Seven years ago as my buddies Chad and Travis debated on costume ideas for our annual trip to WrestleMania, we came to a consensus on the Heenan Family. For those who don’t know Bobby “The Brain” Heenan is the greatest manager in all of professional wrestling. He managed many great men including Andre the Giant, Mr. Perfect and “Ravishing” Rick Rude to name a few. But we decided we’d go as Heenan, The Red Rooster and The Brooklyn Brawler.
I got to be Heenan, which was an honor because he is one of my all-time favorites in pro wrestling. I wanted to capture his essence with his trademark ‘sparkly’ jacket. I had an old suit coat to repurpose and my mom worked her magic with some material I picked up at Joann’s Fabric. My mom had done an amazing job on my “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase coat the previous year that I knew she’d knock it out of the park.
I wore the jacket that one time and then hung it up in my closet for years. Even when I started doing commentary for All-American Pro Wrestling, it never occurred to me to break the jacket out of retirement. I did wear it on Go Red for Women Day on the news, but beyond that, the jacket stayed out of sight. Then in 2016, when I started ring announcing for Stride Pro Wrestling the jacket became my signature piece of clothing.
It’s become so popular, some of my friends in the wrestling business have borrowed it for other gigs in other parts of the country. This year I added it to my wardrobe for the MDMC 18 conference in St. Louis. I did that in part because I only have one new OppoSuit this year and wanted something else to help me stand out.
My buddy Tom Harness presented on personal branding and asked me to be his ‘ring announcer’ for the start of his presentation. It was only natural to don the jacket for that performance. I do feel like a different person in the jacket. Like the OppoSuits and Shinesty Suits I’ve worn in the past, the sparkly jacket has had turned heads and garnered attention. I had no idea seven years ago I would be using it to market myself, but here we are. Find your passion and follow it. It’s worth the ride.
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