Raymond Heenan was born in Chicago, IL on November 1st 1944.
Starting off as a towel carrier and errand boy for local Chicago promotions, Heenan made his ring debut in the early 60's as "Pretty Boy" Bobby Heenan. However, by 1965, Bobby has found a new niche as a manager for Verne Gagne
By the early '70s, Heenan had become the mastermind behind the triumphant tag team of Nick Bockwinkel
and Ray 'The Crippler' Stevens
, adopting 'The Brain
' moniker in 1974. On November 8, 1975, Heenan was in Bockwinkel's corner as he captured his first AWA World title. Heenan led Bockwinkel to three AWA title reigns.
But Bobby's managing success did not limit itself to singles wrestlers. Heenan managed Blackjack Lanza
and Bobby Duncum
to the AWA World Tag Team
title. Lanza and Duncum defeated Dick the Bruiser
and The Crusher
on July 23, 1976 in Chicago, IL for the tag team titles. Over his time in the AWA, Heenan mamanaged the likes of Pat Patterson
, 'Superstar' Billy Graham
, Angelo Poffo
(father of Randy Savage
), the Valiant Brothers
, and Ken Patera
Leaving the AWA in 1979, Heenan turned up in the NWA
Georgia promotion. His protegés in Georgia included Blackjack Lanza (who followed Heenan from the AWA), The Masked Superstar
, better known as Demolition Ax
) and 'Killer' Karl Kox
After returning to the AWA in 1982, Heenan broke his neck in a match in Japan. He opted to hold off having surgery until 1995 when he had two discs removed from his neck.
In 1985, the call from Stanford, CT came. Vince McMahon
hired Heenan to manage Jesse 'The Body' Ventura
. However, due to an injury suffered by Ventura, the WWF
decided to have Heenan manage Big John Studd
. Heenan also became a member of the WWF announcing team. Heenan was partnered with the late Gorilla Monsoon
. The duo commented each week on the USA Network
's 'Prime Time Wrestling
', and on the syndicated 'Wrestling Challenge'
shows, with Heenan famously dubbing himself a "broadcast journalist."
In August 1986, Heenan guided Harley Race
to winning the King of the Ring
tournament, but his biggest moment came at Wrestlemania III
in the Pontiac Silverdome
. Heenan managed Andre the Giant
against Hulk Hogan
before the largest crowd assembled for a wrestling event in North America.
Heenan teamed with his Islanders
at Wrestlemania IV
in a six-man tag match against the British Bulldogs
and Koko B. Ware
. The match ended when Heenan pinned Ware. After forging further succesful associations with Haku
and The Brain Busters
, Heenan's charge 'Ravishing' Rick Rude
captured the WWF Intercontinental title
from The Ultimate Warrior
at Wrestlemania V
Heenan became the "Perfect Manager" with the arrival of 'Mr Perfect
' Curt Hennig
into the Heenan family. On April 23, 1990, Heenan guided Mr. Perfect
to the Intercontinental title. Hennig won an eight-man tournament to capture the championship.
In 1991, World Championship Wrestling fired Ric Flair
. Upon his arrival in the WWF, Heenan became the 'Nature Boy
's' manager. It was to bring with it the taste of the WWF Championship
, but also would be the last management job 'The Brain' would have.
Opting to cut down on travel, Heenan signed with WCW
in 1994. Heenan decided to end his career as a manager, and focus on color commentary
. Bobby was the regular color man on WCW Saturday Night
, WCW Nitro
and WCW Thunder
, however as time went on and Eric Bischoff
fell out of favour, Heenan found himself being gradually phased out. On November 2, 2000, Heenan was informed that he had been released by WCW.
After working dates as an announcer for several indy events, Heenan made an emotional return to the WWF at Wrestlemania XVII
in Houston, TX. Heenan provided commentary with 'Mean' Gene Okerlund
during the Gimmick Battle Royal
Bobby will be remembered for many things, not least of which would be the heat
he generated as the man the fans loved to hate (Heenan would hear packed arenas chanting "Weasel
!" at him wherever he went). His Family's feud with the Big Boss Man
was another high point, as was managing champion after champion, culminating in his run with Andre The Giant and later Ric Flair. However, Bobby's finest moments were in the commentary booth, with the legendary Gorilla Monsoon. For more details on their partnership, see Gorilla Monsoon vs. Bobby Heenan