Tuesday, November 8, 2011
The television tapes and live shows, for what little time they lasted, did help Heenan to get his name known in the area where before, he was familiar only to fans who read the magazines.
In the past, Arizona had a reputation for riotous fans and a sometimes dangerous area for managers. In the past I recall causing a riot or two myself. Sam Bass, Johnny Mann, Ron Dupree and The Mortician did the same. Heenan seemed to know this or was perhaps warned for in his AWA run he would not get anywhere near the fans. Whenever he left the locker room and was not at ringside, he stood in a darkened corner of the arena, nervously smoking and studying the onlookers form the distance. Security was always close at hand when he was out in front of the audience and there was always someone watching his back.
Heenan of course generated a great eal of heat from the audience. He was one of the most controversial figures and a top draw for the AWA in their Arizona stay. He may well have overshadowed the actual wrestlers on the cards.
During his WCW and WWF runs, Heenan would return to Arizona as a manager or as a commentator, but not with the consistency of before. Even though the nature of the game had changed, he was still very wary of the audience or so it seemed. He seldom got close to fans or autograph seekers and rarely attended after parties or the hotel bar.
In latter years, Heenan would fight and beat throat cancer. He would also write a book about his exploits.