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Wrestling / Gorilla Monsoon

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"And you know the Pearly Gates in Heaven? It's now gonna be called 'The Gorilla Position.' Goodbye, my friend."

Robert James "Gino" Marella (June 4, 1937 October 6, 1999) was an American amateur and professional wrestler, announcer and executive from New York City best known for his work for the WWWF/WWF from the 1960s to the 1990s as Gorilla Monsoon. He competed primarily for the then-WWF, but also for the World Wrestling Council in Puerto Rico, for the WWA promotion in Los Angeles, for Maple Leaf Wrestling in Toronto, for the National Wrestling Alliance territories in Hawaiʻi, Montreal and St. Louis, and for the World Championship Wrestling promotion in Australia (not to be confused with WCW). He was a 2x WWWF United States Tag Team Champion, holding the belt the first time with Killer Kowalski and the second time with "Cowboy" Bill Watts, a former IWA (Australia) World Heavyweight Champion, a former 2x WWC (Puerto Rico) North American Heavyweight Champion and a former 2x WWA (Los Angeles) World Tag Team Champion. After retiring from in-ring competition, he spent many years as a broadcaster on WWF TV and PPVs, often with Jesse Ventura or Bobby Heenan on commentary, and worked in the office and as the President of the WWF after Vince McMahon had cut ties with the Tunneys, who were the main promoters in the Toronto area for decades. Monsoon was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 1994. His last public appearance was as a judge for the "Brawl for All" fight between Butterbean and Bart Gunn at WrestleMania XV , which Butterbean won in 35 seconds. He passed away from heart failure on October 6th, 1999.

"These tropes are literally hanging from the rafters here at the Garden":

  • Bash Brothers: (in the ring as a heel): George "The Animal" Steele"; (in the ring as a face): Bruno Sammartino (on commentary) Jesse Ventura and Bobby Heenan.
  • Beat Them at Their Own Game and A Taste of Their Own Medicine: Whenever a face wrestler used this tactic against a villain for instance, someone grabs Jimmy Hart's megaphone and clocks the villain with it Monsoon would remark approvingly, "Turnabout is fair play!"
  • Boke and Tsukkomi Routine: with Heenan.
  • Cool Old Guy: Could be very sharp about pop culture at times.
  • Cool Shades:
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: After winning a short match against Baron Mikel Scicluna in Philadelphia, PA, on June 2, 1976, Muhammad Ali, the greatest boxer of all time, who was at ringside and was preparing for what would be a disastrous "match" with Antonio Inoki, ran into the ring and attacked Monsoon. Monsoon picked up Ali, gave him an airplane spin and set him back down on the mat. Vince McMahon interviewed Monsoon, who said, "This guy doesn't know a wristlock from a wristwatch."
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Before becoming a foreign heel under the Gorilla Monsoon name, he wrestled as "Gino Marella" an Italian-American babyface who would sing in Italian before his matches. The nickname stuck for the rest of his life and he would occasionally be called Gino on the air by Ventura and Heenan.
  • Finishing Move: Airplane Spin, Manchurian Splash.
  • Foreign Wrestling Heel: Billed from Manchuria. It would later be downplayed when he turned face and he started speaking English in interviews again.
  • I Resemble That Remark!: When Monsoon complained on commentary about cheating tactics at Survivor Series 87, Jesse Ventura accused him of doing things like that in his in-ring career, and Monsoon said, "I may resemble that remark."
  • Kayfabe: Believed in maintaining it so much he even had it on his license plate.note 
  • Once per Episode: Yelling, exasperated, "WILL YOU STOP?" to Bobby Heenan when they would be doing commentary.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: As an on-air president of the WWF, Monsoon would typically make fair calls, although the wacky booking did occasionally get in his way.
  • Retired Badass: Although his most famous work was out of the ring rather than in it, Gorilla Monsoon got his start as a dangerous heel and he would occasionally take a moment to remind everyone, to wild cheers, that he used to be a 440 pound Manchurian. Part of his chemistry with Bobby Heenan was that, at the end of the day, Heenan was just a shrimpy manager while Monsoon was an ex-wrestler who could silence him if the Brain got too uppity, culminating in his literally dragging and tossing Heenan out of the company.
  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: Worked as a booker for a time and had ownership points with the WWF and with the World Wrestling Council.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Would reference complicated and/or seemingly obscure medical terminology for the purpose of describing potential injuries suffered by the wrestlers, the most well-known being "the lower occipital protuberance."
    • Lampshaded by Bobby Heenan: "There's one to the cervial dervial part of the back, Monsoon"
    • Jesse Ventura got in a small dig in jest one time; during one particular match, a wrestler got hammered on the back of the head, after Monsoon gave the medical term for the exact location, Ventura quipped, "Back of the head for all you normal people out there."
  • Shout-Out: The staging area behind the curtain is named the "Gorilla Position" in his honor.
    • Born Anthony Carelli, Santino Marella's last name is a tribute to Monsoon.
    • The German Death Metal band that named themselves for him.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: with Heenan. On the air the two could barely stand each other, but in real life they were very close friends.
    • After Gorilla Monsoon died, Heenan, then working for WCW Nitro, would say that the Pearly Gates of Heaven would now be "The Gorilla Position" — an allusion not only in tribute of Monsoon, but also of the position wrestlers take just before they enter the main arena for a match or segment.
    • Gorilla and Jesse Ventura was more of an in-character example.
  • Wrestling Family: As mentioned above under Actor Allusion, his adopted son Joey was a WWE referee. He died on July 4, 1994 in a car crash while driving to Newark, NJ after a WWF Superstars taping in Ocean City, MD.