Kayfabe, Lies and Alibis: Bobby Heenan and Jim Cornette Shoot Interview

The Brain and Corny tell many wacky and wild tales from the past 50 years of wrasslin!

Presented by Ring of Honor

We open with dueling jokes being shot back and forth. Two masters of their craft trading zingers is awesome.

Bobby Heenan tells a story about staying in a 6 dollar a night motel with 6 wrestlers sharing a room. They had one light bulb that hung from the middle of the room.

Cornette breaks into a long story about chasing a raccoon around Castle Cornette with a loaded gun while naked. The cops ended up coming and the whole thing was a fiasco.

This abruptly switches to talk of midget wrestlers. Heenan makes some cracks about their height (obviously) then explains that they are deceptively strong for their size. Corny was once suplexed by a midget.

Heenan starts to talk about how tough Paul Orndorff was. This includes the infamous incident where he and Vader had a backstage fight in WCW, which Orndorff won handily.

Ron Garvin would torture the jobbers he faced on TV. Corny once had to face Garvin in a cage match after he “burned” him on TV. Problem was that the flash paper Jim used somehow ended up sticking to Garvin and legit gave him some minor burns. Corny was convinced Garvin was going to kill him in the cage for revenge, but the thing went off without a hitch and Ron even gave Jim some spots to shine in.

The Sheik was the scariest wrestler Heenan ever saw. Sheik carried a straight razor at all times to defend himself. Shiek was able to get heat for 30 years without bumping around much or even cutting a promo.

Moose Cholak was a nice guy, but was stiff as hell to take offense from. Heenan would find excuses to bump out of the ring to protect himself.

Jim tells of one night where he was dressed as a woman in order to sneak through the audience for an angle in Mid-South. The fans recognized him in the stands right away and Jim had to escape while in high heels while rednecks chased him.

This transitions into Heenan talking about dressing in drag for a comedy segment during an early Raw in New York City. Corny had his own experience with goofy WWF New York vignettes as he was chased around the city by a midget who ended up stripping him down to his underwear.

WCW brought in Mexican minis for a battle royal. Eric Bischoff told Heenan not to crack any jokes because midgets watching at home would write letters of complaint. Heenan assured Eric that they could not reach the mail slot.

While being driven to the ring with Andre the Giant at Wrestlemania 3 in front of 93,000 fans, Bobby soaked in the moment because he remembered how a few decades earlier he was just some kid selling sodas at wrestling events.

“Bulldog” Bob Brown was a terrible promoter in Kansas City. The pay was so poor that everybody was starving. The Midnight Express kept their wallets locked in their cars because they weren’t too sure that somebody wouldn’t rob them to make up for the lack of payoff money.

Bob Brown came to the WWF looking for a referee’s gig. The first time he went to the ring, a few guys who were still bitter over past payoffs took his pants and cut both legs off of them. Brown quit that night.

Bobby Heenan went to work for Fritz Von Erich for a week in the 70’s. Heenan liked Fritz, but the travel stunk.

Nick Bockwinkel worked with a non-english speaking Mexican in Texas one night. The lack of communication led to the worst match Heenan ever saw.

Corny was traveling through Texas with the Express when he witnessed an illegal alien rush out of a river and run across the road.

This leads to Corny talking about the Sportatorium. It was full of giant rats that the promoters would attempt to shoot to cull the population. The fries from there kitchen were Percy Pringle’s favorite, until the health department stopped in one day and it was revealed that the grease had not been changed in six years and it was full of rat bones.

Dick the Bruiser was a horrible payoff man. On top of that, Bruiser started Heenan, so he had no respect for him and treated Bobby poorly.

The Bruiser and the Sheik had a territorial war over Detroit. Since Heenan worked for Bruiser against the NWA’s group, Heenan, Baron Von Rasche and the Blackjacks were blackballed from St. Louis for several years.

Cornette used to tape a six-hour block of wrestling in Atlanta and all the shows were distinctly different in wrestling style and tone. A six-hour block of wrestling now looks painfully the same.

Hercules could not wrestle, but he was a legit tough guy who could clean out bars if a real fight broke out.

Mike Sharpe and Billy Jack Haynes got into a backstage brawl in Detroit. Vince McMahon asked Heenan if he tried to break it up, and Heenan had to tell him he only likes real fights because the guys lose pocket change while they brawl.

A fat jobber threatened Heenan in a locker room one night in the WWA. Heenan hip tossed him and kicked him in the face. The Blackjacks were watching nearby laughing at the spectacle.

Corny has never been in a locker room fight, but considers himself capable of fighting in a cornered badger sort of way.

Manny Fernandez and Tully Blanchard had heat for months before things came to a head in the locker room one night. They talked smack and locked up, freezing up as if they were hoping to be pulled apart. No one went to separate them. They moved to the floor, still locked up. They finally just stood up and went back to talking smack.

DDP asked Heenan for advice on what to call his finisher. Heenan suggested to him the “Diamond Cutter” name. DDP gave him a bottle of cheap wine as a thank you. Heenan accepted it, but later hated himself for it because he felt it made it look like he was taking bribes to put guys over.

Gorilla Monsoon really wanted to be able to openly make fun of bad wrestlers when their matches were the shits.

“Hacksaw” Jim Duggan was near sighted, but he could put a hurting on you if you came close to him in a real fight.

Mad Dog Vachon missed while charging at a guy during a bar fight. He split his head open on a wood post, He then turned around and said “Now we are going to have some fun.” He proceeded to pounce on the guy and tried to rip his eye out. By the time he got pulled off, he was chewing on the guy’s face.

Vachon once kicked a guy so hard in a bar fight that his winged tip shoe split open.

Johnny Valentine would hit you hard if you didn’t hit him hard enough first.

Wahoo McDaniel was never given the NWA strap because he was willing to fight for the rightful money for himself and others on the card.

McDaniel would chop the fans who tried to attack him. When the fans saw the other fans being rocked from the blows, they had to believe Wahoo was for real.

Heenan used to put shoe polish on the headphones that were provided on airplanes.Then the businessmen on board would end up walking around with black ears as they departed.

Antonio Rocca would tell different people different stories about his daily activities and no one was quite sure if he was kidding around or nuts.

Bill Watts was Corny’s favorite promoter because of the way he presented the business. Heenan likes Watts because he called Heenan during his illness, even though they had a limited relationship when both were still active in the business.

Bobby cuts a promo on all the promoters who shorted managers on their pay. Everyone is in on the work during a match, and managers play an important part in getting things over.

Bruiser drew $25,000 in Chicago and gave Heenan a 50-dollar payoff. Crusher got on Dick for it and Bruiser told him ‘He’d have made nothing if he wasn’t booked.”

Jim Crockett’s bookkeeper was six months behind on balancing the books, which is partially how Crockett suddenly found himself 2-million dollars in the hole. Crockett decided to sell his company soon after and ended up signing the Midnight Express and Corny to bigger contracts than they asked for because he knew somebody else was going to foot the bill.

Jim Herd ended up giving Corny and the Express more money than they were asking for as well because Jim was arguing with him over the fact that the Express needed to be paid more than he was. Herd kept bumping Cornette up along with the Express, but kept giving Jim more, forcing Corny to keep arguing with him about their unbalanced pay.

While at Vince McMahon’s mansion for a booking session, Pat Patterson snuck into the gardener’s garage and fired up a gas powered leaf blower. The noise pissed McMahon off and as he went to investigate why his gardner was doing that now, Patterson stuck the tube through some brush and blasted Vince right in the face with the air gust.

Jesse Ventura was smoking a cigar at a TV taping when McMahon (who hates smoke) ordered him to put it out. Heenan grabbed the butt and snuck it into Vince’s jacket pocket. McMahon smelled the cigar the rest of the day and was fuming as he thought the smoke got into his jacket.

The guys get into a discussion on wrestlers like Dr. Death, Ernie Ladd, Jesse Ventura and others who were known for eating massive amounts of food.

Vince McMahon was on a plane that was forced to do a unplanned layover. McMahon went and knocked on the pilot’s door, demanding to know specific reasons why. He ended up having to talk to the air marshals when the plane landed.

McMahon used to have a special membership where Hertz would pick up his rental car no matter where he left it around the city. He had a habit of pulling up next to airport terminals and just dumping the car on the curb as he raced to his plane.

Bobby was flown in to the production site of the movie “The Wrestler” because a stunt man wasn’t sure he was going to be able take a fall through a door, so Heenan was going to be his stand in. The guy ended up doing it, and the only thing you see of Heenan is his name on a gym bag.

The wrestlers had a party at Bruiser’s house to celebrate the premiere of the movie. Heenan came with his dog dressed in a Bruiser shirt. The dog ended up falling in the pool, and due to the shirt covering him, he could not swim. Ed Asner noticed and saved the dog’s life.

Mary Tyler Moore was in attendance at Wrestlemania 6. After the show she came up to Heenan and asked if she could have the Barbarian’s chain and fur covered vest that he had worn to the ring. Heenan asked Barbarian, who had no idea who Moore was, and he said no after learning Moore was not going to sleep with him for it.

The Barbarian was drinking at a hotel bar one night. The bar wanted to close, and he refused to leave. He then took beer bottles and broke one after another over his head. This prompted the police to be called. He fought with the cops and ended up being maced. Barbarian wiped the mace onto his fingers and licked it off. They finally got him to go to the squad car, and the Barbarian slammed his head time after time into the roof. This dented the car and made Barbarian bleed all over the place. The next day his wife came and bailed him out, allegedly pulling him by the ear out of the police station. Barbarian feared no one but his wife.

They spend a few minutes making light of Doink the Clown and then abruptly end the session.

Final thoughts: Cornette is always a riot to listen to, and tragically Heenan has not been able to do many shoot interviews due to his medical issues, so his many funny stories are mostly left untold, making this a DVD to treasure.

 

Written by Andrew Lutzke

The grumpy old man of culturecrossfire.com, lover of wrasslin' and true crimes.

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