On the heels of 2002’s acclaimed Bobby the Brain: Wrestling’s Bad Boy Tells All, Sports Publishing this week is releasing the follow-up Chair Shots and Other Obstacles: Winning Life’s Wrestling Matches. It’s all a part of a huge week for the former manager and colour commentator, who will also be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame at a special banquet the night before WrestleMania.
Heenan will be inducted along with the likes of Sergeant Slaughter, Jesse “The Body” Ventura, “Superstar” Billy Graham, Pete Rose, Tito Santana, Don Muraco, Harley Race, Big John Studd and The Junkyard Dog.
“You’ve got it wrong, they are joining me,” Heenan quipped to SLAM! Wrestling. “It’s a great bunch of guys, and a real honor to do this and have it bestowed upon me. It is really neat.”In addition to the dinner, he will be at the “Tribute to WrestleMania 1” convention in Totowa, New Jersey and is rumoured to be doing some commentary during the big event itself. “I haven’t heard that yet, I don’t know if I am going to or not, if they ask me to I would be glad to,” he said.
Heenan has been an major part of past WrestleManias. Moments like managing King Kong Bundy (WM 2) and Andre The Giant (WM 3) against champion Hulk Hogan, holding down the leg of the Ultimate Warrior to allow Rick Rude to snare the Intercontinental title (WM 5), and his own matches against the Red Rooster (WM 5) and a six-man with the Islanders against the British Bulldogs and Koko B. Ware (WM 4) are just a few of his many standout moments as a corner man. WrestleMania 8 and 9 saw him in the commentary booth. Heenan wore a toga and rode a camel backwards to the ring at WM 9, his final appearance at the show before commentating the “Gimmick Battle Royal” at WrestleMania X-7. It’s an important night to many in wrestling and Heenan added his two cents.
“It’s a special time in our business, there is nothing else like it. No other promoter came up with an idea like this. I remember at the first WrestleMania, I had a can of beer and I toasted Vince and said ‘Here’s to WrestleMania 2.’ He replied ‘What do you mean 2?’ I said ‘WrestleMania 200.’ There is some kid who isn’t even born yet who will be in the main event that year, believe me. It’s a funny thing when you are in this business. This is our industry and this is what we do with the fans and our people. This is one of the happiest times in my life, I just wish (Gorilla) Monsoon were with me to enjoy it.”
Monsoon, who passed away in October 1999, and Heenan were comedy gold as a duo in the broadcast booth. Madison Square Garden is a hallowed place for many a competitor, but it is his fellow Hall of Famer who made the arena special.
“My fondest memory of MSG is working with Gorilla. Everything else with Madison Square Garden, it was just another building. But doing a broadcast with him for the MSG network was one of the highlights of my life,” Heenan said.
During his five days in the Big Apple, Heenan is looking forward to spending time with his old friends and reflect on their good times. After his battle with throat cancer, every day is a great one to Heenan and he is thrilled every day. “I am doing okay, I feel better every day. As long as my friends and family are healthy I am fine.”