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  1. #1
    The Brain
    Join Date
    May 2018

    The Life & Times of Bobby Heenan: A Tragic Return (May '91)

    Greetings, mizfan fans! And welcome back toÖ ok, I have to admit, itís hard to muster enthusiasm right now. Itís great to be back, but Iíve been putting this on hold for quite a while. Read on a bit and youíll see why! But even if Iím feeling sad, thereís lots of great Heenan stuff waiting for us! Letís get right to it!

    WWF, May Ď91
    Ongoing Heenan Storylines

    Going Out On Top

    Mr Perfect (w/Bobby Heenan) vs. Greg Valentine, WWF Intercontinental Championship 5/14/91 WWF Prime Time

    First things first, you know Iíve GOT to highlight a match like this one! This is a bit of a dream match for me, Valentineís importance is definitely decreasing by this point but by god heís still great in the ring, and you KNOW Perfectís bumping is so ridiculously fun. Valentine cleans Perfectís clock and almost puts him away with the Figure Four, but Heenan helps him get out of it. The Hammer comes after Heenan! But Jimmy Hart appears and distracts him, since Valentineís break up feud with the Mouth of the South is still ongoing. Perfect tries to take advantage but Valentine starts kicking his ass again! Jimmy Hart tries to give Perfect the megaphone, but Valentine gets it and uses it instead! He gets a visual three count but Heenan distracts the ref again. Perfect recovers and uses the megaphone after all, but the referee knows whatís up now, and throws the match out. All three heels beat up Valentine. Super fun match, hope they get to go at it again. Seek this one out!

    Awesomeness Rating: ****Ĺ

    Also this month, Perfectís sort-of-feud with Davey Boy Smith continues, as they talk trash on TV but never actually seem to wrestle. Perfect and Heenan appear on the Funeral Parlor, where Paul Bearer gives them a dog sized casket in a somewhat grim segment. Heenan and his client also appear on the Barber Shop but I couldnít tell you what they said, because I was distracted by Beefcakeís upsetting lack of pants.

    BH: Davey Boy trying to wrestle Mr Perfect is like riding a stationary bike in your house. Heís gonna sweat a lot, but heís not gonna get anywhere.

    GM: What would you know about riding a stationary bike?

    BH: Youíre right, I would never do that. I have too many stairs.
    Mr Perfect (w/Bobby Heenan) vs. Jim Evans 5/25/91 WWF Superstars

    Ok, now for the sad part. This is the final WWF televised match that would feature Heenan as a manager. Itís actually quite a good match for a pseudo-squash, Perfect is still a master of hitting awesome offense while still allowing the match to be competitive enough to catch the fanís interest. Iím probably overrating this a little because Iím emotional, but it was great to see him at ringside one last time.

    Awesomeness Rating: ***Ĺ

    Itís hard to think about the match itself in the face of Heenanís +20 year managerial career coming to end in such an ignominious way. The official end is not until next month, but this is the end for all intents and purposes, as Heenanís injuries had piled up and he felt if he couldnít take bumps it wasnít worth drawing heat as a manager anymore.

    You know, not everything needs to be an overdramatic ďmomentĒ but man, imagine a big marquee match with Heenanís manager license on the line? Heenan still drew huge reactions all the time, as we saw in the Bossman feud, so it feels like a no brainer to make a big deal of him being put on the shelf permanently. I guess weíll always have the entire wealth of great moments Iíve covered in this series, but still, I canít help but be a bit brokenhearted now that weíve finally reached this point.

    Last Catch

    Legion of Dummies

    Hawk & Animal vs. Tanaka & Kato (w/Mr Fuji) 5/12/91 WWF Challenge

    What weíve got on this episode of Challenge is a very fun marquee match! I love LOD smashing through guys and no selling everything, for them it just fits, you truly believe they donít feel a thing from guys like the Orient Express. Some truly incredible offense in this one, and some great opportunities to bump for Kato & Tanaka. But itís not just a pure squash, as Fuji throws some salt in Animalís eyes to give the advantage! They tell a really nice story where a blinded Animal has to keep fighting back until he can tag out. Naturally once he gets Hawk in, the roof blows off the place and he smashes through the competition to get the win! Simple but very enjoyable match, had a blast with this one.

    BH: You know what LOD really means, donít you?

    GM: No, but Iím afraid youíre gonna tell us.

    BH: Legion of dummies. Not many people know that.
    Awesomeness Rating: ****ľ

    What does this match have to do with Heenan besides his commentary, you might ask? Nothing, but he does have a run in with LOD during the month. They are guests on Prime Time, and while Heenan is trying to interview them heís informed of some surprising news!

    VM: Apparently your car is blocking in a young womanÖ

    BH: I donít care, Iím conducting a television show!

    VM: It seems sheís pregnant and-

    BH: Hey, I never touched her!
    Putting the paternity of the kid aside, Heenan refuses to stop his hosting to move his car! Which leads Hawk and Animal to head out to parking lot and move his car by hand! See, what a great little segment that is, totally character driven and also makes LOD look like a million bucks. Youíd think with the 8 billion hours of WWE Network programming theyíd have something like this on there somewhereÖ

    Prime Time Marches On

    Bobbyís having bad luck with musical instruments

    Whether heís stepping away from managing or not, you know Heenan is going to keep things going on Prime Time! Plenty of stuff happening this week, including Jameson being in the crowd! Apparently heís a season ticket holder. Hijinks include the pregnant woman from the LOD sketch comes back to try to confront Heenan, which leads him to duck and dodge her at every opportunity.

    BH: I donít know what that woman wants, maybe Jameson is the father?

    Jameson: No, Iím not.

    BH: Are you sure? Havenít you ever in your lifeÖ no, I guess you havenít.
    We also get Koko B Ware coming on the program to sing with a choir. Heenan is bored but Vince is into it. Koko baits Heenan into trying to sing with the choir, and of course he makes a fool of himself.

    GM: Hereís Koko B Ware and Frankie!

    BH: You know I asked him, where did you find such an ugly, dirty, disgusting looking things? And Frankie told me I shouldnít say that about Koko.

    The face on Vince!

    And the Texas Tornado comes on the show to say fitness is even for Jameson!!

    BH: What was the Texas Tornado trying to say?

    VM: Youíre the Brain, donít you know?

    BH: Iím the Brain, but I donít speak Texan!
    They call him out of the crowd. Tornado isnít sure even working out and eating right will help Jameson, but heíll give it a try.

    VM: Jameson, where are you going?

    Jameson: Itís late, I have to go change.

    BH: Change into what???
    Earthquake is also on the show. He brought a long, dried out snake skin and says itís all thatís left of Damian after he squished him. Thatís cold! But not as cold as the end of the show when he brings out ďQuake burgersĒ, which he says are made of Damian!

    BH: You know, I saw what happened to Damian.

    GM: Yeah, and I suppose you condone it!

    BH: Well, let me put it this way. Some people have snake skin boots, or bags. Now Jake has a snake skin cover for his pool!
    Iím really glad Heenan will still have an outlet like this for his shtick when he officially hangs it up as a manager.

    Even the Brain Has a Mother!

    Thereís no big segment for this, I just had to share this exchange on the Motherís Day episode:

    GM: Itís one of my favorite days, Motherís Day!

    BH: I canít wait to get back to Beverly Hills to see what my mom got me.

    GM: Got you?? Youíre supposed to get her something!

    BH: Not at our house. She gets me stuff.

    GM: Youíve only got one Mom, Brain.

    BH: Well, if she thinks one gift isnít enough she can get me two. Moneyís no object.

    Barbarian (w/Bobby Heenan) vs. Jake Roberts 5/7/91 WWF Rampage

    Barbarian has precious little to do nowadays, as the Haku team seems to be kaput. What a complete waste to not just keep them together, they were truly awesome. At least we get this match out of it! They play it reasonably smart, with Barbi trying to avoid the DDT at all costs before finally getting caught. When he goes down, Earthquake comes down to ringside, but Jake uses his new snake Lucifer to scare him away. That does leave Jake to be counted out, so Barbarian actually gets a win! Itís a miracle!

    Awesomeness Rating: **Ĺ

    Elsewhere in the WWFÖ


    Hogan is in full nutjob mode still, clinging to his slowly waning popularity. For example, he says if Slaughter takes him out, hundreds of little Hulksters will rip Slaughterís heart out. Hulk Hogan, weaponizing children. He also says, in a separate promo, that ďthe horrors of war are written in the childrenís facesĒ, and predicts children will arm themselves and attack Slaughter if he beats Hogan in a match. Lord of mercy, Hulkster.

    Bret Breaking Out

    Neidhart: That young lady is ecstatic to get those shades from the Hitman!

    BH: Too bad he didnít bring a couple more, he could hide her whole face.
    Bret Hart vs. Warlord (w/Slick) 5/19/91 WWF Challenge

    Itís becoming really clear that Bret is an upper midcard star, the fan reaction to his singles run has been great so far so itís nice to see him get featured here.

    GM: Not too many guys have escaped the Hart Family Dungeon up in Canada.

    Neidhart: Youíre lucky to get out of that place with your life!

    BH: What, Canada?
    Bret gains the advantage after a very good TV match (for the standards of the era, at the very least) but Slick whacks him with the cane before he can finish the job. Bret knocks out Slick and beats up Warlord with the cane to send him running! Really glad I was wrong about Slick being gone as a heel manager, itís coming but not quite yet!

    Awesomeness Rating: ***ĺ

    BH: Hart has yet to knock the Warlord down!

    GM: He just did!

    BH: Like I said, he was just about to knock him down!

    Itís In The Bag

    GM: Why donít you go do an interview with the Undertaker?

    BH: No, I donít like talking to him.

    GM: Youíre supposed to be a journalist, that means you talk to everybody!

    BH: I only talk to who I want to. Iím that kind of journalist.
    Only one thing of note here really, but why not mention it since everyone loves Taker anyway? This is the month that Undertaker starts putting defeated jobbers in bodybags. Thatís a pretty good post match gimmick, beats the hell out of cutting hair!

    BH: On Prime Time, weíre gonna be talking to Paul Bearer and the Undertaker, and whoeverís in that urn.

    GM: Who is in that urn anyway?

    BH: I dunnoÖ I guess you have to ďearnĒ your way to find out.

    International Law

    BH: Bossman would look a lot better if he didnít go to Alcatraz to get his hair cut.

    GM: Alcatraz, for your information, is closed!

    BH: Thatís what Iím saying, whoever is left there in the archives is doing a terrible job with his hair.
    Another small item of interest, but we see footage this month of Jimmy Hart bringing in the Nasty Boys to beat up Bossman on behalf of the Mountie. Jimmy Hart is becoming the most dangerous manager in the WWF after all these years, whoíd have guessed it? I guess he needed to step up his game to fill the void with Heenan easing back.

    BH: Nobody minds when Bossman beats a guy up with a nightstick, but everyone gets up in arms when the Mountie uses that portable electric chair he carries around!

    GM: Youíve never been shocked by it, have you?

    BH: Why would I? Iím a law abiding citizen.

    GM: A law abiding citizen??

    BH: Ok, maybe IíveÖ ruffled a few feathers.

    GM: A few feathers???

    BH: Ok, Iíve upset some people!

    Andre Is Done With Managers

    Thereís an ongoing gimmick this month with all the heel managers trying to get Andre to sign on as a client after he dumped Heenan. First, Slick approaches Andre in a parking lot and tries to sweet talk him into joining his stable. Andre locks him in the trunk of a car! Later in the month, Fuji tries to get Andre onboard and promises to make him bigger and meaner. He brings a cake for Andre, but gets his face shoved in it. Andre doesnít want any of that noise!

    VM: I imagine you donít want to be within a mile of Andre.

    BH: Hey, he had his chance to get back into the good graces of the Family. If he wants to be stupid and make mistakes on his own, he can do it with the rest of the humanoids.

    Babyface Privilege Runs Wild

    Last but definitely not least, behold this glaring example of babyface privilege!

    BH: Duggan hit that guy with a board, shouldnít he be disqualified?

    Neidhart: He justÖ slipped.

    Miscellaneous Quotes

    BH: I hate to be the kind of guyÖ no, wait, I love to be the kind of guy who says I told you so!
    GM: We saw Mr Perfect pulling the pant leg of Tugboat to get that illegal pin!

    BH: So? He could have grabbed both legs! If he had three legs, I would have told him to pull three pant legs! We won the match, who cares?
    BH: Virgil has picked up a lot of stuff from Piper, heíd have never done these things before.

    GM: Whatís wrong with that?

    BH: With listening to Piper? Everything!!
    GM: Do you know what I like about all the Wrestlemanias so far?

    BH: That you had a job?

    GM: No! that none of them went well for you!
    GM: Berzerker just throwing this guy to the floor!

    BH: Like heís throwing out the trash. I mean, I have servants who do that, but I imagine thatís who youíd do it.
    And that wraps up what is, tragically, heartbreakingly, Heenanís last actual month of managing. Itís been an amazing career in that field and, though heíll continue to excel on commentary and as host of Prime Time, it still hurts to see the greatest of all time hang up his boots. Not sure if Iíll do it now or later, but at some point I want to do a rundown of everyone Heenan managed in the WWF, from least to greatest. Thereíll never be another managerial career quite like the Brainís, and I salute the hell out of him for everything he accomplished from the 60s all the way up til the 90s.

    Thatís it for today, humanoids. Iíll be back soon with the next entry, until then donít let Heenanís impending retirement get you down, and stay awesome!

  2. #2
    This is always the column I look for when I check out the forums. This is shortly before I started watching wrestling, and it's funny how Bobby Heenan being an effective manager was baked in the cake for me early on, but I had missed his entire manager career. I don't want to get ahead, but when you think about the fact that he never was actually at ringside for Flair, it shows his creativity. From the announcing booth he was as good a manager as any. I love the idea of a match with his manger's license on the line. They really missed the boat.

    I like this time of Greg Valentine's career but never knew of this match with Mr. Perfect. It really was a dream match to think of; two of the best IC champions of all time. Greg V had some good matches during this point of his career.

    Bret Hart's going into a legendary place in his career. I think that summer slam IC title match to come was one of the first dramatic title matches that I remember.

    I love those segments when Andre embarrasses the managers. It speaks so much to his personality. What a fuckin' entertainer whether he could move or not.

  3. #3
    The Brain
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Very glad you had a chance to read and feed Benny, I know lots of people don't have time to feed for whatever reason but it's great to actually hear from someone. Heenan is an almost unique case where you get this entire sense of his ability just from seeing a small piece of his work. I'm sure I heard him in the booth many times before I went back to watch his real managerial work but I never doubted for a second he was the best ever. I can't wait to cover the Flair stuff, there is true gold in that whole arc.

    I'm a big Valentine fan, and I think he was put out to pasture too soon. He'd be a smash hit with folks today, I think of him similar to the Cesaro of his time in that he could potentially have broken into the top level by sheer rugged ring work alone.

    Excited to talk about Bret Hart too, and I'm not even his biggest fan... definitely a great period coming up for him.

    Love the Andre stuff too, they tried really hard to keep using him even after he was completely done in the ring. I also love they had so many shady managers on hand for Andre to mess with. Love the feed man, glad you got a chance to check it out!

  4. #4
    Member #25 SirSam's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Ok Valentine v Mr PErfect makes the 'to watch' list (its getting our of control - is this a long one?)

    Setiously though every Mr Perfect match I have seen has been at least very enjoyable and the Valentine v Piper match I watched at your suggestion was amazing so I will have to give this one priority.

    Also funny seeing the fallout from Andre leaving Bobby. Heenan's response is typical for something he knows he can't have but I do like how they have played it out and not immediately had him 'turn face' becasue of course the other heel managers would want Andre if they could get him.

    Thanks for your continued dedication to this series, it is always fun to read and watch the gifs of.

  5. #5
    The Brain
    Join Date
    May 2018
    I don't remember Perfect/Valentine being particularly long, certainly well under 20 minutes. Would love to hear your thoughts if you do get a chance to check it out. Really appreciate you coming back to comment on this, I really have got to get the next edition out!

  6. #6
    Cero Miedo Mystic's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Mizfan, the brain! Killing it in every space I look!

    1991, the year I started watching pro wrestling. One of the best years of my life. Along with 1997, these two were not two of my favorite strictly because of pro wrestling, but they may not be on the list without it.

    Bobby Heenan is a true professional, not to be bothered with trivial matters outside of his responsibilities.

    Know how much MLW, Indy's, and AEW are impacting me?

    When I saw Davey Smith Jr, my mind went to the New Hart Foundation and a feud with Lucha Bros before it went to the nineties. That is very rare with me.

    Keep rockin', sir.

  7. #7
    Member #25 SirSam's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Quote Originally Posted by SirSam View Post
    Ok Valentine v Mr PErfect makes the 'to watch' list (its getting our of control - is this a long one?)

    Setiously though every Mr Perfect match I have seen has been at least very enjoyable and the Valentine v Piper match I watched at your suggestion was amazing so I will have to give this one priority.

    Also funny seeing the fallout from Andre leaving Bobby. Heenan's response is typical for something he knows he can't have but I do like how they have played it out and not immediately had him 'turn face' becasue of course the other heel managers would want Andre if they could get him.

    Thanks for your continued dedication to this series, it is always fun to read and watch the gifs of.
    Watched it!

    Fantastic old school match, when you look back there are some matches that have not aged well at all but something like this still goes down well. Valentine is such a commanding presence in the ring, I really need to watch some more of his work (although probably won't get around to it for like six months if you do suggest something). Strikes me as a thoroughly underrated worker if this and the Roddy Piper match I saw of his are anything to go by.

  8. #8
    The Brain
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Didn't get a chance to say before, but love that comment from my man the Mystic!

    Sam, if fans of the 80s were like fans of today, Valentine is the kind of guy they'd be demanding a world title for. Hell of a worker, hell of a presence, arguably never fully appreciated in his time but he kills it every chance he gets. I need to get more familiar with his NWA work myself, and the Ron Garvin feud in the WWF that quietly rocked the house wherever it went.

    You've probably seen the Wrestlemania II tag bout with the British Bulldogs, but I also recommend their match from the SNME that preceded it, and their match with the Rougeaus at The Big Event later in '86, both on the Network. For singles stuff I always thought his bout with IRS from Summerslam '91 was underrated, though not at the level of Perfect or Piper. If you want to find some fun matches that are also very short, I recommend the 4/11/88 Prime Time (vs. Brady Boone) and 5/23/88 Prime Time (vs. Lanny Poffo), also on the Network!

    Sorry it's taking me a long time to get to the next part, between work being busy and other wrestling projects I've been swamped, but the next entry will come as soon as I can carve out time for it!

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