Gorilla Monsoon

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Real Name - Robert James Marella
Lifespan - 6/4/37 - 10/6/99
6'?" 450 lbs. - Rochester, NY
Aliases - Gino Marella
Athletic background - Wrestling (Nat'l Team), Football, Track & Field (Ithica College)
Professional background - Buffalo/Cleveland(`59-`63), Toronto(`59-`63), JWA(`63-`72), WWWF(`63-`79), WWC(`74-`78), WWF(`79-`97)
Peak Years - `63-`69

Place in History - Gorilla Monsoon is remembered by three generations of wrestling fans for three very different roles and there's even an important role that many might not know of. Bob Marella was a monster in the 50s as a 250-pounder and he was developed into an awesome three sport athlete, Greco-Roman wrestling being his best with Olympic-level potential. His massive size matched with impressive speed and agility made him the success he was, but his heavy frame took its toll on his knees. He was pursuing teaching, but found himself making more money wrestling, so he refocused his efforts. After getting seasoning in smaller Northeastern territories, he was called into the WWWF to challenge their new champion, Bruno Sammartino. Wild Red Bery brought in the monsterous Gorilla Monsoon, a man-beast from Manchuria. During the 60s, he was a top heel challenger to Bruno on many occasions. Monsoon also built a name for himself in Japan as well. Over time, as with many heels, Monsoon eventually shifted to a face and spent the remainder of his in-ring career as an upper midcard face. Though his best years were behind him, due to his worn knees, he was a strong interview (despite being a mute the previous decade) and was still the biggest man around. Monsoon retired in `79 and did not resurface on TV until `83 when Vince MacMahon Jr. took the product national and Monsoon became his straightman announcer for many of his shows and PPVs. Throughout the 80s, Monsoon became a cult favorite as an announcer and while he really wasn't exceptional, he will be remembered by millions of fans for that role and being the foil to heel announcers Jesse Ventura and Bobby Heenan. After the accidental death of his referee son, Joey Marella, he largely retired from annoucing. Monsoon enjoyed a brief tenure as the on-screen president of the WWF and annoucer for WWF's International broadcasts. Many though don't know how major a role Monsoon played behind the scenes over the years. He started out as the policeman for Vince Sr. during his active days. Eventually, Marella managed to buy a sizable share of Capital Sports (WWWF's parent company), which he retained until Vince Jr. bought him out. He also had a nice chunk of WWC in Puerto Rico as well. He also became immortalized for the "Gorilla Position," just behind the curtain, where he could communicate with the referee and wrestlers and determine when to "bring it home" (end the match). Gorilla Monsoon is one of those figures who would be forgotten if he'd made a few different career choices, but he is instead one of its most beloved characters as a former wrestler, announcer and personality.

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