Bobby Heenan rings the bell during a match to help Hercules

Bobby “The Brain” Heenan was one of those guys in wrestling who had great comedic talent.

Whether you watch some of his classic stuff from the AWA with Nick Bockwinkel and catch him at his best in the WWF (I loved his reaction when Paul Orndorff fired him on Tuesday Night Titans), Heenan could really crack you up.

One of the biggest laughs “The Brain” got out of me occurred in Madison Square Garden in late 1986, which many of us caught on Prime Time Wrestling. Heenan was at ringside managing the Mighty Hercules against Tito Santana and also handling color commentator duties with Gorilla Monsoon.

Most of us remember Santana’s longtime finisher, the flying forearm, but in ‘86, Santana was also using the figure-four leglock to combat Greg “The Hammer” Valentine’s version of the hold.

Santana had the figure-four on Hercules when suddenly Heenan threw his headset off, grabbed the little hammer, and rang the bell himself, trying to save Hercules. The ref was wondering what happened, and Monsoon was yelling that Heenan rang the bell. Bobby was great trying to deny it, pointing to some poor attendant at ringside and saying, “He did it!”

I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone ever pull off this spot in a WWE match since then. Check it out in this clip (about 5:00 in):


The ref ruled the match would continue, but in the end, Heenan took a swing at Santana, which allowed Hercules to get the pin.

As was always the case with Prime Time Wrestling, after the match the show went back to the studio, where the hosts were Monsoon and Heenan again. At the end of the clip, you can watch Monsoon rip into Heenan (“What a snake you are!”) and then listen to Heenan try to explain his way out his actions.

One comment

  1. Anonymous

    I first saw Heenan as an enhancement worker back in the early 70’s, back in the Cleveland area. I moved to Wisconsin in 1974 and by that time, Heenan was now a manager/ part time wrestler in Gagne’s AWA, and knew from the start, he was destined to be an all time great manager. Hilarious promos and a great “bump machine” when needed. A local indy group brought him in for a few guest appearances in around 2007 and even though his voice had been ruined by his bout with cancer, he could still command the crowd. After one show, he held court in the lobby of the venue and spent a good hour telling fantastic stories of the road and answering questions from the people that stuck around for his impromptu press conference. I have spoken to him on several occasions and he seems like a genuinely nice human being. Still one of my all time favorites.

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