"Big Cat" Ernie Ladd, Andre the Giant, Angelo Poffo, Arn Anderson, Baron von Raschke, Big John Studd, Blackjack Lanza, Blackjack Mulligan, Bobby "The Brain" Heenan, Butch Reed, Dusty Rhodes, Gorilla Monsoon, Haku, Ken Patera, King Kong Bundy, Lex Lugar, Macho Man Randy Savage, Meng, Mr. Wonderful Paul Orndorff, Mr.Perfect Curt Hennig, Nick Bockwinkle, Ravishing Rick Rude, Ric Flair, Ron Bass, Sgt. Slaughter, Terry Taylor, The Barbarian, The Islanders, The Missing Link, Tony Schiavone, Tully Blanchard, Valiant Brothers, Vince McMahon, WWE
Admittedly, this will fall into the “I didn’t know he/she was still alive” bin. And, admittedly, I’ll be once again unashamedly professing my love for professional wrestling, both past and present.
The news came in this morning that legendary wrestler, manager and commentator Bobby “The Brain” Heenan had passed away at the age of 73. He’d been battling cancer since 2002 (or possibly before) and the disease had basically robbed Brain of his voice, his recognizability and probably a lot of “life” itself. He was resilient, though and didn’t give up living in wake of the terrible infliction.
Though not in my memory banks as ingrained as Dusty Rhodes, Ric Flair, and others who had their heyday back in the 70s-90s, Brain was still a big figure. He was witty, clever, mean and one that you loved to hate. His quotes always seemed to naturally flow from his mouth, unlike Jerry “The King” Lawler, whom I also really dig, it’s just sometimes it is forced. Not so with Heenan.
A WWE Hall of Famer, Heenan was big on being involved. His history as being a wrestler first helped him take the bumps needed to pull off his folly. But, because of his ability to help his “clients” win, by hook or by crook, scheming and conniving, all the clandestine wonderfulness that he was able to manage combined with his quippy intellect, that was how he became “The Brain.”
Some of the names of which he managed are Blackjack Lanza, Blackjack Mulligan, Ken Patera, Nick Bockwinkle, Sgt. Slaughter (before he was Sgt. Slaughter), “Big Cat” Ernie Ladd, Ron Bass, Angelo Poffo (Macho Man Randy Savage’s pops), Baron von Raschke, Valiant Brothers, The Islanders, Big John Studd, King Kong Bundy, Ravishing Rick Rude, Mr. Wonderful Paul Orndorff, The Barbarian, Terry Taylor, Lex Lugar, The Missing Link, Haku/Meng, Butch Reed, Mr.Perfect Curt Hennig, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, Ric Flair and probably most famously, Andre the Giant. That’s just a partial list.
But, what I always liked best about him was his one-liners, quips, and smart-alecky snark. With either Gorilla Monsoon, Vince McMahon or Tony Schiavone, he always let them (and us) have it. I’m including a few of my favorite quotes by him:
I’m a legend in this sport. If you don’t believe me, ask me.
North Dakota State. What do you have to do there to graduate? Milk a cow with your left hand?
It’s a dog eat dog world, and Mr. Perfect is a Milk Bone.
Parts Unknown, it usually means Downtown Newark.
It was a Greco-Roman Hair Pull.
Thank goodness for next year, huh Ross. Indoor plumbing comes to Oklahoma.
The man is nuts! He’s got papers to prove it!
The Barbarian doesn’t like anybody. When I managed him he barely liked me! Why do you think they call him the Barbarian? He’s not a hairdresser on his day off!
I know all about cheating. I’ve had six very successful marriages (which wasn’t true, he was married to one woman from 1966 until yesterday).
There hasn’t and probably won’t be another like Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. I am glad I got to hear and see him do his thing. He was awesome at it. He wasn’t afraid to take a bump and he wasn’t afraid to speak out. It seemed like he truly had a lot of friends in the business and they really loved him. RIP, “Weasel.”
Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
“These things just come to me. I feel like I got two brilliant minds.” – Bobby “The Brain” Heenan