The Time Bobby Heenan Brought the NWA Title to WWF

As you certainly know, Bobby Heenan has sadly passed away. He was a legendary manager and commentator who defined a generation of wrestling. For more on Heenan's greatness, check out this post of his best AWA promos.

When I found out Heenan had died, I talked about it on Twitter a bit. @Gleasonavenue sent me this video:

People rightfully make a big deal about the shocking cross-promotional moments that took place during the Monday Night Wars: Lex Luger showing up on the first episode of Nitro, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash "taking over," Madusa throwing the WWF Women's Title in the trash on WCW, Rick Rude being on both Monday night shows on the same night, DX invading Nitro, etc.

These are all big moments. But the moment above, from September 1991, well before the Monday night wars, is one of the most shocking from the battles between WWF and WCW/NWA.

Ric Flair, the reigning NWA World Champion, showed up on WWF TV. With the NWA World Title. There's no way something like that happens today. It was amazing.

And the man who introduced him? Bobby Heenan. Here's a clip of Heenan hyping up Flair's arrival:

(As an aside, what I always loved about Bobby Heenan is that he always insulted Hulk Hogan, no matter what company he was in or whether Hogan was a heel or a face. That kind of consistency is important. That's why "whose side is he on?" wasn't a flub. There's no way Heenan would ever trust Hogan, no matter what.)

As a kid, I only watched WWF. I was aware of other companies, like the NWA and AWA, but I had no idea who wrestled there. Therefore, Ric Flair coming to WWF wouldn't have meant much to me. Except he had the belt. Even as a kid, I thought it was shocking to see another company's belt in WWF.

But what really made Flair legitimate in the eyes of someone who knew nothing about him was that he was coming in with Bobby Heenan. I knew Bobby Heenan. I hated Bobby Heenan. But I also understood that whoever Heenan managed was a big deal: Andre the Giant, King Kong Bundy, Rick Rude, Mr. Perfect, the Brain Busters, Harley Race, etc. Almost everyone who Heenan represented or managed was destined to be important in the WWF.

Having Heenan announce and represent Flair was better than having Flair just come out on his own. The NWA Champion being in WWF was a big deal. But the NWA Champion represented by Bobby Heenan was an even bigger deal.

That's how great Bobby Heenan was.

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