Gorilla Monsoon: A Birthday Playlist for a Wrestling Legend

Growing up as I did in the '80s, professional wrestling was more than entertainment, it was religion. The Hulkster, Roddy Piper, Randy Savage and Andre were all unapologetically over-the-top, one-dimensional; comic characters that did glorious battle for dubious reasons. It was a great time to watch people beat the crap out of each other.

Wrestling legend Gorilla Monsoon, who would be 75, was retired from the beating up people game by then, but he remained one of the voices of the generation through his commentary with partners Bobby "the Brain" Heenan and Jesse Venture. Monsoon narrated some of the greatest matches of all time, including all eight of the first WrestleManias.

At this time, he was also a consummate backstage manager, and his habit of standing just behind the curtain and troubleshooting earned that spot the nickname of the Gorilla Position.

Yet before that Monsoon was tremendous in-ring talent, and is often considered one of the sports great big men, and was a two time Tag Team Champion that could go toe to toe even with Andre the Giant and Bruno Sammartino. Muhammad Ali himself met his match at the hands of Monsoon when he entered the ring during a bout between Monsoon and Baron Mikel Scicluna.

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Jef Rouner is a contributing writer who covers politics, pop culture, social justice, video games, and online behavior. He is often a professional annoyance to the ignorant and hurtful.
Contact: Jef Rouner