|Ring name(s)||James Manley
|Billed height||5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)|
|Billed weight||237 lb (108 kg)|
|Born||January 4, 1958|
|Resides||East Rutherford, New Jersey|
|Billed from||New York, New York|
|Trained by||Big John Studd|
|Retired||February 3, 2010|
James Manley (born January 4, 1958), better known by his ring name Jim Powers, is an American retired professional wrestler. He most notably wrestled for the World Wrestling Federation in the mid-to-late 1980s and early 1990s. He also, wrestled for World Championship Wrestling in the mid 1990s, in an effort to clean up his "enhancement status" (a wrestler who usually lost to established wrestlers, to make them look good) profile in Wrestling. The high point of his career was teaming with Paul Roma as The Young Stallions.
Professional wrestling career
Powers was discovered and brought into the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) in late 1984 by Big John Studd who also had a hand in training him. In 1985, Powers ventured outside the WWF to gain more experience, including two Texas based promotions: Texas All-Star Wrestling and World Class Championship Wrestling where he appeared at a couple of the federation’s featured "Star Wars" events. After gaining more experience, Powers returned to the WWF.
He arguably reached the peak of his career in the WWF when Powers, on March 11, 1987, along with another preliminary wrestler Paul Roma, formed a tag team called The Young Stallions. At first the team had no name, and the original pairing saw Roma and Powers teamed with Tito Santana in a six-man tag-team match against the team of Don Muraco, Bob Orton, Jr., and Tiger Chung Lee on Wrestling Challenge. Surprisingly the team of Powers, Roma, and Santana were victorious when Santana pinned Lee, after Muraco and Orton refused to tag with Lee, and walked away. Although it would be several months before they would win again. Two brutal losses to Demolition followed, as well as a defeat in eight-man action against The Heenan Family in June 1987 (a match that saw the return of Paul Orndorff to action after a five month layoff to such thunderous applause that he was quickly turned face.
Powers and Roma finally gained their first televised victory in regular tag-team action in late July 1987 when they faced another preliminary team, Barry Horowitz & Steve Lombardi. The team was dominant and announcer Bobby Heenan was stunned when Roma unleashed an off the top rope sunset flip. Fresh off of their first win, Powers and Roma were scheduled to face The Hart Foundation on an August 8, 1987 episode of Superstars (taped August 4), they scored an upset disqualification victory over WWF Tag Team Champions The Hart Foundation. The team seemingly received their name by accident when color commentator Bruno Sammartino referred to them once as "a couple of young stallions" thus naming the team.
However, the idea of a push for the Young Stallions was soon scrapped by Vince McMahon. This probably was because Roma and Powers did not get along off-screen.
In October 1987 the Young Stallions became the official moniker of the Powers and Roma tag-team. A storyline playing off of their upset of the Hart Foundation was started as they "stole" the theme song "Crank It Up" from Jimmy Hart, who had intended to use it for his team. Later that month they faced The Hart Foundation in a rematch on Saturday Night's Main Event. The Stallions were narrowly defeated and now clearly had momentum. Along with The Killer Bees, they were also the only survivors in the elimination tag team match at the first annual Survivor Series pay-per-view on November 26, 1987.
That momentum however seemed to end in January 1988 when the Stallions faced The Islanders in a best out of three falls match in the final bout of the inaugural Royal Rumble. Powers and Roma were defeated cleanly in two straight falls. The team was placed in featured matches on television and at house shows, but most times ended up on the losing end to teams such as The Bolsheviks, The Brain Busters, and The Fabulous Rougeaus. Following yet another loss, this time to Demolition on the March 19, 1989 episode of Wrestling Challenge, the team began arguing after the match. Their final televised match was a loss to The Powers of Pain in July 1989. Soon, they were split up off camera without an official announcement. Roma and Powers went their separate ways and both floundered on the undercard afterward, with Powers sustaining an injury that forced him out of action until March 1990. Roma and Powers feuded for a while during this period, but they soon back to their "enhancement talent" status. They both lost to newcomers, which eventually become main eventers, Roma lost to Curt Hennig, and Powers to Ric Flair
After the Young Stallions
As Roma began teaming with Hercules to form the team of Power and Glory that spring, Powers began to occasionally partner with Jim Brunzell. Powers had an opportunity to face his former partner in August 1990 episode of Prime Time Wrestling when Power and Glory defeated Powers & Brunzell. For the next four years Powers was featured primarily as a singles wrestler, also teaming with Brunzell against other teams, Brunzell, eventually teamed with another jobbers against Power and Glory in the losing side. During the next year, Powers would also lose singles matches at several house shows against Roma, and Hercules. During this time, he most notably became the first WWF wrestler to lose to Ric Flair when the "Nature Boy" made his Federation debut on the September 30, 1991 episode of Prime Time Wrestling. While sustaining televised losses to top stars like Mr. Perfect, Ted DiBiase, The Undertaker, Powers also defeated Al Perez and Steve Lombardi. In 1991, Powers teamed with a variety of partners, with such wrestlers as Marty Jannetty, and Owen Hart, also Powers defeated other relatively pure jobbers, in House Shows, and Televised Shows. Probably his peak push came in June 1992, when he returned after a several month hiatus from television to pin Lombardi and Bob Bradley.
From this point on however he was unable to move up the card and finished up his main WWF run in April 1993 with a narrow loss on WWF Monday Night Raw to Jerry Lawler. Powers then continued competing in the WWF until late October 1994. He then departed, a full decade after first signing with the company.
American Wrestling Federation
World Championship Wrestling
Powers resurfaced in World Championship Wrestling (WCW) in the spring of 1995 hoping to shed his “jobber" image. He was scouted and then managed for a brief time by Teddy Long as well as being scheduled to form a mid card stable with “Desperado" Joe Gomez and The Renegade but nothing ever came of it. He was attacked and spray painted during a mid-1996 match by the emerging New World Order (nWo). The reason for the attack was simply that the nWo wanted to address the crowd; it didn't really have anything to do with Jim Powers as he was just an expendable body. Just like in the WWF, WCW saw nothing but “Enhancement Talent" work for Jim Powers who finally left the company in early 1999 after being one of the sixty competitors in the annual WCW World War 3 Pay Per View in 1996.
After spending several years in semi-retirement and rehabbing a neck injury that forced him out of the squared circle in the first place, Jim Powers returned to wrestling for an independent promoter on March 9, 2007. Since returning to wrestling, Powers has wrestled for several independent based organizations and has appeared, pairing back up with Young Stallions partner Paul Roma, at several wrestling fan fests meeting his fans and signing their autographs.
On Feb. 3, 2010, Jim Powers announced his retirement. Here is the letter he wrote for his announcement:
"First off, hello to all of my fans, supporters, and friends that I have had the pleasure of knowing and meeting throughout my wrestling career. You have no idea how much you all mean to me. Unfortunately, you don't realize these things until you get up in age, and you're not made as accessible as I was fortunate to have been in wrestling.
The other reason I am writing this letter is because I am officially announcing my retirement from pro wrestling. This is not something I just decided to do. For the last few years, retirement has weighed heavily on my mind. Basically, it's taken me this long to come to grips that I can't physically be the performer I once was. I still love wrestling just as I did when I was young, it's just the sad reality that my body can no longer take the abuse, which explains why I have remained dormant over the last few years. Admittedly, I was never a "top guy," although I wrestled my heart out to put on the best show possible for all of you. It's like the cliche goes, without you, there is no me. From when I first got into the business in 1984 until my most major injury in 1998, the 14 years of abuse I put my body through has pretty much left me crippled. From the neck injury I sustained in '98 on WCW Nitro that ended my full-time wrestling career, to a hip that needs to be replaced, to stiff joints, bad knees, bad back, and swollen ankles...my quality of life is almost nill. I used to be able to wrestle for 30+ minutes and not be winded, but now I get light-headed and out of breath just getting out of bed. I have a beautiful daughter, that once she has children of her own, I want to be able to hold my grandchild and be able to get down on the floor with them. I also have some young nieces and nephews, that I want to still be able to toss a softball or football with. I have a gorgeous wife that I still want to be able to go to places as uneventful as the grocery store. The years of wear and tear that wrestling has wreaked on my body, has already taken the ease of mobility, and a painless quality of life. The past few years, my wife, my family, my friends, and even my business manager, have told me that I need to end my career before it ends me. Through these people and prayer, I have finally come to terms with it being time to hang up the boots, as they say in the wrestling business.
I thought I could make a few non-wrestling appearances, but I have canceled them. I accepted them awhile back, because I was hoping I would feel up to it. I am not. My most sincerest apologies to anyone that was hoping to see me. Jim Powers was once on top of the world, but now James Manley is physically broken down and was trying to stay in the spotlight. Sadly for me, that spotlight has faded.
I apologize for the rant, anyone who knows me knows I tend to do it. Please forgive me for not being able to perform for you, or attend any conventions to meet you. It truly saddens me to no end. I love you all, you have given me memories that no one can ever take away from me. If you happen to see me somewhere in my hometown, please say hello, so I can personally thank you myself. God Bless you all, and thank you for giving me some of the best years in my life.
Championships and Accomplishments
- NWA Jersey
- NWA New Jersey Television Tag Team Championship (1 Time)- with Danny Inferno
- Northeast Championship Wrestling (Tom Janette)
- Pennsylvania Championship Wrestling
- PCW Americas Championship (1 Time)
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- Online World of Wrestling. "Jim Powers Profile". Retrieved 2010-12-12.
- Brian Shields (4th Edition 2006). Main event – WWE in the raging 80s. Pocket Books. ISBN 978-1-4165-3257-6.
- prowrestlinghistory.com. "WCCW Holiday Star Wars Results". Retrieved 04-03-2007. "Brian Adias NC Jim Powers."
- prowrestlinghistory.com. "WCCW Holiday Star Wars Results". Retrieved 04-03-2007. "Kelly Kinsiki pinned Jim Powers.."
- Graham Cawthon. "WWF Show Results 1987". Retrieved 04-03-2007. "Bret Hart & Jim Neidhart (w/ Bob Newhardt & Danny Davis) defeated Paul Roma & Jim Powers"
- Graham Cawthon. "WWF Show Results 1987". Retrieved 04-07-2007. "Roma & Jim Powers defeated WWF Tag Team Champions Bret Hart & Jim Neidhart (w/ Jimmy Hart) via disqualification when the champions illegally double teamed the challengers"
- Graham Cawthon. "WWF Show Results 1991". Retrieved 04-03-2007.
- prowrestlinghistory.com. "WCW World War III (1996)". Retrieved 04-03-2007.
- Royal Duncan & Gary Will (4th Edition 2000). Wrestling Title Histories. Archeus Communications. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.