Heyman and Heenan – Showmen at their Best
Comparisons are an impossible part of life. We compare everything to something else, whether good or bad. It’s how we gauge our love or hate for something, or to explain a nuance. It’s impossible not to compare something, but often the comparisons don’t mesh.
Two names that don’t mesh that come to mind are Bobby “The Brain” Heenan and Pauly Heyman.
Bobby Heenan was an awesome manager and commentator, deploying his one-liners in such a rapid, smooth, and comfortable ease that it’ impossible not to remember him. Seriously, who didn’t love being called a “humanoid” or “ham ‘n egger?” Sure, they were meant as insults to our intelligence and size, but he delivered them in a way that made it fun to listen to him, and even more fun to see his reactions when cornered.
He was the voice of the Golden Era for many of us, and that’s saying something considering we had commentators like Gorilla Monsoon, and Jesse Ventura.
While no one comes close to Heenan’s league when it comes to getting a laugh out of the audience (Seriously, can anyone even imagine Heyman pulling off the weasel suit bit?), Paul Heyman has proven himself to be a voice and originator of not only a different era, but one of the most decorated wrestlers in history.
Yes, Heyman often comes across as an egotistical windbag we’d love to be shut up, but he also has moments of sheer brilliance when delivering a quick jab at someone he doesn’t like whether it’s as a manager/advocate or announcer.
While Heenan was a former wrestler and knew the business inside and out, Heyman is a promoter at heart, and that gives him a slightly different angle to view things. The best way to explain the difference is Heenan was an entertainer first, Heyman is a businessman first. He embodies the aggressive attitude that gae birth to ECW and the WWE’s Attitude Era, and he’s continued with the same chip on his shoulder for twenty years. He’s worn his badge of being the rough-edged bad guy like Heenan wore his of a comical bad guy.
As showmen, they’ve taken us into their world and guided us through grand spectacle after grand spectacle. Their different personas that have helped both rise to prominence and given us priceless memories that as different as they are enjoyable.