Jim Ross on Bobby Heenan, Gorilla Monsoon

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July 31, 2012

Jim Ross recalls his partnerships with legendary broadcasters Jim Ross and Bobby Heenan.

When I first arrived in WWE after having a somewhat high profile on-air role in WCW, it was WrestleMania season. In a way, I was perceived to be the voice of WCW after the Ted Turner/TBS buyout of Jim Crockett Promotions. That “claim to fame” did not endear me to many WWE personnel.

So, the first day that I arrived at the WWE TV studio to begin my new job, let’s just say that I wasn’t greeted so warmly by many WWE staff members and a few of on-air talents. Think horrific halitosis, spinach on teeth, etc.

Two men that did treat me well from day one were Bobby Heenan and Gorilla Monsoon. Thanks to them being old pros and having the class of a pair of WWE Hall of Famers and true gentlemen, I was given a chance to prove myself to them as a human being. Essentially, “The Brain” and Gorilla welcomed me into the territory.

I have no issue to this very day in saying that I love both men and that they will always hold a special place in my heart. Both were old school and from a different generation that judged a man on how he treated them and did not base their relationship on someone competing for their spot, having to share their TV time, or where one previously worked.

My first WWE experience is generally thought of as broadcasting at WrestleMania IX in Las Vegas, and it was my first live broadcast. Yes, my first day on the job while working without a net was at WWE’s biggest event of the year, outdoors at Caesar’s Palace.

However, prior to flying to Vegas from Connecticut, on the preceding Thursday, I did Wrestling Challenge voiceovers with Heenan that aired after WrestleMania IX. We immediately had chemistry. He was a brilliant, old school antagonist who I had been taught to always allow the last word and generally Bobby’s last word was pure gold.

Jim Ross pays tribute to Bobby "The Brain" Heenan.

“The Weasel” — or “Wease” as we called him — had as good natural timing as any performer with which I’ve ever worked. He was naturally funny (never took a note, by the way) and enhanced every single talent, including the heroes, even though Bobby did not support the fan favorites as the bad guy announcer. Bobby Heenan did what every announcer should strive to do and that is to make talent bigger stars than they are and to embellish every talent’s TV persona. 

Bobby was SO funny that many times during taped, voiceover segments he would make me laugh so hard that we would have to stop rolling so that I could get regain my composure. He loved doing that because he knew that if it entertained me then it would likely be entertaining to the viewer. There is no doubt in my mind that if Bobby had chosen to be a standup comedian or a comedic actor that he would have been tremendous. But the kid who used to buy mice and milk for Dick the Bruiser’s reptiles in Indianapolis blessed the wresting business by being in it.    

Bobby and I jelled on Wrestling Challenge broadcasts and, for those that remember those days, let me assure you that they were some of the most entertaining times of my life. The Brain truly helped me become better at my on-air role and he entertained me as much as he did his fans. I will forever consider it a huge honor to have been paired with Bobby Heenan and I think about him daily as he battles a stiffly dealt hand with health issues.

There is always the ongoing argument as to who the greatest performer in the history of the business is and there will never be a definitive answer because the question is too subjective. However, for my money, as an in-ring talent, a manager, an interviewer, and a broadcaster NO ONE has done it all BETTER than Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. I can make a valid argument that Bobby Heenan is pro wrestling’s great performer.

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Jim Ross Bio, Videos, Photos, and News Articles Bobby Heenan Bio, Videos, Photos, and News Articles Gorilla Monsoon Bio, Videos, Photos, and News Articles

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