It’s impossible to have a conversation about the greatest pro wrestling managers of all time without talking about Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. The man had wit and charisma for days during his career and that spark still maintains to this day.
It was said Heenan wrestled like a manager and managed like a wrestler. He was a part of some of the most memorable moments in pro wrestling history from weasel suit matches to his association with Andre The Giant.
But it turned out Bobby was quite angry for a number of years at someone he worked very closely with in the business. On a recent episode of What Happened When Mondays, Tony Schiavone spoke about why Bobby Heenan held such resentment toward him for so long.
“Let me tell you exactly what happened when Bobby Heenan got fired and why I f-cked it up and why he is really mad at me which I can understand why” Schiavone said. “I got a call from [WCW TV director] Craig Leathers at my house who said, ‘we are firing Bobby Heenan’ or ‘we have fired Bobby Heenan.’ And I said ‘okay — so now since I’m in charge of the announcers do you want me to do it? Because Craig, I should do it.'”
“He said, ‘no I’ve done it already. I’ve talked to him on the phone and he has threatened a lawsuit so I’m telling you as your supervisor — do not call him. Do not have any contact with him because he’s threatened our company with a lawsuit.'”
“And I said, ‘okay I won’t call him’ Realistically I should have said, ‘okay I won’t call him,’ hung up the phone and turned around and called him. That’s what I should’ve done, but I didn’t. I didn’t know it was coming, I didn’t call him because Craig told me not to and I should have because we had been very close. And we had been very good friends and we had traveled up and down on the road together. So that was my mistake and I’m sorry for it, I really am and that’s why he was angry at me.”
“But to say that I knew [Bobby Heenan’s firing] was coming… I did not. It surprised me.”
So the moral of this story is if you have a friend who is fired, don’t be afraid to reach out and call them. Because you never know how much it might damage your friendship if you remain silent.
Tony was put in a difficult position when his superior asked him not to call Bobby. Hindsight is 20/20 but unfortunately, it’s impossible to turn back time.