Welcome to "The Thump!" — an irregular column spotlighting the best Black elements of professional wrestling. Named after the signature move of groundbreaking Black wrestler The Junkyard Dog, "The Thump!" showcases the history and impact of Black athletes in the squared circle.
Power and Glory. Nicoli Volkoff & The Iron Sheik. Doom. The Twin Towers. What do all these former tag teams have in common? They were handled by WWE's first African-American manager, The Doctor of Style Slick [aka Kenneth Johnson]. Slick began his managerial career working the central NWA territories, managing wrestling talents like "Hacksaw" Butch Reed and "Bulldog" Bob Brown. Slick, with Butch Reed, lost a "loser leaves town match" …so he went up north to WWF! Jumping into the wrestling scene with Classy Freddie Blassie as a mentor, Slick soon found his own stride and joined the ranks of legendary managers Bobby Heenan and Precious Paul Ellering.
Late in 1986, Slick entered WWE as a protégé of Hall of Famer "Classy" Freddie Blassie. Looking to diversify his holdings, Blassie sold half interest in his stable of Superstars to the "Doctor of Style," giving Slick co-managerial rights to such greats as Nikolai Volkoff, The Iron Sheik and Hercules. After fully taking over Blassie's responsibilities in 1987, Slick also brought Reed into WWE as one of his clients. Once out on his own, Slick was known for two things: His impeccable dress code and using his cane as a weapon to help his charges win matches. Unfortunately for the "Doctor of Style," those two worlds collided at WrestleMania III. Following Reed's win over Koko B. Ware, Slick and "The Natural" engaged in some chicanery with the cane; Tito Santana, a frequent victim of Slick's attacks, rushed the ring and literally tore the clothes off Slick's back, leaving his spiffy suit a tattered mess. Not one to admit defeat, however, the Slickster came out with Nikolai Volkoff & Iron Sheik later in the night still wearing that torn-apart suit.
The Doctor of Style Slick, was WWF's first black manager. Slick sang the vocals for his own entrance song "Jive Soul Bro" for 'Piledriver – The Wrestling Album 2'. Slick also worked for a while in Texas All-Star Wrestling, managing Madd Maxx & Lord Humongous. In WWF, Slick managed Iron Shiek, Nicoli Volkoff, Butch Reed, Big Bossman, Akeem the African Dream (see below), Warlord, Paul Roma, Hercules Hernandez, Zeus & Rick Martel. Slick left wrestling in 1990 and returned two years later and an authentic ordained minister, with the gimmick of Reverend Slick.
C'mon Son: In a back alley ceremony, with journalist Mean Gene Okerlund in attendance, Slick transformed the behemoth One Man Gang into the funkier, badder Akeem the African Dream. The ceremony involved a boom box and "african dancers" among other things. I do not make this stuff up.
Personal Note: My mom hated Slick.