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Published on Feb 2, 2011
Celebrate National Sputnik Monroe Day March 24, 2013...Roscoe Brumbaugh was an American war veteran (the Big One—WWII), but he really became known to the world through professional wrestling as Sputnik Monroe: "Rough and tough and hard to bluff; 235 lbs. of twisted steel and sex appeal; the heavenly body that women love but men fear!" There was far more to this man than bluster and bravado. His August 17, 1959, wrestling bout at Russwood Park in Memphis against Billy Wicks and refereed by boxing legend Rocky Marciano drew over 13,000 people--at the time the largest crowd to watch a match in Memphis history. This match is said to have lit the fuse that exploded the wrestling scene in Memphis to the top level in the United States.
But Monroe's biggest contribution to American culture was his fight to encourage equality for his African-American wrestling fans, who were brought out of special limited seating (the so-called "crows nest" at Ellis Auditorium in Memphis) and allowed to sit and enjoy seating down low with white patrons. A white man, Monroe was beloved by black fans in the '50's and '60's and was one of the first to have a black tag team partner. Monroe's dedication to ensuring equality for his black fans essentially did as much for the integration of Memphis as the Civil Rights protests which took place in the streets a couple of years after his defiant protests of the status quo in the entertainment industry.
Sputnik Monroe died in November, 2006, at age 77, but his influence lives on. His purposeful, bold, and strong use of fame and draw in the wrestling ring to move forward the lives of others grows as time moves forward. Please help us acknowledge the cultural contributions of Sputnik Monroe by celebrating March 24, 2011, in the first annual National Sputnik Monroe Day with the release of Memphis Heat: The True Story of Memphis Wrasslin', which features Sputnik Monroe and many others that followed in his giant footsteps! www.facebook.com/memphisheat