Gorilla Monsoon


Title History

  • WWWF United States Tag Team titles w/ Killer Kowalski defeating Brute Bernard and Skull Murphy (November 14, 1963);
  • WWWF United States Tag Team titles w/ Bill Watts defeating Gene Kiniski and Waldo Von Erich (April 8, 1965);
  • WWA (Los Angeles) World Tag Team titles w/ Luke Graham defeating Grizzly Smith and Luke Brown (January ??, 1966);
  • WWA (Los Angeles) World Tag Team titles w/ El Mongol defeating Moondog Mayne and Luke Graham (January 23, 1966);
  • IWA (Australia) World Heavyweight title defeating Spiros Arion (Febuary 16, 1968);
  • WWC North American Heavyweight title defeating Hartford Love (July 30, 1977);
  • WWC North American Heavyweight title defeating Bruno Sammartino (July 22, 1978);

Career Highlights

In The Beginning:

  • Early 1960s: Gorilla Monsoon broke into the wrestling business competing under the name Gino Marella.
  • Gorilla Monsoon debuted in Pedro Martinez’s National Wrestling Federation based in Rochester, New York.
  • Gorilla Monsoon was also known as “The Manchurian Giant” and was introduced as hailing from Manchuria, China.

Pittsburgh Wrestling:World Wide Wrestling Federation:

  • January 20, 1964 – Madison Square Gardens: Vittorio Apollo and Bobo Brazil defeated Gorilla Monsoon and Killer Kowalski.
  • October 27, 1969 – Madison Square Gardens: Gorilla Monsoon defeated Killer Kowalski.
  • September 30, 1972 – WWWF Showdown at Shea: Gorilla Monsoon vs Ernie Ladd ended in a 10-minute draw.
  • January 12, 1980 – WWWF: Gorilla Monsoon defeated Swede Hanson.

World Wide Wrestling Federation:

  • Gorilla Monsoon formed a friendship with Vince McMahon Sr. and became a shareholder in the World Wide Wrestling Federation.
  • Gorilla Monsoon owned 1/6 of the World Wide Wrestling Federation and controlled bookings in several WWWF territories.
  • Gorilla Monsoon once picked up Muhammad Ali and applied the Airplane Spin in an extremely memorable WWWF moment.
  • Gorilla Monsoon received several WWWF title shots at then champion Bruno Sammartino in Madison Square Garden.
  • Gorilla Monsoon and Bruiser Brody allegedly had a backstage fight, which lead to Brody being blackballed from the WWF.
  • Gorilla Monsoon challenged then WWF IC champion, Ken Patera, to a title match, saying if he didn’t win the title, he would retire.
  • ~~~The match was stopped after Gorilla Monsoon suffered a cut on his face, and true to his word, Gorilla Monsoon retired.
  • March 1, 1980: Gorilla Monsoon wrestled his final match defeating Baron Mikel Scicluna.

World Wrestling Federation:

  • Gorilla Monsoon moved into a commentary position where he hosted MSG cards, as well as being a top booker and road agent.
  • Gorilla Monsoon came out of retirement once, to substitute for Andre the Giant at an Madison Square Garden event.
  • Gorilla Monsoon teamed with Rick Martel and Tony Garea to defeat Stan Hansen, Lou Albano and Moondog Rex.
  • Gorilla Monsoon was defeated by Ken Patera and later said that Patera had “put the nail in the coffin of my career”.
  • Vince Sr. requested that Vince Jr. would to take financial care of certain employees/friends who worked alongside Vince Sr. for years.
  • Vince Jr. took over the WWF, Gorilla Monsoon sold his shares to him and in return, Monsoon was insured lifetime employment.
  • 1983: Gorilla Monsoon was one of the first to accept Big John Studd‘s “bodyslam challenge”.
  • Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse “The Body” Ventura became the announcing team for most WWF pay per views in the 1980s.
  • Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse “The Body” Ventura formed one of the most legendary commentary combinations in the industry.
  • Gorilla Monsoon also hosted WWF TV shows Wrestling Challenge, Prime Time Wrestling, and All-American Wrestling.
  • Gorilla Monsoon also formed one of the most entertaining on-air partnerships with his real life friend Bobby “The Brain” Heenan.
  • Gorilla Monsoon created the “Gorilla Position” – the entrance way, which separates the “inside” of the arena from “backstage”.
  • 1993: Gorilla Monsoon steps down from being lead Pay Per View announcer to a Coliseum Home Video commentator.
  • 1993: Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan started a feud which resulted in Monsoon kicking The Brain out of the WWF!
  • June 9, 1994: Gorilla Monsoon was inducted into the WWF Hall of Fame – he was presented the award by Jim Ross.
  • 1994: Gorilla Monsoon’s son, referee Joey Marella, died in a horrible car accident.
  • Gorilla Monsoon filled in as a broadcast announcer in King of the Ring 1994 and Survivor Series 1994.
  • 1995: Gorilla Monsoon became Interim President of the World Wrestling Federation when Jack Tunney retired.
  • January 1996: Gorilla Monsoon suspended Vader, and was viciously attacked and Vader-bombed on Monday Night RAW.
  • WrestleMania XII: Gorilla Monsoon was officially announced as World Wrestling Federation president.
  • 1997: Gorilla Monsoon stepped down from his position as World Wrestling Federation president due to illness.
  • 1998: Gorilla Monsoon joined the World Wrestling Federation International broadcast announce team.
  • Gorilla Monsonn appeared on a WWF Attitude commercial featuring Fred Blassie, Ernie Ladd, Pat Patterson, Killer Kowalski.
  • WrestleMania XV: Gorilla Monsoon made his final public appearance as the third judge for the Butterbean/Bart Gunn ‘Brawl 4 All’ bout.
  • ~~~The legendary and beloved Gorilla Monsoon received an enormous standing ovation from the appreciative live audience.
  • Gorilla Monsoon was known as ‘Gino’ to his fellow colleagues/friends for many years in the WWWF/WWF.
  • ~~~At times his fellow announcers would openly acknowledge him as Gino on WWF Television.
  • October 6, 1999: Gorilla Monsoon died of heart failure after a long battle with illness.
  • Gorilla Monsoon was one of the most knowledgeable and wittiest commentators who mastered the play-by-play role.
  • ~~~His voice will forever be remembered and will always represent the nostalgic and the glorious era of the 1980s.