Flashback: Jerry Monahan

 Jerry Monahan is an important figure from the early days of the Tunney's promotion. When John & Frank took over from Jack Corcoran in 1939 Monahan was an initial partner, and was soon described as as Frank's right hand man. Settled in California and started wrestling at the age of 18 reportedly under the tutelage of Ed 'Strangler' Lewis. By the early 1930's he was headlining wrestling bouts across the U.S.  

He also took to promoting, running cards in and around Santa Rosa, California from 1936-1939. Said to be the first to promote the area, his tactics included allowing women in free if they were accompanied by a paid gentleman. 

In 1932 he first appeared in Ontario on Corcoran cards and was well received by the fans. He also wrestled as the Masked Marvel and occasionally as Masked Wolf- though it was John Grandovich who was unmasked at MLG in 1941-outfitted at times with a wolf's head mask. A later bit claims Monahan was 'the original' Marvel (here in Ontario) though there were others active including four that were unmasked locally. 

'There was the night in North Bay, in 1941, when Monahan was playing the role of The Masked Marvel. He was wrestling Ernie Powers and the referee was Jim Braddock, the former heavyweight boxing champion. Unfortunately Monahan spent five hours with Sammy Rothschild, the friendly liquor salesman, before the bout. The bout was only two minutes old and Powers was lying atop the Masked Marvel when referee Braddock noticed something peculiar. The Masked Marvel had passed out-and he was snoring quite audibly.' -Jim Coleman 1965

He joined the Toronto office around 1937 and when Corcoran passed the promotion to the Tunney's, the group included U.S. promoters Paul  Bowser and Jack Ganson, and Monahan. Notably all three of them were against the push of newcomer Whipper Watson in 1940. Frank Tunney didn't agree and as the 'Pride Of East York' Watson soon became the home town favorite earning both the NWA (Association) title in '47 and the NWA (Alliance) title in '56.

By the early 1940's he was mostly used as a tester type for newcomers or as the opponent for the travelling giants. The French Angel and the 600lb Blimp Levy. As with the other office insiders he refereed and helped with the cards on the circuit. 

He also had a hand in Buffalo working as matchmaker until 1947 and promoted in Pittsburgh for a time.  

In summer 1946 Monahan was diagnosed with cancer and later that year had surgery and never recovered. He died at his Crystal Beach home in January 1947 at the age of 44 leaving a wife and son Jerry Jr. He was succeeded as matchmaker in Buffalo by Ed Don George and received accolades from all over the wrestling world.

'Though he knew his number was up shortly after a last September operation. Monahan showed dauntless courage as he carried on. Though he grew thin and haggard, his smile never faltered. he continued to the end with his chores as matchmaker for Buffalo's wrestling entrepreneurs and was a frequent visitor to Toronto, where he had many friends.' - Andy Lyte Toronto Jan 1947


More on Wrestlers who lost their masks in Toronto
Monahan and the early days are included in Frank Tunney: The Early Days