The wrestling world lost in icon never before seen and most likely never to be seen again on Sunday, when Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan passed away at 72.
A legendary manager whose Heenan Family stable included nearly every top-level heel in the mid-1980s WWF, The Brain managed to turn crowds against him and his charges with seemingly little effort. His presence made matches and feuds can’t-miss affairs. And his segments on WWF television were must-watches.
Fans who watched 1980s WWF television and PPVs were probably the hardest hit by the death of Heenan, knowing what he represented to professional wrestling and what he brought to the industry. In an age of heel managers, he stood head-and-shoulders above them all. It’s hard to imagine The Brainbusters, Ravishing Rick Rude, the Islanders, “King” Harley Race and of course Andre the Giant without The Brain.
If you missed Heenan in his heyday as manager, then you hopefully caught him in commentary booth. Whether it was on one of the syndicated programs in the late '80s into the early '90s or in the early days of Monday Night Raw, Bobby’s comic genius was always on full display. He could make you laugh hysterically and hate him all at the same time.
So let’s take a look at some of the must-see moments that any fan should cue up. There are far too many to name, but we’ll pull a few key examples. Let’s get to it…
7. Hall Of Fame Speech
If you want to start off with Bobby Heenan unplugged for 15
minutes, then track down The Brain’s full WWE Hall of Fame speech from his 2004
In the early 2000s, the Hall of Fame ceremonies were loaded with megastars, and 2004 was no different, with the likes of Jesse Ventura, Sgt. Slaughter, Junkyard Dog and Superstar Billy Graham among the inductees.
But it was Heenan’s induction speech that stole the show, a career retrospective that doubled as a stand-up comedy routine. Bobby’s sharp wit was on full display, stopping at one point when noticing Pete Rose and “confessing” that he bet on professional wrestling. Jokes flew fast and furious during his speech, too many to recount.
It was a great moment to cap off Heenan’s WWF/E career, as cancer would rob him of his ability to deliver fast-paced commentary in the coming years.