Smackdown, after the returning Booker T and Raw's General Manager Brad Maddox had an argument on who was to be Smackdown GM, Mr. McMahon came out to say Vickie Guerrero was named Smackdown's new general manager. During a backstage segment, with Guerrero, Long was escorted out by a security team. This marked his last appearance as a major authoritative figure.
He was released from the WWE on June 12, 2014.
Reality of Wrestling (2014)
Return to WWE (2016–present)
On the June 6, 2016 episode of Raw, Long returned in the opening segment between the Money In The Bank participants, requesting another run as General Manager of SmackDown, only to be turned away by Stephanie McMahon. He would make several other appearances throughout the course of the night including his attempt of making a tag team match between The Golden Truth and Breezango before being escorted out of the building by security.
- Wrestlers managed
- Teams and stables managed
- Entrance themes
- "MacMillitant" by Miestro (WWE; 2002–present)
When Long became SmackDown General Manager, he revived old and made new match types:
- At No Mercy 2004, he put JBL and The Undertaker in a Last Ride Match. The rules are similar to a Casket Match and an Ambulance Match where one opponent must put the other into the back of the hearse and drive out the arena. JBL won the first Last Ride Match due to interference by Heidenreich. At Armageddon 2006, The Undertaker defeated Mr. Kennedy in the second Last Ride Match.
- At No Way Out 2005, JBL had to defend his title against The Big Show in the first ever Barbed Wire Steel Cage Match. The rules were the same as a normal steel cage match, but the top of the cage had barbed wire around it so nobody could escape (despite the fact that a victory could still be declared if a competitor managed to escape). This was done by Long to make sure there was no interference from any superstars, primarily JBL's stable, The Cabinet. JBL won the match when Big Show chokeslammed him through the ring, allowing him to escape underneath.
- Long also brought back the King of the Ring tournament in 2006, although it was a SmackDown!-exclusive event.
- On April 10, 2009 episode of SmackDown he announced that Matt Hardy and Jeff Hardy would face each other in the first stretcher match in SmackDown history.
Championships and accomplishments
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards
- SmackDown General Manager (July 29, 2004 – September 21, 2007; April 10, 2009 – April 1, 2012) (2 times)
- SmackDown Assistant General Manager (November 30, 2007 – May 16, 2008) (1 time)
- ECW General Manager (June 3, 2008 – April 7, 2009) (1 time)
- SmackDown Senior Advisor (August 3, 2012 – 2013)
- Assistant to WWE COO Triple H
- Raw & Smackdown Assistant General Manager
- WWE Hall of Fame (Class of 2017)
- SmackDown General Manager (July 29, 2004 – September 21, 2007; April 10, 2009 – April 1, 2012) (2 times)