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Bobby The Brain Heenan DVD Review

February 13, 2011   ·   0 Comments

Before Maryse and her stupid taunt [Sorry it just really annoys me] and before Mr. Fuji threw salt into people’s eyes, one Bobby_Heenanman stood alone as the best manager in the industry. Sure many men and women [well apart from Maryse, yeah that is going to be my last shot at Maryse in this review…I promise] can lay claim to such a moniker. He is the man who managed some of the greatest wrestlers to ever step into the squared circle. Men like Andre the Giant, The Nature Boy Ric Flair and The Brooklyn Brawler…yeah even the greatest managers in the world can make mistakes isn’t that right Sir Alex? Anyway, Heenan was one of the first men to transition from being a man to being a ‘Broadcast Journalist’ where he excelled and showed just why he was simply ‘The Brain’. The Latest offering from WWE Universe is a two disc set in honour of Bobby ‘The Brain/Weasel’ Heenan/ so let’s get the show[or in this case the review] on the road.

Disc One

The first thing I have noticed is that the documentary is actually only fifty minutes long! So I am guessing we are just going to rush over the small stuff like the early days and WCW and then focus fully on the Rock N Roll wrestling era. We get a video package to start, pretty much summing up what to expect in the rest of the DVD. We get voice over’s from the likes of Vince McMahon putting Bobby over as the best manager ever. We also get some of the best one liners during his run in the WWE[F]. In November 1944, Ray Heenan was born in Chicago Illinois (some nice archive footage). Bobby was raised by his mother and grandmother, and despite having an absentee father he had a good childhood. We get to see that his first passion in life was, in fact, baseball.

The family were shocked when his aunt passed away after a battle with cancer. Heenan’s mother decided that she, Bobby and the grandmother should move into her home in Indiana. Bobby decided to drop out of school to make money to help his family during the difficult time. It was in 1961, while working as a stage hand, that he fell in love with sports entertainment. We get a story about how Heenan was a bit of a ‘wild’ child but always did good by his mother and grandmother. His first big break came in Missouri while managing Blackjack Mulligan. Eventually it was his idea for Mulligan to partner Lanza. It was here in Missouri that he gained the nickname ‘The Brain’ from his fellow wrestlers due to his ability to link up with big name talent.

We now move over to the AWA days, with Heenan pairing up with the team of Nick Bockwinkel and Ray Stevens. Grey Gagne believes that pairing Heenan and Bockwinkel together took Nick to the next level. Dusty Rhodes mentions pretty much the same thing. Then we hear from Nick Bockwinkel who speaks of how tough Heenan’s wife must be to be able to put up with him. We get a little package of ‘The Brain’, at his ‘best’ and by ‘best’ (I mean worse). Heenan was the first manager to actually gain heat from the audience, especially with his actions, be it slipping a pair of brass knuckles onto his guy’s hand,

In January 1975, a man actually shot at Heenan during a match, and although he missed he did end up injuring five people at the show. We get more stuff about Heenan inciting the crowd so much that whenever AWA decided it was time for him to put on the tights, it would be a sell out and a special attraction match as the fans wanted to see him finally get his comeuppance. All of this lead to the greatness that is the WEASEL SUIT MATCH! We get a clip of the match against Greg Gagne, as well as the great selling job of Heenan not being able to get out of the weasel suit. Eventually his fantastic work with the AWA caught the attention of Vince McMahon and the WWF. He wanted a new challenge but didn’t really want to leave his friends. Bobby was given the green light by his friend, Bockwinkel, and was soon making his debut in the WWF. Before making his debut, Heenan was initially asked to manage Jesse ‘The Body’ Ventura before Ventura was forced to retire due to blood clots. Instead Heenan was paired with ‘Big’ John Studd which leads to the first mention of the ‘Heenan’ Family. Every member of the Heenan family had a mention and most of them spoke about how having Heenan in your corner was the best thing that could happen to you. A good quote which could sum up exactly what Bobby Heenan did during his career. ‘He wrestled like a manager, He managed like a wrestler.’ People then talk about how Bobby was willing to take bumps and get his ass kicked on a nightly basis.

We then move onto Wrestlemania I in 1985 and what would become the beginning of the ‘rock n’ wrestling’ era. On that night Heenan managed Big John against his future client Andre the Giant in the infamous $15000 Body Slam Challenge, which Andre won. After the match, while Andre was throwing money into the crowd, Heenan snook in and stole back the money and ran away like the true weasel he is.

We then fast forward [I can see me using them words a lot during this review] by two years, to 1987 and Wrestlemania III. Andre has turned heel and joined the Heenan Family. We get the Piper’s pit segment with Hogan and the terrible acting, followed by the challenge to a match at Wrestlemania. This all leads up the  Hulk vs Andre match and we get Andre and Heenan’s full entrance as well which is getting some awesome heat…think Hogan heel turn heat. With trash getting thrown all over both men we see the ending of the match and get Matt Striker talking about watching Heenan and Andre leave on the motorised rings. We now go back to the ‘weasel’ stuff and get a lot of talk about how Heenan had fun with the crowd and could get everyone in the audience chanting weasel! Then it happens, we see ANOTHER weasel suit match, this time against The Ultimate Warrior. Just a quick note on that – Heenan didn’t actually want to do the weasel suit match with Warrior. We now go back to talking about the Heenan Family and how being apart of it was a honour. Matt Striker says putting The BrainBusters with Heenan was a stroke of genius and made them greater. We then get talking heads about how being in the Heenan family usually meant that you were getting pushed towards the championship. People put over some of his other clients like Rick Rude and Mr.Perfect. Another side note, have you noticed that members of the family were always underrated? Anyway the basic idea that WWE are trying to get across is that being apart of the Heenan Family meant that you were going to the top. We now move into something I have been interested in watching, Heenan’s Interviews. These are the next point of discussion and it really does show how smart and quick witty he truly is. Arn Anderson put him over as the greatest talker of all time and his daughter Jessica says that he is just the same outside of the ring. We then move onto the partnership of Heenan and Monsoon. We get a package of some of the early moments in the friendship. We find out that as their relationship developed off screen they soon became the best of friends. Vince McMahon puts over the chemistry between the pair as something that will never be recreated. Vince then talks about giving Bobby his own show on the USA Network without actually telling the network. Vince’s plan was to give Heenan a thirty minute slot during the two hours that Prime Time Wrestling was on. The show itself seems a little bizarre and looks as if it was half an hour of Heenan ripping on his guests mostly fat women. Heenan’s wife said it was interesting and Vince said it was ahead of its time. I can only agree with that statement. Michael Hayes then talks about Bobby’s progression over time. How he had transitioned from wrestler to manager to colour commentator with ease. People put over how funny the combo of Monsoon and Heenan was during shows, Heenan was the original ‘voice of the WWE[F]’ and was present at some of the most memorable moments in the early nineties such as Flair’s Royal Rumble win [best line: ‘Thank you Roddy, it is not a skirt it is a kilt’] Michaels throwing Jannetty through the barber shop window, the ‘death’ of Hulkamania by the hands of Yokozuna, and even Jerry Lawler believed he is the best ever!

After a few years behind the announcers table with the WWF, Bobby decided that he wanted to leave the company to pursue a career in Hollywood. McMahon put this down to the workload and he wasn’t having as much fun as he was before. It was December 1993 when Heenan left the WWE[F] and he left just like the weasel he is by getting thrown out of the building by long time friend Gorilla Monsoon who, along with Heenan, threw his belongings in the street which included some toilet paper. It would be the last time he would be seen on WWE[F] for eight years. Bobby wanted to become an actor, but Uncle Ted and his cheque book was just too much for even The Brain not to be tempted by, making the jump to the WCW. With his new deal it lightened his work schedule and it gave him more time to spend with his daughter.

We then go to the moment when Heenan dropped the big ‘F Bomb’ when Brian Pillman went off script and grabbed him. Then it sort of skips through the WCW time with everyone saying that he hated the place and he was very unhappy. Then in 1999 things got serious as Heenan was diagnosed with throat cancer. Both his wife and daughter speak out about how hard it was for the family. They state that he was sick for sometime before he found out that he had cancer with his daughter saying that it was a miracle that he is still here today. After a while Bobby decided on going back to work and battling the cancer head on. His wife said after a while they just got on with it and started going to fanfest and hanging around with the older guys again. She believed this kept him going. Then in 2004 he was finally inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame, and his speech is one of the best, next to Ric Flair’s. His wife talks about how nervous he was but as soon as he stepped on that stage he became Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan once again. Even though his voice was bad from the therapy he was still the Brain, stealing the show. We close with everyone pretty much summing up that Bobby was the greatest manager in the history of the business, with his wife calling him the greatest entertainer ever.

Disc One Extra’s

The extras on disc one includes ‘The Executioners’ which is a Rock and Roll band managed by Heenan before he broke into the wrestling industry. There is also ‘AWA Manager of the Year’ which sees Heenan being awarded the manager of the Year for 1976. He then ignore Stevens who is in the ring with him during his acceptance speech only for Stevens to turn on Heenan and smash the trophy. ‘The Wresting Bear with Baron Von Raschke’ telling a story about Heenan going against a bear. We get another story about Bobby with Bockwinkel teliing the story of Heenan sticking a photo from hustler magazine into a wrestling magazine and doing a interview with the magazine. ‘Honey I’m Home’ has Heenan giving an interview and yelling at his wife while the staff cant help but laugh. His daughter Jessica tells a story about having a Weasel suit of her own, including pictures of her and Bobby in the matching Weasel suits.’ I am not a Weasel’ is during his debut period and then goes onto a rant after a video is shown of his debut about him not being a Weasel. Next up is a promo with Heenan and Monsoon heading to Busch Gardens. ‘Get Your Popcorn Ready’ shows how the Brain gene was passed onto his own daughter. ‘Golfing Tios’ are next with Shaun Mooney following Heenan and Okerlund and we see Heenan on full-on cheat mode with some very entertaining one-liners. Next we have Heenan’s entrance to WrestleMania IX on a camel. We see the night The Brain leaves the WWF with the help from Monsoon. Then we get a nice video about his sense of humour. We then get our first touching moment as we go to Nitro after Monsoon died, with Heenan getting his chance to say goodbye to his friend, looking deeply upset. Then we get another story from Heenan’s daughter about her wedding day and her dad bursting into her room as she got ready in a veil and bra….and yes it does have photos. We now get a backstage segment with Coaching looking for The Undertaker only to find Mean Gene, Mae Young, Fabulous Moolah and the one and only Bobby Heenan. Then finally to finish off the disc we get Heenan’s entire hall of fame speech. 

Disc Two

Last Time I did a review, I reviewed pretty much every match. After reading it back I felt it took away from the surprise of actually watching it yourself. So in a change I am going to list the matches and let you enjoy the journey.

Bobby Heenan vs Lord Alfred Hayes

January 13, 1980

WEASEL SUIT MATCH [YES]

Bobby Heenan vs Greg Gagne

August 17, 1980

Handicap Match

Hulk Hogan vs Nick Bockwinkel & Bobby Heenan

May 2, 1981

Bobby Heenan vs Salvatore Bellomo

November 26, 1984

WEASEL SUIT MATCH II [DOUBLE YES]
Bobby Heenan vs The Ultimate Warrior

Huly 31, 1988

WWF Title: Royal Rumble Match

January 19, 1992

Gimmick Battle Royal

April 1, 2001

Overall

If you are a fan of Bobby Heenan then this is a must buy, it pretty must covers all of the key points in his career. We get the highs and the lows of his life, and I think WWE have been a little unfair by only making the documentary part of the DVD only fifty minutes long. This guy had a forty+ year career and WWE seem to just focus on his tenure with them rather then his time with AWA . Also WWE sell short his battle with cancer by mentioning it in passing. The matches on the second discs are the right choices, Bobby was a Weasel so it is only right that all his matches are him losing. One match out shined the rest of them and that was the Weasel Suit Match…..nah just kidding, it was the 1992 Royal Rumble. This was probably The Brain at his best cheering on Ric Flair and saying some of the funniest one liners. This match shows how you can be funny AND put over the talent something Matt Striker has had a problem with in the past. Overall I give the DVD a 5/10, if you could add another half a hour on the documentary then it would be nearing nine. So as I said before if you are a Heenan fan BUY this, if you aren’t a Heenan fan then the Royal Rumble 1992 is worth the money alone. This DVD was made for the greatest manager to ever live but it seems like it just fell sort of the mark.

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