Friday, August 5, 2011

Monkeying Around

Pictures from WWE & Chikara Pro
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger on Twitter

I've gotten a fairly positive response when I tie together wrestling and pop culture, so I'm going to do it again today with the opening of the new Planet of the Apes movie.  Today we'll look at a few primates to make their way to the squared circle.

Probably the most famous is Gorilla Monsoon.  By the time I started watching wrestling, Gorilla had been long retired, but was the voice of the WWF.  Always wearing an interesting blazer with those tinted glasses, Gorilla kept fans informed of the action in the ring.  He and Bobby Heenan or Jessie Ventura usually handed the announcing duties together.  With Heenan, he co hosted Primetime Wrestling.  The two were comedy gold.  Jessie and Gorilla were the voices behind the first six Wrestlemanias. 

Jessie & Gorilla (from WWE)
The thing I liked about Gorilla's announcing was all the cool phrases he came up with.  "You can cut the electricity with a knife."  "They're hanging from the rafters."  and "This could be a main event in any arena in the country." were just a few of the Gorillaisms I enjoyed.  He also introduced us to the phrase "octcipital protuberus."  Nearly 30 years later, I'm still not sure what that is.

Gorilla of course had a life inside the ring too.  A big, burly heel.  A strong man.  Almost Gorilla like.  Now it all makes sense.  He made such an impact on the business that the area just between the backstage curtain and the entrance way has been dubbed "the Gorilla Position." 

In his later years, Gorilla served as WWF when Jack Tunney left the company.  One of the most memorable moments during his reign was when Vader attacked him.  It wasn't long after that Gorilla's health declined and in 1999, we lost Monsoon.  Sadly five years before that, Gorilla's son, referee Joey Morella was killed in a car accident.  No doubt Gorilla made a huge impact on the world of professional wrestling.

UApe does a monkey flip (from Chikara Pro)
Of course Chad would kill me if I didn't include something about former Chikara Pro star, USApe. I saw very little of him, but what I have seen it's basically a guy in a gorilla suit.  And of course to round out the gimmick, he's patriotic.  I'll give you one guess as to what his finisher was... Wait for it... the Monkey Flip.  Duh.  USApe is no longer on the Chikara roster, as he's listed as an alumni now.  I'm not sure that he's even wrestling anymore.  But fans seemed to go bananas for this hairy superstar.

Because I like to do this lists in 3's or 5's, I'm adding King Kong Bundy to the list.  I really couldn't think of another wrestler with a primate gimmick, but Bundy's King Kong monikor earned him a spot here.  Although I don't know with 100% certainty, but I'm guessing Bundy picked up the name in honor of the big screen ape.

King Kong Bundy vs. Hogan (from WWE)
He wrestled around the world, but is most famous for his run with the WWF in the mid 1980's.  Bundy was the anchor of the Heenan Family and main evented Wrestlemania 2 against WWF champion Hulk Hogan.  Bundy gained more noterity in the wrestling world when he bodyslammed and elbow dropped midget wrestler Little Beaver at Wrestlemania 3.  Even though he never won any titles in the WWF, Bundy was one of the best heels in the company.  I'd still like to see this big man inducted in the WWE Hall of Fame.

A similar argument could be made for this category with "King Kong" Bruiser Brody.  I recently wrote a post about him.  You can read more here.

So there you have it, it's a bit cheesy, but this was a fun post to come up with.  Go ape over our Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube pages.  Subscribe to all 3 please!

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