WWE Hall of Famer Bobby Heenan dead at 73

By: 
Joshua Waddles
Staff Writer

WWE Hall of Famer Bobby “The Brain” Heenan died Sunday at the age of 73. Heenan began his wrestling career in 1965, operating as a manager and heel known as “Pretty Boy” Bobby Heenan. Working as a manager, he spoke on the mic for several iconic wrestlers and created “The Heenan Family.”

He first started using his wring name “The Brain” at his first appearance with the American Wrestling Association in 1974. He acted as a manager for several AWA Tag Team and World Heavyweight Champions. Heenan stayed with AWA for 10 years before Vince McMahon recruited him for the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, currently WWE).

While in the WWF, Heenan managed Jesse “The Body” Ventura and Big John Studd during Studd’s feud against Andre the Giant. While in the WWF, Heenan introduced another version of The Heenan Family, which included “Ravishing” Rick Rude, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, The Brooklyn Brawler, King Kong Bundy, Andre the Giant and several others.

Heenan was one of the early pioneers of wrestling parody talk shows, still commonly used today. The Bobby Heenan Show, cohosted by Jamison WInger, played as a regular part of WWF’s programming. Continuing to act as a manager, he worked with Ric Flair and Lex Luger during their WWF debuts.

Heenan then became a color commentator for the WWF. Suffering from a broken-neck injury and unable to cope with the long hours, he left the WWF in 1993, initially planning to retire. He changed his mind when contacted by World Championship Wrestling (WCW) which promised a lighter work schedule and health insurance.

Heenan stayed with WCW through the most heated years of the Monday Night Wars (Between WCW and WWF, in competition for ratings) and worked as a semi-heel (bad guy) commentator. He worked with WCW until the year 2000.

Heenan was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fave in 2004.

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