Top V Bobby "The Brain" Heenan AWA Promos

This might be the hardest Top V of all. 

On Sunday, Bobby Heenan, the greatest manager and comedian in professional wrestling history, passed away. That might seem like hyperbole, but no one in wrestling history was able to so effectively blend arrogance, indignation, wit, and hostility into his or her performance.

If you don't believe me, check out the Wikiquote page of Heenan's most memorable quotes.

So narrowing down that body of work is next to impossible for a couple of reasons: first, I would have to comb through at ...uh....*does math in my head*......18,000 hours of material to find his best moments; second, Heenan's best moments are often the throwaway lines and the zingers in which he's moving more quickly than his fellow announcers and wrestlers, as well as the audience. Some of his best lines are those that first make you groan or jeer, but then you realize "damn, that was good" a few moments later.

That out of the way, I thought as a tribute to Heenan, I would focus on some of his best promos from his AWA days (and yes, Nick Bockwinkel appears in almost all of theses promos  because they are the best). These moments might not be as famous as his Royal Rumble 1991 commentary, his "but whose side is he on?" line at Bash at the Beach 1996, or any of his work with Gorilla Moonson, but these moments are still great. And you should appreciate them.

5. "Who Cares About the Olympics?"

In 1978, Verne Gagne signed Wisconsin native Laurent Soucie -- who had starred at UW-Madison and on the 1976 Olympic Team. In this promo from that year, Heenan was having none of the "AWA-hype" for Gagne's new star. He bashes the Olympics by noting "who wants to see kids wrestling?" and the University of Wisconsin by declaring that one gets a degree from there by using three crayons. Also: "His parents had nine months to come up with Laurent?"

Soucie apparently is a teacher in a school district outside of Madison and tried running for the State Assembly a few years ago. I'm going to send him crayons as a gift.

4. "Cujo"

Name the greatest manager / wrestler combination in wrestling history. Okay, pencils down. If you said anyone other than Nick Bockwinkel and Bobby Heenan....well, you've failed the course.

Take their rant against Mad Dog Vachon here: Bockwinkel -- ever the elitist, arrogant heel -- bemoans the cheating and dastardly tactics of his soon-to-be opponent; Heenan -- more working-class than his partner, but equally as dangerous and arrogant -- compares Mad Dog to Cujo and spoils the ending of the film to the chagrin of Okerlund. But I love how Heenan begins his promo, demanding that people from the University of Minnesota stop demanding he take over the head-coaching duties for the Golden Gophers.

3. "Reenactment"

There's not much else to say here except I love Bockwinkel and Heenan's reenactment here. It's so deliberate and their outrage at the illegal move is outstanding.

Also, heels are almost always right. That's science folks.

2. "Ray Stevens Breaks Bobby Heenan's Trophy"

This is one of the most famous moments in AWA history, the breaking-point of a long angle where Heenan and Bockwinkel would slowly and deliberately anger Ray Stevens by no" letting "The Crippler" talk. Heenan and Bockwinkel's treatment of the former tag-team champion can be seen in the first part of the clip above -- I do love their interrupting of Stevens with both verbal and non-verbal gestures -- and Stevens's reaction -- breaking of Heenan's Manager of the Year Trophy and declaring he's free from the Heenan Family -- can be seen in the second part. 

I like this clip for a lot of reasons -- Bockwinkel's smooth delivery and his use of the term "Humanoids" is solid -- but primarily for how this shows Heenan's temper. While a lot of his best lines in the WWF and WCW were ultimately goofy, his dangerous rage is on full display here when he banishes Stevens from the Heenan Family at the end.

1. "Winnipeg"

In the summer of 1984, Heenan decided he would head to the WWF, following other AWA figures like Gene Okerlund and Hulk Hogan. Unlike those two, Heenan gave Verne Gagne notice that he was leaving. In a show of appreciation to Heenan and his work to the AWA, Gagne scheduled a series of matches against The Fabulous Ones and Blackjack Lanza where Heenan would forced to wear his "weasel" costume -- matches that always drew big money.

Insofar as I can tell, this *might* be Heenan's last promo for the AWA (in which he trashes Canada, referees, Rick Martel, and demands his partner be given the AWA Championship). There's something bittersweet about this promo: we know -- with the hindsight of history -- that Heenan will become an even bigger star with the WWF and later WCW, but this is also the close of the one of the best partnerships in wrestling history, and I think both he and Bockwinkel project that sadness in this promo.

So there we have it: five of Bobby Heenan's most memorable AWA promos. RIP Brain. You will be missed.

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