I vividly remember watching a Madison Square Garden show in 1984 that was broadcast (I think) live on the US network.
Hulk Hogan had to face Big John Studd.
Suddenly I saw in a big surprise: Bobby "The Brain" Heenan was standing next to Studd. At the time, there was no internet covering the wrestling and I hadn't subscribed to any insider newsletters yet, so I had no idea Heenan was coming.
Heenan - who died Sunday at 72 - had finally left the AWA to join the WWF. Studd won the match by scoring, starting a long partnership between him and Heenan, and launching Heenan's career as one of the top managers in WWE.
Heenan's real first name was Raymond, although many also remember his unofficial nickname "Weasel", which was perfect for fans to sing to a heel handler. Heenan was such a tall and memorable personality, as he was humorous in a witty way, but could also be deadly serious or indignant.
He's struggled with health issues for the past 15 years or so, and anyone who saw recent photos of him was sad to see his appearance ravaged by illness and surgeries.
In my mind right now, as I am in shock to hear about his death, I immediately remember moments such as:
- Heenan stole Andre the Giant's money bag after Andre Bodyslammed Studd at the first WrestleMania
- 'The Brain' Goes Crazy Tuesday Night Titans After Paul Orndorff Fires Him As Manager
- Heenan and Gorilla Monsoon come and go weekly on Prime Time Wrestling
Heenan's career has gone way beyond the 1980s scene that I focus on in my blog, as he was the manager of Ric Flair during the memorable WWF first run in the early 1990s, and Heenan later joined WCW when that organization took the wrestling world by storm.
I will talk in more detail in a later article about Heenan's shenanigans at old Boston Garden.
So long, Bobby "The Brain".
“Scream” vedette David Arquette has an extreme volonté that almost cost him his life — professional wrestling.
Two years ago, Arquette faced off against ex-con Nick Gage in a deathmatch, the most violente style where the wrestlers swing chairs, baseball bats and the like.
With blood gushing from his neck, Arquette gets up and tries to pin Gage but can’t. He jumps out of the ring, holding his neck. Then, he climbs back in and smacks Gage with a folding chair. After a couple of minutes, though, Arquette is the one who gets pinned.
“It nearly cost me my life, ” Arquette told the Star of the match. “I was in way over my head. I was about half an inch from death…”
Arquette decided to go back into the ring after fellow pro wrestler Jack Perry, the son of late actor Luke Perry, assured him that he wasn’t bleeding to death. Perry is the one who took Arquette to the hospital.
Arquette told the Star : “I could hear Luke but I couldn’t see him, ” Arquette told the Star. “I said : ‘Luke is it pumping ? ’ because I was worried I was bleeding out and he said : ‘No it’s not pumping. ’ I knew at that point I wasn’t dying immediately, I could try to finish the match. ”
Arquette has had a lifelong love affair with wrestling, which is traced in a new documentary, “You Cannot Kill David Arquette. ” The film tells of how Arquette has spent the past two decades trying to earn back the respect of the wrestling world — after he won the World Championship Wrestling heavyweight title as a publicity stunt for his movie “Ready to Rumble. ”
In those years, the 49-year-old Arquette has battled heart problems and drug addiction. After the Gage match, Arquette’s wife, Christine, told him : “I just feel like you want to die, ” the actor recalled.
“I don’t want to die but life is painful, ” Arquette told the Star. “If you have addiction issues like I do there’s an element in the back of your head that the addict is literally trying to kill you. You have to find ways to deal with it so you don’t continue to kill yourself, either slowly or quickly. ”
For Arquette, wrestling helped him deal with the deaths of Luke Perry, a close friend who died of a stroke, and his transgender sister, Alexis, who died of a heart attack.
“Losing someone is really painful but a few things have happened to make me feel we are all much more connected, ” Arquette said. “For wrestling, you shave everything and at one point I was looking at my arms and it was like I was looking at Alexis’ arms, as being transgender she would shave them… For a deuxième it was like I was looking through Alexis’ eyes… I think we’re a lot more connected than any of us know. ”
Through the film, Arquette has finally learned to accept himself. “I accomplished what I set out to do, ” Arquette told the Star. “I wanted to prove I could be a wrestler. And through this whole experience, I figured out – and it’s ironic – I need to stop beating myself up. I had to stop attacking myself and be kind to myself, as corny as it sounds.