This news was received just after I put the newsletter up today. It comes to us from Bob Ryders Prodigy report:
GORDON SOLIE'S WIFE DIES
Gordon Solie's wife, Eileen "Smokey" Solie, died early this morning in her sleep after a long battle with cancer. Mrs. Solie died from complications related to her illness at her home in New Port Richey, Florida.
Gordon Solie was the longtime 'voice' of Florida Championship Wrestling and Georgia Championship Wrestling, and worked in later years with WCW for a brief period of time. More recently, he has teamed with Bruno Sammartino for an Internet project on the RingWarriors Website.
Funeral arrangements are pending, but fans wishing to send messages of condolences can send EMail to Ringwarriors@hotmail.com
Fans who wish to send cards or letters can send them to:
13608 Clubside Drive Tampa, FL 33624
Solie's Vintage Wrestling wishes to extend our deepest sympathy to Mr. Solie and his family - besides lending his name to my efforts, he has been a good friend to this site.
With this issue Solie's welcomes back an old friend. Jeff Yelton is Solie's resident musical historian.
THE ALL-TIME WRESTLING ALBUM
by Jeff Yelton
Side Two: Original Songs Written for Wrestlers
1. "Real American" by Rick Derringer (1986). Written originally for Barry Windham and Mike Rotundo (the US Express), Hulk took the song after Barry walked out on Vince in 1986 and made it his own theme. I don't care what you say, "Real American" and Hulkamania could make any crowd rise to its feet and erupt in bedlam.
2. "The Natural", written for Dustin Rhodes (1992). For the first time in wrestling history, a country music tune that wasn't an obvious tongue-in-cheek, make fun of country hicks song (like "Don't Go Messin' With a Country Boy") escorted a serious contender to the ring. The lyrics offer that Dustin was "a son of a son and a son of a gun", and proof "the American Dream still lasts", which was a nice touch.
3. "Badstreet USA" by Michael Hayes and the Fantasia Band (1983). The BEST wrestling theme song of all-time,...PERIOD!!! Michael always fancied himself as a rock star, and proved he could do it in this classic theme of the Freebirds. The video is superb, and includes future Bird, Gorgeous Jimmy Garvin, as an EMT. Vince saw this and signed the Birds up, but it wasn't to be. Still, this song is used by Terry Gordy on the independent circuit. The funniest thing about this tune is that it showed up during a two-minute blurb on RAW one night in 1996, when Hayes had evolved into Dok Hendrix, and was singing it with the WWF band. It was a major mondo culture shock.
4. "Hard Time", written for the Big Boss Man (1990). Vince always had an edge in music production because he booked solid professional musicians to do his themes, and this one was no less polished. When the Boss Man turned face on Slick and Ted DiBiase in 1990, this upbeat song warned opponents about the Boss Man's "big stick, ball and chain, too", and warned all about doing "Hard Time". It captured the Boss Man's character perfectly, and was very listenable.
5. "Bird, Bird" by Koko B. Ware (1990). Koko could actually sing a little, but he showed his limitations with the title track from "Piledriver". That was a slow, rock-like tune, and Koko was a black guy who used to come out to Morris Day's music. Quite a difference. "Bird, Bird" was a come-out-of-your-seats, get up and dance song that worked for Koko, as a celebration of both Koko and his bird, Frankie.
6. "Money, Money, Money, Money, Money" by Ted DiBiase (1989). Ted extolls "Everybody's got a price", and laughs maniacally during this classic wrestling tune. The only problem with this "hauntingly beautiful" (thank you, Joe Crowe) song was that it was overused as the theme for all of Ted's "Million Dollar Corporation" in 1994. Use any song that much and it gets tiring. Hopefully, Ted will again turn up in the WWF, and we'll get to hear it again.
7. "Oh, Shawn!" by Sherri Martel (1992) and by Shawn Michaels (1994). First done as a puppy-love-style ode to her "Boy Toy", "Oh, Shawn!" was sung by a lovesick Sherri Martel to a slightly disinterested scum who was more interested in himself than in her. (Narcissus was a role Shawn should have taken, but Lex Luger was already on the payroll.) When Sherri left, Shawn eventually redid the number as an ode to himself, filled with arrogange and utter pomposity. (What else do you expect from a guy who prances around like Mr. Sissy? Thank you, Howard Stern,...) Anyway, ever since Shawn's megapush in 1995, this song has gotten crowds to its feet, and eclipsed stuff like "Real American" in the hearts of wrestling fans. It IS an exciting piece of music. (Not exactly "Rock and Roll Hoochie Koo", but,...)
8. "Mr. Bang Bang", written for Cactus Jack (1992). This sort of heavy metal tune is very good, and again, it's a shame we can't hear it anymore on tv, since Mick Foley is now "Dude Love" in the WWF, but it beat all those other themes WCW tried to stick on Cactus. The Undertaker-like slow dirge didn't work with Cactus because Mick was crazy, and hyper. So, the WCW boys came up with this, and it worked.
9. "We're the Boys" by the Nasty Boys (1995). When Jimmy Hart arrived in WCW in 1994, he took over some of the music production, and basically redid the ex-WWFers theme music in such a way that he would avoid prosecution for plagiarism, but still sound sort of familiar to the songs these guys used to have. "American Made" is a blatant, high-strung ripoff of "Real American". While the Nasty's WWF theme was all instrumental, and had a lot of record-scratching on it, "We're the Boys" continued that, but with some hard guitars, and the Nastys' singing! It was actually pretty good, as wrestling tunes go.
10. "I'm a Freebird, What's Your Excuse?" by Michael Hayes and Jimmy Garvin (1992). Inexclipably left off the 1992 WCW album, Garvin and Hayes used some of the studio time to create a new theme song in pure Southern rock style, with great lyrics like "Excuse me that's beer, and the whiskey is mine", and "heckuva future, helluva past, you don't believe us, we're gonna kick your (horn blows)". I am a HUGE Fabulous Freebirds' fan, and Michael and Jimmy, who debuted this on the January, 1992 Clash of the Champions, did a great job with this tune.
11. "Don't Go Messin' with a Country Boy" by Hillbilly Jim (1986). OK, so it is tongue in cheek, but dammit, the music gets a crowd up on its feet, clapping and stomping, even in 1997, when the Godwins appropriated it. Hillbilly is a good singer, and the enthusiasm he had as a performer shows in this tune.
12. "A Man Called Sting", written for Sting (1992). I prefer his instrumental themes (Side Three of the Wrestling Album, coming soon!), but this is an OK song. It certainly has gotten a lot of play over the years, but what the song did was take away Sting's rebellious, punk-type style and made him a Hoganesque figure, content with showing up and going through the motions. (And wasn't that was Sting's career was doing before the nWo days?) I hope once this "Crow"-type silliness ends, that we can hear this song again, and the old Sting will pop up and thrill us like he used to.
13. "Honky Tonk Man" by Wayne Ferris (1987). Yes, the Honky Tonk Man character WAS annoying,...yes, he was the worst Intercontinental Champ pf all-time,....yes, he was one of the few guys in the WWF who we thought WE could beat,...but Wayne Ferris played his character well, and he can sing, too. "Honky Tonk Man", written by Jimmy Hart, is a little dated, as playing "the Snakeskin Blues" refers to his then-feud with Jake Roberts, but his proclamation that he was "cool, I'm cocky, I'm bad", is timeless, as well, as his yelling, "Elvis who?" Funny stuff, and a great theme song.
Well, that's it. Side three will include instrumental themes, and a side four will also be coming up, which is a surprise. Let's see if it takes me six months to write that! (That's a joke, I think,...)
Run, Blade Runner, Run: The Story Of Sting.
by Ervin Griffin Jr.
Part1: The Rulebreaking Days
It seems that Steve Borden's evey move has be watched by everyone since his debut in November of 1985. The man who would become known as Sting began his career as a member of PowerTeam USA in California. While I can't remember the name of his other two partners, it is notable to say that one of his partners in this foursome was Jim Hellwig aka The Ultimate Warrior.
In early 1986, PowerTeam USA dissolved but Hellwig and Borden remained together and formed the Blade Runners. Hellwig took the name Rock while Borden took the name Flash. While I have never actually seen them in action, I have it on good account that they were pretty impressive!!! They later moved to the UWF area and joined up with the late Eddie "Hot Stuff" Gilbert and a young Rick Steiner.
By this time, Borden had changed his in-ring name to Sting. Rock, citing problems with UWF President Bill Watts and Gilbert, left the UWF and went to the World Class area while his partner remained in the UWF. In reality, that could've been the best thing that could've happend to Hellwig and Borden as both went on to great success.
Sting, meanwhile, teamed with Gilbert to win the UWF tag titles from The Fantastics. I'm not sure but I think they later got stripped of those belts due to the controversial way they won them. Anyway, Sting would win those belts again in 1987 with Rick Steiner. The defeated the team of "Gentleman" Chris Adams and Terry Taylor for those belts. This partnership didn't last long though as Sting grew tired of Gilbert. This led to a big blowup between the three men with Sting becoming a face as a result.
He has, more or less, remained one for the last 10 years. What is interesting to note is that the UWF were doing joint cards with the NWA at that time. This led to Sting getting more national attention for the first time.
One of his first feuds in the "national spotlight" was with Lex Luger. A man with whom he would have his ups and downs with over the years. Luger, then-US Champion, was sent to the UWF to take out Sting when, in late-1987, Sting started making some noise about challenging NWA Champion Ric Flair (Note: Flair was actually trying to regain the belt from Ron Garvin at this point. He would be successful in November of that year at Starrcade '87 ).
JJ Dillion, manager of the Four Horsemen, didn't want Flair to face Sting right now so he sent Luger to battle him. The two fought several time with no clear cut winner in any of the bouts.
Sting's first real national appearance was at Starrcade '87 when he teamed with Michael Hayes and Jim Garvin to battle Gilbert, Steiner, and Larry Zybsco in a six-man tag match. This match ended in a draw but saw the beginings of a legend in wrestling.
Next: The NWA days
If you have a question, comments, criticism, or just want to talk pro wrestling, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Irvin Griffin Jr. is a regular contributor to Solie's as well as the Ringside Insider and other publications.
That's all for now. I will be back on Monday Night with the regular Monday Night Wars Edition of the newsletter. Until then...
Anyway, that's the way I see it...
editor Solie's Wrestling Newsletter
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