WWE Bobby The Brain Heenan
Written by: Tom Hopkins
I’ve been a huge fan of Bobby Heenan since I first heard him working with Gorilla Monsoon back in 1991. Whether he was a heel manager or a heel color commentator he always was the best so I’m looking forward to watching this DVD.
The Main Characters
We’re talking about one man only here – the one and only Bobby Heenan. He is best known as both the greatest heel managers and one of the greatest heel color commentators in every wrestling company he worked at – from the AWA to the WWE to WCW.
Bobby’s had a long career that started in the territories in 1965, moving to the AWA, progessing into the WWE (including managing Andre The Giant in Wrestlemania III), and finally in WCW where he stayed until its demise in 2001.
The Film (50:14)
Before I even start – the main DVD menu for the collection has theme music that sounds like it is right out of Shaft. A highlight reel of Bobby’s great moments accompanies a monologue (with way too much echo on it). Unfortunately, this narrator with the echo issue continued the whole feature. It just seems mixed oddly with the music.
We start at the beginning – Bobby was born in 1944 and right away Bobby’s wife (Cindi) gets in on here to talk about his early days. Bobby was raised by his mother and grandmother (his father wasn’t there) and his mother managed a high-end hotel in Chicago. They moved to Indianapolis when his aunt died and he had to drop out of school in 8th grade to work and provide for the family. He worked at the Coliseum there starting in 1961 and he met a bunch of wrestler’s there like The Axe Henning and Rashcke, both of who appear here. He was offered a position in 1965 and he managed the Blackjacks in Indiana. He was soon dubbed the Brain for his intelligence and he always ended up managing the top talent.
He went to the AWA and immediately managed the AWA champion, Nick Bockwinkel and Ray Stevens, Nick’s tag-team partner (they were tag champs, too). Though loved by the boys backstage, the fans just HATED him. He was so good at inciting crowds that one night, on January 25th, 1975, a fan took fire at Heenan with the gun he brought into the arena. A video is shown that highlights a lot of Heenan’s AWA run – with memorable interview clips and clips of Heenan taking a beating that he probably deserved. It was always a highlight in the AWA when Heenan would wrestle – something that didn’t happen too often. One of the biggest gimmicks he had was a weasel suit match (which he’d always lose, of course). Soon Heenan’s antice and heat brought the Brain to the WWE.
Heenan was brought in to manage Jesse Ventura but Jesse had leg problems and retired, soon going to manage Big John Studd. A lot of time is made about those that Heenan managed, though it really shows members of his “family” from way different periods, going from the Islanders to Perfect to Rude. Lawler mentions his career, though I don’t think the two overlapped in the WWE at all. In 1985 WWE was going into the whole “Rock N’ Wrestling” direction and Heenan was a big part of the show – managing Studd against Andre The Giant in the $15,000 Body Slam Challenge. Heenan famously stole the money after that match. We move to 1987 with Heenan managing Andre (No mention of Bundy and Wrestlemania II?) and of course the big feud that culminated at Wrestlemania III, the biggest event in wrestling history.
Heenan had one of the best nicknames for a heel manager – “The Weasel.” In fact, the AWA gimmick where Heenan wore a Weasel suit was brought into the WWE and used in matches against the Ultimate Warrior. Heenan had a very unique ability to elevate the wrestler’s he managed, and careers arguably were made with Heenan in people’s corners. Mr. Perfect is one such person whose WWE career was advanced by Heenan. Rick Rude is another one shown, The Brainbusters (though they were Horsemen and certainly Heenan didn’t make them) although Matt Striker says that Heenan made them great. Okay, that’s reaching. I like Heenan, too, but c’mon, the Horsemen were THE biggest thing in the NWA for YEARS before they became the Brainbusters in the WWE.
Heenan’s interview skills are highlighted, rightly so. He was just incredibly entertaining. While talking about his interviews, why not talk about him on TNT, or on Primetime? They mention Heenan and Gorilla Monsoon together and there should be 60-minutes just on their Primetime stuff! The two had great chemistry and were great friends. Vince talks about Bobby Heenan’s own show (and he didn’t tell USA Network about it) and Vince called the show way ahead of its time. Heenan soon transitioned into a color commentator and of course he became one of the best in that position, too! He enjoyed not being in the ring all the time and thrived in his new spot. He and Monsoon dominated the announce booth with some of the best commentary ever (though the team of Monsoon and Ventura was quite awesome, too).
Bobby parted ways with the WWE in 1993 to work in Hollywood. He was “fired” on-screen by Gorilla Monsoon on the December 6th, 1993 episode of Raw. Speaking of Raw, why are there no moments from him on Raw? Remember the first episode where he tried to get in a whole bunch of times? Heenan’s Hollywood gig didn’t go as planned since he was offered a good contract to work for WCW and Bobby was soon showing up on the Turner channels. This enabled Bobby to be closer to his daughter and better for his family. Plus, Bobby didn’t have to travel as much. Unfortunately, WCW wasn’t as good of an experience that Heenan hoped for. Well, it was WCW. At the end of 1999 Bobby was diagnosed with throat cancer. Bobby was a fighter and battled it head-on and did travel to fan-fests and the sort. Bobby was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2004 and gave one of the best induction speeches (of course).
Are you kidding me? That’s the first thing I thought when I saw the 50-minute running time. Surely Bobby Heenan deserves more than that! The second thing I noticed (which was a bit sad) was that Heenan himself didn’t appear on here. I don’t know if it’s because of his cancer but if it is that’s just sad. I hate cancer and how it literally destroys people. The two things I mentioned actually ties together. It’s a shorter feature because the man it featured wasn’t able to talk about his own history. So the documentary instead focuses a lot on old clips, and interviews with the talent around Heenan at the time. The time spent on his AWA career was short (about 5-minutes), a lot of his big feuds were brushed over in the WWE and it seems like this feature was just intent on showing Heenan highlights instead of developing this into a 90-minute program that featured his big feuds, his parts in them, and more on his great interviews and segments with Gorilla. I see this as a missed opportunity of what could’ve been. The 50-minutes should’ve been JUST for his WWE career. I mean, I appreciate what we got and it is a nice retrospective that they can put On Demand for $4 but in ways it is a disappointment given other features that have come before.
1) The Executioners (0:38)
This is Heenan speaking, talking about managing a band called the Executioners (everything they played they murdered!). Why is Heenan on here in the extras and not in the main program?
2) AWA Manager of the Year 1976 (2:19)
This is from AWA All-Star Wrestling, 12/25/76. Heenan is presented the trophy for the AWA Manager of the Year. He thanks Nick Bockwinkel but then gets smacked by Ray Stevens because Heenan shooed him away. Bockwinkel makes the save only to get pounded himself. Stevens then breaks the trophy afterwards. He’s just pissed that Heenan treats him so poorly. Heenan’s not too happy about Steven’s behavior.
3) The Wrestling Bear (1:00)
Rashcke talks about a stipulation where if Heenan loses he and his wrestler must wrestle a bear. Heenan tried sneaking in on the bear but the bear was onto him!
4) Centerfold (1:35)
Heenan and Bockwinkel were going to do an interview where Heenan does his thing first and then Bockwinkel. Nick didn’t know what he was going to do so Bobby brings out a wrestling magazine and opened it up (to a Hustler Centerfold he taped in there) and the announcer went right to commercial.
5) “Honey, I’m Home!” (0:43)
Heenan yells at his wife while he’s being recorded. Heenan’s great here, “if I wasn’t mic’ed.” He’s a funny guy.
6) The Other Weasel Suit (0:21)
Jessica (Bobby’s daughter) has a Weasel Suit, too! She would go trick or treating in it and sometimes they would just dress up in it to play.
7) “I’m Not a Weasel” (5:33)
This is from the October 2nd, 1984 episode of Tuesday Night Titans. He’s greeted to a chorus of boos (from the 4 people filming this I’d imagine) and Vince actually mentions Heenan in Minneapolis. Heenan tells us he’s the Brain and he turns people into champions. The man that Heenan plans on taking to the top is Big John Studd. We see Heenan’s first managerial job in the WWE with John Studd which just so happens to take place in Minneapolis. The fans (who know their AWA) chant Weasel right away. Vince questions Heenan about being a weasel and Heenan tells us he can’t be a weasel because of their physical dissimilarities. Lord Alfred Hayes sings Pop Goes The Weasel just to rile Heenan.
8) Bobby The Brain Heenan & Gorilla Monsoon go to Busch Gardens (6:30)
This is from the December 12th episode of Prime Time Wrestling. I actually remember seeing this before. Heenan thinks he’s on vacation and Gorilla tells him they’re here for work. They are there to find the Bushwhackers and Heenan doesn’t want to do that. They travel on a flat-bed truck through a bunch of giraffes and zebras. Hippo’s makes an appearance, they go through a tunnel, a mother and her daughter say hello to Monsoon (and Heenan can’t stand their rudeness), and the little girl calls Heenan weasel. They finally find the Bushwhackers on one of the water rides and they chase Heenan away as the Bushwhackers go crazy.
9) Get Your Popcorn Ready (1:54)
Jessica talks about traveling on the road with her dad and being in front of the camera. In fact, on the September 21st, 1991 episode of Superstars the Bully Bill Busick stole her popcorn and then tossed it into her face! Looking at her, it was the same girl who stomped on Heenan’s foot in the extra before. She also had her balloons stolen by the Bully (on Wrestling Challenge two days later). Jessica then went to Vince and asked to get paid and Bobby was mortified when he saw her asking Vince for money!! Hey, I would be, too. The Ultimate Warrior did the same thing and he got fired!
10) Golfing Tips with Bobby Heenan & Gene Okerlund (7:45)
The two were at the Sterling Farms Golf Course in October of 1991 to show people some golf tips. Heenan is dressed ridiculously, as well. Okerlund demonstrates the chip shot and Heenan tosses his club on the backswing. We move to the sand trap (complete with Okerlund hitting the ball and then the ball coming in from the other side when we go to the opposite camera angle) and then to putting. Heenan fails (or cheats) at everything, which is part of the humor. Mooney mentions this is on Rampage 1991, a coliseum video from way back when.
11) Bobby’s Big Entrance (3:19)
This is Bobby’s entrance to Wrestlemania IX which would turn out to be his last Wrestlemania while being Jim Ross’ first one. Bobby entered on a camel and of course he’s facing the wrong way.
12) Gorilla Monsoon Fires Bobby Heenan (3:21)
Heenan was fired on the December 6th, 1993 episode of Monday Night Raw. Monsoon makes his way out as Vince hypes the next week’s Raw. Gorilla tells Heenan he’s had enough of his comments and as a result he’s been fired. Gorilla tosses Heenan out, along with his belongings. I remember watching this as a kid and I didn’t think he was actually fired but he never showed up on Raw again.
13) The Humor of Bobby The Brain Heenan (1:53)
This is just a bunch of clips of Heenan’s funniest moments with Vince, Jessica, Cindi adding their two cents on Heenan, who gets the last word here.
14) A Farewell to Gorilla (0:34)
This was from the start of the October 11th, 1999 Monday Nitro and Heenan gives a very heart-felt statement saying that the Pearly Gates in Heaven will be called the Gorilla Position now. Heenan was really broken up about that, showing what good friends the two were.
15) The Wedding Eulogy (0:46)
Jessica remembers getting ready for her wedding and Heenan was walking around with Jessica’s bra.
16) “Freakish Noises” (2:05)
This is from Wrestlemania XX (an event held on March 14th, 2004). Coach is in the hallway wondering where those freakish noises are coming from. He walks out of a room to see Mean Gene walking out with his clothes unkempt. Bobby Heenan then walks out (again with his shirt unkempt and lipstick all over his face). Coach wonders what was going on but they say they were playing poker. Then Moolah and Mae Young walk out! Could it be?
17) Hall of Fame Induction Speech (32:27)
This is from Heenan’s Hall of Fame Induction from March 13th, 2004, or the day before Wrestlemania. I’ve seen this before on the 2004 Hall of Fame Ceremony DVD and it’s really an awesome speech. Here’s what I wrote about it then, and my feelings on it still stands:
Okerlund introduces Bobby the Brain Heenan and almost calls him the Weasel by mistake. Heenan is one of the best speakers in the business and one of the best managers ever. Jack Lanza, a long-time WWE Official, inducts Heenan. Lanza tells a story of Heenan’s first night in the business and getting paid three bucks for his work, including the bonus. Bobby apologizes for the way he sounds, as he is recovering from throat cancer and the audience gives him a standing ovation for that. Heenan still has the wit and humour that he had back in the glory days of the 80’s and definitely gives one of the best speeches that was completely off the cuff, too. I’m sorry for the guy that has to follow him. He talks about all the guys who he managed, including almost all the guys that were inducted. He slips and says WWF by mistake which leads to a rant on the wildlife in the WWF at the time (including a weasel and a gorilla). He continues with his speech and it is touching, and he stayed with wrestling because he loved the business and the people he worked with. Heenan gets emotional only at the end when he says he wishes Monsoon was there with him. Well, I can safely say that was the best speech of the night.
1) Bobby Heenan vs. Lord Alfred Hayes (8:39)
This is an AWA Match from January 13th, 1980. It was billed as a Battle of the Managers! This is joined in progress with Heenan holding a Full Nelson. Hayes quickly breaks and Heenan cowers to the corner. I didn’t know that Hayes was a manager back in the AWA. Heenan is slammed into the turnbuckle and is then sent through the middle ropes to the outside. Hayes follows and then slams Heenan’s head into a chair. Heenan takes over in the ring with the use of a foreign object and the fans start at Heenan with the weasel chants. Hayes fires back with an eye-rake and then chokes Heenan using the strap from his tights! Heenan blocks a whip to the corner but a blind charge finds Hayes’ boot. Hayes covers using the ropes to get the pinfall at 6:51. Heenan gets some measure of revenge with a chair afterwards and you can’t really blame him, considering Hayes cheated more than Heenan! This wasn’t good wrestling in the least, but it was two managers and as far as manager matches go it wasn’t too bad. *.
2) Bobby Heenan vs. Greg Gagne (13:20)
This is their famous Weasel Suit match from August 17th, 1980. This is joined in progress. Basically, the stipulation is this, if Gagne defeats Heenan, Heenan will have to wear a weasel suit. Greg was the son of Verne, who ran the promotion, and people watched this match just to see Heenan get his comeuppance. Gagne pounds on Heenan in the corner for a little while until Heenan actually gets some offense in with what is probably a loaded cast and even some near-falls. I don’t know who the worse worker is, Gagne or Heenan. The company may not have tanked if they let Heenan run with the title a bit. Gagne beats up on Heenan some more, then puts the sleeper on him and surprisingly Heenan fights back. This is way too long for a manager vs. wrestler match. They keep going back and forth, we get a referee bump, and Gagne wins with a bodypress from the second rope. It came 6:25 of what we saw. Bobby refuses to put on the Weasel suit, so Gagne puts a sleeper on him to knock him out and then forces the suit upon him. As I said, this was way too long for a manager vs. wrestler match. The stipulation would be used again, in almost exactly the same manner, by the WWE some ten years later in a match between Heenan and the Ultimate Warrior. Boring match (DUD), but entertaining post-match activity. Bobby waking up in the weasel suit is just classic.
3) Hulk Hogan vs. Nick Bockwinkel & Bobby Heenan (19:12)
This handicap match is from May 2nd, 1981 and was seen on AWA Television. I’m taking the rest of this from my Hogan Unreleased Collection DVD Review.
Rod Trongard is the announcer here. This is just labeled as AWA – May 5th, 1981. I guess no one knows where this took place? This is going to be tag rules and immediately Hogan is double-teamed by Bockwinkel and Heenan, who was starting to be called the Weasel by this point. Hogan ducks out and the two heels manage to clothesline each other and Hogan rips his shirt off. He cleans house and Bobby does his dramatic oversell before performing a double noggin knocker. The heels take a breather until Bockwinkel returns and locks-up with Hogan. Hogan shoves him off; right into Heenan. The heels continue trying to double-team but Hogan always gets the upper hand and Bockwinkel and Heenan keep colliding. Hogan catches Bockwinkel with a side headlock in the corner but Bockwinkel is close enough to tag in Heenan and Heenan just stomps away at Hogan. Hogan releases the hold but he starts Hulking up and he pummels Heenan. He sends him into the corner and Heenan shoulders himself on the ringpost. He goes after Bockwinkel, too. He diverts his attention onto Heenan and this allows Bockwinkel to axe-handle Hogan from behind. Heenan gets back to the ring and tags in Bockwinkel who goes to work on Hogan. Hogan is double-teamed and choked by the dastardly duo but Hogan clotheslines Bockwinkel down and drops an elbow for two. Heenan makes the save and he starts untying the top turnbuckle. Bockwinkel is atomic dropped but Hogan falls victim to more chicanery and the heels are back in control. The ref can’t stop this double-team at all. Hogan is sent into the corner ringpost from the apron but he puts on the brakes and elbows down Heenan and Bockwinkel. Hulk is in complete Hulk-up mode and Bockwinkel’s shots have no effect. Heenan tries in vain to harm Hogan but he’s choked out by Hogan. Bockwinkel attacks from behind with an axe-handle and covers for two. Hogan kicks out, sending Bockwinkel onto the ref, knocking him out. Heenan tries using a foreign object on Hogan but Hogan uses it on Heenan instead. Heenan is sent to the corner and out of the ring leaving Bockwinkel to get sent headfirst into the turnbuckle ten times. It’s big boot time and the leg drop ends this at 14:39. It is amazing how Hogan refined his matches to this point and he would basically work the same big moves for the rest of his career. This was Hogan like he was in the WWE in 1984. This was a fun tag match that showed Hogan beating the two heels but it wasn’t exactly high on things like move sets and decent in-ring moves. I liked it for what it was. **1/2.
4) Bobby Heenan vs. Salvatore Bellomo (11:37)
Heenan fought Bellomo at Madison Square Garden on November 26th, 1984. This seems like a very interesting match-up, meaning I don’t know what precisely precipitated this match. Heenan must’ve just entered the WWE by this point and possibly didn’t start his stable yet. Alfred Hayes tells Gorilla about their past history, referencing their AWA days without actually saying the promotion, which ties in nicely on this DVD set considering we have seen one of their encounters. I don’t know if that was intentional or not but if it was I salute the guys who made this DVD for having some sort of clue in putting this together. Anyway, Bellomo was never much of anything in the WWE and doesn’t look that much more impressive in terms of build or height than Heenan. Seriously, Heenan looks more imposing than Bellomo. It’s actually sad. And it’s not like Heenan is Phil Jackson, former 7-foot NBA center coaching the team and standing taller than most. Heenan never had an illustrious wrestling career and was basically always a manager in the AWA. Heenan stalls because he’s a heel and he does all the usual heel moves (begging off in the corner, complaining of a closed fist) before grabbing a side headlock. Bellomo breaks and the two collide in the center of the ring, leading to a double KO. Bellomo slams Heenan’s head into the mat. Heenan responds by dumping Bellomo. Bellomo tries to sunset flip his way back in but Heenan blocks with a punch to the face and then sits down on him to get the pinfall at 8:56. They played this like a straight match instead of a manager wrestling. Heenan was definitely very weasely here, though he did get a clean pinfall on Bellomo. I was surprised that Bellomo lost cleanly. He will forever be the jobber of all jobbers for the rest of time because of that. *1/4.
5) Bobby Heenan vs. Ultimate Warrior (12:26)
This was featured on Wrestlefest 1988 and took place on July 31st, 1988. It borrowed the Weasel Suit idea from the AWA. This is a Milwaukee stadium (home of the Brewer’s I am guessing) and The Crusher is brought out as the special guest ring announcer. Heenan, doing a good job as a heel, starts the match on the outside. Warrior has to chase him and he eventually brings him back in, slamming his head into the turnbuckles. Heenan grabs an illegal object from his tights and jabs it into the Warrrior’s throat. He does a nice job of hiding it from the referee. Heenan ends up losing the spike and Warrior makes his comeback. Heenan does his version of the Flair flip in the corner before Warrior grabs a sleeper. Heenan is out at 4:57 and since he’s knocked out it allows Warrior to put the suit on Heenan. Warrior takes forever to do it, too. His reaction when he wakes up to find it on him was pretty funny and the best part of the match.
6) 1992 Royal Rumble (1:08:33)
The greatest Rumble of all time is from January 19th, 1992. Here’s my review from the Royal Rumble Anthology DVD. I should mention that any reference to Heenan was done when I first reviewed it and wasn’t added due to this release. I have to say that this was one of Heenan’s shining moments as a commentator, just going through the range of emotions he did as Flair’s manager, from his debut at #3 to his eventual win.
The British Bulldog is #1 and the announcers mention he won a rumble at Royal Albert Hall recently as Heenan awaits for #2. He breathes a sigh of relief when its Ted DiBiase. Wow, he has gotten #1, #2, and #30 in his three previous Rumbles, guess which number he bought. Slugfest to start, ending up with Ted working over Davey Boy in the corner. Ted with a suplex, then a gut-wrench suplex, then another suplex. Ted goes to toss out Bulldog, but Bulldog hangs on and clotheslines DiBiase out at 1:20. That was a quick night for DiBiase. Ric Flair is in at #3 and Bobby Heenan is incensed, (“No, Dammit!”) as Gorilla tells him his chances of winning are over. Flair is quickly gorilla pressed but he sends Bulldog to the corner. Bulldog comes right out with a clothesline. They square off a bit until Sags of the Nasty Boys comes in at #4. Davey Boy is double teamed, but comes back with a double clothesline. Bulldog sends Sags over the top, but Sags holds on and brags on the apron, leading to Bulldog dropkicking him out at 5:25. Haku comes out at #5 and again Bulldog is double-teamed by the heels. Haku piledrives Bulldog, allowing Flair to attack Haku. Bulldog revives and dumps Haku nonchalantly at 8:00. Shawn Michaels comes in at #6 and Flair goes right after him. They exchange chops, and Flair gets pummeled. He’s back body dropped coming out of the corner, then gets Sweet Chin Music when it was still called the crescent kick. Now Bulldog takes it to Michaels and clotheslines him over the top, but Shawn holds onto the apron. Michaels gets crotched on the top rope as these three are working a good mini-match. Flair tosses Michaels over the top, but not out, and Tito Santana comes in at #7. He goes right after Flair. Nothing much happens until Flair low blows Bulldog. Barbarian is in at #8 as Tito pounds Flair in the corner. Texas Tornado is in at #9 and again he goes right after Flair. Discus punch and we get the revered Flair Flop. Shawn tries to sell the discus punch and does a flop of his own, but he’s no Flair. Shawn is slingshot into the corner by Bulldog, and besides Tito and Barbarian, its some good action in here. Repo Man is #10, and he takes his time getting into the ring.
Greg Valentine is in at #11, and he starts chopping Flair. Volkoff is in at #12, and he starts attacking Repo Man as we have a whole lotta standing around. Valentine puts Flair in the figure four as Volkoff is tossed at 21:30. Big Boss Man runs in at #13, as Valentine is tossed at 22:35. Shawn teases going out again as Repo is tossed at 23:00. Flair back body drops Bulldog out at 23:39, then does the same to Texas Tornado at 23:49. Tito and Shawn Michaels eliminate each other at 24:09 as Hercules runs out at #14. We see the workrate die as Barbarian, Hercules, Big Boss Man and Ric Flair are in the ring. Barbarian and Ric high-five, then Flair turns around and chops him, getting gorilla press slammed as a result. Barbarian is about to eliminate Flair when Hercules pushes Barbarian out at 25:16. Boss Man and Hercules go over the top courtesy of Flair at 25:22, but Boss Man hangs onto the rope and stays in. He takes it to Flair but misses a high cross body and he eliminates himself at 25:54. Flair is in there alone, until Piper comes in at #15. Piper and Flair start brawling, go through the ropes to the outside and continue brawling, before ending up inside. Piper with an airplane spin, then a sleeper. Jake Roberts comes in at #16, and I guess he is heel now. He comes in and stays in the corner, waiting for Piper to come over. When Piper’s back is turned, Jake attacks. Flair recovers and puts the figure four on Jake, until Piper starts stomping both of them. Hacksaw comes in at #17, as Bobby says it’s a conspiracy that Flair got #3, and he knows Hogan had something to do with it. Piper and Duggan double-team Flair until Jake intervenes as IRS walks down at #18. Not too much happens until #19 comes down and its Jimmy Snuka. Undertaker is #20, and you know some dead weight will be going soon. Sure enough, Snuka is knocked out by Taker at 37:16.
Heenan goes crazy when Flair goes after Undertaker. It doesn’t go well for Flair. Macho Man is #21 and he goes right after Jake Roberts, but instead gets blindsided by Taker and IRS. Jake bailed when Savage came in but now he’s down, and he goes after Savage. He really is a snake. Jake misses a short arm clothesline and goes banana on Jake, hitting a double axe-handle from the top. He knees Jake out at 39:35, then hops over the top to follow at 39:37, eliminating himself. Taker goes through the bottom rope and rolls Savage back in, but Savage comes right back out. It seems Savage isn’t eliminated because he wasn’t *thrown* out, he propelled himself out, so Savage is back in. Bezerker is #22. Flair goes on the apron and tries to suplex Savage out, but Flair is suplexed back in. Virgil is #23 and he goes after IRS. Taker almost has Flair out, but Flair keeps holding on. Mustafa (the Iron Sheik) is #24. Piper stands on the turnbuckles, pounding away at Flair as Taker just stares him down, then pulls him down and starts beating on him. There’s a lot of people in there now, and #25 Rick Martel tells me he won’t be cleaning house anytime soon. He’s the current record holder for length of time in the Rumble at 52 minutes. Mustafa is tossed at 48:50 but by whom I don’t know. I was playing NCAA March Madness 2005 and missed that little nugget. Hogan is #26, and the crowd erupts. I predict he eliminates at least one before ripping off his shirt. He goes after Flair and Taker, and even for him that’s ambitious. The heels start double and triple teaming him as Heenan begs for Flair to win. Virgil sends Martel through the ropes, but not over the top. Hogan clotheslines Undertaker out at 51:00, then back body drops Bezerker out at 51:08, and then tears off his shirt. Hacksaw and Virgil eliminate each other at 51:31 when Virgil hits a crossbody on Hacksaw and momentum takes them both over. Flair chops Hogan in the corner, and he no sells right away. Skinner comes down at #27. Hogan puts Flair over the top, but Flair lands on the apron. Hogan is sent to the corner by Flair, who lets out a Whooo, then Hogan bounds out and clotheslines the real world champ down. Sgt. Slaughter is #28, and he’s a face again. Skinner is dumped by Martel and Piper at 54:20. Flair just set the record and Heenan says he should get the title for that.
Sid Justice is #29, and its bye-bye dead weight. IRS is almost sent out by him, but IRS hangs onto the apron. Warlord is our final entrant and now it’s just about clearing the ring. Flair and Hogan battle on the mat, after going through the bottom rope, and Flair is suplexed on the mat. Sid sends Slaughter hard to the corner, and Sarge is up and over and out at 58:58. Flair gets a big boot from Hogan inside the ring. IRS tries to send out Piper but Piper holds onto the apron and pulls IRS out by his tie at 59:53. Hogan and Sid dump Warlord at 60:17, then Sid eliminates both Piper and Martel at 60:40 leaving us with a final four of Macho Man, Sid Justice, Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair. Wow, all four were or will become WWE champs. Sid puts Savage on the top turnbuckle, and Flair knees Sid from behind, sending Savage out at 61:05. Flair and Hogan square off, and Hogan has Flair over the ropes and on the aprons, trying to push him out. While he’s doing that, Sid comes up from behind and tosses Hogan out at 61:34, which meets to crowd approval. Hogan, ever the sportsman, pulls Sid by the arm, allowing Flair to pus him up and over 62:05 to become the undisputed WWE champ, and set a length record of 60 minutes. Flair has no chance to celebrate though, as Sid and Hogan square off in the ring. This was a very fast-paced rumble, with Flair doing an amazing job. A few slow points could have kept it from perfect, but the hot finish more than made up for it. *****.
7) Gimmick Battle Royal (14:46)
This was featured at Wrestlemania X-7, held on April 1st, 2001. It was a really fun idea, actually. A whole bunch of old wrestlers with some crazy gimmicks would compete in a little Battle Royal. Commenting this was none other than Bobby Heenan and Gene Okerlund. I feel bad for people growing up today listening to Cole and Lawler when I grew up listening to Heenan and Monsoon. Here are the participants: The Bushwhackers, Duke “The Dumpster” Droese, Iron Sheik, Earthquake, The Goon, Doink (who unfortunately doesn’t have the evil music), Kamala (with Kimchee and Harvey Whippleman), Repo Man, Jim Cornette, Nikolai Volkoff, Michael PS Hayes (with Badstreet USA shirt), One Man Gang, Gobbly Gooker (Heenan to Okerlund – Didn’t you use to date her?), Tugboat, Hillbilly Jim, Brother Love and Sgt. Slaughter. Okay, so introductions alone burned up about 10-minutes. Big slugfest to start and someone is out already. The eliminations will be fast and furious. Gooker is gone 22 seconds one. Tugboat follows shortly afterwards at the hands of former teammate Earthquake. Quake (called John Tenta by Okerlund) is dumped by Kamala. Kimchee is dumped by Kamala, as is Luke, then Cornette and then Duke. Goon eliminates himself and Volkoff is gone shortly afterwards. Butch is done for the night. Doink is eliminated, Hayes is dumped,, OMG is done, and then Kamala leaving a final four of Slaughter, Sheik, Brother Love and Hillbilly Jim. So Slaughter dumps Brother Love who is then dumped by Jim who is then dumped by Sheik – giving him the victory at 3:05. Slaughter comes back in and puts the Cobra Clutch on Sheik. Hey, is that Teddy Long officiating, too? This was really bad, but bad in a good way if that makes any sense. For nostalgia purposes it was cool AND it was short so it had that going for it. Let’s be generous and call it **.
This is the standard Dolby Digital 5.1 offering WWE usually puts out. It sounds great and visually it looks great, too. This is the newer WWE Widescreen DVD’s and given the content here, there’re a lot of sidebars. I’m used to it but others who haven’t seen the most recent DVD’s should be aware of it.
C) Packaging / Liner Notes
This is a two-disc set so it’s the clamshell treatment. There’re no liner notes (the WWE is environmental friendly!!) but most of what you need is on the back or on the DVD menu’s.
The usual WWE promos start off this collection (WWE Classics on Demand [still not on Time Warner Cable], WWE Home Video, John Cena Experience, Wrestling’s Highest Flyers (a decent collection), Knuckleheads featuring the Big Show, and the Don’t Try This At Home spot). Man, this turned out to be a bit of a disappointment. The feature was criminally short (this should’ve been at least 90-minutes, possibly even 2 so that it could cover his WHOLE career, not just Wrestlemania and Wrestlemania III) and although the extras were cool, those were lacking, too. Instead of Rumble 1992 (which was GREAT, but available elsewhere), why not put all his Bobby Heenan Show episodes? Those are not available anywhere else and they focus ENTIRELY on Heenan and would’ve been a great addition here.
9.0-9.5 Near Perfect, Highly Recommended
8.0-8.5 Really good disc, Recommended
7.0-7.5 Good DVD, Mildly recommended
6.0-6.5 Above Average DVD. Mildest of mild recommendations
5.0-5.5 Decent all around disc, but catch it on TV
4.0-4.5 Great Movie but horrible DVD
3.0-3.5 Horrible movie but great DVD
2.0-2.5 There’s at least some merit to this DVD, but not much.
1.0-1.5 Horrible DVD, don’t even bother
0.0-0.5 Worst DVD ever