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Found 13 results

  1. C.S.

    Gorilla Monsoon

    This post is somewhat inspired by the recent Cageside Seats Evaluation piece. For years Dave Meltzer has called Gorilla Monsoon one of the worst commentators in the business. I believe he was even voted as such by the WON readers on a few occasions. But I think we all realize Meltzer sets the tone for those votes and significantly influences them - whether he realizes it or not, means to or not. Needless to say, a lot of people disagree with Meltzer. In fact, it seems to me that most wrestling fans online (and off) have nothing but fond memories of Gorilla Monsoon. Meltz seems to think his word is irrefutable gospel when it comes to this stuff - he even criticized Bret Hart for considering Ed Whalen the best of all time "because that's what he grew up with" - so I guess no one is allowed to have a different opinion in Meltzer's mind. Some of Gorilla's positive attributes: Amazing chemistry and witty banter with Jesse "The Body" Ventura and especially Bobby "The Brain" Heenan. His vocabulary. Just awesome. He made wrestling feel smart (even if some of the words or phrases he used were probably pulled out of his ass). Gave wrestling more of a sports-like feel ("He didn't hook the leg!"), which made everything seem more important. I think Meltz once said that some wrestlers complained about stuff like "didn't hook the leg" and felt they were being undermined by Monsoon's commentary. Well, fuck them. Jim Ross loves him and called him his early WWE mentor. With J.R. being one of the best of all time, that's pretty high praise. Plus, J.R. is "A Grouchy Hateful Vile Human Being" (lol), so getting a compliment from him means a lot. , of course. In Meltzer's defense, when I first heard Jim Ross in WCW, it blew me away. The presentation was completely different - more serious and even more sports-like than Gorilla - but I chalk that up to stylistic differences between the two feds at the time. The WWF was more about the pomp, circumstance, and pageantry - and that was reflected in the commentary of Gorilla, Vince McMahon, and others. The NWA/WCW was a completely different beast - and that too was reflected by J.R., Tony Schiavone, etc. Case-in-point: J.R. in the WWF was completely different from Jim Ross in WCW/NWA. When it comes right down to it, Gorilla did a perfect job for the type of product he was covering. Meltzer's issues with him was really a reflection of his larger issue with the WWF at the time (IMO). Too many others - myself included - loved Gorilla and have fond memories of him. Could part of that be childhood nostalgia, as Meltz accused Bret of feeling for Ed Whalen? Sure. But that's too easy, cheap, and lazy to be a credible dismissal in my mind. Bret understands wrestling more than most. As for Gorilla, even if 100% of his fans only love him for nostalgic reasons ("highly unlikely"), that still means his approach worked for audiences at the time. He did his job and did it well. Compared to the annoying, screechy, shrill style of commentary in today's WWE, I think we'd all give anything to go back to the days of Gorilla Monsoon. Note: I've only touched on Gorilla Monsoon the commentator. He had an extensive in-ring career before this, but I haven't seen any of his matches. If you want to add that aspect of his career to the discussion too, please do.
  2. Hulk Hogan & High Flyers vs Jesse Ventura, Ken Patera & Bobby Heenan - AWA 3/13/83 Hulk Hogan vs. the top two WWF heel commentators is a dream match and it happened in the AWA! The electricity for Hogan is off the charts. The ring announcing by Mean Gene gets so much face and heel heat is it is incredible. The heels try to jumpstart the match and my God Hogan no-selling on Jesse is so badass. I loved the strut on the apron and then high-fives with the High Flyers. He was feeling it. He removes Jesse's bandana to reveal a very shiny bald head without his usual trademark long bleached blond hair. Very fun stuff. After all the blood feud brawls of the 80s, this type of fun popcorn match is exactly what I needed. Hogan was great at the opening shine having fun with Jesse and Patera pinballing for Hogan and the High Flyers. Big Weasel chant! AWA is cooking baby. There is a small cut and no commentary for this match. Patera drives Brunzell into his corner into a tree of woe. Now Bobby the BRAIN comes into get his licks, but stays in a bit too long and takes a big bump into the top turnbuckle. He tries to scurry away, but here comes Greg to work on his leg and punch Heenan's cohorts. Heenan backs into the wrong corner and pays the prices. Heenan splaying himself on the mat after a Gagne chop is a thing of beauty. They trap Gagne into the wrong corner and start double teaming (Heenan is dead) and choking him. With power guys like Patera and Ventura, it is bearhug time. Gagne's offense is pretty weak. Get Brunzell or Hogan in there, BABY! They do a couple ref didn't see it tags. Patera wants the piledriver, but Gagne powers out and Gagne on his heads and knees makes the tag, Brunzell and Patera scuffle and Brunzell is cooking. Ventura, nice bump off the turnbuckles and Brunzell is thinking Figure-4, but broken up and Patera vertical suplex. For the short time, Brunzell has been there way more entertaining. Patera lets him get way too close to Hogan. Hogan is running wild and unbridled. He destroying everything that moves and a big melee ensues. They whip Ventura and Patera into each other. Hogan hits a massive legdrop on The Brain for the win. The epitome of a super fun, action blockbuster with the heels bumping and the babyfaces thumping. It dragged a bit during the Gagne heat segment for this to be a great match for me. It was tons of fun for the couple minutes Hogan and Brunzell were in. ***3/4
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