A Look At "The Brain"
April 25, 2007 by Blake L.
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I'll admit, I've been a little stumped as to what to write about for this column. As column writers, we know that's never a good place to be. You're sitting there, waiting, and waiting some more in hope that something will just pop into your head, and you hope it's something that you can enjoy writing about. Then there is that moment where things just seem to come together. The moment when you say, "Now this is something that's worth talking about." And that's exactly what I said when I inserted The Ultimate Ric Flair Collection in my DVD player a few days ago.
I'm watching, and I get to the section about the 1992 Royal Rumble. It's hard to believe that was fifteen years ago. Boy, time flies doesn't it? Now for some reason, I totally forgot that they actually had this entire match in this collection. So I begin watching the Royal Rumble, and I must say, I'm a huge fan of the rumble match. All the people flying around the ring, it's just high quality entertainment. But then the moment hits. Ric Flair enters the rumble at number three. That's when we get the real entertainment. The kind of entertainment you're supposed to get when watching a wrestling match. That entertainment is provided by one of the most entertaining commentators in professional wrestling history, Bobby "The Brain" Heenan.
Heenan was a big time supporter of Flair at this time. He and the late Mr. Perfect were Flair's management team. They were the perfect team, no-pun-intended. You had three charismatic individuals working together, which made this all the more entertaining. From the very moment The Fink came out to announce the rules of the match, Heenan was already squirming around in hopes that Flair hadn't drew a low number. And for good reason. This Royal Rumble was for the WWF Championship. The winner would get the gold, and a lot of money. So when the clock ticked down before the third entry, through the comments by Heenan, you could just feel the nervousness in his voice. Out comes Ric Flair. This sent Heenan into a frenzy. Anytime Flair was nearly eliminated, you thought Heenan was going to have a heart attack. "Please let him win it! Please let him win it!" seemed to be heard out of his mouth every couple minutes.
In case you didn't know, Flair did win this match. As soon as the match is over, all you can hear is Heenan yelling "Yes! Yes! Yes!" for about thirty seconds. But it's the commentary the entire way by Heenan that made this match special. I would even venture to say that as far as entertaining commentary goes, this was the most entertaining I have ever witnessed. Sure, there are moments where you may become annoyed by what he is saying, but overall it's fun to listen to. If by some chance the picture went out on my television, and I was only left with the sound, I would still be entertained by this match. That's how good it is. In comparison to today's commentary, there is no comparison. Bobby Heenan was one of a kind.
The enthusiasm and charisma is what made "The Brain" so great as a commentator, as well as a manager. You had no clue what he was going to say next, and that was a good thing. Even more important, he worked with the late Gorilla Monsoon during this time period, and what these two did behind the headsets was just simply incredible. I think that had a lot do with Heenan's entertaining mindset. One guy made the other guy better, just like it's suppose to be. If "The Brain" was commentating on the show you were watching, you knew you were going to get high quality entertainment. You didn't have to agree with him, but you had to respect the enthusiasm he had for his work. You had to appreciate all that he put into every single match. Even when Heenan worked in WCW several years later, he was still entertaining to listen to. Although the supporting cast wasn't as good, and let's be honest that Schiavone and Tenay were no Monsoon, Heenan still brought so much to the table.
I'm not going to sit here and bash today's commentators, but the past commentary is just different. But pro wrestling is a different animal these days. So that plays a hand in the different commentary style's today. Heenan thrived during that era, but wouldn't be as effective today. He wouldn't be allowed to ramble and say some of the things he said back in the day. It seems as though today, commentators are told every word of what they need to say. That's why in my opinion, there will never again be anybody like Bobby "The Brain" Heenan. I don't have a problem with Jerry "The King" Lawler, and find him to be entertaining, but I've also seen some people try and compare him to Heenan. I just don't think that's true at all. It's just a different era now, so it's hard to compare. As I've said, Heenan was a one of a kind commentator.
If you're a youngster, and don't remember the golden days of "The Brain," I would suggest checking out the Ric Flair collection. There's also some extras on the disc that also contain Heenan, but in a manager role as well. And his role as a manager was just as good as his commentating. Or you could just get your hands on the Royal Rumble Anthology. Although I personally haven't read it myself, I also hear that his book is very entertaining as well. I'll definitely be checking that out very soon.
While I know we don't watch professional wrestling for the commentary, you can still spot special commentators when you see them. And while there were many more great commentators of wrestling's past, Heenan just had a unique way of entertaining the fans. He wasn't a play-by-play type of guy, but he had the intangible factors that provide entertainment. The arrogance, the enthusiasm, the laughter. It all felt original. We knew that this guy was something different. Whether he was commentating or managing, he was truly a unique personality.
by Blake L. (View/Submit your feedback here)..
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