Bobby Heenan

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Bobby Heenan : biography

November 1, 1944 –

With Ventura unable to wrestle, Heenan instead became Big John Studd’s manager for his feud with André the Giant, and he soon reformed the Heenan Family. Over Heenan’s WWF career, the Heenan Family included Studd, Ken Patera, Paul "Mr. Wonderful" Orndorff, King Kong Bundy, André the Giant, High Chief Sivi Afi, The Brain Busters (former Horsemen members Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard), "Ravishing" Rick Rude, Harley Race, The Islanders (Haku and Tama), Hercules, The Barbarian, Mr Perfect, Terry Taylor, and The Brooklyn Brawler. As a manager, he was always one of the most hated men, often the most hated man, in the promotion. Heenan once had a famous feud with André the Giant while managing Big John Studd, and famously challenged André to a $15,000 bodyslam match against Studd at the first WrestleMania, where André had to retire from wrestling if he had lost the match. Heenan and the Heenan Family had a monumental feud with wrestling icon Hulk Hogan in the ’80s, and Heenan managed two WrestleMania challengers to Hogan’s title, King Kong Bundy in 1986, and André the Giant in 1987. While neither Bundy nor André would win the title at that time, André later bested Hogan for the championship on The Main Event on February 5, 1988 in a controversial win after he aligned himself with "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase. On an episode of Legends of Wrestling, Jim Ross claimed Heenan had received a six-figure payoff for his work in promoting the event – arguably the largest pay day in any managerial career. Heenan also had a famous feud with The Ultimate Warrior, who reintroduced Heenan to Weasel Suit matches, which Heenan had during his time in the AWA.

After being derided by announcers for his first five years in the WWF (mostly by Gorilla Monsoon) for never managing a champion, WrestleMania V was promoted (mostly by Jesse Ventura and later Gorilla Monsoon) as Heenan’s quest, and best chance since Wrestlemania III to manage a champion. Heenan finally managed his first champion in the WWF when "Ravishing" Rick Rude upset the Ultimate Warrior for the Intercontinental title. Shortly thereafter, he led the Brain Busters to the WWF World Tag Team championship giving Heenan not only the gratification of managing a champion, but managing two champions at the same time, equalling a feat achieved two years earlier by Jimmy Hart. A few months later after the Busters had lost the titles back to Demolition, he led the Colossal Connection (André and Haku) to the Tag Team Championship when they defeated Demolition A few months after that, he led Mr Perfect to the first of two Intercontinental Championships. In a year and a half, Heenan went from having managed no champions to having managed two tag teams to two World Tag Team championships and two wrestlers to three Intercontinental championships.

Heenan also had a parody talk show known as The Bobby Heenan Show, which was broadcast in four segments during the second half of WWF’s regular weekly program "Prime Time Wrestling". It was co-hosted by Jamison Winger and featured several very overweight women known as The Oinkettes.

As neck injuries prevented him from taking bumps the way he used to, Heenan retired from managing in 1991 to become a full-time "broadcast journalist" (see below). Nonetheless, Heenan crossed the line to managing sporadically. When the WWF signed Ric Flair, Heenan spent several weeks talking him up as "The Real World’s Heavyweight Champion" (then-NWA World Heavyweight Champion) due to Flair’s no compete contract with WCW. He continued to act as an advisor to Flair during his first WWF run (and coined the phrase, "That’s not fair to Flair" and "You got to be fair to Flair"). Though he nominally managed Flair, Heenan’s former protégé Mr. Perfect, who temporarily retired due to injury, would regularly accompany Flair to ringside as his "Executive Consultant". At the 1993 Royal Rumble, he introduced Lex "Narcissist" Luger to the WWF to exact revenge on his former protégé, Mr. Perfect.