Coaching Through: Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan Retires As A Manager

Brian Damage

In the era of professional wrestling managers, Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan was arguably the very best. His career as a manager spanned close to 30 years and led some of the biggest names in the business. By 1991, Bobby was burned out by the road and was physically breaking down. Heenan made the decision to retire as a full time manager and focus his career on being a broadcast journalist. His quit wit and comedic timing working side by side with Gorilla Monsoon and Vince McMahon made him a favorite with WWF fans…even if he was portraying a heel color commentator.

On the June 15th, 1991 episode of WWF Superstars, Mr. Perfect was a guest on Paul Bearer’s ‘Funeral Palor.’ It was there where Mr. Perfect introduced his “former manager” to the shock of Bearer and Vince McMahon who was on commentary. Bobby Heenan walked out and talked about how he was stepping away from managing to become the WWF’s greatest broadcast journalist. Heenan said he was going to better than the likes of journalists like Edward R. Murrow and Walter Kronkite, who he called “typewriter pushers.”

It was then that Mr. Perfect introduced his new manager…The Coach. Out came a man dressed in a red track suit with a hat and blowing a whistle. The crowd at the arena was in dead silence. The Coach was in reality a veteran of the mat. A wrestler who was known as ‘The Golden Greek’ John Tolos. For years, Tolos was a top heel in the Los Angeles territory. Here he was in the WWF, repackaged as a college-esque type football coach.

While the new pairing was a definite downgrade from Heenan, to be “perfectly” honest…anyone was going to be a downgrade compared to the Brain. With that being said, John Tolos was an excellent talker. The issue was that the WWF didn’t really have him do promos, but rather just blow his whistle. It was a waste of his true talent.

The bottom line was that ‘The Coach flopped in his brief two month stay with the company. He managed Mr. Perfect at SummerSlam ’91 where Perfect not only lost his Intercontinental title to Bret Hart, but also saw Curt Hennig injure his back which sidelined him for over a year. The Coach went on to manage the Beverly Brothers in another mismatch briefly before Tolos quit the company.

On the other end, Bobby Heenan enjoyed his time retired and became an extremely beloved on air, broadcast talent. He did come out of semi-retirement to manage Ric Flair and Lex Luger briefly…but for the most part was retired as a full time manager.

7 thoughts on “Coaching Through: Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan Retires As A Manager

  1. I could see why Heenan couldn’t do the managing thing as the road was too much for someone like him. I feel bad for Tolos for having to replace him because no one was as good as Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. Yet, having Heenan more on commentary was a good thing as it did bring us fans the greatest wrestling commentary ever in the 1992 Royal Rumble match which is Heenan’s finest hour.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Speaking of Heenan and Perfect, one of the funniest innocent comments Bobby had was when perfect was a face and it had to be a prime time wrestling except Bobby was on commentary so maybe wasn’t prime time. Anyways Perfect out, spits out his gum and swats it with his hand. Bobby “OW! Something just hit me in the eye.”

    He was so quick witted.

    Liked by 1 person

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