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Roscoe Monroe Brumbaugh (born Rosco Monroe Merrick; December 18, 1928 – November 3, 2006) better known by his ring name Sputnik Monroe, was an American professional wrestler. He was a headliner in many territories, and was best known in Memphis, Tennessee, where he and Billy Wicks set an attendance record that lasted until the Monday Night Wars boom period.

Early life

Monroe was born in Dodge City, Kansas. His father was killed in an airplane crash one month before his birth. His formative years were spent living with his grandparents. Later, his mother remarried, and his stepfather, whose last name was Brumbaugh, adopted him at age 17. As a result, Monroe's legal name became Roscoe Monroe Brumbaugh.

Career

Debuting as Rock Monroe in 1945, Monroe began his career by wrestling in traveling carnivals. He changed his name to Rocky Monroe in 1949, and adopted the nickname "Sputnik" in 1957.

He became a noteworthy figure in Memphis cultural history. During a period where legal segregation was the norm at public events, and during a general decline in the popularity of professional wrestling, Monroe recognized that the segregated wrestling shows (whites sat in floor seats while blacks were required to sit in the balcony) were not properly marketing to black fans. The witty, flamboyant Monroe began dressing up in a purple gown and carrying a diamond tipped cane and drinking in traditionally black bars in the black area of Memphis. As a result of this, he was frequently arrested by police on a variety of trumped up charges, such as mopery. He would then hire a black attorney and appear in court, pay a fine, and immediately resume fraternizing with black citizens and drinking in their bars. Due to this, and in spite of the fact that he was a heel at the time, his popularity soared among the black community. At his shows, although floor seats in arenas would be half empty with white patrons, the balcony would be packed to capacity with black patrons with many others unable to enter due to the balcony selling out.

Monroe having become the biggest wrestling draw at the time, soon refused to perform unless black patrons were allowed to sit in any seat at the Ellis Auditorium. As a result, his wrestling shows were desegregated and the shows then completely sold out with Monroe's many black fans filling the auditorium. Soon, other southern sporting events, recognizing the enormous financial benefits, began to desegregate as well.

Death

Monroe died in his sleep on November 3, 2006 in Florida. He was 77 years old.

In popular culture

  • A Los Angeles-based rock band is named after Monroe.
  • In May 2007, HBO announced that they would make a film based on Monroe's life. In September 2007, Julien Nitzberg confirmed that the first draft of the film's script had been completed.

Championships and accomplishments

External links

WWE Hall of Fame
1993
Andre the Giant
1994
Arnold SkaalandBobo BrazilBuddy RogersChief Jay StrongbowFreddie BlassieGorilla MonsoonJames Dudley
1995
Antonino RoccaErnie LaddGeorge SteeleIvan PutskiThe Fabulous MoolahThe Grand WizardPedro Morales
1996
Lou AlbanoJimmy SnukaJimmy ValiantJohnny RodzJohnny ValiantKiller KowalskiMikel SciclunaPat PattersonVince McMahon, Sr.
2004
Big John StuddBobby HeenanDon MuracoGreg ValentineHarley RaceJesse VenturaJunkyard DogPete RoseSgt. SlaughterSuperstar Billy GrahamTito Santana
2005
Bob Orton, Jr.Hulk HoganJimmy HartNikolai VolkoffPaul OrndorffRoddy PiperThe Iron Sheik
2006
Bret HartBlackjack MulliganEddie GuerreroGene OkerlundJack LanzaSherri MartelTony AtlasVerne GagneWilliam Perry
2007
AfaCurt HennigDusty RhodesJerry LawlerJim RossMr. FujiNick BockwinkelSikaThe Sheik
2008
Eddie GrahamGerald BriscoGordon SolieJack BriscoMae YoungPeter MaiviaRic FlairRocky Johnson
2009
Bill WattsChris Von ErichDavid Von ErichDory Funk Jr.Fritz Von ErichHoward FinkelKerry Von ErichKevin Von ErichKoko B. WareMike Von ErichRicky SteamboatSteve AustinTerry Funk
2010
Antonio InokiBob UeckerGorgeous GeorgeMaurice VachonStu HartTed DiBiaseWendi Richter
2011
Abdullah the ButcherBob ArmstrongDrew CareyJim DugganLegion of DoomPaul ElleringShawn MichaelsSunny
2012
EdgeFour HorsemenMike TysonMil MáscarasRon SimmonsYokozuna
2013
Bob BacklundBooker TBruno SammartinoDonald TrumpMick FoleyTrish Stratus
2014
Carlos ColonJake RobertsLitaMr. TPaul BearerScott HallUltimate Warrior
2015
Arnold SchwarzeneggerConnor MichalekAlundra BlayzeKevin NashLarry ZbyszkoRandy SavageRikishiTatsumi FujinamiThe Bushwhackers
2016
Art ThomasBig BossmanBuddy RobertsThe GodfatherEd LewisFrank GotchGeorge HackenschmidtJacquelineJimmy GarvinJoan LundenLou TheszMichael P.S. HayesMildred BurkePat O'ConnorSnoop DoggStan HansenStingTerry Gordy
2017
Bearcat WrightBeth PhoenixDiamond Dallas PageDr. Jerry GrahamEric LeGrandHaystacks CalhounJudy GrableJune ByersKurt AngleLuther LindsayMartin BurnsRick RudeRicky MortonRikidozanRobert GibsonTheodore LongToots Mondt
2018
Alfred HayesBoris MalenkoCora CombsDara SinghDudley BoyzEl SantoGoldbergHillbilly JimHiro MatsudaIvoryJarrius "JJ" RobertsonJeff JarrettJim LondosKid RockMark HenryRufus R. JonesSputnik MonroeStan Stasiak
2019
D-Generation XHarlem HeatSue AitchisonThe Honky Tonk ManTorrie Wilson
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