Over the Top Rope

Rock Riddle's
Wrestling Revue

by Rock Riddle, the Original "Mr. Wonderful" of Professional Wrestling

Original Date of Publication:   January 11, 2007

Click on any of the smaller photos to enlarge

Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, Part II.  I thoroughly enjoyed wrestling for the Minneapolis-based AWA (American Wrestling Association).  I was in the dressing room warming up for my first AWA match when I met one of the icons of our business, Bobby “The Brain” Heenan.  This man was already a wrestling legend.  He was the funniest man I had ever met – and he still is.  He possesses amazing wit, brilliant insight, and a complete understanding and mastery of the psychology and the business of professional wrestling.  I am grateful to know this man and I am honored that he is a friend. 

I had the opportunity to do a televised interview with Bobby at a CAC Wrestlers’ Yearly Reunion and Awards Dinner at the Riviera Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.  In last week’s column, I described the beginning of the interview.  I introduced Bobby, in that interview, as a true “great” in the world of professional wrestling, a living legend, and an icon.  He thanked me for the nice words, but added, “No, Rock, I won’t co-sign for a car for you.”  I looked at Bobby with a slight frown and said, “Okay, never mind.”  We both immediately walked off-camera in opposite directions, much to the chagrin of our cameraman, Peter Redford.  It was Peter’s first introduction to the world of professional wrestling.  He had no idea what he was getting into when he agreed to document the CAC event for us. 

I asked Bobby if he would talk about professional wrestling the way it was.  I asked if he would talk about the camaraderie and the feeling of family that existed.  Bobby had, of course, experienced that sense of family, but he also had experienced the “cut-throat” side of the business.  Bobby was “on top” for virtually his entire career.   He was, and still is, a major international star.  Bobby’s perception was that a thousand-plus wrestlers wanted his job (and my job).  He talked about all of the guys who would walk over an injured champion in order to get a title shot.  Bobby’s bottom line seemed to be a realistic, “Everybody’s out for himself.”  It was a very interesting perspective.  The interview continued.

“You know,” I said, “I never looked at it as competition with anybody.  The best friends, like you, and the people whom I consider family were people in the business.  Obviously, what you say, Bobby, is absolutely true, that people are stepping on each other.  But, what I found was that the best friends I’ve ever had in my life and the people whom I felt were more like family were the ‘guys’ – people like yourself.”  “That is the truth,” Bobby replied, “and all of my best friends are the Baron von Raschke’s and the Gorilla Monsoon’s.  But, don’t forget:  There are thousands and thousands of guys I’ve met, and there are thousands and thousands of people I just can’t trust.  I have to keep my business separate from my family and my friends …”

At that moment, just before Bobby finished his sentence, we were interrupted by a booming “voice of God” announcement over the public address system.  Bobby looked up towards the heavens and said, “I’m sorry.  I won’t say that again.”  We waited for a few moments, smiled, and continued with the interview.  “So,” I began, “you were saying that thousands of people were coming up.  You were saying, for example, how Baron von Raschke is a good friend, Gorilla Monsoon; but that there are so many other people who are not that way.”  “That’s true,” Bobby began, “but, take a car dealership.  Not every salesman comes out happy to help the other sales people sell cars.  You know, in the motion picture industry, nobody is going to help someone else get work if that may make them lose work.  That’s just the way it is.  Nobody in the wrestling office wants someone else in the office unless that person can help him.  That’s just the way things are.”

Bobby Heenan continued, “So, my advice to anyone who wants to get into professional wrestling is to get an education.  Make sure you have some kind of job to fall back on – some kind of a job where you have benefits, hospitalization, some kind of insurance plan, something for your family.  If you want to go out there and go through nine tables and break your back, go ahead.  But, you’ll be taken every place from now on in a wheel chair.  You’ve got to have an education.”

Bobby and I looked at each other.  The evening's official festivities were about to begin, and we knew there would soon be another booming announcement interrupting us.  It seemed to be a good place to wrap up the interview.  “Ladies and Gentlemen,” I began in conclusion, “you heard it directly from one of the greatest this sport has ever known, and, I’m proud to say, my friend, Bobby Heenan.  Bobby “The Brain” Heenan.”  We did the “I love you, Man” close with a hug.

The camera was still rolling.  “Thanks, Rock,” Bobby said.  “Now, I get paid for this, right?”  “Oh, absolutely,” I emphatically stated with just a hint of sarcasm.  I pointed to a lady friend standing behind the cameras.  “See that lady right there?” I asked, thinking of a clever way to hint at compensation.  “Do you find her attractive at all?”  Bobby replied instantaneously and with an excited tone in his voice, “Oh, I find her very attractive.  There are not many women six-foot eight and 390 pounds I find attractive, but this lady’s …”  His voice faded away as he walked off camera towards the lady.

In last week's column, #46, I included a photo of a book cover.  The book’s title is “Bobby The Brain: Wrestling’s Bad Boy Tells All” by Bobby Heenan with a foreword by Hulk Hogan.  For the first time in the history of this wrestling column, I would like to make a recommendation:   If you would like to know more about the wonderful world of professional wrestling, I highly recommend this book along with his latest book, “Chair Shots and Other Obstacles:  Winning Life’s Wrestling Matches” by Bobby “The Brain” Heenan with a foreword by 16-time world champion Ric Flair.  For more information on Bobby “The Brain” Heenan and/or to purchase his books, simply visit his website:  www.BobbyTheBrain.com.  My last two columns are a tribute to one of the few who attained and retained a top spot in our wonderful sport of professional wrestling:  Bobby “The Brain” Heenan.  I end this column with a personal message to that amazing man:  “Bobby, you were and are an inspiration to me.  You are a brilliant performer who possesses the greatest wit and sense of humor in our business.  I am a better person for having known you.  And, Bobby, in closing, I leave you with this genuine hope:  May you live to see your 200th birthday – and may the last words you hear be mine.”  Until next week, keep those e-mails coming.

This column welcomes your wrestling-related questions.  You may contact the author via email: RockRiddle@hotmail.com or Rock@HollywoodSuccess.com.  Be sure to put "Wrestling Question" in the subject line.

About the author:  Rock Riddle wrestled professionally for over 8½ years and helped sell out major arenas all over the country.  He held numerous titles including the Americas Tag Team Championship (with John Tolos) and the East Coast Tag Team Championship (with Rocky Montana.)  At the height of his career, he was given top billing over the heavyweight championship of the world.  He is extremely well-connected in the world of professional wrestling and knows the business exceptionally well.  His fascinating biography, complete with over 100 photos and lots of additional information, is available at www.HollywoodSuccess.com – just click on "Rock Riddle Bio."    If you have missed any of Rock’s columns, they are all available on the website by clicking "Wrestling Revue."

© 2007 Rock Riddle & Hollywood Success.

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