The legendary Bobby “The Brain” Heenan passed away Sunday evening. Any heel manager or heel announcer currently in wrestling owes all they have to Bobby Heenan – as far as figures who are so singularly influential go, it’s hard to beat the precise perfection of The Brain.
It’s hard enough to become a legend as a wrestler. But to reach that status in a support role, where your entire purpose is to put over the wrestlers, is truly a remarkable feat. Moments like Shawn Michaels turning on Marty Jannetty or Ric Flair fighting to stay in the 1992 Royal Rumble wouldn’t have been nearly as iconic without Brain’s constant heel apologism, his gears spinning full-bore to justify anything he could, however twisted the logic would get.
(No, Jannetty didn’t throw himself out the barbershop window, but Heenan almost made you believe that he did.)
And, of course, the moment that his decade-plus streak of distrusting Hulk Hogan came to a head with the formation of the nWo was oddly satisfying and vindicating for a weaselly villain to be proven right.
Bobby the Brain is the best there ever was at managing and at commentary. To be the unparalleled master of 2/5ths of pro wrestling (the other three being wrestling, booking, and refereeing) is something I doubt anybody will ever be able to do again.
But even if someone did, Heenan could find some way to tear them to pieces.
Written by Bobby Murphy (@RobertJMurph)
Image courtesy of WWE.com
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