Bobby "the Brain" Heenan
Real Name: Raymond Heenan
Stats: 6' 0" 245 lbs.
Born: November 1, 1940

Bobby "The Brain" Heenan
by Steve Slagle 

When you think of great wrestling managers, Bobby "The Brain" Heenan has to be one of the first wrestling mentors that comes to mind. His unique ability to infuriate, and at the same time, thoroughly entertain the audience made him one of the most hated men in the history of the AWA, the NWA and the WWF -- and as a result, also one of the most successful. Whether managing any of his various World champions, World Tag Team Champions, or any number of regional and secondary champions, Heenan was always at the top of whatever promotion he worked for -- constantly at the center of controversy, stirring up trouble.

He started in the American Wrestling Association during the early 1960's, originally as wrestler "Pretty Boy" Bobby Heenan. In the beginning, Heenan struggled to be taken seriously in the ring. He paid his dues throughout the AWA's major (and minor) cities throughout the midwest and west coast. Not particularly physically intimidating or technically gifted, his interview ability was obvious from the start of his career, and what really kept "Pretty Boy" Bobby Heenan in upper-mid card feuds with the likes of Pepper Gomez. Eventually, though, after working hard on his technique, Heenan developed himself into a fairly tough, devious, and often, very cowardly wrestler. But it didn't take long for "The Brain" to figure out that managing was a lot less painful than wrestling. Consequently, right about the time he really came into his own as a wrestler, Heenan began to focus solely on adding members to his growing roster of talent, the Bobby Heenan Family.


During his initial run as a manager in the AWA during the 1960's and 1970's, Heenan (who eventually dropped the "Pretty Boy" moniker in favor of "The Brain") managed the cream of the crop when it came AWA rulebreakers. In addition to his prize protégé, former AWA World Heavyweight & Tag Team champion Nick Bockwinkle, Heenan added his wit, humor, and interview ability (as well as plenty of outside interference) to men like The Blackjacks: Mulligan & Lanza, Ray "The Crippler" Stevens, "Superstar" Billy Graham, Angelo Poffo, Ernie "The Big Cat" Ladd, Pat Patterson, The Valiant Brothers: Jimmy & Johnny, "Big, Bad" Bobby Duncum, "Cowboy" Bob Orton Jr., Ken Patera, Baron Von Raschke and many more. On the other side of the coin, Heenan -- through his devious, cheating methods -- found himself feuding with the best of the AWA's (and WWA's) "good guys". AWA heroes like The Bruiser & The Crusher, Verne Gagne, Billy Robinson, Pepper Gomez, Andre the Giant, and later, Hulk Hogan jumped at the frequent opportunities to squash "The Weasel", and Heenan lost many pints of blood "protecting" his men and their titles.


Heenan managed his main protégé of nearly 10 years, Nick Bockwinkle, to his first AWA World title reign in 1975 over perennial champion Verne Gagne, a reign for Heenan & Bockwinkle that lasted over 5 years. "The Brain" was there by "Tricky" Nick's side in 1980 when he regained the AWA title, as well. Heenan managed 3 tag teams (Bockwinkle & Stevens, Lanza & Duncum, and Patterson & Stevens) to 5 AWA World Tag Team championships, with his legendary team of Bockwinkle & Stevens holding the AWA straps for an impressive total of 27 months. He also guided his men to several WWA World Heavyweight & Tag Team titles.


His dominance continued when Heenan left his longtime home of the AWA and moved on to the NWA, more specifically, TBS's Georgia Championship Wrestling in 1980. Once there, AWA protégé Blackjack Lanza followed, and quickly won the Georgia TV (precursor to the WCW World TV) title. Meanwhile, The Masked Superstar and "Killer" Karl Kox (new additions to the NWA-version of the Heenan Family) both brought home the prestigious Georgia Heavyweight title under Heenan's tutelage. His feud with Wahoo McDaniel, Tommy Rich and AWA-turned-NWA nemesis The Crusher was the focal point of the promotion that would eventually evolve into WCW some 9 years later.


When Heenan eventually left the NWA after a year or so, he immediately returned to the AWA, and announced he was there to make life hell for anyone --especially AWA heroes Verne Gagne, "Mad Dog" Vachon & Rick Martel -- who got in the way of the Heenan Family. He did just that for approximately another 2 years, leading Bockwinkle to (tainted) victory after (tainted) victory before once again leaving his home base of the AWA for a new opportunities -- this time in the expanding promotion that was quickly becoming known around the country as the World Wrestling Federation.

Once again, Heenan quickly established himself as the #1 manager in the territory, as he managed top WWF superstars such as "Big" John Studd, "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff, "King" Harley Race, "Ravishing" Rick Rude, Andre the Giant, Mr. Perfect, The Islanders, Hercules, The Brainbusters: former Horsemen Anderson & Blanchard, and numerous other WWF "heels" into battle against Hulk Hogan, The Ultimate Warrior, "Macho Man" Randy Savage and other WWF "good guys". In addition to the WWF Inter-Continental and World Tag Team titles he managed his men to, Heenan scored multiple WWF World Heavyweight championships through Andre the Giant and "Nature Boy" Ric Flair.


Heenan spent the next decade in the WWF, where "The Brain" not only established himself as the #1 manager in the multi-million dollar promotion -- but also as its top announcer, or as Heenan referred to himself, a "broadcast journalist." The WWF's very own "King of the One-Liners" was also a fairly well-known mainstream celebrity, due to his frequent appearances on Late Night w/ David Letterman and The Arsenio Hall Show. Heenan was a major part of many top WWF storylines over the years, and was one of their most loyal employees behind the scenes.


However, in 1994, another new challenge was waiting for "The Brain" -- this time in his old Atlanta stomping grounds of the NWA, now called WCW. As an announcer, Heenan is seen each week by millions of wrestling fans on the highly-rated WCW Monday Nitro. However, other than a one-time WCW PPV appearance as Ric Flair's mentor, Heenan has stayed away from managing in the nearly 5 years he has spent in WCW, instead concentrating solely on his duties as a "broadcast journalist." Obviously, his influence as a "jobber" wrestler, a main event manager, and color commentator has been far reaching and profound on the continent of North America, and he is is without a doubt a living legend. Therefore, it is with great honor that we at The Ring Chronicle induct Bobby "The Brain" Heenan, wrestling's humorous and dastardly "Weasel" into his deserved spot within The Ring Chronicle's Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame...


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