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 efforts to tilt the odds in their favor.

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:

  • Acrofatic: Could take insane bumps in his rare matches that seemed to defy gravity at times.
  • 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
  • Badass Grandpa: 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.
  • 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!
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: The fun thing about this job is that he could trash awful wrestlers and claim it's in-character.
  • 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 ("no, it's not", or "shut up.") to get a similar flow going. This reason for this lack of chemistry was that, whereas Heenan and Monsoon were the best of friends, Heenan and Schiavone genuinely hated each other. That makes for uncomfortable viewing.
  • 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.
  • The Cast Show Off: 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.
    Brandon Stroud: You keep expecting Heenan to lift the table over his head and break it over Pillman like a Nasty Boy.
    • 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!
  • Deadpan Snarker: A grandmaster of it.
  • 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.
    • While he was already established as anti-nWo, his Tranquil Fury moment at the parody of Arn Anderson's retirement speech also could qualify. "It's not funny anymore....not when you know Arn Anderson like we do..."
  • Funny T Shirt: His collection of garish sweatshirts on WWF Prime Time, ranging from Big Ten schools (Harvard, Princeton), to the China Club, MENSA, etc.
  • The Gadfly: 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.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Nitro is a show that demands lubrication to go down smooth.
    DDT: Heenan refers to Malone's truck as an "88-wheeler". Someone just came back from Happy Hour.
    [later]
    Heenan refers to Stevie Ray as a great tag team. He's smashed.
  • Impossibly Tacky Clothes: Chuck Barris called, he wants his wardrobe back. Rhinestone-covered tracksuits, gold medallions, glitter jackets, fat bowties, and a Tony Clifton ruffled shirt that would embarrass a 70s prom date. And this was in the days of Nitro, when Jimmy Hart wore a bland suit to work.
  • Ironic Nickname: Inverted, as judging by his look and personality, he's a none-too-bright commentator. But every now and then he'd let slip a dry remark, revealing it to be an act.
  • Mean Character, Nice Actor: In retirement.
  • Memetic Hand Gesture: You're looking at it. (See profile pic.)
  • Motor Mouth: An amalgam of every annoying sports agent on earth. It was also 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.
  • Only Sane Man: Became trapped in this role at WCW. Like most ex-WWF guys on the roster, he was hired solely for name recognition, as Bischoff and others delighted in making him look utterly impotent (i.e. literally handcuffing him to the desk).
  • Pet the Dog: The Brain's heart grew three sizes at WrestleMania VII, when Randy Savage accepted his defeat with grace and reunited with Liz. Of course, he was back to his money-grubbing ways when the credits rolled, leading into his Schiff One-Liner.
  • 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.
  • Professional Butt-Kisser: As a commentator, Heenan would make himself look either oblivious or seriously delusional, all for the sake of putting the heels over. In the WWF Prime Time segments with Vince and company, he dropped the act and behaved like his real self: a serenely-smug chucklehead.
  • Racist Grandpa: 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.
  • Red Baron: "Pretty Boy," "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:invoked Ad-libbed at WCW Halloween Havoc 95, after 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 makes recovery much more difficult). However, Eric and Tony did not appreciate him poking holes in this story's logic and cut him off immediately. "What difference does it make?" (A man is DEAD, Heenan!) Cue on-camera facepalm from the Brain.
  • Stunned Silence: The famous shoot with Madusa and a trash bin. Probably the only time in his life when Heenan was left speechless. As per usual on Nitro, he wasn't briefed on what would it would happen, so his reaction is genuine. (Bisch and Steve "Mongo" McMichael are unfazed, swatting Madusa away like a fly at a picnic, while Heenan looks like he's been shocked with a cattle prod.)
  • Talk Show with Fists: 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!
  • 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.