It took me all week to write about the passing of Bobby Heenan because I had no idea how to put this all into words. I don’t think I can write enough about his greatness! Whether it is talking about his greatness as a manager, commentator, and even a worker looking back at some of his early days in the business. Where do I even start?
You know where this Humanoid will start? I will start with the first time I had ever seen Bobby Heenan on TV. We are going to go way back to the 1980s. When the WWF was pretty much printing money, and the Rock & Wrestling Era of professional wrestling was in full swing. I was watching wrestling back then with my older brother, VJ, who I don’t give nearly enough credit for not only getting into pro wrestling as a fan but for also passing on the journalist abilities that he has to me. Every week, it was the same thing for us. WWF Superstars on Saturdays, WWF All-American Wrestling on Sundays (when we were at Church), and WWF Prime Time Wrestling on Mondays on USA Network which was actually the precursor to Monday Night Raw. If you have WWE Network, do yourself a favor, go back and watch some old episodes of prime time wrestling. His work alongside Gorilla Monsoon as a host was excellent. Monsoon would provide all the technical aspects of the wrestling while Heenan kept everyone laughing with his insults against the good guys which are much funnier now as an adult. He would go on and on with jokes until Gorilla would ask “Will you stop?” This was true talent to have the delivery skills he did.
While good guys like Hulk Hogan ruled the roost for me as a true American hero (my how things have changed in 30 or so years), there were those bad guys out there too like King Kong Bundy, Andre the Giant, and Big John Studd among others! These larger than life monsters all had the same goal, which was to destroy Hulkamania forever! What did these evil doers have in common? They were all managed by a loud mouth blonde named Bobby “The Brain” Heenan who promised them fame from being a part of his “Heenan Family”. For those who are uninformed, Bobby Heenan had been a thorn in Hogan’s side going all the way back to the days of the AWA when The Brain was managing Nick Bockwinkle, as Hogan constantly pursued Bockwinkle for his AWA World Title. I couldn’t stand Heenan for his insults against the good guys, like Tito Santana and Koko B. Ware! I was always excited any time he got what was coming to him, like when The Ultimate Warrior put him in the weasel suit!
Heenan excelled not only as a manager, but as a commentator. If you want proof of this, check out his commentary during the Royal Rumble match from 1992 when he was rooting for his charge, Ric Flair! From the time Flair entered into the Rumble until Flair won the Rumble and the WWF championship after 60 grueling minutes, Heenan was flawless. Remember, he was commentating without someone in his ear telling him to “say this” or “mention that” which would have only slowed him down. Same with when he cut promos, there is no way anyone could have scripted Bobby Heenan. That was all his own work and doing. When he went to WCW, the humor was still there, but the issue was that it was pretty clear he was just there to collect a paycheck. Former WCW employee and Pittsburgh radio host Mark Madden had said in the past that Heenan felt that WCW was beneath him and was minor league. I can understand him feeling that way, when you leave a company that is managed by a guy like Vince McMahon who made sure to have his hands in everything to a guy like Ted Turner who took care of his employees but wasn’t hands on to the point where the inmates ran the asylum, you will definitely feel a difference! There are plenty of quotes out there in regards to how he felt about his time in WCW!
When his time with WCW was up, and he was battling cancer, it was very hard to see how badly things had gotten for him with his health. The man who once captivated the audience with his words was no longer able to use them. When I heard about him passing away, I was hurt but was not shocked at all based on his health issues. He was one of the greatest all around workers of all time. Even guys who spent their careers managing like Paul Heyman and Jim Cornette will tell you that they couldn’t top Bobby Heenan. I was listening to Jim Cornette’s podcast yesterday where he stated that he actually borrowed a lot from Heenan for his own material. Bobby Heenan was one of those talents who definitely could have made it in an industry like stand-up comedy, but somehow, he took the path of professional wrestling. The business is better because of him being in it. He passed away knowing that there was no one greater. Let’s all put our lighters up for The Brain. Let’s also take that time out to view his greatness whether it be on WWE Network or even on YouTube. He deserves his own wing in ANY Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame out there.
Let’s talk about your Bobby Heenan memories. As always, you can follow me on Twitter @whosantcox. You can also follow me on Instagram @ultragoldenant where you can check out my dank memes, retro gaming endeavors, and even my sweaty workout selfies I post here and there. Also be sure to check out KayfabeKickout on both Facebook and Twitter! Lastly, be sure to check out World Wrestling Junkies as well as House of Nerdom on Facebook where you can find me, just tell them I sent you! I will check you next time wrestling fans!
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