Part 2 This interview, which is the one most eagerly anticipated by yours truely, was conducted earlier this month by telephone. It is of considerable length and so will be broken up into several segments over the next few months.
Jeremy Hartley: Did Lutrell ever finally tell you why it took so long? If it were me I would have been thinking, "I've already got this guy who respected my boys enough to get them on the radio, to get them publicity, to get them this and that - why did it take so long? Or was that ever explained to you?
Gordon Solie: I never really pursued it, I was just so delighted to get the job - and Cowboy said, "We'll try you and see how it works..."and I guess, of course, the rest is history. But what I did too was something that...I don't know of any other announcers who have done it, that have never been a professional wrestler, but I got on the mat.
Jeremy Hartley: That's right! Lets see if I got this right. You were coached by John Heath and I guess Eddie Graham was also instrumental in...
Gordon Solie: Yeah and Curtis...
Jeremy Hartley: Oh, and Don Curtis?
Gordon Solie: Yeah, everytime I got on the mat with one of those guys I'd get hurt.
Jeremy Hartley: (laughs)
Gordon Solie: Not hard, you know, not badly - but I got hurt. They were teaching me to respect the sport. I could also earn their respect - here's this little (knock wood)150 pounder willing to get on the mat with a 250 lbs. wrestler and literally put my body in their hands... But I wanted to know what it felt like to be in a side headlock - I wanted to know what a hammerlock felt like. I wanted to understand why a guy would make a particular move when he did, that where I learned the rudiments of chain wrestling. So I was sucking up knowledge like a sponge because I wanted to be able to tell the people what was happening to an individual who was in a hold. How they were going to have to figure an escape, and once they got the escape - if it was successful - then what was their next move. Would they have to come out of it and be defensive or could they come out of it and be offensive, you know, there's so much psychology behind it and, like I've said many times, "human chess" is what it's all about.
Jeremy Hartley: Right...
Gordon Solie: So, gradually the guys not only grew to respect the way I never played games with them, I never put a guy down, I always tried to remain relatively objective even to the point where a lot of the guys that have wrestled for years - I don't know their real names! I didn't ever want to make the mistake of calling them by their real names...
Jeremy Hartley: Absolutely, it's good to hear you say that. There's too many people,,,I mean I do the same thing - with today's internet technology, everyone wants to put up the real names - when I speak to folks I call them by their wrestling names and I don't do anything other then that because there names are what they are - and we don't know them - we don't walk into their houses, why should we show them any disrespect? So it's great to hear you say something like that.
Gordon Solie: Well, thank you, I'm glad to hear you're pursuing the same bent on the thing because I think it's very important. You know, we don't do it with other personalities who have taken on stage names, so to speak. But anyway, that's how I got my start, then of course it was Saul Weingroff who got me thrown off the air...
Jeremy Hartley: Yeah, go ahead and talk about that. People have tried to sketch me a little bit of this stuff and they never seem to tell the entire story.
Gordon Solie: Well, we had the Von Breuners here, and of course they were red hot, they were absolutely red hot, and Weingroff was one of the most despised managers that you could find simply because there was the racial and religious ethnic background differences between these Arayan's and Weingroff. So one day, Weingroff...I'm doing the show and rocking along pretty well - we're having resonable success with it - so one day Weingroff comes on with an interview and we had...I forget who they were...they were the Eagles or somebody, we had a couple of other tag teams because tag team action was hot...and so we had these other tag teams and I and I asked Weingroff, "To what do you owe the success of your team?" And he said, "Well Gordon, it's very simple, now if you Americans (and he's as American as any of us) would do like we Germans do - concentrate on that we are all German, we're not Yankees and Southerners and so on and so forth and on and on and on..." Well, there was a retired judge who was a wrestling fan and heard all of this and he became livid. He wrote Channel 13 a letter, and this was not too long after they got their license, here was an ethics situation - that judge was furious! So he wrote Channel 13 a letter just raising hell. Channel 13 went to Cowboy and said they were going to take the show off the air, and of course that was disasterous, here I am part of it because I asked a question. Anyway, a compromise was reached but they had to have a fall guy - so I became the fall guy. The official word at that time from Channel 13 was, "Mr. Solie lacks control."
Jeremy Hartley: For asking, "To what do you owe the success of your team..?"
Gordon Solie: Well, that and the fact that I didn't control the answer. That I lacked control on my interviews so consequently I could stay on the program as a color commentator but they would have to use their own people to control the interviews. So, the first one they put in there was Paul Reynolds. Paul was on for a couple of weeks and was not doing extremely well because his attitude toward wrestling was a bit humorous. And then he got the mumps - so he had to come off the show. They brought in another fellow who is still alive and well and I don't want to bring up his name because I don't want to embarass him, but he was, very frankly, real solid ad he took it all very seriously and approached it, I thought, very correctly. And then he got into it with Saul, and the Von Breuners, by the way, had departed by now. So about six or eight weeks, maybe two months later they returned and this lead announcer asked Saul, during a TV taping, "Where have you been?" Saul looked at him and said. "I thought you were a sportscaster! If you were a sportscaster you'd know where I've been. I've been in the newspapers all over the country..." and he went on and on and on. It got this guy so mad that he got up and walked off the set!
Jeremy Hartley: (laughs) So there goes his wrestling announcing career...
Gordon Solie: Well I thing the think about it was that Channel 13 finally realised that, "Hey wait a minute. We're either going to put up with this sort of thing and let it go..." - and I don't think this fellow was all that anxious to do it because he was pretty much of a sports purist and is to this day - a delightful guy, a really delightful person - in fact I just got a letter from him the other day, he had just learned of my wife's passing and sent me a letter of condolence, which I thought was very nice, even though it happened over a year ago - but he had just heard about it...so, anyhow, he left and Channel 13 said, "Alright, give it back to Gordon." And, of course, the heat was off by then, you know, things were back on a normal keel - so that's kind of the story on that picture.
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. You can also hear any of these interviews in RealAudio by visiting Jeremy's web site, Up Close Wrestling
The Free-For-All is the usual melenge of hype and promos - I miss the days when we used to actually get a match during this pre-game show.
Live from the Rosemont Horizon in Chicago, Illinois, WWF In Your House: Judgement Day is on the air. Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler are our hosts.
Al Snow (w/Head) vs. Marc Mero (w/Jacqueline) - the announcers are talking about a match on Heat pitting Jeff Jarrett vs. Snow - I haven't seen it since it doesn't air here until 7 PM. Jarrett shows up right after the introductions - he seems to want to get involved in this match. His distraction allows Mero to attack his opponent from behind, then he retreats. Mero seems inordinately distracted by the Head sitting in Snow's corner. That added to the fact that he is nowhere near the wrestler that Snow is, doesn't bode well for his winning this match. Time and again he allows himself to be distracted by the manequin. Of course, Snow pays a little too much attention to it himself, plus there is Jacquie to distract him. The first time she interferes, Mero applies his low blow. Moments later, Mero provides the distraction while Jacquie gets in some shots. Now it is all Mero, but only for a moment. Snow comes back with multiple headbutts while he pins Mero's arms - the match begins to see-saw with Snow gaining ground. Unfortunately, he stops to consult his "companion" again and then misses a moonsault. Mero follows with a Samoan drop then goes up for his Shooting Star - and misses. He barely avoids the pin. They struggle for position and Mero goes for the TKO but Snow squirms away and then executes the Snow Plow (brainbuster DDT) and gets the pin.
We see video replay of Austin arriving and being diverted to the "referee's" dressing room - basically a closet.
DOA/Paul Ellering vs. LOD 2000 - this is Hawks return to the ring after his recovery from pain killer addiction. Animal starts with one of the twins - and they get the drop on him immediately. But he comes roaring back with a clothesline that knocks his opponent to the floor. Hawk takes his place and is the brunt of a rather clumsy powerslam. He comes right back and dominates his opponent with a neckbreaker. Droz comes in and keeps up the pressure but soon makes a rookie mistake and is downed. The twins exchange, Droz is forced to the corner where Ellering gets in some licks. DOA's best strategy has to be to isolate this weak link. After he is beaten down, Ellering comes in to deliver a kick and then tags right back out. Droz manages to get a DDT on the replacement and both sides exchange. Hawk comes in and continues to dominate. Hawk and Animal execute the Devastation Device then Droz takes the cover.
Christian (w/Gangrel) vs. Taka Michinoku (w/Yamaguchi-san) - World Light Heavyweight Title match - Finally we get Taka defending this belt. I can't figure out who Christian has defeated to gain this title shot (sigh)... Edge's younger brother looks to have a slight advantage over the Champ, but Taka is a double-tough competitor and a great high-flyer. Edge appears in the stands to watch the match as it gets underway. Christian gets a reverse DDT to take the initiative for the first time about 2 minutes into the match. Moments later Taka launches himself only to tumble straight to the floor as Christian ducks away. Christian follows with a plancha then rolls Taka back into the ring. Now it is all Christian as he powerbombs the Champ then chokes him on the mat. He then goes for a splash and misses. He recovers in time to catch Taka coming in but the Champ comes flying back and knocks him to the floor. He follows up with an Asahi Moonsault. Back in the ring, the Champ is in charge. The match starts to see-saw with Taka gaining momentum. A tornado DDT would seem to do the trick but Taka stops to confront and taunt Gangrel. He turns his attention back to his opponent, scoops him up and gets cradled and pinned! Christian Wins the Light Heavyweight Title.
In the back, Droz is not endearing himself to Hawk by bragging on his win over DOA. Cut to hype for the next match - Goldust/Val Venis.
Goldust vs. Val Venis (w/Terri Runnels) - in taped footage we see Mr. Cheese receiving a gold athletic cup from Goldust. Venis enters and starts his usual Cheesy rant only to be interrupted by Goldust saying, "Hellloo Val..." The Cheeses retreat from the ring as Goldust takes possession of same. Goldust attacks Venis as he re-enters but Venis coems right back and dominates the early going. He tosses Dustin to the floor then goes out to continue the assault. But Goldust reverses the attack and runs his opponent into the railing then drops him on the steps. Back in the ring, Venis is back into it. He throws Dustin out again then splashes him on the floor. Back inside, he flies again but gets caught in mid-air then Atomic dropped. Now it is all Goldust for a while. In fact, Val looks to be sinking fast. But then he ducks a rush to the corner and Dustin runs his shoulder into the post. Val works on the injured shoulder both outside and in, including a hammerlock slam ala the Andersons. They are up again and trading forearm shots until Val comes back with a flying clothesline. He goes to a short-arm scissors - showing more wrestling savvy then I would have expected from him. Goldust fight to his feet and gets a body block but Venis downs him again and drops and elbow on his shoulder then follows with a Russian Leg Sweep. He powerslams Dustin then climbs to the top where he is caught short. Goldust gets a superplex and a two count. He then waits on the turnbuckle for Val to stir - then throws an elbow and misses. They struggle for position and Val grabs a sleeper. Dustin runs him back into the corner and breaks the hold on his second try then grabs a sleeper of his own. Val hits a suplex to break that up. They exchange blows again then Dustin gets the bulldog. Terri is on the apron to distract Dustin but effectively distracts Val instead. Goldust delivers a low-blow and then rolls his opponent up for the pin.
Cut to footage from Heat of HHH being attacked by Ken Shamrock. X-Pac vows revenge.
D-Lo Brown vs. X-Pac (w/Chyna) - European Title match - the Champ tries to use his considerable size advantage to dominate the contest but Waltman is too fast and has too much heart to be held down for any length of time. The match is a see-saw affaire from the get-go but D-Lo does manage to retain the upper hand through much of it. X-Pac goes for his bronco buster at one point and runs his crotch right onto the upraised boot of his opponent (ouch!!!) D-Lo grabs a reverse chinlock-sleeper and Waltman is sinking. But he recovers and fights to his feet. They criss cross and Brown again cuts his opponent off with a back round kick. He follows with a powerbomb and a too-cavelier cover. He props X-Pac on the turnbuckle and goes for a superplex but is blocked and shoved to the mat. X-Pac splashes him but the Champ rolls through and retains the initiative. Back to the reverse chinlock. X-Pac escapes but then rushes in and misses again, falling back onto his neck. After several attempts at a pin, D-Lo grabs a Texas Cloverleaf. Waltman levers out of it so D-Lo thumbs his eye then slams him. he climbs up for his Cannonball but misses. Both guys are down. They rise together and X-Pac gets the drop on the Champ. This time the bronco move is successful. Chyna gets a right hand in during the next exchange but D-Lo kicks out of the pin attempt. The referee gets knocked out of the ring but neither competitor is moving. Mark Henry shows up, confronts Chyna momentarily then rolls the ref back in. D-Lo tries a pin but fails. He gets a running powerbomb but still no cigar. He climbs the corner then launches himself only to be face-busted and pinned. X-Pac is the Two-Time European Champ!
Mike Cole has a rumor that Paul Bearer was seen consorting with the Undertaker earlier tonight.
New Age Outlaws vs. The Headbangers - Tag Team Title match - the Dog barely gets started with his intro when the Bangers attack. It sorts out to Billy vs. Mosh to start. Billy gets the early advantage with a neck breaker. Both sides exchange and the Dog dominates Thrasher until the Bangers get a blind tag. Mosh downs the Dog as he comes in and now it's all Bangers. Their teamwork is quite superior (in fact they may be the best team in the WWF, with the possible exception of Southern Justice) and they isolate the week link pretty effectively for several moments. Then Billy tags in and cleans house. He goes for a whip but Thrasher pulls down the top rope and Billy tumbles to the floor. Road Dog distracts the referee while the Bangers double team on Billy. The Bangers are definitely showing more aggression these days. Now they are isolating Billy. He is flung into the ropes and comes back with a flying head scissors. It's not enough though, the Bangers exchange and Billy is caught and brought back. Now the Dog is distracting the ref so the Bangers can do their dirty work. Despite their popularity, as a tag team NAO really stink and it shows in this match. Billy starts to fade under the influence of Thrasher's sleeper. Of course he recovers on the third arm drop and suplexes his way to freedom, but he is too out of it to get the tag. The Bangers exchange again then Mosh tries a high leg in the corner but Billy catches him and suplexes him. Both are down for a moment then Mosh comes in and they double up on Billy. Road Dog runs in and smashes Thrasher with a boom box and cause the DQ.
Now Cole is saying that Paul Bearer is with Kane. Meanwhile Mankind makes a speech with Mr. Socko, ranting against Ken Shamrock.
Mankind vs. Ken Shamrock - Intercontinental Title match - with his vast size and experience advantage, Foley should be able to wipe the floor with Shamrock - but don't count on that happening. Mankind is wearing his Claw Glove for the first time in a while. Shamrock takes him right down with a leg sweep and starts working on the already injured ankle of his opponent. Then he switches his attack to the left arm for some reason. Foley absorbs Shamrock's shots then comes back strong but is outwrestled and put down with a hammerlock. They struggle to their feet and Shamrock starts burying his knee into Foley's face. Foley gets a leg takedown but Shamrock rolls through it and comes out on top. Foley bulls him into the corner and crushes him their with repeated blows but Shamrock fights free again. Foley grabs the Mandible Claw but Shamrock rolls out of the ring to escape. Back inside, Mankind grabs a reverse chinlock - body scissors combination and goes for the Claw again - but Shamrock escapes again. The fight goes out to the floor where Shamrock is run into the steps, Foley grabs a chair but Shamrock pushes it back into his face. Then he delivers a roundhouse chair shot. Back in the ring, Shamrock is dominating but unable to get a pin. He is working on the left arm again. He goes for an ankle lock but gets kicked in the gut then DDT'd. Both are down - Foley is too out of it to capatalize. He finally recovers and forces Shamrock into the corner then rushes in to deliver a knee. He ties him upside down and then headbutts him in the face on the mat! Foley is definitely in charge. He stands the champ up and clotheslines him to the floor, then throws the flying elbow on the floor. He rushes Shamrock who graps a powerslam which lands his legs on the steps. Back in the ring, Shamrock grabs the ankle lock. But Mankind gets to the ropes. Shamrock drags him back and grabs it again. Foley refuses to submit - then applies the Mandible Claw to himself - rendering himself unconscious. The Fink announces the win as being the reult of the Mandible Claw which enrages Shamrock. He kicks the inert Foley then suplexes the referee. Temporarily distracted, Shamrock fails to see Foley donning Mr. Socko - he turns and gets Clawed to the mat by Mr. Socko.
Cole tries to interview Mr. McMahon but is turned back by the Big Bossman.
Mark Henry vs. The Rock - Henry reads another poem to Chyna. I can't figure this - he supposedly suing her for sexual harrassment but at the same time professing love for her. Silly stuff. Henry has only size going for him and it hardly seems sufficient against a guy with the talent of Maivia. Oh, he has his moments and, in fact, seems to stop Maivia short during each flurry using raw power - but the Rock keeps coming back and Henry obviously doesn't know what to do about it. The Rock finally slams the monster and delivers the People's Elbow - then D-Lo Brown shows up to distract him. Henry gets a splash then D-Lo holds the People's Champ's feet so that Henry can get the pin. Cut to a Survivor Series promo.
Hype package for the main event.
Kane vs. The Undertaker - WWF Title match - Stone Cold Steve Austin is the Special Referee - the two brothers hold a private conversation before Austin shows up and shake hands. Austin has declined to wear referee's gear, instead comes out in cut-offs and an Austin 3:16 T-shirt (with his leg brace on). Austin explains the rules as he see them then flips them both off. UT goes right for his rope-walking schtick and gets away with it. Kane comes right back and pounds his brother into the corner. He is dominating the early going until he rushes the corner and gets a face full of boot. UT downs Kane and goes for a cover but Austin counts slow. Later when Kane gets the pin attempt - Austin's count is fast. The fight goes out to the floor. Austin follows them out but seems disinclined to enforce any regulations. Ut goes for a chair shot but Kane ducks it then turns the tables. UT is being hammered against the broadcast tabe, the ring post etc. Back in the ring UT comes roaring back with a snap suplex. Kane sits right up and downs his brother with a clothesline. The Undertaker is showing better agility as he blocks a slam then goes to work on Kane's left leg. So far Austin is just staying out of the way. Both of these big guys are starting to suck wind at this point. Kane has been off his feet for quite some time now. UT has a spinning toe-hold and is twisting viciously. He goes back to the leg bar and continues to pour on the pressure. In the corner he stomps on the knee then upends Kane and ties him upside down in the turnbuckle. He releases that hold and stomps some more. I have never seen UT emply this kind of strategy. He stands him up in the corner and head butts him then throws in an elbow. There is a "Boring" chant starting in the crowd. UT grabs a choke, Austin doesn't disallow it but just asks Kane if he wants to submit. Suddenly, Kane grabs a bearhug and applies a spine buster. He follows with a clothesline, but he is limping badly. He pounds UT in the corner. Then tries a whip. UT tries a reversal but Kane swings him back and right into Austin iun the corner. Austin rebounds and ends up being chokeslammed by Kane! Austin is down as Kane gets the chokeslam on UT. All three are out of it. Kane recovers as Paul Bearer approaches the ring with a chair. He enters the ring and offers to hit UT with the weapon Kane turns away and Bearer hits him in the back! Now UT is up and gets his own chair shot on Kane. he goes for the pin but Austin, who is back up, refuses to make the count. Austin grabs the chair and hits UT - then he stuns Kane. He counts them both out and declares himself the winner.
Austin challenges McMahon to come out and fire him. When Vince doesn't respond, he goes looking for him without success. Austin returns to the ring and finally McMahon makes an appearance from behind a window behind the TitanTron. The crowd is calling him an "A$$hole". He fires Austin from the safety of his booth. Austin addresses him, saying that he just might start hunting season tomorrow and fired or not, "...you haven't seen the last of Stone Cold Steve Austin" then demands that his music be played. He grabs a couple of "Steveweisers" and guzzles them as he is applauded by his adoring fans.
No doubt Austin is correct...
At least that's the way I see it...
Editor, Solie's Wrestling Newsletter
This page is a personal tribute and is in no way connected to any of the wrestling promotions mentioned on it. It is dedicated to the Dean of Wrestling announcers, Gordon Solie. Copyright 1998 - Jump City Productions