Some call him the master of delivering heel commentary. Others refer to him as the greatest manager in the history of professional wrestling. A few even called him a weasel. One thing that most everyone agrees on is that he is a staple of this business. Today, the wrestling world mourns the passing of an icon. Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan has passed away at the age of 72.
Raymond Louis Heenan was born on November 1st 1944 in Chicago, Illinois. He fell in love with the business at an early age. Heenan worked concessions and as a gopher for many wrestlers in the mid-west. Though he started off as a wrestler, ‘Pretty Boy’ Bobby Heenan, he went on to have a successful four decade run as a commentator and manager.
The Heenan Family is one of the few factions that were prolific in several promotions. Different permutations of the faction appeared in the American Wrestling Alliance throughout the late 1970s. They had a brief stint in Georgia Championship Wrestling in 1979. In September 1984, Heenan made his debut in the World Wrestling Federation, which was my first experience watching him. It wasn’t long before he would present his ‘family’ there. Heenan managed some of the greatest performers in the business, from Nick Bockwinkel to Ernie Ladd, from Adrian Adonis to Andre the Giant. Heenan used his unparalleled charisma and gift of gab to help get many performers over, some of which may not have without The Brain’s help.
When Jesse ‘the Body’ Ventura temporarily stepped away as color commentator, The Brain filled in. Heenan and Gorilla Monsoon developed quite the rapport. Not only did they become one of the greatest on screen duos in WWF history, but the friendship they formed over time was an implacable one. Heenan went to World Championship Wrestling in 1994. He provided top notch commentary. But it’s been reported that Heenan was not pleased with the day to day operations backstage there. The Brain made a few appearances in Total Nonstop Action, providing commentary for some special events.
World Wrestling Entertainment issued a statement earlier today.
“With a career spanning more than four decades, Bobby Heenan was the ‘The Brain’ behind some of the most prolific Superstars in sports-entertainment history, Heenan plied his trade as their mischievous manager by running his mouth on their behalf with a sarcastic wit considered among the best in the business.”
Heenan passed away today after a long battle with throat cancer. He is survived by his wife, Cynthia Jean and daughter, Jessica. Everyone here at The Scrum Sports wants to express their deepest condolences to his friends and family. May the greatest manager and one of the greatest human beings of all time rest in peace.