I have debated on starting a Hall of Fame on this site since its inception in 2011. Once I had made up my mind to go forward with the idea I had already gained three extra writers for this site. So I approached all of them with the idea and asked who should our first inductee should be. I knew in my mind who I wanted it to be, but with other people now writing for me it was only fair to include them. However all went well as we all came to agreement on our first Hall of Fame inductee, Harvey Wippleman.
Harvey Wippleman, aka: Downtown Bruno, Uptown Bruno, Lennerd Spazzinsky, real name Bruno Lauer, and Hervina (born October 27, 1965 as Bruno Lauer), is a professional wrestling manager, referee, and retired wrestler. He began his career working in professional wrestling promotions in the Southern part of the United States, especially Memphis. In the 1990s, he debuted in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF), now known as the WWE, where he managed wrestlers such as Big Bully Busick, Kamala, and Bertha Faye. In 2000, he became the first and only man to win the WWF/WWE Women’s Championship after defeating The Kat while dressed as Hervina. He currently works behind the scenes at the WWE and occasionally performs as Downtown Bruno in the independent circuit.
In 1979, Lauer attended an independent wrestling show at a circus in Pennsylvania. In exchange for helping to tear down the ring after the show, he was given free admission. He later joined the company and toured Ohio. During this time, The Royal Kangaroos’ Jonathan Boyd became his mentor. Back in Pennsylvania, Geeto Mongol trained Lauer and gave him the ring name Dr. Lennerd Spazzinsky. Lauer then moved to Memphis where he performed under the name Downtown Bruno. In 1986, he became the most prominent villainous manager in Memphis. In addition, wrestlers like Jerry Lawler and Sid Eudy helped his career. He continued to work in the Southern promotions for the rest of the late 1980s and in September 1988, he won the Continental Wrestling Federation’s Southeastern United States Junior Heavyweight Championship and held it until the promotion closed in 1989 making it the only men’s title he has held to date.
In 1991, Sid Eudy, also known as Sid Vicious, helped bring Lauer to the World Wrestling Federation (WWE). He debuted as Harvey Wippleman, the villainous manager of Big Bully Busick. In April 1992 at WrestleMania VIII, Wippleman managed Sid Justice, the character played by his friend Sid Eudy, in his main event match against Hulk Hogan which ended with Justice losing by disqualification.
Afterward, Wippleman managed Kamala, who was feuding with The Undertaker. After Kamala was defeated by the Undertaker in a casket match at Survivor Series in 1992, Kamala left Wippleman and Reverend Slick became his new manager. He continued to feud with the Undertaker and brought a new wrestler to the WWE, the nearly eight-foot-tall Giant González, who interfered in the 1993 Royal Rumble and eliminated the Undertaker. Gonzalez and the Undertaker wrestled at WrestleMania IX, where Gonzalez knocked Undertaker unconscious with a chloroform-soaked rag. The feud culminated in a Rest in Peace match at SummerSlam, which Undertaker would go on to win.
During The Attitude Era, he won the WWF/WWE Women’s Championship from The Kat while he was in a disguise and used the name “Hervina” in a “Lumberjill Snow Bunny” match, that took place in a snow filled pool surrounded by female wrestlers whose purpose was to keep the competitors from leaving the makeshift ring. The win made him the first man to hold the Women’s Championship. He lost the title on February 3, 2000 to Jacqueline in a match that lasted under a minute. Subsequently, Whippleman served as a road agent for the WWE. On November 15th, 2010 for WWE’s Old School Raw, Wippleman returned to the WWE, managing the Brooklyn Brawler in a match against Ezekiel Jackson, to which Brawler lost.
Lauer grew up impoverished in Pennsylvania. According to Lauer, he spent his teenage years “sprawling on car hoods, smoking cigarettes, and drinking beer with no particular ambition in mind”. His drinking eventually caused Lauer to serve jail time in Memphis.nIn 1994, Lauer was in a car accident with Joey Marella, which claimed Marella’s life and injured Lauer. The crash occurred as a result of Marella falling asleep at the wheel while driving on the way to Newark. Marella was not wearing his seat belt, but Lauer–the passenger–was wearing his. Because of the severity of his injuries, however, Lauer had approximately $10,000 in medical expenses. He also wrote an autobiography Wrestling with the Truth, which was released in 2008 available at http://www.crowbarpress.com and amazon.com
Harvey Wippleman is by far the most underrated managers of all time. He has been so influential to those he has met and continues to meet with. You know when I first met Harvey Wippleman I had been hired to work for an Indy promotion in West Memphis, AR to provide TV commentary. I recall the first time ever speaking with him, he was so welcoming and nice. There have only been two other men that have been as nice as Wippleman before then, Jimmy Hart and Bobby Eaton. He helped coach me to what was right and what was wrong. At times directly and other times indirectly.
I first remember seeing Harvey Wippleman when he won his first WWE Title, the Women’s Title. He made a lasting impression on me as a lunatic for dressing up as a women to win that title, until I met him for the first time, then I realized how crazy he actually was! Just Kidding! I have cherished the friendship we have, although we are not as close as brothers, I consider him one and he is one I would do anything for at anytime. The other writers of this site have chosen to say some things about Harvey Wippleman.
Saw him the first time as Harvey Whipelman when he started with Channel 5 wrestling! Never met him! Has no impact on me! Admire what he has done and does!
-Frank Scooter Martin
First seen him when I watch Wrestlemania IX, he managed Giant Gonzales in his match against the Undertaker. I remembered watching that match hoping he would get hit lol. I met him at ASWF on the award show. He approached me and I remember being starstruck. He has impacted my life because he always given me positive advice on what to work on and to stay in college to earn my degree. He is on the most underated managers out there.
Since I have been a wrestling fan I remember seeing Harvey Wippleman managing the tallest guy EVER to step foot inside a WWE ring, at WM9! He then was a weasel and depending on who you ask he is STILL a weasel! I should not steal “Weasel” from Bobby “The Brain” BUT Bruno is a great guy! I remember the first time I met him was at AAW in Ward, AR back in 2006 and he was very friendly and outgoing! A few years later I ran into him again at the ASWF and I was astounded that he remembered me. It really made me feel good that he remembered me from 3 years earlier. He always jokes with me and makes funny comments about my “Last” match and making me lift my foot up to make me look “GAY”……… yeah……. but he is a super guy and I am glad to have known him! I agree with Sam and many other people saying he deserves to be in the WWE HOF AND he is one of the MOST UNDERRATED Managers EVER! BUT I will have to say the MOST memorable moment that I remember Bruno from is when he beat The Kat and became the WWE Womens Champion as “Hervina”! Classic Attitude Swerve and I am thankful and I appreciate his work as a legend in this business! Thank You Bruno!
We proudly and loudly welcome our first inductee into our Hall of Fame, Harvey Wippleman!
-Terrence Ward (T-Bone)
The T-Bone Effect