Counterfeit Pennies: The Wrestling Hours, Part 4: Vickie and “The Brain”

I have watched pro wrestling since I was 6 years old. Unbelievably, it’s been 25 years since my first embedded memories of Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant, and in that time I couldn’t even calculate how many hours I have spent watching the different TV shows, PPV programs, and live events.

What I have come to learn is that anything really can and will happen in The Wrestling Hours…

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The Wrestling Hours, Part 4: Vickie and “The Brain”

Growing up in the 1980s meant three things:

1. You either cheated at Rubix Cube by peeling off and then re-sticking the colored stickers to “solve” the cube, or you threw it against the wall in frustration;

2. You felt invincible when riding bikes, whether you were traversing on grass patches and dirt paths or riding on suburban streets popping wheelies while carrying anything from baseball bats to ice cream snacks to the latest library books you got from the Bookmobile; and

3. You loved Hulk Hogan and loved to hate Bobby “The Brain” Heenan.

The Brain.

The Weasel.

The Broadcast Journalist.

The greatest wrestling manager of all time.

Period.

I look back now at how I let Heenan just get to me, how he could rile me up as the heel color commentator just by showing up on the screen, how he always plotted and railed and schemed against Hulkamania at a time when I drank milk and took Flinstones’ Kids Vitamins and owned the yellow and red T-Shirts and the yellow and red wristbands and the workout cassette tapes and their accompanying blue plastic dumbbells, and how he simply toyed with my emotions with every twist, every move, every swerve.

Simply put, Bobby “The Brain” tricked me time and time again, playing me for the fool that I was.

And I love him for it.

After all, without the Foil there is no Foiler, and all those times Heenan got the upper hand but ultimately lost “The Big One” to that Incredible Hulk, all was right with the world again.

You know, until I picked up that stupid Rubix Cube and threw it squarely against the wall one more time.

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Look around In today’s wrestling landscape, and it’s obvious that the peak days of the non-wrestling manager/personality are long, long gone.

In some ways, this makes all the sense in the world, since the modern wrestler — ahem, sports entertainer — essentially has to be his or her own mouthpiece to get noticed.

And that is why to me, Vickie Guerrero is the most remarkable figure in wrestling today.

Vickie could have lived off of her late, great husband’s legacy forever as a sympathetic character, yet instead of soaking up Eddie’s cheers she has forged her own path as a powerful heel presence who can and will do anything to get her way.

She has no theme music because “Excuse Me!” is all she needs to get our immediate attention and our scorn.

She generates heat in everything she does, and every one of her dubious actions or screeching promos make me want to see Vickie get her comeuppance at every turn.

And I love her for it.

She reminds me so much of that Weasel Heenan, or at the very least she makes me feel like I want to root hard for whoever she hates, and hate whoever she likes.

With “The Brain” at his most callous, it was Andre I hated, and with Vickie it was Edge.

Close my eyes for a minute on a Friday night, and I see a scrawny kid wearing yellow and red wristbands lifting blue plastic dumbbells as if his life depended on it, suddenly blasted out of the picture as the words “Excuse Me!” blast into my ears.

Snapped back into reality, I look at the TV screen and I see her, and, very faintly, as if my flatscreen TV was merged with my memory bank, I see him too.

It’s Vickie and “The Brain”, trying to take over the world.

The Wrestling Hours blur together…

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See below for previous installments of The Wrestling Hours series:
The Wrestling Hours, Parts 1 and 2
The Wrestling Hours, Part 3

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