Bobby Heenan Interview 2004 Transcript

Bobby Heenan Shoot InterviewThe following extensive interview features WWE Hall of Fame manager, the legendary Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. Heenan talks the WWE Hall of Fame, Vince McMahon, Ole Anderson, AWA days, Chief Jay Strongbow, and more. The interview was taped July 24, 2004 and broadcast on Pro Wrestling Radio.

Eric: Bobby what are the reasons behind writing your new book?

Bobby: There were many reasons to write the new book. Well, money. But also my writer, Steve Anderson, he said ‘let’s do it different.’ My agent said ‘let’s do a motivational book. Can you motivate anybody?’ I said I can motivate people to kill me.

Eric: (Laughs)

Bobby: So I just sat down and I wanted it real truthful on how I felt. A friend of mine wrote a book, a couple years ago, and he’s in sports, but he’s not a wrestler. He wrote in the book something that wasn’t true about me. It wasn’t bad. You and I haven’t meant, right?

Eric: Right.

Bobby: It would be like if I wrote a book and if I said, I was on your radio show and then afterwards we went out for dinner in Philly and we had six Philly cheesesteak sandwiches and two cases of beer and we had a great night. But that never happened and he wrote that we did something like that. So I couldn’t go on with the book any further, because I didn’t know if the rest of it was bs. If I want to read fiction, I would get Harry Hopper or Harry Porter or Veronica and Archie and Bughead or whatever those guys are called. I don’t want to read something that I think is going to be true and then I find out that it’s a bunch of crap. My book isn’t like that. My books are as much as I can remember and as truthful as I can get. I will never talk about infidelity. I will never talk about money because that’s personal. That’s too personal for me. And plus they may have pictures of me and a goat or something and I don’t want to get involved with that.

Eric: Especially with the Internet these days.

Bobby: Or a picture with me and Moolah!

Eric: (Laughs)

Bobby: And Mae.

Eric: It’s funny you bring that analogy up because Larry King, actually, they called him on the carpet, I think it was several years ago, where he wrote that he had dinner and grew up with Sandy Kofax and Sandy Kofax said ‘I never met the guy.’

Bobby: And that ruins all your credibility. It does to me. If it’s a fiction book, than I understand you having dinner with somebody, but if it’s supposed to be true, it better be.

Eric: Have you started or are you going to start doing any kind of motivational speaking?

Bobby: No, I haven’t been asked to do any of that. I don’t know why. I guess a lot of people think, because I’m getting over throat cancer and my speech is a little different then it once was, that I people can no longer understand. Well, I don’t know. All that radiation I had, it swells your tongue. It feels like I’m making out with Mr. Ed.

Eric: (Laughs)

Bobby: And then they took off some my tongue in the back. And my esophagus is smaller. That changes your speech a lot, too. That’s why they gave us fingers; I can still get my message by.

Eric: All you need is one, right?

Bobby: That’s it!

Eric: And again, ladies and gentlemen, we’re talking to Bobby Heenan. Bobby, something I talked a lot about, even before you and I talked about coming on the air, was your Hall of Fame induction speech this past spring for the WWE. It’s a piece of art; I think it is. After I watched the whole entire ceremony, and, specifically, your speech, it actually makes you proud to be a wrestling fan. Your speech alone, I told the people on my radio show, go out and buy the DVD, for this man’s speech alone is such so tremendous. That speech you had, how much of that came off the top of your head?

Bobby: I didn’t have anything. When I was called at home by Jim Ross, I said sure. I was thinking of how I am going to open up, what I was going to say, who’s going to be there. I don’t want start out knocking this guy or I don’t want to put this guy over. I don’t really know what to do. I’m just going to go there and see what happens and I really didn’t have anything. So I was sitting there talking to Muraco and Tito. Then when they started the show and started introducing us, I didn’t know what I’m going to do. See, I never like to rehearse anything. Monsoon and I never rehearsed a thing. There was nothing written. I can’t say other people’s words and I can’t remember things people write. I just have to do it on my own. That’s the only way I’ve ever done interviews or anything, forty years in the business.

Eric: Gotcha.

Bobby: I went out there and I sat down and I listened to everybody. There’s a lot of good guys out there, but it seemed like everybody wanted to kiss up to Vince McMahon and his family and talk about how great the McMahons are. They’re okay, they’re good people. I have no arguments with Vince, or Linda, or Shane, or Stephanie, or any of the McMahons. They’re nice people to meet. A lot of guys don’t like McMahon, but look at it this way. A lot of guys don’t like Steinbrenner, until you play for him.

Eric: Right, exactly.

Bobby: Everybody wants to play for the Yankees. As soon as they get traded because they’re no good, George is an a-hole. I’m a personal friend of George and all the managers he had, Billy Martin, Bob Lemon, all those guys, and when he fired them, he still paid them. He still kept them on the payroll. There was a school bus on the road one night that broke down, going towards Orlando, about fifty kids on the bus. Steinbrenner’s driving to Orlando for something. He pulls over at a McDonalds and buys 500 dollars worth of burgers, brings them back, gives them to the bus driver and drives away.

Eric: Did he really?

Bobby: That’s right. He did a lot of things nobody knows about. Vince’s father would stop on the road at a diner or a Denny’s and have breakfast in the morning, and there’d be a family, maybe have five or three or four kids or something. Senior would go over and pick up the guy’s check without the guy knowing, and pay and leave. So there’s a lot of things that McMahons do and a lot of people do that people don’t understand. And the reason people don’t like Vince is because they aren’t being used by Vince. And the ones that are being used by Vince, think Vince is stealing from you. Why would you work for someone you think is stealing from you? Quit and go home. Wash the dishes. Have fun.

Eric: You’re right. You’re absolutely right.

Bobby: So I went up there and I wasn’t go to say a whole lot about the McMahons or anything. It’s just went I started off, I thought everyone would think my voice was bad because of the cancer. So that’s why I started off with the voice. (Makes raspy sounds.) And then I turned around and said I had a wedgie.

Eric: That was tremendous.

Bobby: And then when the people popped, I knew I had them. So I just went from there. I could have gone another hour, if I had more water to keep my mouth moist. Seeing the guys, and my good friend, Ernie Ladd, who was pretty sick by the way…

Eric: That’s a shame.

Bobby: Seeing Harley, and Blackjack, and Muraco, and Tito. Tito, who I really respect, what a great man he is. What great children and family he has. I haven’t seen Jesse since he was governor of Minnesota. It was a fun night. It was really enjoyable and I had a ball.

Eric: That’s tremendous. Was that the longest speech you’d ever given wrestling related in your career?

Bobby: I’ve never given one before.

Eric: Okay, there you go.

Bobby: Never had to. I just did interviews or did the openings for Prime Time or the openings for Raw or something like that. 30 second or minute and a half open. I don’t know how long I talked. A couple minutes I guess; three four minutes, I don’t know. It was going good and it was fun, like I said, I could have gone longer. I just realized that I was stepping on other people’s time. It was fun. A lot of people asked, ‘Where is the wrestling hall of fame?’ I said, ‘You know where Cooperstown is?’ They said, ‘Yes.’ I said, ‘It’s nowhere near it.’

Eric: (Laughs)

Bobby: You know, Cooperstown doesn’t mean anything to guys in the NFL and Akron doesn’t mean anything to guys in baseball. And the wrestling hall of fame doesn’t mean anything to anyone who isn’t a wrestling fan or a wrestler. And the fans like it; I like it. It was somebody honored me, which nobody did before. I thought it was an honor. I thought the fans should be entertained and it was fun.

Eric: And what I really liked about it, too, it came off really classy. They didn’t pull any shenanigans, like in the past. The whole event seemed pretty classy.

Bobby: I thought there’d be a pie fight or something.

Eric: Right. (Laughs) Right.

Bobby: Somebody down and pull your pants down.

Eric: Going from a positive experience, to one of the more strange experiences, at least from people that I’ve talked to that attended and from what I’ve read about, the Cauliflower Alley Banquet this year. Are you going to continue to be a part of it, because I’ve read some places where you said you didn’t want anything to do with it anymore and some places where you said you may?

Bobby: No, I’m not going to do it anymore. It’s just not fun anymore. There’s two different kinds of wrestling fans. You know the difference between a fan and a mark?

Eric: What’s that?

Bobby: A fan will come up to you and say, ‘what a great match. I really enjoyed the show tonight.’ A mark wants to find out where you live and move into your house with you.

Eric: (Laughs)

Bobby: And that’s the truth. All those guys there are wannabe wrestlers that will never make it. The people that come around and to have to deal with wrestlers from the past, which turn my stomach. It’s not fun anymore. I was in the hospital. They told me I had a cancer. I’m lying in bed and I said ‘If I ever get out of here, I’m never going to do nothing I don’t want to do, again.’ And that’s one of them. I respect Red Bastien and Nick Bockwinkel. Some people there I do not respect, because you don’t let marks run your business. That’s what happened there. And it’s just not fun. By the time I bring my wife out there- you stay at a hotel, you see some friends, my brothers are out there, so that’s okay, but it’s like a couple grand. If I want to spend a couple grand, I’m going to a massage parlor. I don’t want to go see a bunch of broken down wrestlers.

Eric: Has that been the most refreshing part of this whole new phase in your career post-WCW, is being able to do what you want and having fun doing it?

Bobby: Oh yeah, because I know what I’m going to make now. I don’t have to be sent to some town you can’t find on the map. I don’t have to change planes four times. I do what I have to do now. This is my fee, if you want to pay it, I’ll do it, if you don’t want, fine, I don’t care. I don’t need the money. I’m just doing it to have fun and to get out of the house. If I stay home another couple months, I might turn into OJ here.

Eric: (Laughs)

Bobby: I can only sit in my shorts so long and watch Judge Judy, or else I’ll go nuts.

Eric: I can imagine. Again, we’re talking to 2004 WWE Hall of Fame inductee, the legendary, Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. Bobby, when you were on the radio show last year, you talked about all of the good people, your former co-workers, employers, that had called you when you were in bed with the cancer. You said at the time, and you were very disappointed, that you had not yet heard from Vince. Did he eventually call you, before your Hall of Fame induction?

Bobby: No. If Vince had to call everyone who was sick, he’d be on the phone all day and couldn’t run his business. When Larry Henning’s son died, Curt, he [Curt] was in Tampa. I got a phone call from Wade Boggs’ wife. She called me and said, ‘Did you hear anything about Curt?’ I said, ‘What do you mean, Debbie?’ And she said, ‘I just got a call from his wife and she said the police came and he had died here in Tampa.’ I didn’t even know Curt was in town. I used to see him every Christmas and in the summer, Curt and I would go play in Wade’s golf tournament and we’d go over his house at Christmas and have a party. We always had a good time with Wade. He did a lot of things for Curt in wrestling, too. He did the Mr. Perfect shots with him. I called Wade back and no one knew anything. Then, after a half hour later, everyone was calling. I never talked to Larry Henning, until I saw him in March of this year. You know why?

Eric: Why?

Bobby: If you lose your wife, that’s kind of expected. Or if you lose your husband, that’s expected. But if you lose your child, what can I say? I’m sorry? He knows I’m sorry. My condolences? He knows that. If there’s anything you need? I cannot tell a father that I’m sorry he lost his son or child. I didn’t know what to say. I have known Larry and Curt since 1967, almost 40 years. I watched Curt go to school, while Larry, Blackjack, and I would leave to go to a town in the morning. I didn’t know what to say. Vince is probably the kind of person, who doesn’t like to call, and doesn’t like to hear bad things. He was pleasant to me. He was polite to me. They honored me the night before; they took care of me at Wrestlemania. I have no problems at all. Some people just aren’t like that. I understand why you can’t call sometimes; what are you going to say? So that’s okay. He’s out of the will, though, but that’s okay.

Eric: (Laughs) Are you going to be doing anything special with the WWE anytime soon?

Bobby: Nope, I haven’t heard anything. I told them when I left, if something comes up, and it isn’t too time consuming and involves a lot of money, I’ll do it. I don’t want to work everyday. I don’t want a schedule. I said if you need an ambassador, someone to go meet and greet people or do something like that at a convention, sign autographs before Wrestlemania, I don’t mind doing that. I don’t want to be on camera, I don’t want to work anymore, be a manager; I don’t want to do commentary. I’m just happy with what I’m doing now. I’m on my way to the beach, right now. It’s 92 here in Tampa. I’m going to Clearwater Beach to spend the day with my wife and family and some friends. That’s what I’m doing now. I’m just having a good time.

Eric: Well, if it makes you feel any better, it’s thunderstorming all day here.

Bobby: Well, it’s Philadelphia. It needs to be cleaned a little bit.

Eric: (Laughs) We need all the help we can get.

Bobby: Sure, it’s summer. I like Philly. I always had a great time at the Spectrum. It’s a good town. Sports fans are really good fans there. People knock them a lot because they’re noisy and lousy and just because they wear t-shirts, and there are sweat rings on it, and they have goatees, and their heads are shaved, and they’re swearing and spitting, and that’s just the women!

Eric: (Laughs) Bobby Heenan, ladies and gentlemen

Bobby: Philly’s a good town.

Eric: Before I go to the break, there’s been some controversy over the last two three weeks, and you’d be a great man to ask about this, because you’ve worked with both and been around both of them. I don’t know if you’re aware, but Ric Flair…

Bobby: If you tell me Mae Young’s pregnant, it’s not me!

Eric: (Laughs) Well, alright, that’s it. The rumors are dispelled.

Bobby: If the kid comes out with no hair and a moustache, it’s Okerlund’s.

Eric: (Laughs) And a martini in his hand, right?

Bobby: And a little bitty tuxedo, that don’t fit.

Eric: (Laughs) Ric Flair put out a book, a tremendous book. Have you had a chance to read it?

Bobby: Nope.

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Eric: Okay. He took a lot of knocks at a few people, Bret Hart in particular. He said in comparing he and Bret Hart, that there are no comparisons. He said that Bret was not a good worker. He got real personal with the guy. You were, obviously around Flair as his manager for the first part of his run and around Bret for the first time he came into the WWE.

Bobby: I was around Bret in 1979. He lived across the hall from me when I working for Georgia Championship Wrestling in 1979.

Eric: Oh wow.

Bobby: So I’ve known Bret a long time.

Eric: So what are your thoughts on something like that?

Bobby: I think it’s okay. It’s a man’s opinion, he has a right to say it. I think, personally, that Ric Flair, along with Hogan, have probably been the greatest entertainers our business has ever had. Bret Hart, to me, is an exceptional worker. He’s very good. He’s fresh. His moves are great. He has a Canadian interview, which is a little laid back, he doesn’t really get excited. But his work in the ring, and as a gentlemen, outside of the ring, I love the guy.

Eric: Excellent.

Bobby: I love Flair, too. Flair wrote the forward for my book. And what goes on between Flair and him, maybe that was business, I don’t know anything about. There’s only two books I’ve ever read in my life.

Eric: What’s that?

Bobby: Three books. One was called Number One by Billy Martin. One was called Balls- B- A- L-L-S. The only reason I read those was I was in Japan for thirty days and I had nothing to do. I read Arn Anderson’s book. I haven’t read my own book.

Eric: You haven’t read your own book?

Bobby: No, I wrote them, why should I read them? I know what’s in them. I don’t want to read them again. I’m not that vain. I look at the pictures, but that’s about it. Arn Anderson’s book is the only book I read. I haven’t read Flair’s yet, because I didn’t know it was out. I will read it though, his book I would read. I don’t want to read a book by a guy that’s been in the business for two years. What’s he got to tell me about?

Eric: As a guy that’s worked in wrestling for ten years, and I’ve grown up watching wrestling since I was eight, I feel the same way, when I guy puts a book out, what is there to talk about?

Bobby: All he can talk about is last week on TV. Most of these guys today haven’t been to other territories, because when they started there were no other territories. Then these guys make twenty-five dollars a week, they make money. I started in ’65. I was in Tennessee, where guys would put a pot roast in tin foil and put it on the engine of the car, and drive to a town 300 miles away, threw six guys in the car, didn’t have enough money to stop and eat, took the pot roast out, three dollar pot roast, have it with some carrots, throw the rest to the side of the road, and that’s how they ate. My first pay out in Louisville, Kentucky, I almost got killed with five dollars.

Eric: I think you told the story last time you were on the air here. Did you write that in your book, as well? I think you wrote about that.

Bobby: Yeah. I got things to write about. I can talk about Gene Kiniski, Pat O’ Connor, Buddy Rogers. Say Diamond Dallas, for example. What did he talk about? I mean guys that haven’t been the top guys or haven’t been in the business that long or are interesting enough for people to read about. I certainly don’t want to read about. I don’t want to talk to them.

Eric: What’s funny, when I had Curt Henning on the radio show here, who was such a great guest when I had him on, he talked a lot about Paige’s book, at the time I guess DDP just put out his book, and he just went on, for like five to ten minutes, and went off about him putting out his book.

Bobby: See, I never read his book so I can’t knock it.

Eric: He didn’t either.

Bobby: I’m not knocking him, I’m saying for his time. Like, The Rock. The Rock has at least succeeded, and then movies, and was at the top of the WWE and WWF. Was at Miami and played football. His father-in-law, his father, he’s got some stories here. Other guys: I started out in Philadelphia at wrestling school three weeks ago.

BREAK

Eric: Again, we’re talking to WWE Hall of Fame inductee, Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. Bobby, we were talking a little about Ole Anderson and Georgia Championship Wrestling. What was it like working for Ole?

Bobby: Let me explain something to you about Ole Anderson. I’ll explain to you right from the top. You got a minute, right?

Eric: Oh yeah.

Bobby: Okay, Ole Anderson comes off like he was a big star in this business. Ole Anderson was nothing more than Southern tag team wrestler. I remember in the late 60’s, Ole Anderson would come to Chicago, he’s from Minneapolis, his name’s Alan Rogowski, he would come to Chicago, and ask Verne Gagne, while he was still in the army, if he could break into the business. I remember him standing in the International Amphitheater, in a locker room downstairs, waiting to talk to Verne. Verne broke him in and then sent him to Calgary. Only two reasons you go to Calgary, it’s like Kansas City and Indianapolis: you go there to start or you go there to die. There’s nothing left for you in the business; that’s the only place left for you to make money. So that’s what he went there for, to learn how to start. If he was any good, Verne would have brought him back. Here’s another thing, he was the booker for Georgia Championship Wrestling, right?

Eric: Yes.

Bobby: He controlled everything. How come he never worked on top with the champion? Whether it be Funk, whether it be Ric Flair, or whether it be Harley Race. How come he never worked on top in St. Louis? How come he never worked on top in Houston? Those were the top NWA towns. St. Louis was the first place they ever used a manager, and that was me. Ole Anderson never worked there on top. Now, if he was a booker, how come he never booked himself in a match with Flair? Because Jim Barnett, the promoter, said ‘Don’t do it. You won’t draw a dime.’ And he knew it, too. He was always involved in tag team wrestling, with Gene Anderson, or with Ivan Koloff. Oh, he went out in that ring. He busted his butt. He worked hard. He had a lot of bad timing. He didn’t know how to beg off from a comeback; he didn’t know when to beg. He didn’t know how to sell that well. He wanted to be a tough guy. I came down there in 1979, in February, and I left my wife and daughter at home. My daughter was just born in December; she was three months old. My mother died in April, and I had to go back home and bury my mother. She died on a Monday night and I was back to work on Thursday because I had to feed my wife and daughter. I could’ve taken more time off to grieve, but what was that going to do? I had to go feed them. So I went back to work and asked Ole, ‘How long do I have here?’ He said, ‘You can stay here as long as you want.’ Well, I stayed twelve years in Minneapolis, and I could’ve stayed a lot of places longer, so I moved my family, my wife and daughter, to Atlanta, in June. Then in October, he gave me my notice, said I was making too much money and he fired me. When I went back in 1994, Ole was working in the office. I don’t know if he was emptying out trashcans or putting paper out in the craphouse; he was doing something remedial there. He said, ‘Hey, Bobby, how have you been?’ I said, ‘Hey, what happened? How come you fired me?’ He said, ‘I don’t remember you getting fired? Where did you go? You just disappeared.’ What kind of boss would he be if he didn’t know where his talent is? No, Ole was not a top guy. He only worked in tag team situations. Tag team was never used on top at the Omni. Sometimes it was, mostly spot shows around Atlanta. He was maybe a big name in Marietta, but he never worked with the champion. That tells you if he was top guy or not. Ox Baker never worked with a champion, he never was a major territorial star, because they just aren’t top guys. And Ole Anderson, being a booker, if he was a top guy, he’d have worked with a champion. Wouldn’t he?

Eric: Yeah, absolutely.

Bobby: He didn’t, because the promoter told him, ‘don’t book it, it won’t draw.’ He didn’t want to be embarrassed, if the promoter didn’t tell him and if he had to make the decision himself not to do it, because it wouldn’t have made a dime. It’s that simple. The two most hated men I’ve ever met in this business are Ole Anderson and Joe Scarpa, Chief Jay Strongbow.

Eric: Really?

Bobby: Yes. The way they talk to people. The way Ole Anderson would demean Pez Whatley, talk to down to Bubba Douglas, make fun of Tony Atlas, just talk bad to everyone he could get his hands on- Chick Donovan, an extra, an underneath guy, treat them like garbage. He just wanted to hate everyone; he wanted to come off as mean and tough, but we all know how tough he is, because every year Blackjack Mulligan would beat his ass in a dressing room, that he couldn’t see out his swollen eye for two weeks. That’s the truth. Mulligan used to beat him up once a year. You could set your watch to it. So Ole Anderson is nothing. He’s lucky he was in the business. The only reason he was booker was he would do that for minimal pay and take the heat when other boys wouldn’t want to be involved. I’ve been asked to be a booker in a lot of places; I don’t want the responsibility of having to fire people, hire people, if a good friend of mine calls for work, I can’t tell him no, I just don’t have that kind of personality. A person that has that kind of personality doesn’t have that much of a heart, I feel. That’s what I think of Ole Anderson. I think Ole Anderson is a piece of sh**. Right out there and back.

Eric: Bobby, I don’t have a delay here.

Bobby: Okay, he’s a big piece of sh*t.

Eric: There you go.

Bobby: It’s in the dictionary if you want to look it up.

Eric: I appreciate your candid comments and candid they were.

Bobby: And the reason Strongbow was so disliked is because he was an agent. If he liked you, he’d put you on first and second and get you out of there. Honky Tonk Man, he didn’t like. Sometimes he [Honky] didn’t get home for 90 days. He took his wife and little boy on the road to see him. He put Honky Tonk on last, after the main event, make his wife sit in the building since 6 o’ clock until 11 o’ clock at night, when you could have put the guy on first, and let the guy go home and be with his family. Abuse of authority, he’s another of piece of you know what. See, I’m getting better.

Eric: (Laughs) And you’re getting wound up, too.

Bobby: Well, it makes me mad, when Ole Anderson, who never drew a dime in this business, never did anything in this business, knocks a man like Ric Flair, who held the belt 20 times, who knows how many, and it’s because of the work, you don’t win anything, they give it to you. If you have enough respect for this business, for someone to give you a belt, and run with it, like the NWA belt and WCW belt, you have to ask Ric Flair, and Dory Funk, and the Briscos, and Harley Race what it means to be champion. Ole Anderson was a disgrace, as far I’m concerned, to the business.

Eric: Wow.

Bobby: You can tell him I said that, I don’t care.

Eric: I’ve never talked to the man in my life, other than meeting him when I was a kid. Again, we’re talking to 2004 Hall of Fame inductee, Bobby “The Brain” Heenan.

Bobby: How come he never worked in Minneapolis on top?

Eric: Especially since that’s where you said he broke in.

Bobby: How come he never went to New York? They had a lot worse workers there than Ole. His excuse was that he said he could make himself 100 grand here doing this and that. I don’t know if he was making that or not, who knows. I’ll tell you what I was making down there. I was making 700 to 900 dollars a week in ’79. And if he was making twice as much as me, he wasn’t making 100 grand.

Eric: That’s a good point.

Bobby: If he was making three times as me, it still wasn’t worth it, to work seven days a week, and drive every day and be in Georgia. When I grew up, my first four years, I had three teeth and was making a mess in my pants and I thought I was the governor of Georgia.

Eric: (Laughs) How about we take some calls? Let’s bring up Ron first.

Caller Ron: It’s an honor to talk to you again. I talked to you the first time you were on and it’s an honor to you have back. My question is what do you think of the direction of the WWE now and can you please call us humanoids, we miss that.

Bobby: Okay, you’re a humanoid, Ron.

Eric: And his second question was what do you think of the current direction of the WWE?

Bobby: I’m not watching the product. I’m in the process of moving and I’m busy doing that. And when I was sick, I didn’t stay up that late to watch TV. I was going to bed pretty early, and I don’t know any of the guys. If it had been the guys that I had been in the business with like the Baron Van Raschke’s, Nick Bockwinkle, and Ray Stevens, and those guys were still wrestling, I’d really feel bad that I missed it. The guys that are in now, I don’t know them and it’s a different business then when I was there. I don’t know what direction they come from or are going. No matter what direction they’re going, they’ll be an audience for it, because when you have 200 channels, they need programmers, so they’ll always be someone who likes wrestling. And wrestling is television, it goes up and down the hills and valleys, so if it’s doing great now it’ll come down, if it’s down now it’ll come up. It’s just the way it is with wrestling.

Eric: About a year and half ago, you did an interview and said that was wrestling was in very severe trouble. Do you still feel the same way?

Bobby: Yeah. The fans are not involved anymore. A guy doesn’t do an interview anymore; he does a monologue. I like the old days, when you beat the guy with your finishing maneuver and they know who you were and you get to talk about it. The Crusher in Milwaukee, he’d come out with beer on his back, smoking a cigar, he would say things like ‘I’m going to give him mouth to mouth restitution.’ They knew he was a tough Pollock from Milwaukee; he was the Crusher. Nowadays, guys, they come out, they all have long hair and beards, and they look like the guys in the first seven rows. That’s the truth. They don’t get their characters over. They have to have interviews. Okerlund has to get the guy down there and talk and discuss this and your finishing maneuver. Just to go up there and have all these personal issues, I don’t think the people want to worry about. There are too many things in life that are personal. You have a war going on, people being kidnapped, we have people holding up places, we have terrorists; I don’t think they worry about a guy hitting another guy with a chair.

Eric: Do you think it hurts now that there aren’t squash matches that they had back in the day?

Bobby: Yeah, sure it hurts. It hurts, because the man gets to seldom use his finishing maneuvers, and he never gets down to do an interview, it’s always someone interfering or someone running away, it’s never clean and cut. And people like that, even though they knew by watching that Hulk Hogan was going to beat the Brown Owl, but they want to see him beat and they want to see the finishing maneuver.

Eric: I think back then, going as a kid, I always wondered what would happen if Big John Studd got Hulk Hogan in the backbreaker, for example.

Bobby: There’s another thing. Andre the Giant and John Studd. Boy, did that look great on paper. It didn’t look good in the ring. First of all, Andre is not going to be able to press John Studd over his head to give him big bumps cause Studd couldn’t take them. So now you got two big guys out there butting heads. Thank god they had me, because Andre could throw me around at the end. Sometimes a good match on paper doesn’t always draw you money.

Eric: It’s funny, because it’s such an old proverb, cause so many people forget history in that aspect.

Bobby: I’d rather watch Dean Malenko and Benoit work than anybody.

Eric: You and me both.

Bobby: Eddie Guerrero and what’s his name?

Eric: Rey Mysterio, Jr.?

Bobby: Yeah, and those guys are tremendous. Some of the luchadores don’t know how to sell, but that’s okay, that’s their style, and it’s interesting.

Eric: Yeah, absolutely. Let’s bring up Vince.

Caller Vince: Bobby, of course, I love you, and a 1-hour show isn’t good enough. My question for you is the old time wrestlers that go in the Independent leagues, does it hurt the division of Independent leagues or does it keep on making wrestling good? Second question, in your book, the voice of AWA was in a wheelchair, was he in the wheelchair before he started his wrestling career, and if he did how does that affect people flying around the ring?

Bobby: The gentleman in the wheelchair, his name is Roger Kent, and he did the play by play in Minneapolis for the AWA in the studio there. Roger had a bad foot…he had foot damage. I hadn’t seen Roger in twenty years and now he was in a wheelchair, but when he was doing commentating he wasn’t in a wheelchair then. He had a little trouble getting around; he wasn’t fast, but he could walk. I guess if he were in a wheelchair, the guys would just have to stay away from the table. And what else did he ask?

Eric: He was asking when the old time wrestlers, when their run is over in the WWE, and they really don’t have a lot left as far as bookings, they go to the Independents. What he wanted to know, is do you think it hurts the Independents because the young guys only have some ground when the older guys, you know, you’ve seen them, they come just for a pay check and leave as soon as they’re in there.

Bobby: That’s it. I’ll tell you something, these young guys are never going to make it anyplace and I’ll tell you why. They may have heart and desire, but the promoters that are running it, they don’t care. I’ve done some Independent shows and I’m embarrassed by it. It’s like backyard wrestling. What it is it’s like a bunch of young, fat kids or a bunch of kids that weigh 110 pounds. They wear sweatshirts, they wear tennis shoes, they wear stocking caps, they wear earrings, they wear necklaces, and they go out to the ring and the first thing they do is they jump to the second rope and yell to the people. And they all do the same moves that the guy did in the match before them. They’re not wrestlers; they’re pretending to be. They don’t wear wrestling boots; they don’t wear wrestling trunks; that’s why they don’t do any business. People will not pay to see apartment and backyard wrestling, and that’s what it is. They’re not wrestlers. They’re children. I realize that everybody has to start someplace, but these guys will never make it. Believe me. I went to some guy’s show awhile back, he had a 130-pound guy as an Indian wrestler and he had about three feathers. The guy looked like a hawk hit by a car. This guy is never going to make it in the business and these guys don’t care if they make it; they just want these guys to work for nothing and most of these Independent guys work for nothing. If you have a name on the card, it helps, because some of these guys you don’t know, and you can’t know them, because these guys don’t have TV. There’s no way of advertising your talent. These guys have to hit the gym. They have to get in shape. They look horrible. They’re out of shape. They don’t wear wrestling clothes, they wear street clothes; they look like rappers. People won’t pay to see rappers.

Eric: Bobby, I’m actually ending the show early this week, but can we have you back here in a few weeks?

Bobby: Call me whenever you want.

Eric: Bobby, thank you very much. You’re the best. You’re the greatest. Best of luck with the newest book, Chairshots.

Bobby: You can go on Amazon.com. And I’m sorry for saying the poo-poo word.

Eric: I’ll have to fight a little bit with the brass here, but we’ll get over it.

Bobby: Does your show get good ratings?

Eric: Yeah, absolutely.

Bobby: Then tell him to go stick it up his hat.

Eric: (Laughs) Amen to you. Bobby, thank you and have a great time at the beach.

Bobby: If you see Ole Anderson, forget my name.

Eric: Too bad we don’t have the toilet near you.

Bobby: I don’t care what you say; he was dead wrong in what he did. He’s not a good man.

Eric: Bobby, thank you very much and have a good weekend.

Bobby: Ok, guys remember- A friend in need’s a pest.

Eric: Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, thank you.

Listen to the entire Bobby Heenan Pro Wrestling Radio Interview.

WWE: Bobby The Brain Heenan DVD

The WWE: Top 50 Superstars of All Time

Bobby Heenan – Chair Shots and Other Obstacles: Winning Life’s Wrestling Matches

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