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WWE Hall of Famer Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan dies at 73

For The Baltimore Sun

Bobby Heenan, who was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2004 after a famed career as a manager and broadcaster, died Sunday, the WWE announced. He was 73.

Heenan was, in my opinion, the most important non-wrestler in wrestling history. His managerial resume is a who's who of wrestling. Andre the Giant. Mr. Perfect. King Kong Bundy. Big John Studd. Ravishing Rick Rude. The Brainbusters. Lex Luger. All of them would have suffered greatly without having Heenan by their side. And he didn't just help the people he managed. He was an instrumental foil to so many wrestlers. Hulkamania doesn't have the length and reach the heights it did without Heenan. In a company with so many disliked wrestlers, Heenan was the one to draw the most ire from fans. Anyone he butted heads with, whether it was Hogan, Ultimate Warrior, Demolition, or any of his former proteges, benefited from the crowd hating Heenan as much as they did.

Even if he was just a manager, he'd still be one of the most important people in wrestling. But that's not all. Heenan's work as an color announcer is unparalleled in the business. Whether it was with Gorilla Monsoon, Jim Ross, or Tony Schiavone in WCW, he was a voice that was cherished, even as he was ridiculing the audience's favorite wrestler. Some of the biggest moments in wrestling, like Shawn Michaels sending Marty Jannetty through the barber shop window, or Hulk Hogan joining the nWo, wouldn't be the same without Heenan's voice as part of it.

Jim Ross was the first to tweet about Heenan's death, saying he was saddened to hear of his passing. The confirmation was quickly reported, and people all around the wrestling world tweeted their memories and condolences. A cause of death has not yet been confirmed for Heenan, who had been battling throat cancer since 2002.

Heenan was someone who seemed to have impacted everyone in wrestling, even if they never shared a room with him.

Questions? Thoughts? Leave them in the comment section here, email me, or find me on Twitter: @TheAOster. You can also hear my podcast, Jobbing Out, at https://soundcloud.com/jobbingout

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