Speaking in a new interview, Monday Night Raw commentator Corey Graves has claimed that legendary announcer Bobby “The Brain” Heenan would be cancelled in 2021.
Bobby “The Brain” Heenan entered professional wrestling in the early 1960’s, first as an in-ring performer before later becoming a manager. Known for his antics at ringside, Heenan managed some of the biggest names in wrestling history including, Andre The Giant, Harley Race, The Brainbusters and Mr Perfect.
During his time in WWE, Heenan led the ‘Heenan Family’ in a quest against the ultra-popular Hulk Hogan.
Beginning in the mid-1980’s Heenan began appearing as a commentator. “The Brain” was widely-regard as one of the best ‘heel’ commentators in the business, running down fan favourites such as Hulk Hogan and cheering for their opponents.
Heenan later joined WCW in 1994, delivering the famous “Whose side is he on!?” call as Hulk Hogan turned heel at Bash At The Beach 1996.
In conversation with Ryan Satin on his Out of Character podcast, current WWE commentator Corey Graves discussed how the role of announcer has changed. Graves said that Heenan was one of the greatest of all time, but would be cancelled in 2021, because of how the world has changed.
“A lot of people think in 2021 the days of the full blown heel commentator are passé and I definitely think to an extent it is,” Graves said. “Could you imagine Bobby Heenan? He wouldn’t exist in 2021. He would be fired, cancelled, hard and feathered publicly just because that’s how the world has changed. I try to be a little more villainous leaning then full blown bad guy justify, always root for the bad guys, good guys are in the wrong. I try to adapt but again, I grew up on Bobby Heenan, Jesse Ventura. Some of the greatest of all time, so deep inside me that’s what I’m still a fan of.
When it comes to do what I’m doing now and find myself in this role, I just fall back on what I was a fan of and maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t.”
Corey Graves went on to explain how his on-screen commentary persona differs from his real-life personality.
“I love comedy, when I try to insult something it’s never with malice. Even if it’s on television, it’s more to just get a laugh. I’m busting chops, that’s what I do. You can ask anybody that I’m friends with, that’s just my sense of humour and I like to joke around with people. Most of what I say on the air comes from my own brain and it’s in the moment.
“You’re getting a visceral reaction from time to time or even if it’s a joke, that’s what I’m thinking and sometimes it comes out and a lot of times I have to be careful to not let it come out because it can get us all in a whole bunch of trouble. I’m a lifelong fan and I’ve been in the ring and I do know most of the talent on RAW or SmackDown, I’ve come up with a lot of them and competed with a lot of them so there’s definitely an element of truth to what I do behind the character.
In reality, I’m kind of introverted. I don’t like being in large crowds of people, I don’t like being the centre of attention, I’m not the show off and I’m not the one who shows up to the party and wants everyone talking about me. I’m the guy in the corner holding my drink waiting for somebody to make their way over and have some small talk. I think that’s the most drastic difference.”
Corey Graves initially signed with WWE in 2011, appearing as a wrestler in Florida Championship Wrestling and later NXT. However, after a series of concussion issues, Graves moved into a role as an announcer.
Graves moved into the commentary booth on Monday Night Raw in 2016, before later also calling the action on SmackDown.
H/t to Wrestling Inc for the transcription.