Teddy Long says that being a WWE on-screen authority figure is similar to winning a world championship because of how much is expected of you.
In the summer of 2004, a new era began on WWE SmackDown as Teddy Long was named General Manager of team blue following Kurt Angle's return to action. From then on for the better part of a decade, Teddy Long would preside over SmackDown and enforce many tag team matches and one-on-one encounters with The Undertaker.
In an interview with Hannibal, Teddy Long was asked which of his roles in wrestling was his favorite. seeing as Teddy has been a ringside attendant, referee, manager, and authority figure, he had plenty of options but Teddy (via WrestleZone) would admit that by far, he enjoyed being the SmackDown GM, feeling that role taught him the most because of how often he had to be in front of people in different segments.
“Well, I prefer being the GM, because, with the GM [role], I had to not only get that role, you know, entertain the people -- it helped me. I learned a lot because you had to learn a lot when you walked out on the TV and you stayed out there as much as I did. You had to learn how to keep that audience, you know? How to keep people where they're not tired of looking at you or not tired of seeing you either. When they do see you, they're ready to see you.”
He continued, “So being with Vince and following his orders -- he knew when to put me out there and when not to put me out there. So, I learned all that too, and that's the stuff that I can share with these guys that I'm working with. I know when it's too much and I know when it's not enough. So you have a lot of stuff you have to learn. So, like I said, I really enjoyed being a General Manager because you had the top of the line. That's just like winning a title, just like being the world champion. So, you know, you learn if you don't learn it.”
Over the years, Teddy Long's mannerisms as SmackDown GM would become so iconic that even Walmart would threaten potential shoplifters may have to go one-on-one with The Undertaker.