Bobby "The Brain Heenan is a name which has become eponymous with the role of a manager in professional wrestling. Most notable for his career as the cowardly "Weasel", the former manager, wrestler and commentator has been anything but a coward in his battle against the greatest rival of his career; throat cancer.
The legendary Bobby "The Brain" Heenan is one of the most iconic wrestling managers of all time. Beginning his career as a manager in 1965, Heenan became notable for creating the personal of a cowardly heel character that would ignite the flame and irritate the opponents of the wrestler he managed before running away and fleeing from the battle ground. This persona followed Heenan throughout his career as a manager and commentator.
Heenan also took his character to the ring as an in-ring performer. While most memorable as a manager and commentator, Heenan was also a prominent wrestler out in Japan until suffering a career-ending neck injury while on a tour of the Orient in the 1980's. His only other in-ring appearances after that were as a "comedy" character in the WWF where he had minimal ring-time and did not have to take any major bumps.
Since leaving WCW in 2000, Heenan returned to work as a manager for his long-time friend Curt Hennig in the XWF promotion ran by Jimmy Hart. However, an absence from the wrestling business shortly afterward sparked some concern among fans. The suspicions were later confirmed by Heenan via his official website where he wrote: "Yes, I do have Throat Cancer, but I plan on beating this too. If the late gorilla Monsoon couldn't shut me up, Cancer isn't going to either".
Heenan's cancer sparked huge attention in the wrestling industry. However, Heenan remained true to his word and after a lengthy and frightening battle that nearly took his life; he went on the beat the cancer. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2004 where he tearfully paid tribute to his fallen-friend Gorilla Monsoon. Since beating his greatest adversary, the brave Heenan has suffered massive changes to his appearance and his voice which is a common side effect of both the throat cancer and the treatment.
A true fighting warrior through and through; who would have expected a return to the world of professional wrestling? Heenan made several appearances after beating his cancer in such promotions as Ring of Honor as well as TNA Wrestling in late 2005 and then again in 2006 which sparked the return to his manager role for the first time in years for Robert Roode. He also provided commentary for the 2004 video game, Showdown: Legends of Wrestling.
As of 2009, Heenan recently underwent reconstructive jaw surgery and is currently in the process of teaching himself how to speak once again. Looking somewhat thin and frail but otherwise in a healthy state, the bravely fighting Bobby "The Brain" Heenan has finally proved the skeptical fans wrong after a career of over 40 years of telling them; The Brain is NOT a coward. When all is said and done and when The Brain is back to 100%, what is next for the legendary Bobby Heenan in the world of professional wrestling?