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Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan has passed away at age 73.
Legendary pro wrestling manager, occasional wrestler and commentator Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan has passed away at the age of 73.

He worked in the American Wrestling Association, World Wrestling Federation and World Championship Wrestling most prominently and he suffered from cancer of the jaw in later years and went from his normal appearance of being fairly stocky to being extremely frail and how cruel it was that the best talker in the history of wrestling would end up with a tiny croak replacing his normally excitable and booming tones.

He normally worked as a heel in the industry, meaning he was the bad guy and he would manage some of the most vicious men in the business and would be their mouthpiece much of the time, often with hilarious results. His commentary would mix ridiculous exaggeration with pro-heel bias and his back and forth banter with his long time friend Gorilla Monsoon is fondly remembered.

He has been in frail health for years but this is still extremely sad for fans of pro wrestling, particularly those who were fans in the 80s and 90s.

Despite his many statements of hatred for Hulk Hogan, the two men were noted to be great friends in real life and Heenan followed Hogan during a period of AWA talent moving on from Minnesota (AWA) to New York (WWF, now WWE) around 1983-84.

Bobby's road story tales are hilarious, even for non wrestling fans and the guy was a born comedian.
I wonder how many heel wrestlers and managers are actually assholes in real life.
"I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country." --Thomas Jefferson

“Fascism should rightly be called corporatism, as it is the merger of corporate and government power.” --Benito Mussolini
(09-18-2017, 01:15 AM)AndrewCrossett Wrote:  I wonder how many heel wrestlers and managers are actually assholes in real life.

Oddly enough, many are the nicest people in the business as they're the people who are generally willing to lose to make the other person look better.

Over here in the UK, we had two huge stars in the 70s and 80s, Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks. Apparently despite Big Daddy being billed as a very patriotic and friendly guy, he was very rude to fans and tended to pick friends in the business and if you weren't among them he didn't show much respect for anyone. Giant Haystacks was a 672lb monster who was a terrifiying presence yet he apparently was one of the nicest guys you could meet, very friendly and a gentle giant. I've heard stories of a few kids belonging to wrestlers and staff being around prior to shows and Haystacks sending someone out to buy them lots of sweets and ice cream and letting the person keep the change. He apparently was a gem of a guy. Big Daddy was apparently not a complete asshole but he tended to be rather difficult to get on with and he was generally rather cold with people he didn't know very well and he was known to be friendly and polite when TV cameras were around but he'd barge through fans at non televised shows and ignore people who asked for autographs, even little kids, while Haystacks would stand for minutes with them.
I'd like to think that he and Gorilla Monsoon are calling a match in Heaven between Andre The Giant and Randy Savage.
(09-18-2017, 04:13 PM)Lester C Wrote:  I'd like to think that he and Gorilla Monsoon are calling a match in Heaven between Andre The Giant and Randy Savage.

I doubt it. Heenan will be managing Andre while Gorilla and Gordon Solie call the action. Joey Marella is the referee, of course. Heenan will be back on commentary with Gorilla for Owen Hart and Davey Boy Smith vs Eddie Guerrero and Art Barr though.
I did not know that Marella and Barr were dead.
(09-18-2017, 05:43 PM)Lester C Wrote:  I did not know that Marella and Barr were dead.

Joey Marella was driving a car containing himself after an event and Bruno Lauer (Harvey Whippleman in the WWF at the time, a fairly well known manager character) back in '94 and he fell asleep at the wheel. He was not wearing a seatbelt while Bruno was and this saved his life. Joey Marella (a very well known WWF referee who actually refereed the famous Hulk Hogan vs Andre The Giant match at Wrestlemania III in 1987 was only 31 at the time of his death and was of course, the adopted son of Gorilla Monsoon (Robert Marella) and Gorilla would often criticise his refereeing performances as an injoke, although their status was not widely known outside the industry itself.

Art 'Love Machine' Barr also died back in '94, generally thought to be caused by a drug related heart attack. He was famously the tag partner of Eddie Guerrero as the team of Los Gringos Locos (The Mad Gringos, who used a pro US heel gimmick) in Mexico's AAA but had a World Championship Wrestling run too. Eddie Guerrero's famous frog splash move was borrowed from Barr by Guerrero as a tribute to him after his passing. Art was only 28 and was expected to become a big star in the business but he life and career were cut short just as he was rising in the ranks. Art would have likely had some decent runs in New Japan and WCW along with the likes of Eddie and Dean Malenko if he had not passed away just short of those guys moving across.

For anyone not terribly knowledgeable about pro wrestling, the list of young stars who have passed away at an age they should still have been capable of competing at (under 45 say although many go on at least part time beyond this and some retire due to ill health or more lucrative options such as movies or business) is far longer than you'd expect. I could list dozens of stars who didn't even reach 30, never mind 45 and when you expand the list even to people in their early 50s, it makes shocking reading.

The list of recent deaths of more current stars is very short compared to the huge number of 80s and 90s stars who have passed on. The promotions have taken more notice of recreational drugs, steroids and other dangerous lifestyle choices, such as excessive drinking. Also promoters are not taking risks on wrestlers taking repeated concussions in most cases, while guys often sustained dozens of documented concussions in their careers and paid the price for it. Apparently, former ECW star Balls Mahoney who died last year at 44 had suffered Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (which being 'punch drunk' as a boxer is a symtom of) and he was apparently watching Jeopardy on TV and turned on to his side on the couch to get comfortable and his wife noticed he was unconscious just after and he couldn't be saved. It was a heart attack but his catalogue of violent hits to the head had severely effected his life and a 44 year old guy shouldn't just be dropping dead.

Concussions used to be rarely treated as hugely serious and wrestlers would continue through them in most cases but like rugby, American football, boxing, ice hockey and soccer, concussions are now treated very seriously to avoid repercussions and also the leagues and clubs being held responsible for injuries and deaths related to concussions because proper precautions were not used.
From what I understand the wellness policy is preventing a lot of people checking out in their 30s and 40s. Hopefully Mellinials will fare much better than their Genex counterparts.
(09-19-2017, 07:43 PM)Lester C Wrote:  From what I understand the wellness policy is preventing a lot of people checking out in their 30s and 40s. Hopefully Mellinials will fare much better than their Genex counterparts.

Most of the younger wrestlers that have died in recent times have been people who often drifted far away from the mainstream or were never part of it and they’ve often been noted drug users or took a lot of injuries during the end of the Attitude era or shortly after or worked almost entirely in hardcore wrestling.

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