Do you ever witness those people on TV who make such a lasting impression on you and that you have to smile just when you hear his/her name? There are not many of those people around. One thing is for sure, though, and that is that Bobby Heenan was one of those few people.
Bobby The Brain Heenan was one of the reasons I used to love pro wrestling so much. He was a larger than life character. He was funny, he was boisterous, arrogant, a bad guy and he loved money. His role in the then WWF was to play a manager for bad guys. And did I hate his bad guys, the Heenan Family.
Bobby also used to be a wrestler and some say he was very good. However, he injured his neck and had to retire from in-ring competition. I think that was a blessing in disguise, otherwise he would never have become the legendary manager and funny guy he became.
Bobby became a funny guy when he started to be a color commentator. Â The man had an uncanny arsenal of funny oneliners and it seemed to be an unlimited arsenal. Especially when he teamed up with legendary wrestler and color commentator Gorilla Monsoon. Â Those 2 were comedy gold. On one hand you had the serious Gorilla Monsoon and on the other hand you had the blowhard Bobby Heenan. The chemistry was unbelievable and that chemistry led to an own wrestling show for themselves called Prime Time Wrestling. To me that show has never been surpassed in terms of fun and entertainment.
What made Bobby Heenan very good as a commentator was that he was very believable in certain cases. When he described a wrestler as very dangerous you believed him, even if said wrestler wasn’t part of the Heenan Family. When Bobby was scared of a wrestler you believed him. Bobby was so good he could make or break a wrestler if he wanted to.
Most people who remember Bobby Heenan will remember him for at least 2 things. One was Prime Time Wrestling and the other one is his commentary performance at the 1992 Royal Rumble. Especially his 1 hour plus performance during the Royal Rumble was a master class of keeping the audience engaged for one 1 hour plus. He was rooting for Ric Flair and he made it seem as if he was having multiple strokes during the match. You believed he was totally invested in the match and was on the edge of his seat the whole time. He wanted Ric Flair to win so badly. Â The best commentary performance ever.
Other great performances of Bobby Heenan were his interactions with Gene Okerlund. Especially when one of Heenan’s wrestlers lost a match. Â He was so angry and it seemed as if would get a stroke there as Â well if he continued ranting. Or it seemed he was about to cry. His fun facial expressions were hilarious.
Heenan also had good interactions with Vince during commentary and most notably Vince’s “Stop it, Bobby Heenan” was the great hint that Bobby cracked a great joke again.
In the mid 90s Bobby went to WCW so he could put his daughter through university. He never reached the heights he reached in WWF. However, when his contract expired Vince never hired him back in the now WWE. Shame on you, Vince.
Bobby Heenan also released 2 books. They are both hilarious and especially the first one called Bobby The Brain : Wrestling’s Bad Boy Tells All.
It is hard to sum up all of Heenan’s entertainment because he entertained so much. One thing is for sure and that is that he was one of the most compelling and funny characters you will ever see on tv. And also, anyone on this planet who followed wrestling in the 80s and begin 90s knows who Bobby Heenan is. A legend.
To close off here are some Bobby Heenan antics:
“Big Bossman. Is that sweat on your chest or did you eat soup again?”
When Macho Man and Liz reunited and Gorilla mentioned it was great they were back together again Heenan said :”I’d rather have some money than a skirt.”
Tony Schiavone : “I smell Jackhammer. I smell Hogan.”
Bobby Heenan: “Anyone close to him does.”
Gorilla is talking about the last match, and Bobby is on the banana phone with someone, trying to get advance tickets to
Wrestlemania VII, and one listens carefully and hears, in rapid succession:
“That’s right, tickets are going on sale”
“Well don’t get smart with me, I’ll slap you in the mouth”
“Do you want me to knock ya down?”
and as they pan off to an ad,
“I’ll talk to you later mom”
(Bobby on Kerry Von Erich and his Tornado Punch)
Brain: “Oh my, what a GREAT scientific move! A punch to the head!!”
(Bobby on the WWF’s 1-900 number)
Gorilla: “Kids, ask your parent’s permission before calling.”
Brain: “And if they don’t give you permission, just take a baseball bat, sneak up behind them, and BAM!!”
At Havoc 94 Flair walks by Bischoff and Brain was holding up 4 fingers. Hogan walks by after Flair has entered the cage.Bischoff: “When Flair walked by he held up 4 fingers. That was the sign of the 4 Horsemen”
Brain: “When Hogan walked by I held up one finger”
For more Bobby Heenan antics look him up on youtube.
R .I .P. Bobby. Thank you for all the entertainment you brought and thank you for being the most entertaining character in wrestling ever.