It’s Bobby Heenan Week here at Juice Make Sugar, and that’s a pretty big deal. “The Brain” was to color commentary what J.R. was to play-by-play, and that’s not even where Heenan was at his best.
Bobby Heenan was a fantastic manager. He instantly painted his charged with the boldest shades of heel heat, making fans want to see even the most mediocre of babyfaces destroy anyone and everyone. That included The Brain himself, who took his share of lumps for the sake of telling a great story. The only man who comes close to channeling Heenan in today’s day and age is Paul Heyman, who is good enough to make the smarkiest of neckbeards cheer to see him massacres with a kendo stick.
There aren’t a lot of managers on the indies. There are even fewer who are worth talking about, and hardly any that belong in the same conversation as The Brain. But when it came time to spotlight the #HeenanWeek spotlight on the independent scene, there was only one man I could imagine stepping in, and shining bright:
“Sweet & Sour” Larry Sweeney.
If you’re new to the indies, there’s a reason why you don’t know that name. Sweeney passed away three years ago, at just 29 years old. That tragedy is covered elsewhere. I’d rather celebrate his work.
If you never got the chance to see Sweeney do what Sweeney did, you really missed out. “Sweet & Sour* was amazing as a comedic heel wrestler in Chikara, and a great heel manager in Ring of Honor. He played both roles to perfection. You loved him to pieces, because you knew just how talented he was, and how much fun he was having…and yet, you loved to see him get his comeuppance. Every time S&S walked through the curtain, he perfectly executed a near-dead art form, to a degree that needs to be seen to be believed.
I could probably write 2,000 words, putting Sweeney over. He’d be worthy of every word. But instead, I’ll simply ask you to check out the videos posted throughout this article. I promise you, you’ll enjoy what you watch.
If you need proof that Sweeney was beloved, despite his heel persona and noted problems outside the ring, just watch his unannounced, surprise return to Chikara. The genuine excitement and love from the crowd is undeniable, and it’s how I choose to remember him.
Rest in peace, Alex “’Sweet & Sour’ Larry Sweeney” Whybrow. You may be gone, but your amazing work lives on. #12Large