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Solie's Tuesday Morning Report: EXTRA!

Friday Morning Edition
An Interview with Scott Teal

Conducted by Jeremy Hartley for TWC Online
Transcribed by Earl Oliver


Volume 3, Issue 314 - May 15, 1998

An Interview with Scott Teal

Conducted by Jeremy Hartley for TWC Online
Transcribed by Earl Oliver

Here is the first part an interview with the publisher of the "What Ever Happened Too..." newsletter. He is also a former wrestling photographer and publicist. Scott has devoted his publication, and his web site to the history of Pro-Wrestling with a special emphasis on the oral tradition. His web site is a must-see for anyone on the Internet who is interested in the "Old Days" of wrestling.

Jeremy Hartley: Starting from the beginning, and we'll work our way up, and I ask this question of everyone I talk too...when did the wrestling bug bite you? What made you become a fan and pursue this line of work? It's certainly a very demanding thing but it must be a lot of fun for you.

Scott Teal: Well, actually it was way back in the sixties, the mid-sixties was probably the first time I remember hearing anything about wrestling. I was watching TV, just flipping the channels...and of course we only had about three or four channels...and I run across this great big black guy on the screen. They had some guy playing the drums, playing a cadence and this guy was bouncing his pec muscles up and down to the beat of the drum. I thought that was the funniest thing, it turned out it was "Sailor" Art Thomas... (Editor's Note: Also known as "Seaman" Art Thomas)

Jeremy Hartley: Oh yeah!

Scott Teal: Well, about 1969 I was over at a girlfriend's house and her parents had Championship Wrestling from Florida on...I had never watched it - other than that one little clip I saw and these guys come walking into the dressing room carrying this wrestler. And he was bloody from head-to-foot, and I looked and I said, "Now what in the world is this?" I thought' "Good grief! Somebody just tore this guy to pieces!" Well, it turned out, what it was, is was Joe Scarp and two-three of the guys were helping him back. The fans had apparently presented Ricky Hunter, who was wrestling as the gladiator, with a watch. Joe stumbled upon a couple of guys - it was the Great Malenko and Hans Mortier were destroying the watch while Ricky was in the ring. Scarp had tried to stop them and of course they bloodied him up and Scarp was crying on the stage, saying, "Ricky I tried to stop them." And I thought this is the neatest stuff, I tuned in and it was like a soap opera. I said, "I'm going to watch it again next week because I want to see what happens, did he get his revenge?" I mean I was fascinated. So I got hooked on that storyline and I tuned in that week and then the next week and every week after that. You know, I continued to watch it. So I guess it was probably a year after that before I ever went to my first live show and that was in Bradenton, Florida where I up. They had Skull Von Stroheim and the Missouri Mauler (Larry Hamilton), and the one that fascinated me, and I just couldn't believe...I don't know if you ever heard of "Spaceman" Frank Hickey...he was probably the funniest characters you'd ever see. He came into the ring as a spaceman. He had a helmet on and a cape and he was running around almost looking like he was trying to be Batman, or something like you'd see Bela Lugosi wearing as Dracula, and I thought that was the funniest thing for a wrestler for this guy to come in in this space suit. But I was hooked from that point on and after that I started making the trip...it was about an hour trip up to Tampa, Florida. I went there every Tuesday night, they had the matches there at the time at the Fort Homer History Armory. I usually met a friend there named James Brown, he worked at a mortuary down there...but anyway we went every other Tuesday night and I was hooked, every chance I had to be at a live wrestling show, you know, I was there.

Jeremy Hartley: So that was that whole Florida territory, the Eddie Graham territory?

Scott Teal: Yes it was, that's right. Eddie Graham was the promoter, actually, when I started Cowboy (Clarence) Luttrell was the promoter. Eddie had his finger in it, I think he probably owned a good part of the territory but the Cowboy was actually the owner at the time. And it wasn't too long after that that Eddie bought Cowboy out.

Jeremy Hartley: Right, and of course, at that time you had Gordon Solie on the television I believe...

Scott Teal: That's right...

Jeremy Hartley: ...and really brought people back into wrestling. There's something that can be said about the territories that a lot of people today don't really realize that in the territories you had time to develop angles, as you mentioned the watch incident with Ricky Hunter, because of the fact that you had these regional stars, these regional territories. Would you say that that was what brought a lot of the mystique into the world of wrestling? Unlike on this really national scale...that you could get closer to the wrestlers, you could really identify with them, almost like a family...

Scott Teal: Sure, you felt like these guys were, well I wouldn't say they were like your friends, but they were guys you looked for every week. And specifically, when I think about it back then, lets use the guys today as an example, you didn't think about just Hulk Hogan, or Stevie Richards, Raven, any of these guys that are big now...you though about some of these other guys like Greg Peterson. Few people know who Greg Peterson was, well Greg Peterson was on the show probably every week, every other week on the TV show. He never won a match. But you know, everybody knew Greg Peterson. Now today how many people can name more than a handfull of the guys that are doing the jobs?

Jeremy Hartley: Sure...

Scott Teal: I mean, you can't. But you mentioned Gordon Solie, Gordon, too me was probably the greatest play-by-play announcer ever...

Jeremy Hartley: Yeah, I think so too...

Scott Teal: He knew all the moves, the holds, he knew what the angles were being planned for the future. He gave pro-wrestling a great deal of respect, which it really...in a lot of cases today, it doesn't have.

Jeremy Hartley: Yeah...

Scott Teal: But you could tune in, I don't care who you were, watch it then and just listening to Gordon...it had a lot of credibility in the eyes of the general public.

Jeremy Hartley: Yeah, and especially for someone like me who is unable to see the screen (Editor's Note: Jeremy is blind), Gordon was very impressive. I could sit there and really understand what was going on in a match whether it be the psychology, whether it be the moves in the ring and that's something that a lot of folks have just taken for granted. But what's interesting to me is...now you're in Tennessee right now..?

Scott Teal: Right...just north of Nashville...

Jeremy Hartley: ...so you said you grew up in Florida, did you get to see a lot of the Tennessee wrestling? Did you recently move to Tennessee?

Scott Teal: No, not at all. I was in Florida during my childhood - after I began watching wrestling I was there, I'd say, another five years before I moved up here. That friend I told you about, we started doing a little newsletter which was quite different from the newsletters that you see today, it was more of a kayfabe thing, you didn't get the real deal or anything that was happening, or who the masked guys were or anything. We called it the "Tampa Scene" and it was about the things happening there in Fort Homer History Armory, and we changed the name later to "Florida Fanfare" and covered then whole territory. It wasn't sold on the newstand, but it was the type of thing where fans could order it - and we did pretty well with it. Well, I say real well...as kids we thought it was great - it probably thirty people who subscribed to it...

Jeremy Hartley: So you've always had an interest in the journalism aspect.

Scott Teal: Oh yes, I've always loved it. From the time I was probably about twelve...maybe fifteen years old, I'd say. I had a typewriter. My hobby was comic books before wrestling, and I typed up eery super hero, every power they had, everything you could think about - I used to make a list of everything and I loved, just the history of stuff, how things got started, how the super hero was started - well that sort of carried over into wrestling. I read all the magazines, subscribed to all the newsletters and I just thought, "I'd like to do something for this territory." To let people know what's going on here because back then you could pick up a newstand magazine and all you saw was Bruno Sammartino, Verne Gagne, the Crusher, the Bruiser...and nothing against those guys but nothing...or very little about Florida, very little about Texas, Georgia, and I can understand why...the reason was that most of the people who bought the magazines lived up in the Northeast where they sold the bulk of their magazines. So they sort of went towards those people, their interests. I felt like there needed to be a little bit better coverage then that...that's sort of one of the reasons we did that. But we bought every magazine available, I mean, you name it, we had it. I'll tell you a funny story too about how big of fans we were. You cut me off if I get too longwinded, but this friend and I - we used to go to the Tampa Sportatorium, they did the TV tapings there every Thursday afternoon, and I'd go up there about every other week. One day we were in there and we noticed this big dumpster around the side. The next Tuesday night we got there early and, of course it was dark about seven o'clock, the matches didn't start until 8:30. So about 7:00 we decided lets go to the Sportatorium and check that dumpster out. I could just see programs, I thought' "Man there must be a lot of stuff in there." We got in there and we found 16mm film that they had edited out the TV program, and it was always the funny stuff and the ends of the interviews where the guys break kayfabe and laugh, and the little blooper stuff. And we started digging that stuff up, we did that for about six weeks and all of a sudden we noticed after about six weeks, that the next time we went it was locked. I think they knew somebody was doing it, but we would get down in that dumpster, this is before the matches now, we woulf come out stinking to high heaven, Cokes, food, coffee, you just wouldn't believe...it was terrible. But we dug through there and take that film and then we'd clean it - we had some great 16mm footage. I don't know where it is now, we lost it somewhere along the line...

Jeremy Hartley: Ahhh...did you ever put it in any of your articles or any of your newsletters you were doing..?

Scott Teal: No, no, never did...I didn't even think about it. They would have found out about it...

Jeremy Hartley: Sure, back then...well I was talking to Les Thatcher yesterday and he was talking about how wrestling was a guarded secret back then, and the guys protected there business as they should. Now as far as on the Internet, and for somebody who is covering wrestling as you are and talking to some of the old timers...is it really necessary, or really our right as fans to demand to know all the revealing? I mean, isn't that why we watch wrestling in the first place? Isn't that why we were fans to begin with? We weren't fans of wrestling to begin with because we have an inside track on whose going to hit who with an axe next week...(laughs) I wounder if those who have followed this for a long time ever wonder, you know, "...who are these people and why are they demanding to know this much now about the business." Or is it just because of the "nature of the beast" so to speak? Of the Internet?

Scott Teal: I don't know...that's something that's always been around...whether it's the Internet, or whether its just people in general. Everybody has always had a fascination for what actually happens. What happens in the dressig room? What figures whose going to win, whose going to lose, who comes up with these ideas for how their going to win, how their going to lose.

Jeremy Hartley: Right...

Scott Teal: I don't know that the Internet has really making it any different then it's ever been, I think it's just something that...being a secret, it's just naturally fascinating, people want to know. Now, as far as "demanding to know" the business, I do think that people do expect a little too much and I think that bleeds over to expecting too much from the boys in the ring. However, I think the promotions have dug their own hole, that they've given out so much information and they have done so much to expose the business themselves that I don't have any problem with anybody wanting to know how the business works. I won't always tell people, my newsletter primarily goes out to the wrestlers and to quite a few of the old-time fans, some of the newer fans. But I find that most of the people that do subscribe are the old-time wrestlers and the fans, I don't really cater to the group that doesn't know much and they just buy it to find out secrets. Now there are people I'm sure that subscribe to other newsletters, or read the internet, they think...in fact there's pretty much of a joke in the business, a lot of people, these guys that think their "smart" but they've never been in the business...and I'm not putting these people down because of that reason, but they think they know everything, they want to tell everybody how to run the business, you know, "...they don't do this right, they don't do that right... this guy's a lousy worker, this guy doesn't know how to wrestle, that guy doesn't know how to take bumps..." and they've never done a bit of it. You know, they're 350 lbs. sitting in an easy chair with a computer in front of them...

Jeremy Hartley: Right, well, and the same can be said about corporate America who decides to head up the promotions as well. The same guys that have never been in the ring, that have never taken the bumps, never laced the boots up, so to speak...you know, I've never done any of that, the closest I came was when I did amateur wrestling for six years... But when I ask people about angles and so forth, I ask it out of respect. As you said, I look at it as a fascination...I love to know the history, and that's why the purpose of this show is basically to tell people, "Hey, it's alright to ask, but let them tell you if they want, let them divulge...it's like being a magician, being anything else.

Scott Teal: Well it's what you said, it's respect. It's having respect for the business. There's a lot of people, some of the announcers, Gordon Solie for instance. He's never been in the ring, I don't know - he might have done a deal one time, but he's never taken any bumps but what a credit to the business that guy's been. And you yourself, I think what you are doing here is great, the fact that you're willing to talk to some people, some of the legends of the business who don't get the respect that they should get.

Jeremy Hartley: It's a learning experience for me...

Scott Teal: I hear you there (laughs)...

Jeremy Hartley: It puts a smile on my face every morning when I get up to do an interview with somebody, it's really an incredible thing. So, shifting to your newsletter here, I was talking to Earl Oliver, who runs a web site tribute to Gordon Solie and he also has a Monday night report and he's got some historical interviews...

Scott Teal: Great material on that web site...

Jeremy Hartley: Yeah, he's a great guy, he was my first interview actually, so that's up there now on the web site. We did about a 45 minute interview, we talked about wrestling and the territories that he grew up watching...but anyway, he mentioned that your "Whatever Happened Too..." web site that chronicles your newsletter was one of the first historical emphasis web sites that he saw, and this was back in late '95 - early '96. When was it that you put up your web site?

Scott Teal: If I remember right it was the beginning of '97, I think it was February. Now Ross Marshall, who has a good web site - he was really the first one who put up a "What Ever Happened Too..." web site for me. He handled it for me for about two-three months, then I decided that I wanted to try some things myself and see if I couldn't learn how to write the web pages, and that's where I'm at today. There are several...well, I can't say several actually, but I believe that Earl had his site up even before I did... (Editor's Note: I believe Scott is mistaken in his chronology here because I distinctly remember seeing the Ross Marshall version of his page in early 1996. Whether it was up before or after my own site went up in May '96, I'm not so clear on...) Mark Long's Professional Wrestling Online Museum is another one...

Jeremy Hartley: Yes, that's a good one. I think the best one I've seen is put up by the man himself, the Dory Funk, Jr. page.

Scott Teal: Yes it is, it is good...

Jeremy Hartley: It has those great stories. So, how long have you been producing this "Whatever Happened Too..." newsletter?

Scott Teal: Well...I wish I had a date...I could look it up, but it's been about 5 years or so. I had been out of the business, I'd worked for Nick Gulas in Tennessee under various capacities for a quite a few of years. About 1982, I think it was, I quite the business, got out of it, The only thing I kept up with was - I read a couple of newsletters once in a while, and in 90 - whatever year it was - '91, a friend called and said he was having a Wrestling Flea Market and a Banquet here in Nashville and he wanted some help with producing his program and everything. I said, "Well I'll be glad to do some printing stuff for you" and he was telling me all who was here, he said, "Yeah, Dick Steinborn, I talked to him the other day and he was asking, 'What ever happened to Scott Teal?'" And I said, "Well, you tell Dick where I am and have him call me." Well, over the course of the next few weeks as I helped (this guy's name was Don Rowlett) as I helped Don, he said, "You know, everybody keeps asking, "Whatever happened to so-and-so, whatever happened to so-and-so." And it was like a light just clicked. I'd been out of wrestling for all those years and I thought, "You know, that would be a fascinating subject." Whatever happened to...Baron Skacluna, whatever happened to Roger Kirby, all these guys. And that's where it all got started was at that little event that Don put on. I went to the Flea Market part of it and talked to a lot of old friends I hadn't seen in years, I passed out flyers and it originally started out to be just a kayfabe type thing, just where are they at, where they started wrestling, what they're doing today and all the boys kept encouraging me saying, "Print the stories, don't just give us the fluff stuff, you know, that kind of stuff you can find on the newstand." And, you know, I hate to knock the newstand magazines but they don't carry the good , nitty gritty stuff. And that's how it ended up the way it is today. The guys keep saying, "Just print these things in detail, tell these straight stories before they're lost". It seemed like every month two or three of the guys are passing away and several that have called and said, "Yeah, I'd like to do an interview", I say "Great! I'll get with you.." and before I had a chance to get back with them they'd passed away. And I think, "What a shame". I would have loved to have talked to them but just because of time constraints or whatever I just never got a chance.

Jeremy Hartley is a longtime friend of Solie's and a regular contributer to the newsletter. His "EYE on Wrestling" columns can be found in the "Articles" section of the web site. His previous interviews with Bob Blackburn, Lou Thesz, Bob Ryder and Buddy Landel are currently to be found in the "Interviews" section.


Thunder Report

We get a replay of the Giant's re-defection to the nWo from Monday night followed by Sting's appearance back in the rafters to open the program.

Live from the University of New Hampshire in Durham.

After the announcers' spiel we cut to an nWo paid promo featuring Eric Bischoff taunting "Vince" (McMahon we assume) inviting him to come on down and get a piece of him (Bischoff). He says, "this is reality" and "all you need is guts". Of course, McMahon has nothing to gain by responding, but then, Bischoff has nothing to lose by making the challenge. Some have been calling Eric's original proposal a mistake, but I don't see it. In fact I think Vince made the error by deigning to respond with his own invitation to "meet in a parking lot with no cameras around." He makes it sound like it's for real...wake up Vince! It's an angle..., you're taking it too personally. Bischoff is cleverly playing off the disdain with which the majority of fans hold him to promote his PPV... McMahon and Waltman are playing right into it...

Mando Guerrero comments on the recent tumult in the family occasioned by the travails between Eddie and Chavo, Jr.

Chavo Guerrero, Jr. (w/Eddie) vs. Reese - Eddie introduces Reece as an opponent of "equal size and wrestling skill" to face his nephew. Of course Chavo accepts the challenge and goes right too it with little effect. Once Reese recovers from the smaller man's initial assault he just shrugs Chavo off. Chavo fight right back and manages to to get the big man down to his knees. But then he attempts an off-the-top-rope move but is distracted by Eddie and gets caught in a chokehold. That's the beginning of the end for Chavo. After the match, as Eddie is browbeating his nephew, Ultimo Dragon comes down and waits his chance to slap on a Dragon Sleeper. Chavo washes hands of the elder Guerrero and walks away. Cut to commercial.

A video clip of the recent attacks on members of Raven's flock by "fans" and a "drink vendor" (mostly on Raven himself) which has led to his having a guard detail assigned by WCW. This is followed by some announcers palaver and then more clips of the Raven/DDP feud.

Raven (w/the Riot Squad) comes to the ring - sooner or later I just know that one of these helmeted officers will turn out to be DDP in a disguise. Raven stands in the ring surrounded by his troups and invites Page to come down. Page shows up and mounts the corner so he can throm a splash over the guards' heads. They fall on him immediately and help Raven beat him then hang him by his own bullrope. Something tells me this isn't what JJ Dillon had in mind when he assigned the guards... Cut to commercial.

Fit Finley vs Kaos (w/Rage) - TV Title match - here is the second part of Finley vs. High Voltage. Kaos doesn't have the talent of his partner so I expect this one will end even quicker then the last. As expected, Kaos never really gets started and in this case, his partner Rage stays out of it. Last week we saw Kaos attempt to interfere. Kaos gets one short flurry toward the end of the match then that's all she wrote. He foolishly follows the Champ out onto the floor where his partner has to rescue him. Back in the ring Kaos squanders his brief advantage, gets Tombstoned and pinned. Cut to commercial.

We see a costumed person (don't know if he is a wrestler) who is supposed to represent the villian of the new "Quest for Camelot" animated movie coming soon to a theater near you. Apparently he isn't a wrestler because he jaws at the crowd then splits after the clip.

Goldberg vs. Sick Boy (w/the Flock) - US Title match - Sick Boy attacks viciously and manages to stagger the monster. He snap mares Goldberg over and grabs his trapezius muscles - seems like a silly maneuver to me - indeed it proves to be ineffective. The monster just runs him over then press-slams him face first to the mat. It's all down hill as the Jackhammer tells the tale. Reese is threatening but doesn't enter the ring. Riggs jumps on and is repelled - nobody else seems to want to attempt an assault. Tony tells us to expect Hall and Nash to defend the Tag Team Titles later in the program against Public Enemy as we cut to commercial.

Randy Savage comes down to the ring as we return. He starts his rant by wishing Buff Bagwell a speedy recovery and inviting him to join the Wolf Pack faction. He turns his attention to Bret Hart and talks about the match on Sunday at the PPV. He wants Roddy Piper to stay out of it - he doesn't want a referee. Bret Hart interrupts to make his own statement - calling Savage a coward. Savage leaves the ring but Dellenger and the security guys get between them. Hart continues to taunt him as Savage tries (but not very hard) to get passed the phalanx of security. Cut commercial.

Saturn responds to Glacier's claim to have invented the "Cryonic Kick" - he says it's a basic "side-kick" and people have been doing it for years. Well...duh!

Chris Adams vs. Saturn (w/Kidman) - this could be good. Adams was a main eventer in his day and a double-tough character. Kidman taunts Adams before the match, asking which move he would rather lose to (Rings of Saturn of Death Valley Drop) as Hammer tries in vain to get to the ring. He is also held back by security who are getting a good workout tonight. Kidman says that Saturn will use the DVD. Adams gets in a round kick to the back of Saturn's head that drops him right on his forehead. He climbs the turnbuckle and misses a flying knee-drop. Saturn is still a little staggered but manages to capitalize on his advantage. He goes out and gets a chair which he uses as a springboard to splash Adams in the corner. Back in the ring, Saturn is still in control but gets suckered into a back-drop. Moments later Adams is tossed over the top rope and lands on the apron. He comes back in but gets side-kicked then Death Valley Dropped and pinned. Cut to commercial.

Rage (w/Kaos) vs. Chris Benoit - Rage appears to have a size and power advantage but I wouldn't give him much more than that. He is the more talented of the High Voltage team and he wisely concentrates on submission wrestling, undoubtedly a strong point, and manages to maintian the initiative for a little while. He soon misses a flying move and the Crippler takes control. Rage gets one more brief flurry then Benoit grabs the Crossface and makes him submit. Cut to commercial.

Eric Bischoff heads for the ring as we return. There are a lot of signs in the crowd referring to his challenge toward Vince McMahon. He claims again that McMahon has been "sending his people to everywhere I'm not..." He says he got a letter from McMahon's attorney and proceeds to read it on the air. The letter details McMahon's response to the challenge. He quotes a line which has the attorney stating that McMahon is responsible for the highest ratings to date for RAW, then says (in effect), "I wonder what the guys in the dressing room think of that?" He goes on to remind us that, contrary to the letter's assertion that Bischoff assumed the authority to suggest that McMahon would show up at Slamboree, he actually stated that Vince wouldn't show up - and further reminds us that he said it was because McMahon doesn't have the guts...

I'm telling you, you guys who think this angle is a mistake are all wet.

The Outsiders vs. Public Enemy - Kevin Nash comes to the ring on his own as the announcers are asking, "where is Scott Hall?" Nash makes a statement claiming that Hogan and Bischoff won't allow Hall to appear on live TV. Then he asks, "...am I looking incredibly sexy tonight or is it just me?" He invites Dusty Rhodes to come to the ring. Dusty wears black under a red leather jacket. He accepts the mic from Nash and states that he will, "stand in council" with Nash. PE come down with their table as usual. Rhodes leaves the ring and Nash appears ready for a handicapp match. He starts with Rocco Rock and squashes him in the corner right off the bat. A sidewalk slam earns him a pin attempt but it is cavelier. Grunge comes in to break it up but his action is unnecessary. Nash stands Rocco up in the corner then misses a boot to the face. PE double teams him and manages to slam the big guy. Moments later Grunge is tossed out into Dusty's arms. In the ring, Nash powerbombs Rock then tags in Rhodes! Dusty takes the pin. I guess they've forgotten about the sanction against the powerbomb because nobody shows up to haul Nash away... Cut to commercial.

Randy Savage vs. Sting - the program is going into overtime as this match begins. Sting is smiling at the fans as he comes to the ring. His smile is slapped off his face as Savage attacks. Sting comes right back and is showing some of his old athleticism as he gets great hangtime on an elbow drop. The match goes out to the floor where Sting splashes Savage against the guard railing. Back in the ring he goes for the Stinger splash in the corn. Savage steps aside but Sting puts on the brakes and gets a back elbow coming out. Bret Hart hits the ring with a chair and ejects Sting but loses his grip on the chair. Savage drops him on it. Then goes to the top. The Giant comes in and catches Savage in mid-flight as Hart escapes. Now Nash is in the ring with a chair and hits the Giant with it. Sting then saves the Giant from Nash's powerbomb attempt. The Giant gets the mic and tells Sting that he has "made a decision" and after they win the Tag Titles on Sunday then "you're going to have to make a decision. he offers Sting an nWo t-shirt which Sting takes but fails to indicate which way he will go. Lex Luger comes up and engages Syting in earnest conversation as we cut to the announcers talking about the situation. The program ends with a replay of Bischoffs nWo promo from earlier in the show.

This was a little better then the average Thunder program.

At least that's the way I see it...

Earl Oliver
Editor, Solie's Wrestling Newsletter


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