Wrestling: Bobby Heenan

"The Brain"

"A friend in need is a pest."

Born Raymond Louis Heenan in 1944, Bobby "The Brain" Heenan is one of Professional Wrestling's most famous managers (and possibly the most successful), working throughout WWE's "Federation Years" of the '80s and '90s as the manager of many a great wrestler and tag team, often running his collective of wrestlers under the name of "The Heenan Family". The Family was constantly opposed by Hulk Hogan, and many of the wrestlers Heenan managed met with bitter defeat at Hogan's hands, despite Heenan's best efforts to ensure their victory. Aside from his managerial duties, Heenan was also a color commentator; he was one-half of (arguably) the greatest commentary duo in the history of the industry (with the late Gorilla Monsoon), and he also worked for WCW for a number of years. Heenan is also an official member of the WWE Hall of Fame.

You can read more about his life and career at That Other Wiki.

Mr. Heenan provides examples of:

  • Arch-Enemy: Dick The Bruiser, The Crusher, Tommy Rich, Hulk Hogan, to the point where Hogan's heel turn actually made Heenan turn face, he detested the man so much.
  • Autobiography: 2002's Bobby The Brain: Wrestling's Bad Boy Tells All
  • Big "NO!": When Hogan beat Ric Flair at Bash at the Beach 1994, Heenan responded with a series of these.
  • Big "YES!": The 1992 Royal Rumble, which was won by Ric Flair. The pinnacle of his announcing career was capped off by over half a dozen of these:
    Bobby Heenan: YES! YES! YES! YES! YES, YES, YES! HE DID IT!
  • Boke and Tsukkomi Routine. An American version, with Heenan as the Boke to Gorilla Monsoon's Tsukkomi. Happened practically once a match:
    Bobby Heenan: <outlandish or absurd remark>
    Gorilla Monsoon: (exasperated) Will you stop?!
    • He did the same routine with Tony Schiavone, although since Schiavone was nowhere near Gorilla's level as a commentator, they didn't come up with any memorable exchanges. Whereas Monsoon would seemingly try to shut Heenan up, he did it in a way that fed Heenan to retort, so they would keep volleying insults back and forth. Schiavone would act like a brick wall and shut down any attempts by Heenan to get a similar commentary flow going.
    • This lack of chemistry was likely a result of the fact that while Heenan and Monsoon were the best of friends, Heenan and Schiavone hated each other.
  • Bullying a Dragon/Too Dumb to Live: At WrestleMania VI in 1990, was managing the WWE World Tag Team Champions the Colossal Connection (André the Giant and Haku) against the challengers Demolition. After the Demos won the match and the titles, after Andre's attempt at interference backfired against Haku (who had wrestled the entire match himself due to Andre's physical decline), Brain got in Andre's face and yelled at him for costing them the titles. Andre proceeded to slap the heck out of Brain, thus turning himself face, and left to the cheers of the crowd.
  • California: Billed from Beverly Hills, although he is actually from Chicago.
  • Cassandra Truth: Had bashed Hulk Hogan for years as a bad person, then ended up looking like he was right when Hogan turned heel, launching the NWO.
    • In fact, that night, when Hogan came out, ostensibly to aid the faces, Heenan (to the derision of the other commentators) was the only one to actually ask whose side Hogan was actually on. The line was unscripted, though, and earned him a reprimand from management for nearly giving the twist away.
      • According to Heenan's book, WCW boss Eric Bischoff imposed that kind of Genre Blindness on the announcers, since he wanted them to call the action as if it was a "shoot" (real.) Heenan said he told Bischoff that they'd never seen a shoot and that if they saw one they wouldn't know it.
  • The Cast Show Off: In response to his snarking abilities and willingness to do virtually EVERYTHING to gain attention, Bobby Heenan was awarded his own talk show. Not an in-ring interview segment, not a "Piper's Pit" style roadshow, an actual hour long talk-show!
    • Several of his 90s-era post match commentaries featured 'The Brain Scan', which simply involved Heenan doodling a famous cartoon character like Woody Woodpecker or Dennis the Menace on the show's Telestrator while putting down a Face wrestler.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Obviously not as much as an announcer(aside from his infamous run-in with Brian Pillman), but as a manager he was known to be a tad colorful at ringside. Prior to Andre The Giant's face turn at Wrestlemania VI he was berating him by repeatedly yelling "I'M THE FUCKING BOSS!"....in 1990 no less!
  • Cool Old Guy
  • Deadpan Snarker: A grandmaster of it.
  • Determinator: When word got out that he needed surgery to treat throat cancer, he declared he wasn't going down without a fight, and famously added that if Gorilla Monsoon couldn't shut him up, this wasn't going to, either.
  • Dirty Old Man: While certainly never to the extent of, say, Jerry Lawler in WWE, but, he had his moments.
    • During the Jacqueline vs. Disco Inferno match at WCW Halloween Havoc 97, Jacqueline suffered a nipple slip while executing a Russian Legsweep, and Heenan said, "Replay!"
    • Tony Schiavone asked Heenan why he didn't clap for the Nitro Girls' dance routine on the August 16, 1999 episode of WCW Monday Nitro. His answer: "It's impossible to clap with only one hand."
  • Even Evil Has Standards: The Tuesday In Texas pay-per-view event where Jake Roberts slaps Miss Elizabeth across the face (after forcing her to beg for Randy Savage's safety). Even he seemed shocked that Roberts put his hands on a much smaller woman, and was sure that he was going to DDT her into oblivion.
  • Jerkass: Heenan ripped on the faces a lot while a commentator, but none so much as Tito Santana. Interestingly, Tito was actually one of Heenan's favorite wrestlers in real life, and Heenan's constant ripping of him was an attempt to garner fan support for him.
  • Mean Character, Nice Actor: In retirement.
  • Motor Mouth: One of his greatest strengths as a manager.
  • Neck Lift: Was on the receiving end of many of these, usually when he tried to interfere in his wrestlers' matches and the face would catch him.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: A real life example. Heenan would intentionally make himself look stupid for the sake of comedy.
  • Power Stable: The Heenan Family, in the World Wrestling Association in Indianapolis, the American Wrestling Association, Georgia Championship Wrestling, and WWE from the late 1960s until 1991.
  • Red Baron: "Pretty Boy," "The Brain" (taken from Eddie Creatchman), "The Weasel" (imposed on him by The Crusher)
  • Shout-Out: After Wrath Squashed Olympic bobsledder-turned-pro-wrestler Chip Minton on the December 3, 1998 episode of WCW Thunder, Heenan on commentary said, "So much for Rosebud."
  • Soft Water: Brought up at WCW Halloween Havoc 95, after Hulk Hogan pushed The Giant off the roof of Cobo Hall at the end of their Monster Truck challenge. Believing him to be dead from the fall, Bobby asked what side he fell into, river or street (with the implication being that falling into the water means finding his remains much more difficult). His commentary partners didn't see the difference. Cue Face Palm from Heenan.
  • Troll: This was pretty much his role on commentary in WCW, especially with Tony Schiavone, as he'd tell Blatant Lies or do anything he could think of to provoke/crack up/annoy him.
  • Tuckerization: Dick the Bruiser gave Heenan the name "Bobby" since he reminded Bruiser of "The Nature Boy" Buddy Rogers' manager Bobby Davis.
  • Unrelated Brothers: with Jerry Heenan, real name John Hill, who, among other names, also did this gimmick as "Gentleman" Jerry Valiant, with "Handsome" Jimmy Valiant (real name James Fanning) and "Luscious" Johnny Valiant (real name Thomas Sullivan), who weren't related to each other either.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: While working for Dick the Bruiser's World Wrestling Association in Indianapolis in the 1960s, he once showed up for a match against "Cowboy" Bob Ellis on crutches, while pleading for a postponement (only four or five months!) Of course, Heenan "recovered" and tried attacking Ellis, who fought off both Heenan AND his Tag Team The Blackjacks by himself. Heenan took a bump over the top rope to the floor and got counted out while arguing with the commentators.