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Ken Resnick Talks About The Friendship Between Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan

April 19, 2021 | Posted by Joseph Lee
Gorilla Monsoon Bobby Heenan

In the latest edition of Wrestling with History, Bill Apter and Ken Resnick covered a variety of topics, including whether the sleeper hold is dangerous and the relationship between Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan. Here are highlights:

On the famous promo where Bockwinkle put Ken in the sleeper hold being Bobby Heenan’s idea: “It was not rehearsed, I had no idea it was coming…the whole purpose of the interview (was to highlight the) Gagne sleeper vs the Bockwinkle sleeper. Nick and Bobby were claiming that Verne’s (was) just a glorified chokehold where as Nick’s was putting pressure on the carotid artery… Bobby (then said) ‘give me the mic for a second, Nick why don’t you show him!’… I’m 99% sure it was all Bobby (Heenan’s) idea.”

On whether the sleeper is dangerous: “You can feel when that opponent go limp…it’s the same thing if you swim under water – if you swim under water, unless you have oxygen with you, that period the brain is deprived of oxygen. It’s not fatal because…as soon as you run out of breath you pop up, take a few deep breaths and you’re fine. It certainly could (be fatal) if you continue to press down on the carotid artery and the brain is denied oxygen and blood flow. If the brain is denied oxygen for too long a period it’s game, set, match.”

On the LPWA being ahead of it’s time: “The trailer that they (used) – back in those days it was all syndication, there was no cable – to pique their interest I did with Rowdy Roddy Piper, which I don’t think many people know. Tor treated it absolute dead serious, just like the (WWE) women’s division is treated today. Back then David McClain also had a women’s wrestling promotion – GLOW – which was not so much wrestling.”

On knowing Tina ‘fka Ivory’ Moretti would be a star: “We had Hall of Famers (like) Judy Martin and Lelani Kai, Medusa, Candy Devine, Susan Sexton, and – she had been on GLOW – Lisa Moretti who would go on to be Ivory, a Hall of Famer in WWE – debuted as Tina Moretti in LPWA. I have said this – to this day, (Tina Moretti) was one of the most memorable debuts I have ever witnessed… Lisa had the looks, very intelligent, (and was a good) talker. We didn’t know for sure how good her in ring ability was having just come from GLOW. So we were booking the matches (and) Judy Martin (said) ‘I’ll work with her and I’ll put her over’… (Lisa) had come out from behind the curtain and began to walk down. I knew before she ever got in the ring (that) she had that ‘it factor’. The crowd didn’t know who she was, but just (with) her presence they were totally, totally behind her.”

On backstage talk originally having Jesse manage Andre for his feud with Hogan: “I don’t think it would have worked near as well… As great as Jesse was, Jesse first and foremost tried to put himself over…whereas Bobby was all about putting over whoever he was managing as well as whoever the opponent was. So I just think Bobby was able to sell the feud probably better and certainly more than Jesse would have… Jesse’s first thought was getting himself over; unintended, that would have been the consequence of a lot of the interviews.”

On the relationship with Gorilla and Bobby Heenan: “I don’t know if they had ever even met before, but they bonded. They both recognized (that) they are like cream and sugar in coffee. They just fit. Those lines they came up with on Prime Time (weren’t) rehearsed. I was there. They just played so well off each other, and they were both such tremendous talent in their own right and they just fit. There have been a lot of great broadcasting duos in wrestling over the years to say the least, but in my mind Bobby and Gorilla are at the top of the charts.”

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Ken Resnick, Joseph Lee