Wrestling fans across the world, young and old, are mourning the loss of the greatest manager the business has ever known, Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan. Not only was he the greatest manager wrestling has ever seen, he was arguably the greatest commentator as well. He was mostly known for his quick wit and one liners but when it was time to get serious, he could.
Think back to his call of Bill Goldberg winning the WCW championship. WCW was involved in an inter-promotional war with the NWO, and as funny as The Brain could be, he knew this was a big moment for WCW, a big moment for Bill Goldberg, and a big moment for advancing the storyline. He treated it as such.
As tremendous as he was as a commentator, it paled in comparison to his ability as a manager. Theres much debut in the wrestling world if Hulk Hogan would’ve been able to make Wrestlemania 1 work without Rowdy Roddy Piper. Hogan was so great at being an all-American hero because Piper was so great at being a low down dirty bad guy. I’d argue Hulk Hogan wouldn’t have lasted as long as he did as the train, say your prayers, eat your vitamins babyface has it not been for Bobby Heenan and his Heenan family.
Wrestlemania 2 was headlined by Hulk Hogan and King Kong Bundy, a Heenan Family member, inside a steel cage from Los Angeles. As 1986 turned to 1987 and Wrestlemania 3 approached Hulk Hogan had spent the year feuding with Brain proteges that included Bundy and Mr Wonderful. When his one time “best friend” Andre The Giant emerged on the Piper’s Pit with The Brain in tow, the 15 plus veteran known across America as the gentle giant became a hated heel without uttering a sing word.
That was the effectiveness of The Brain. Mr Wonderful turned on Hogan by piledriving him in the middle of the ring. Years later, Macho Man Randy Savage turned on Hogan by attacking him after a match. Not Andre. No attack. No words. Just a simple entrance with Bobby Heenan next to him.
Hogan – “What are you doing with him? What are you doing with Heenan? It can’t be so”
Andre – not a single word.
The biggest wrestling match this country has ever seen, Hulk Hogan vs Andre The Giant, was completely built around the guy who wasn’t in the ring.
That’s how great The Brain was.