“They’re literally hanging off the rafters” is my favorite of many Gorilla Monsoon quotes

A while back, I got a kick out of listing some of the great one-liners that Vince McMahon user to utter during his play-by-play announcing days, and since then I have looked forward to the day I also review Gorilla Monsoon’s memorable quotes.

So here goes, with a nod to Monsoon as an announcer and as co-host of Prime Time Wrestling (the precursor to Monday Night Raw on the USA Network):

  • “He certainly doesn’t have any trouble getting a date on Saturday night.” — Used to describe a pretty-boy babyface, such as a young Paul Roma.
  • “Highly unlikely, Jess.” — A line used to dispute whatever Jesse “The Body” Ventura (one of Mosoon’s longtime announcing sidekicks) said to malign a babyface.
  • “He doesn’t know a wristlock from a wrist watch.” — Monsoon used this line often, but it was most famously said after he gave Muhammad Ali an airplane spin in a prelude to Ali’s match with Antonio Inoki in 1976.
  • “Both feet have to touch the floor, Jess.” — This line described the rules of the traditional WWF steel cage match, in which the winner had to escape to the floor either through the door or over the top of the cage.
  • “Oh, it’s Excedrin number five.” — Usually mentioned after a heel suffered some move or strike to the head.
  • “He just got his clock cleaned.” — Same idea as the prior quote.
  • “They’re literally hanging off the rafters here at the Boston Garden.” — Perhaps the most famous of all Monsoon lines, where you were left wondering whether Gorilla actually understood what he was saying. For the record, I never saw anyone hanging from the Garden rafters, although I did occasionally see people running along the rafter walkways.
  • “He hit him in his occipital protuberance.” — That occipital protuberance is that little knob that we all have at the base of the skull. Why that ever worked its way into a wrestling match is beyond me, but Monsoon is the only reason I ever know what that body part is.
  • “Ken Patera put the final nail in my career.” — Monsoon would often note that then-Intercontinental Champion Ken Patera retired him, thanks to the stipulations of a match the two had in August 1980 at the Philadelphia Spectrum.
  • “This match could be a main event anywhere in the country.” — This was Monsoon’s attempt, which almost always failed, to convince fans that a subpar match was in fact a big deal. For me, I remember this line coming when tag teams split up to fight, such as Rick Martel fighting Mr. Saito.
  • “Madison Square Garden: The Mecca of professional wrestling.” — This was a pretty accurate statement in the early 1980s.
  • “Do something, ref, even if it’s wrong!” — The equivalent of McMahon’s “Oh, come on!” line when a heel got out of control.
  • “You don’t get paid in there by the hour.” — Gorilla liked to remind people that the smart wrestlers were the ones who got their wins quickly.
  • “You resemble that remark, Brain.” — Kind of Monsoon’s way of turning the tables on Bobby “The Brain” Heenan when Heenan would say something derogatory about a babyface.
  • “The Garden has gone strictly bananas,” with my nod to my friend Tom for remembering this line — I’m not entirely sure what “strictly bananas” meant, but I think we all got the picture of a crowd going crazy for the antics of a match.

Surely I’ve missed some quote from Gorilla. Help me out in the comments section…

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15 comments

  1. joe005

    “Stick a fork in him” “Would you stop?” “Good night, Irene” “He doesn’t have that leg hooked” – anytime anyone would put on an abdominal stretch, they were apparently doing it wrong

  2. Brett Fleming

    If I recall correctly, Monsoon would say “that will give you a negative attitude” whenever someone was the victim of a powerful move, like a power slam, pile driver or a similar move. Wasn’t he also the one who would say that Heenan was a “fount of misinformation”?

  3. VALERIE MARELLA

    I remember once Gorilla talking about a overly muscular wrestler and saying “You don’t get that way waiting for the bus”. Miss you ~

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  6. Tom Mohan

    Was “pandemonium” one of his favorite words? Also, when things were getting out of hand, didn’t he express his wish taht the ref would regain “some assemblance of order?” Although I never heard him say it, Pro Wrestling Illustrated once goofed on his saying a wrestler has “literally been on the shelf for the past 6 months.” 🙂

  7. Marcus

    My favorite is when a heel would jump a baby face and monsoon would say “pearl harbor job done by ______”

  8. Michael

    Gorilla was one of those guys that comes around once in a lifetime. Ever see him wear rose-colored glasses, in addition to the blue ones? Well, that’s how he saw life. Quite ironic that a guy of his size was in real life one of the nicest, articulate men you could ever meet. If you recall on an episode of RAW years ago from MSG, they paid tribute to Vince McMahon, Sr., and when pre-recorded commentary came on the titan tron from Monsoon, the place went nuts. I cried when Monsoon passed away, because he was part of my childhood. RIP, Mr. Marella.

  9. modew's manager

    Little known is that Vince took on a huge loan when his father stepped aside. One condition was that if Vince missed a payment, the company would revert to Monsoon and Phil Zacko, the Philly promoter. How that would have changed the course of pro wrestling.

  10. Panda

    I have a quote you forgot. Whenever Bobby “The Brain” would say something out of line, Gorilla would yell “Will you stop!!!”

  11. Anonymous

    It’s hard to believe that Gorilla Monsoon was once a heel up until the late 1960s, with that thick underchin beard he was sporting at the time. His career in the WWF covered the gambit from wrestler, booker to play-by-play announcer alongside some wise-acre like Bobby “the brain” or Jesse “the body.”

  12. Joe Lowry

    You have covered quite alot of quotes from the late and great Gorilla Monsoon. I do remember him always bellowing out “A kick to the solar plexes.” Usually meaning a kick in the stomach. Sometimes the occasional jobber would be poised for the upset and always losing a match. Gorillas response would usually be, “Its not his night tonight…” My favorite quote from him will always be “Welcome to Madison Square Garden…The Mecca of Professional Wrestling. Robert “Gino” Marella was a great announcer.

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