A one time ‘Young Stallion’ before becoming an enhancement talent guy that wrestled until 2010, when he was 52, today, in this latest piece in the series, we ask ‘Whatever Happened to‘ Jim Powers.
James Manley, better known to wrestling fans as former WWE/WCW mainstay Jim Powers, was born in the Washington Heights neighbourhood of Manhattan in 1958 and was raised by his aunt, uncle, and grandmother. It was then that he fell in love with wrestling as his uncle took him to the iconic Madison Square Garden to see the biggest names at the time, including luminaries like Bruno Sammartino and Ivan Koloff battle it out.
He would make his wrestling debut at the age of 26 in 1984, he was trained by Big John Studd who also brought him into the WWF. He was working as a bouncer when a WWF enhancement talent spotted him and encouraged him to enter wrestling. After being trained by Studd, he was introduced to George Scott, then the WWF booker, and joined the company. The following year he would spend some time in Texas wrestling – for WCCW and Texas all-star Wrestling before returning once again to the WWF. It was whilst at WCCW that he developed his firm anti-drugs stance, after seeing the behaviour of the Von Erichs in the dressing rooms.
In 1987, Powers began pairing with Paul Roma. The pair rose to prominence when they teamed with Tito Santana in a victorious six-man tag team match against Don Muraco, Bob Orton, Jr., and Tiger Chung Lee. They would have to wait until July for their next win, over fellow enhancement talent Steve Lombardi and Barry Horowitz. Soon after, during a match called by Bruno Sammartino, the duo inadvertently gained a team name when the former WWWF champion referred to them as “a couple of young stallions”.
On an episode of Superstars, broadcast in August, the pair earned a surprise DQ win over then WWF tag team champions The Hart Foundation. Following the win, a storyline saw them steal the song ‘crank it up’ from the champion’s manager Jimmy Hart, which they intended to use for their theme tune.
The success continued and at the inaugural Survivor Series held in November 1987, the Young Stallions and the Killer Bees were the sole survivors in the twenty-man tag team match. A few months later, at the first Royal Rumble event, the pair’s winning run was cut short as they lost by two clean falls in a two out of three falls match against The Islanders. Soon after, the pairing dissolved and Powers would spend much of the bulk of the remainder of his WWF run as an enhancement talent, helping numerous new talents get over with the fans.
He would pick up the odd win over enhancement talent on house shows and would also occasionally team with other WWF superstars, including Owen Hart and Marty Jannetty.
His final television appearances came in the summer of 1994 against Owen Hart on WWF superstars and Jeff Jarrett on Wrestling Challenge. Powers ended his WWF career on a winning streak, defeating Abe Schwartz in the building he fell in love with the business – MSG – before departing, more than ten years since joining the company.
After leaving the WWF, he competed for the short-lived American Wrestling Federation as a fan favourite. He would compete alongside the future Tom Brandi in a successful team who would gain wins when opponents would wither at their chiselled torsos. Yup…
In November 1994, he even appeared on ECW Hardcore TV challenging Shane Douglas for the ECW title, in a losing affair.
The following year he resurfaced in World Championship Wrestling (WCW). He was scouted, and then managed, by Teddy Long although found success hard to come by. One of his most prominent moments came during 1996 when he was beaten and spray painted by the emerging nWo. Soon, Powers resumed enhancement talent duties. It was while working for WCW in 1998 that he picked up a neck injury which cut short his time in the big leagues.
After on-and-off indie appearances, Manley retired his alter ego in 2010, and now lives in New Jersey with his wife, spending most of his time trying to keep myself healthy.
You can read all previous ‘Whatever Happened to?’ pieces here.