The SmarK Rant for WWE Network Collection – Bobby “The Brain” Heenan (Part 1)
Well, this was a sadly obvious choice to tackle tonight, as a break from the Hidden Gems series. Obviously not many matches to review here, but that’s why the point system is perfect for it, because this is a collection of stuff that reminds me a lot of what the old Coliseum Videos would have offered for a “Best of Bobby Heenan” set.
“A Brilliant Name”
From the AWA in the 70s: Nick Bockwinkel and Ray Stevens are about to face the High Flyers, but Nick introduces their new manager: Bobby Heenan. He’ll be handling their money, travel and booking from now on, so they can worry about regaining the tag titles. Also, Bobby dubs himself Bobby “The Brilliant One” Heenan. Well that one didn’t quite stick. Classic Heenan debut here. 1 for 1.
“Battle of the Managers”
Bobby Heenan v. Lord Alfred Hayes
From the AWA in 1980, Hayes uses all kinds of cheating while Bobby flails around the ring selling. Finally Bobby hides in the corner and finds a “foreign object” in his tights, but Hayes just continues beating on him and tosses him. Hayes runs him into a chair, but Bobby goes back into his tights again for the phantom object and goes to the eyes with it to take over. What a classic bit: Instant heat, no work required. Bobby uses his shoulder strap now to choke him out, but Hayes makes the comeback and beats on Bobby in the corner, then pins him with his feet on the ropes at 6:21. Bobby, beaten at his own game, lays out both Hayes and the ref with a chair on the way out. I dunno, I feel like this one needed more context to work. 1 for 2.
“If the Suit Fits?”
Greg Gagne v. Bobby Heenan
From the AWA again in 1980, this was the first “weasel suit” match that Bobby ended up redoing in the WWF years later. JIP with Gagne working the arm and running it into the post, but Heenan uses his arm cast to knock Greg mostly out for two. Bobby chokes him down and Greg fights him off, but they collide and both guys are down and out. Greg comes back and Bobby goes flying in the corner from the power of Groovy Greg’s punches, and the dreaded GAGNE SLEEPER looks to finish, but Bobby whacks him with the cast again and gets two. Greg comes back with the dropkick to send Bobby flying into the corner, but Bobby gets another shot with the cast for two. Bobby stops to argue with the ref, and Greg hits him with a flying bodypress (of sorts) to finish at 6:22 and send Bobby into the suit. The crowd of course goes apeshit for this, and then Bobby refuses to get into the suit, so Greg puts him out with the sleeper and Bobby gets puts in the suit. 2 for 3.
“An Incredible Partnership”
Bobby Heenan & Nick Bockwinkel v. Hulk Hogan
From the AWA in 1981, this is a “special 2-on-1 handicapped match” according to the graphic. Joined about 5:00 in with Bockwinkel trying a headlock, but Hulk sends them crashing into each other to escape and of course Bobby takes a crazy bump to the floor. Nick tries a test of strength and Hulk completely no-sells that and then chases Heenan around before going to a chinlock on Bockwinkel. The heels cheat outrageously and Heenan chokes Hulk out in the corner,a nd we take a break. Back with Hogan making the comeback on Bockwinkel, getting an elbowdrop for two and atomic drop, and Bobby comes in with the wrist tape to choke Hogan out again. Hey, in times of trouble, go with what you know. They’re beating on Hulk on the apron and ram him into the post, and Hulk suddenly makes the comeback and Bobby is terrified. Hulk gives Bockwinkel the windmill punch, so Bobby tries punching on Hulk to save and that goes very badly for him. Bockwinkel hits Hulk from behind and gets two, but the ref is bumped on the kickout and Hulk goes back to beating on Bobby. So he steals a foreign object from Heenan, knocks him out with it, and then shoves it back into Bobby’s tights again in a funny bit. Hulk runs Bockwinkel into the turnbuckles 10 times and follows with the big boot and legdrop to finish at 10:26. Fun match where the heels were just taking bump after bump for Hogan to get him over. 3 for 4.
“I Am Not A Weasel”
From Tuesday Night Titans in 1984, Bobby Heenan is interviewed by Vince McMahon, and we get a clip of Bobby and John Studd from a house show in Minneapolis, as Studd introduces Bobby as his new manager. Back at the studio, Bobby clarifies that he is not a weasel, because he has hands instead of paws and does not sneak around at night stealing chickens. Alfred sings “Pop Goes the Weasel” at him to really rub it in. Nothing to this one. 3 for 5.
“The Brain Is Always Working”
Bodyslam Challenge: Andre the Giant v. Big John Studd
From Wrestlemania, of course. This is Studd’s “$15,000” against Andre’s career. The WWF duffel bag filled with crumpled singles to simulate thousands of dollars is pretty hilarious. I bet there’s maybe $200 in there. Studd quickly bails, and Andre chokes him out in the corner, but Studd goes low and tries a slam, unsuccessfully. Studd chokes him out again, but Andre kicks him in the leg and slams him at 5:52. 3 for 6.
“The Giant Awakens”
From episode 101 of Primetime Wrestling, it’s the legendary clip of Piper’s Pit where Andre introduces Heenan as his new manager while Hogan goes on a desperate rant to keep his friend from betraying him. Hogan looks like a complete dick here in retrospect, sounding terrified of Andre, like a kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar by a grownup. And Andre saying “Take your hands off my shoulder” is a terrifying moment. Then we get the contract signing with Jack Tunney while Hulk and Andre stare each other down across the table. Bobby cuts a promo and Hulk snaps “IF YOU’RE GONNA SIGN IT, SIGN IT!” and then Andre cuts a promo in French just to be a dick. Everything here is amazingly great and made me want to see this match SO BAD. 4 for 7.
“Bigger! Better! Badder!”
WWF World title: Hulk Hogan v. Andre the Giant
I really don’t need to watch this for the millionth time. Arguably Bobby’s biggest moment in the sport, but a terrible match. 5 for 8.
“The Brain’s Boardwalk Empire”
Well, this one doesn’t work for whatever reason, and just skips to the next one.
“Ready for a Dog Fight”
This is the six-man from Wrestlemania IV as this collection is starting to feel really lazy. 5 for 9.
“A Weasel Runs Through It”
From Primetime in 1988, we get the Bobby and Gorilla segments from the show as they do a show-long angle where Bobby messes with the newly built set and drives Gorilla crazy until he quits. So we cut to Bobby showing up at Gorilla’s vacation house with a film crew, declaring himself the new host of the show. So Bobby throws to the wrong match after firing the director and cameraman, then argues with someone in his earpiece while trying to complain to his agent on the phone. Whoever gave Bobby a couple of props and let him improvise is the real Brain. So Bobby gets completely overwhelmed and uses a plate of food to try and lure Gorilla back from his fishing boat. Gorilla: “You’re scaring the fish, get the hell out of here!” So Bobby bribes a member of the crew to go buy him “the biggest stalk of bananas you can find”. Bobby takes a boat on the river to chase Gorilla down, throwing bananas at him while Gorilla yells insults at him and is obviously trying very hard (but not succeeding) to keep from completely cracking up on camera. Every time the camera cuts away you can practically hear him laughing his ass off. Bobby gets stranded on the water due to technical difficulties (“What did you buy, three cents’ worth of gas?”) and Gorilla takes his position back to end the bit while Bobby screams for help. This was GREAT. 6 for 10.
And we’ll take a break here and return tomorrow with THE BOBBY HEENAN SHOW and some other stuff.