Kayfabe, Lies and Alibis: Bobby Heenan and Jim Cornette Joint Shoot Interview Part 1

Presented by Ring of Honor

Opening note: This DVD was recorded in 2004 before Bobby Heenan’s health took the horrible turn that is evident today.

Cornette has his Sprite and seeing that after his last shoot covering his love of it made me smile.

Bruiser’s WWA territory was for either rookies or those who were washed up.

Bob Luce – WWA’s on air personality was a weirdo according to Heenan.  His commentary was over the top and full of superlatives.

The heels would get beat up constantly by top faces Crusher and Bruiser and yet they still had crazy heel heat.

During a Verne Gagne versus Nick Bockwinkel match, a fan shot a gun at Bobby but missed Heenan and hit several fans.  He wasn’t caught since the fans supported what he tried to do.

The Blackjacks were stabbed by a fan once and the cops refused to arrest him.

When fans threw their shoes at Cornette, Jim would hide them so they would have to leave with one shoe on.

Cornette learned he had to use metal tennis rackets since the wooden ones broke too easily when fending off fans.

Heenan got hit in the arm with an air rifle BB while working a match – it hurt like hell but Heenan knew you never sell when a fan hurts you.

Another night in Chicago a man hit Heenan with a hammer – the cops let Heenan get his revenge in the back.

Bobby was the first manager allowed to work in St. Louis, Sam Muschnick only had three cops on staff, so Heenan never interfered because he knew he would have no back up.

Heenan is not a fan of the Valiants – he feels they use people.

Some wrestlers lived on the beach while in coastal territories- totally avoiding any rent.

The Sheik is Heenan’s choice for the best heel of all time: “He stayed over for 40 years and never gave a promo”.

Heenan worked for Bruiser during a territorial war with The Sheik – They drew 4000 fans to a “supercard” at the Cobo Hall and Bobby felt it was a disappointment – Cornette argues that the WWE can barely average that now.

Bruiser and Sheik’s territorial war was business, not personal as Bruiser was trying to protect his assets.  They would make up behind the scenes and make money feuding with each other.

“Ether” that was used for angles was actually engine starting fluid, which spelled like ether.

Heenan once dropped his “foreign object” (soap wrapped in tape) and a fan picked it up – Heenan knew Kayfabe would be hurt if that was revealed so he screamed at the guy “DON’T YOU DARE GIVE THAT TO THE REF!” So the fan tossed it to a ref.

Bobby puts over Cornette’s skills as a manager hard.

Heenan finally told his mother that wrestling was fake and his mother said “I know!”   “How could you know?”   “Nobody is foolish enough to let you manage them…”

In 1983 Heenan broke his neck in Japan – he didn’t have it fixed till 1994 when WCW gave him insurance.

WCW had both WWF and WCW shows on monitors side by side – Heenan claims he once called part of an Owen Hart match before realizing he was supposed to be covering Nitro.

As a rookie Cornette got to drive around Jesse Ventura, Nick Bockwinkel and others as they toured Memphis.  He made sure to pick their brains.

Ray Stevens was a wild partier – married and divorced 6 times and not a care in the world.

Cornette and Heenan both gush over Dick Murdoch.

Bockwinkel was in charge of reigning in Ray Stevens and trying to get Stevens from town to town.

Despite being billed from Beverly Hills, Heenan never worked for the Los Angeles territory.  Heenan turned down being booker for the territory though.

Bobby had no problems with Verne Gagne – his pay offs were among the best.  Verne did tend scream at his talent a lot.  Bobby grew tired of working four times a night in AWA and only be paid for one.

The WWF only had managers work TV and big arena shows – the managers were still given a payoff for other houses even without attending them.

 Hulk Hogan helped get Heenan in the WWF.  He gave Verne his notice – Verne called Heenan in his office and threatened Heenan, Heenan said he’d sue and Verne broke down and asked Bobby why he was jumping ship – Heenan gave the too many shots for too little money argument and Verne offered Heenan more time off and a bigger pay day – Heenan suspects Verne was bullshitting him and would renege on the deal as soon as the WWF bridge was burned.

Female valets are a sorry excuse for a manager because they can’t take a big blow as a payoff for interfering.

Wrestlers now-a- days look either sloppy (Get real gear!) or average compared to a lot of the weirdoes that are in the audiences today.

Reality shows have taken up having “heels” as cast members to feed the audiences desire to love and hate participants.

Heenan and Corny rip on Vince Russo for his lack of wrestling know how.

Bobby played the heel 24/7 – a fan once asked him for an autograph while Bobby was on the john – Heenan wiped his butt with the paper and handed it back.

Bruiser never wanted to go out in public and made Heenan his gopher.  Heenan doesn’t like Bruiser personally.

Bobby says Bruiser always saw Heenan as the teenager who helped set up the shows and treated him accordingly.

Kamala is a really nice man in real life.  Heenan even received well wishes from Kamala when his cancer developed despite not seeing each other for almost a decade.

Lawler got Kamala over right away through a memorable vignette and then putting Kamala over in the ring.

Stan Frazier once worked a “playboy” gimmick despite being 450 pounds.  Memphis loved to give him different gimmicks.  Not a popular guy in the back but he could be a lot of fun.

Frazier was once accidentally knocked out in a locker room entryway and it took a small army to move him.

Heenan says he once saw one of the McGuire twins get stuck in a stairwell.

Andre the Giant avoided having his picture taken with other giants.  Minute Bol wanted to badly meet him and Andre avoided it.  Ernie Ladd’s size also made Andre want to avoid working with him.

 Heenan wasn’t a fan of Macho Man wearing shades because he thought Savage had great, intense eyes and they shouldn’t be covered up.

Bobby never carried a cane or anything because he felt the fans could grab it and use it on him.

A lot of heels told Bobby to avoid taking bumps – Heenan felt the fans wanted to see him get bopped and he wanted to oblige.

Heenan once hung himself by the neck in the ropes as Bruiser pounded his head and Bobby bladed.  Heenan looked so battered that the fans started to quiet down as they felt sorry for him.

Cornette wasn’t asked to blade very often in his career but he wanted to do it himself because he didn’t trust others to not hurt him.

A Russian worker that Heenan managed had somebody else blade him – the Russian flinched and ended up with his whole face sliced.

Long haired Grizzly Smith once tried to blade his forehead and ended up slicing his bangs off.

Heenan worked with a manager who kept his blade in his pants and almost every time he needed it, the fans watched as the guy dug in his pockets, struggled to get his hand out and then cut him self and put his hand back in his pants.

The Sheik once scared a radio DJ so bad he ran from the studio several blocks to avoid the Sheik.

Heenan and Cornette agree that Shane McMahon would have made a great manager with his natural look and swagger.

Bobby met a guy once who asked him what he did for a living… “I’m in Sales”    “Oh what do you sell?”    “Turnbuckles and back drops…”

After Ric Flair and Vince McMahon wrestled at Royal Rumble 2002, Cornette sent Vince a note telling him that both he and Flair were channeling Buddy Rogers in different ways.

Cornette says his worst managing experiences were the “New” Midnight Express – with Bob Holly and Bart Gunn who hated the gimmick and Corny hated using the name, then the Head Hunters who made one appearance on RAW in 1997 and were embarrassed right away by Owen Hart and Bulldog and lastly Mantaur, who was terrible beyond words.

Heenan shares a tale of Bockwinkel working a green worker in San Antonio who didn’t know any moves and managed to hurt Nick while Nick was applying moves to the guy.  Heenan also hates on the Valiant Brothers, who as Corny agrees, always worked the same match.  Bobby didn’t like being around them in general.

Cornette and Jimmy Hart were forced to work a bunch of handicap matches against Memphis babyfaces while they were in a chicken suit and a dress. This went as well as you can imagine.

Jimmy Hart hurt himself constantly at first due to his hyper personality leading to him bumping spastically.

Moose Cholak was trained in boxing and was a giant of a man who constantly hurt his opponents with his rough house style.

Billy Robinson could go in the ring like gangbusters but could also stink up the place if he was facing a stiff or even worse – Billy would start shooting on his opponent if he got upset.

They bash the modern style of memorizing promos and matches.

DDP is mildly buried by Heenan for not being worthy of being the WCW champion.  Heenan can’t believe Wahoo McDaniel never won the World title – promoters were too worried that Wahoo would be too difficult to work with as champ because Wahoo liked to argue over paydays and such.

Wahoo was an agent for WCW in 1990 and helped the Midnight Express get a new contract – Corny and Lane weren’t happy and quit anyway.

Heenan goes over how nutty entering the wrestling world is and makes Corny laugh so hard he has tears in his eyes.

Ricky Morton and Ric Flair once did a full week of hour long matches.

Randy Savage did an “hour draw” in Memphis once that went 41 minutes – problem was the arena had a clock hanging near the ring so all the fans knew they got hoodwinked.

Heenan liked to lock airplane bathrooms from the outside and watch people squirm.

Corny tells a tale of Stan Lane peeing his pants after Corny convinced him the cops were going to catch him peeing on the streets.

Sky Low Low would hide in Heenan’s trunk when they would cross over to Canada – when they stopped to pay the toll, Heenan would pop the trunk and the midget popped up from the trunk and handed the shocked border agent the money.

Nick Gulas would book a man, woman, midget man and midget woman eight person tag bouts.

Cornette laments the lack of female midgets in Ring of Honor.

Final Thoughts:  This was a real fun 3 hours as Bobby Heenan lived history and Cornette studied all of it and the two of them combine for non-stop fun and interesting stories.  When the guys onscreen are having so much fun it’s hard not to get sucked in too.   Can’t wait to watch the sequel of this for Thursday!


Written by Andrew Lutzke

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

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