Gorilla Monsoon bigraphy, stories - Professional wrestler; professional wrestling commentator; professional wrestling executive

Gorilla Monsoon : biography

June 4, 1937 - October 6, 1999

Robert James "Gino" Marella (June 4, 1937 – October 6, 1999), better known by his ring name of Gorilla Monsoon, was an American professional wrestler, play-by-play commentator, and booker. He is famous for his run as a super-heavyweight main eventer, and later as the voice of the World Wrestling Federation, as commentator and backstage manager during the 1980s and 1990s. He became on-screen WWF President in the latter decade.

In professional wrestling, the staging area just behind the entrance curtain at an event, a position which Marella established and where he could often be found during WWF shows late in his career, is named the Gorilla Position in his honor.

He was a record six-time winner of the "Worst Television Announcer" award in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter's annual poll.

Championships and accomplishments

  • Cauliflower Alley Club
    • Other honoree (1994)
  • George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame
    • Class of 2011
  • World Championship Wrestling (Australia)
    • IWA World Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
  • World Wrestling Association (Los Angeles)
    • WWA World Tag Team Championship (2 times) – with Luke Graham (1) and El Mongol (1)
  • World Wrestling Council
    • WWC North American Heavyweight Championship (2 times)
  • World Wide Wrestling Federation / World Wrestling Federation
    • WWF Hall of Fame (Class of 1994)
    • WWWF United States Tag Team Championship (2 times) – with Killer Kowalski (1) and Bill Watts (1)
  • Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum
    • Class of 2010
  • Wrestling Observer Newsletter
    • Worst Television Announcer (1985, 1991–1995)

Death and legacy

Marella died on October 6, 1999 of heart failure brought on by complications of diabetes, at his home in Willingboro Township, New Jersey.Hagenmayer, S. Joseph. , The Philadelphia Inquirer, October 7., 1999. Accessed February 27, 2008. "Robert "Gorilla Monsoon" Marella, 62, a professional wrestler whose demeanor in the ring resembled Atilla the Hun's but whose deeds and personality were more akin to those of Santa Claus, died yesterday at his Willingboro home after being ill for the last month."He was 62 years old. In a tribute that aired on WWF television after his death, McMahon described Marella as "one of the greatest men I have ever known." He is interred next to his son, Joey Marella, at Lakeview Memorial Park in Cinnaminson, New Jersey.

WCW commentator Tony Schiavone acknowledged Marella's death (at Bobby Heenan's request) on the October 11, 1999 WCW Monday Nitro episode, even though Marella never worked for WCW. Heenan added: "Gorilla will be sadly missed. Now he was one big tough man. He was a decent honest man. And we're all gonna miss him very much. And you know the pearly gates in heaven? It's now gonna be called 'the Gorilla position.' Goodbye, my friend."

When Heenan was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2004, he said in his acceptance speech, "I wish Monsoon were here."

In 2007, when Anthony Carelli made his debut with the WWE, as a tribute to Marella, he was given the ring name "Santino Marella".

In wrestling

  • Finishing moves
    • Airplane spin, sometimes followed by slamming the opponent to the mat
    • Manchurian Splash (Running splash)
  • Signature moves
    • Backbreaker rack
    • Giant swing
    • Gorilla press slam - innovated
    • Nerve hold
    • Chop

Personal life

Marella was married to his wife, Maureen, for more than 40 years and had four children: Sharon (born 1960), Joey (adopted, 1963–1994), Victor (born 1964), and Valerie (born 1966).

On July 4, 1994, his adopted son, Joey Marella, fell asleep at the wheel and died in a car accident on the New Jersey Turnpike, while returning from refereeing a WWF event in Ocean City, Maryland. He was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash.

Living octopus

Living octopus

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