Wrestling News, Analysis and Commentary

News  -/-  Recaps  -/-  Columns  -/-  Features  -/-  Reference  -/-  Archives  -/-  Interact  -/-  Site Info

Donate to Online Onslaught!
     Daily Onslaught
     Obtuse Angle
     RAW Satire
     The Broad

     Inside the Ropes
     OOld Tyme
         Rasslin' Revue
     Title Wave
Crashing the

     Smarky Awards
     Big in Japan
     Guest Columnists
     2 Out of 3 Falls
     Devil's Due
     The Ring
     The Little Things
SK Rants
The Mac Files
     Sq'd Circle Jerk
     RAW vs. SD!:
         Brand Battle
     Cheap Heat 
     Year in Review
     Monday Wars
     Road to WM 

     Title Histories
     Real Names
     PPV Results
     Smart Glossary
     Message Boards
     Live Chat 
     OO History

If you attend a live show, or have any other news for us, just send an e-mail to this address!  We'd also love to hear from you if you've got suggestions or complaints about the site...  let us have it!

Brain Power!
June 14, 2002

by Denny Burkholder
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


Listen up, Humanoids.

The wrestling world has not heard the last from Bobby "The
Brain" Heenan. He's been giving wrestlers, opponents,
adversaries, play-by-play men, and fans an earful for over
40 years. He was in Verne Gagne's AWA at its best. He
was a vital part of the WWF during wrestling's mid-80s
popularity spike. He was at the announce table for WCW
while that company was enjoying its all-time highest TV

For decades, wherever there was big time wrestling going
on, you could bet Bobby Heenan was right in the middle of
the action. If he wasn't in the ring taking a five-alarm blade
job against "Cowboy" Bob Ellis or Dick the Bruiser, he was
leaping over the top rope to escape the wrath of Hulk
Hogan or The British Bulldogs. If he wasn't in the ring,
chances are he was at ringside, sneaking a foreign object
to AWA World Champion Nick Bockwinkel or WWWF Tag
Team Champions Blackjack Mulligan and Blackjack Lanza.

Bobby "The Brain" has been everywhere and seen
everything in pro wrestling. With a personality like his, it
was no wonder he transitioned so effortlessly into color
commentary once a serious neck injury ended his days as
a manager. Easily one of the most entertaining color men
in the history of televised wrestling, Heenan's work with
Gorilla Monsoon at the announce table is one of the
brightest spots in the WWF's recent history.

When it comes to classic one-liners, Bobby Heenan is one
of pro wrestling's elite. And even though he was recently
diagnosed with throat cancer, every true fan knows you can
never count Heenan out. In an interview for WWE
Confidential airing this Saturday night at 10 p.m. and in his
autobiography set for release this September, Heenan
proves that it will take a lot more than throat cancer to quiet
one of the most powerful voices in wrestling's history.

Heenan began his career as a pro wrestler using the
nickname "Beautiful" Bobby Heenan in the early1960s.
Over the years, he got the bug to become a manager. He
first broke out in that role while working with Dick the
Bruiser in Indianapolis. For years, Heenan and Dick the
Bruiser feuded before packed houses, sometimes as
direct opponents, and other times with Heenan sending a
henchman after the popular Bruiser. This was an era
where the biggest stars would often bleed very heavily
during matches, and Heenan could gig with the absolute
best of them. Like Fred Blassie, Heenan was not only a
serious bleeder, but his blonde hair stood in shocking
contrast to his proverbial "crimson mask." Heenan's other
nickname, "Pretty Boy," became less and less realistic with
every head wound.

If Heenan began his "Weasel" manager shtick in
Indianapolis, he perfected it in Verne Gagne's AWA while
managing the likes of Bockwinkel and Ray Stevens. In a
live appearance on the WrestleLine Live radio show on
October 10, 2001, Heenan discussed his time in the AWA.

"The AWA was a good company to work for," he said. "You
didn't have to work every day. There was a lot of cold
weather, because you know, you ran up to Winnipeg, and
Denver, and Milwaukee and that. But in the summers, in
Minneapolis, it was nice there for two days. But it was easy.
All Verne expected from you [was] he expected you to work

From the days of heavy blading to his eventual role as a
smooth-talking, underhanded heel manager, Heenan
always managed to keep with the times and stay

"I didn't want to pump gas," he joked. "It was easy. If you
enjoy something, you can go with it."

And in pro wrestling, a big part of enjoying the job involves
the ribbing that goes on backstage between the wrestlers.
Sometimes ribs go as planned, and other times things go

"One night I took shoe polish - the kind you rub on, not the
liquid - and I put it on the earpieces of all the phones in
Cleveland, in the back there," he said. "Because you can't
see your ears. So at the end of the evening, I looked
around the dressing room. Not one boy had used the
phone. I walk out of the building and there's five cops
standing there with black ears."

Heenan had a bit more difficulty going with the flow later in
his career, working as a color commentator for World
Championship Wrestling.

"The hardest time I ever had was in WCW, because they
weren't a wrestling company. And they weren't a television
company. They were jus a bunch of people that had offices
and were playing office. That's the way it was. They got
nothing done."

"You never felt wanted there," he continued. "The people on
top - Eric Bichoff and those people - they didn't have time
to talk to anybody or bother with anybody. So you never felt
wanted. You didn't know if you did a good job or a bad job,
because nobody would say anything to you."

Like so many other promotions before it, WCW eventually
folded and lost its battle with the WWF for ratings glory.
Heenan had worked for a number of the promotions that
succumbed to Vince McMahon's company in the past two

"A lot of guys went out of business because they didn't
know how to fight Vince," he said. "A lot of the old
promoters have the mentality of 'We gotta draw the most
money possible with the least expenditure.' You can't do
that today. You have to go to the big buildings. You have to
give the people a good show because you're getting top
dollar from them."

One of the companies that folded while the WWF
prospered in the 1980s and 90s was the AWA, which
enjoyed its heyday with Heenan on the roster. During his
AWA run, he met a WWF employee that would become one
of his good friends in coming years - the late Bob "Gorilla
Monsoon" Morella.

"He was just a wonderful guy," Heenan recalled. "The first
time I met him was in Toronto years ago before I was with
the WWF. I was with the AWA. Nick and I went up to Toronto
to work for Frank Tunney. And I remember that's where I
first met Monsoon. We just hit it off as good friends. [He
was] a real likeable guy, and a real nice man. When I went
to the WWF, they put me with him after Jesse [Ventura]
went and did the movie. And it just clicked. I never had to
say anything to him. We never had to rehearse. We just
constantly laughed. We didn't do that many retakes. We
just let things go. He was very, very interested in the
business. He wanted it to survive. He wanted the boys to
make money. He wanted to give the fans the best he could.
He was a real gentleman."

According to Heenan, the tragic death of his Monsoon's
son  - referee Joey Marella - in 1994 was the beginning of
a series of misfortunes for Monsoon.

"When his son died - Joey - that took an awful lot out of
him. He was never the same after that. And then when they
took us off Prime Time [Wrestling], and I left, his health
went, and he just lost desire."

Heenan and Monsoon were responsible for some of the
wittiest, funniest banter between commentators that the
WWF has ever seen. Though a lot of it came across as
mean-spirited - especially from the heel Heenan - none of
it was ever taken personally.

"Monsoon said a long time ago, 'If you're in this business
for anything more than money, you're a fool.' Remember
the last night [Heenan's final appearance on Monday Night
Raw], I got thrown out of White Plains, New York? Monsoon
took me back to the hotel. We were staying at the Marriot at
LaGuardia. And I went up to my room. We shook hands in
the elevator, and got out. I said, 'I'll see ya.' And that was it.
And I went to my room, and I had a big basket of fruit there.
So I called him. I says 'Hey, I got bananas, you big ape.' So
he came down the hall, and I met him, and I gave him the
bananas. We must have hugged for an hour."

As a manager, Heenan was an omnipresent character in
the biggest WWF feuds of the mid to late 1980s,
specifically involving champion Hulk Hogan. From Paul "Mr.
Wonderful" Orndorff to Big John Studd, King Kong Bundy,
Andre the Giant, Hercules Hernandez and everyone in
between, it seemed as though everyone that gave The
Hulkster trouble was doing it on behalf of "The Brain."
Heenan recalls working with Hogan very fondly.

"I don't see the egotistical side of Hogan at all," he said.
"Every time I was involved in a program with him, whether it
was Orndorff, or Studd, or whoever it was. There was never
a problem that I ever saw with Hogan. I know he had
problems with Bret Hart and some problems with Jesse,
but I don't know those problems. I just don't get involved in
other people's business. That's how I survived 40 years in
there. I just kept my mouth shut and didn't bother anything."

When wrestling's other major champion of the 1980s - the
NWA's "Nature Boy" Ric Flair - arrived in the WWF in 1991,
they introduced him via Bobby Heenan, in a classic series
of vignettes in which Heenan mocked Hulk Hogan and
smugly held up the NWA world title belt to hint that the
"real" world champion was coming to claim his crown.
Heenan specifically said that comparing Flair to Hogan
was like "comparing ice cream to horse manure."

"That was Vince McMahon's line," Heenan admitted.

"Flair is a lot of fun to work with. He's no problem at all.
He's very geared to what he wants to do in that ring, and in
the business. One of the best in the business."
Once he moved on to WCW as a color commentator in
1994, Heenan was paired up with Tony Schiavone at the
announce table. It was obvious that the chemistry Heenan
enjoyed with Gorilla Monsoon would not be recaptured with
Schiavone. Nor would the friendship, as Heenan and
Schiavone never exactly hit it off.

"Have you ever had gout of the testicles?" Heenan asked.
"Well, same thing. A pain that's always there, and nothing
you can do to get rid of it. He was a strict company man,
and he did everything he could, he thought, for the
company. He didn't have a lot of talk or conversation with
the people that worked with him."

Heenan's quick wit shone through on many WCW
broadcasts, but without the ease it once did with Monsoon
on the other headset. Eventually, WCW's financial woes
caught up with them, and the company was sold to the

WCW's failure did not come as a surprise to Heenan, who
has a very straightforward philosophy on what makes a
person successful.

"Life is very simple: if you could have done any better, you
would have," Heenan said. "Now if you want to be
President, go to school. Learn politics. Get the job. Be
President. Fight for it. If you want to be champion, get
yourself in the position where they're going to have to use
you as champion."

Shortly after WCW was purchased by the WWF, Heenan
and colleague "Mean" Gene Okerlund were invited back to
their old company for a one-shot performance as
commentators for the Wrestlemania X-7 gimmick battle

"It was like sitting in the dugout at a T-ball game and
getting called up by the Yankees," Heenan said. He was
happy to be back in the WWF seeing old friends. "They
were very polite and very nice, and it was fun to be back
with professionals."

At the time of the interview, Heenan did not think there was
any interest on the WWF's part for bringing him back full-

"I think they're going for a different look, like an MTV look,
you know? That's what they told me in WCW. They were
changing me around because they wanted to get a
younger, more 'MTV' look. So they hired [Mark] Madden," he

Besides, if Heenan's fears about the state of pro wrestling
are founded, the profession might be headed for dark

"I think it's over," he stated. "The magic is over because
everyone knows our tricks. There's no more mystery.
There's no more clicking back to the other channels to see
anything. They've just about thrown everybody through a
table you can, except my mother-in-law. I can't pick her up."

Since exiting the business, Heenan has been diagnosed
with throat cancer. Though a lesser man might let such a
menace get the best of him, all fans know Bobby "the
Brain" always has a trick up his sleeve that can lead to
victory. Here's wishing "the Brain" the absolute best in his

In the meantime, there is still a ton we don't know about
Heenan. Lucky for us, one of the most gifted talkers in
wrestling history has written a book about his life and
career with the help of Steve Anderson, which is set for
release in September 2002. It is available for pre-order
already on Amazon.com, RIGHT HERE.

"We've put together a fun book for everyone to read,"
Heenan said. "You know, there's no frontal nudity, but it's a
nice book. The staple takes up most of it."


SMACKDOWN RECAP: Bonding Exercises
RAW RECAP: The New Guy Blows It
PPV RECAP: WWE Night of Champions 2012
RAW RECAP: The Show Must Go On
SMACKDOWN RECAP: The Boot Gets the Boot
RAW RECAP: Heyman Lands an Expansion Franchise
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Losing is the new Winning
RAW RECAP: Say My Name
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Deja Vu All Over Again
RAW RECAP: Dignity Before Gold?
PPV RECAP: SummerSlam 2012
RAW RECAP: Bigger IS Better
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Hitting with Two Strikes
RAW RECAP: Heel, or Tweener?
RAW RECAP: CM Punk is Not a Fan of Dwayne
SMACKDOWN RECAP: The Returnening
RAW RECAP: Countdown to 1000
PPV RECAP: WWE Money in the Bank 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Friday Night ZackDown
RAW RECAP: Closure's a Bitch
RAW RECAP: Crazy Gets What Crazy Wants
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Five Surprising MitB Deposits
RAW RECAP: Weeeellll, It's a Big MitB
RAW RECAP: Johnny B. Gone
PPV RECAP: WWE No Way Out 2012
RAW RECAP: Crazy Go Nuts
RAW RECAP: Be a Star, My Ass
RAW RECAP: You Can't See Him
RAW RECAP: Big Johnny Still in Charge
PPV RECAP: WWE Over the Limit 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: One Gullible Fella
RAW RECAP: Anvil, or Red Herring?
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Everybody Hates Berto
RAW RECAP: Look Who's Back
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Care to go Best of Five?
RAW RECAP: An Ace Up His Sleeve
PPV RECAP: WWE Extreme Rules 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Sh-Sh-Sheamus and the nOObs
RAW RECAP: Edge, the Motivational Speaker?
SMACKDOWN RECAP: AJ is Angry, Jilted
RAW RECAP: Maybe Cena DOES Suck?
RAW RECAP: Brock's a Jerk
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Back with a Bang
RAW RECAP: Yes! Yes! Yes!
PPV RECAP: WWE WrestleMania 28




All contents are Copyright 1995-2014 by OOWrestling.com.  All rights reserved.
This website is not affiliated with WWE or any other professional wrestling organization.  Privacy Statement.