Joey Marella was a professional wrestling referee who worked for the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) from 1983 to 1994. He was also the adopted son of former wrestler and WWF announcer Gorilla Monsoon. He was known for his integrity, professionalism, and charisma in the ring. He officiated some of the most memorable matches in wrestling history, such as Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant at WrestleMania III and Bret Hart vs. Davey Boy Smith at SummerSlam 1992.
How Did Joey Marella Die?
Joey Marella died on July 4, 1994, at the age of 31, after he fell asleep at the wheel and crashed into a guardrail and a tree while driving home on the New Jersey Turnpike after a night of refereeing WWF matches in Ocean City, Maryland. He was not wearing a seat belt and was pronounced dead at the scene. His passenger, fellow referee Harvey Wippleman, survived the accident with minor injuries. He was wearing a seat belt and managed to crawl out of the car and flag down a passing motorist for help.
What Was the Impact of Joey Marella’s Death?
Joey Marella’s death was a huge shock and loss for the wrestling industry and fans. He was widely respected and loved by his colleagues and peers, who remembered him as a kind, generous, and fun-loving person. His father, Gorilla Monsoon, was devastated by his son’s death and never fully recovered from it. He retired from announcing in 1995 and died of heart failure in 1999.
Many wrestlers and referees paid tribute to Joey Marella by wearing black armbands or dedicating their matches to him. The WWF also honored him with a 10-bell salute and a video tribute on Monday Night Raw. His funeral was attended by hundreds of people, including Vince McMahon, Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Roddy Piper, and many others.
How Is Joey Marella Remembered Today?
Joey Marella is remembered today as one of the best referees in wrestling history and a beloved member of the WWF family. His legacy lives on through his memorable matches, his influence on other referees, and his impact on the fans. He is also remembered for his close relationship with his father, Gorilla Monsoon, who often praised his son’s work on commentary and called him “the best referee in the business”.
Joey Marella’s cause of death was a tragic reminder of the dangers of driving while tired and the importance of wearing a seat belt. His death also raised awareness of the grueling schedule and lifestyle of professional wrestlers and referees, who often travel long distances and work long hours without proper rest and sleep. His death inspired many wrestlers and referees to take better care of themselves and their health.
Joey Marella was a talented and dedicated referee who loved his job and his sport. He was a loyal and caring son, friend, and colleague. He was a joyous and passionate person who touched many lives. He was taken too soon, but he will never be forgotten.