Ventura was at first given no chance of winning, but minds began to change after he started polling in the 20 percent range. He was said to have blown away the competition in Statewide debates several weeks ago. He is well known in wrestling circles as an intellegent and very articulate spokesman.
The stunning upset was front-page news across the country, becoming conversational fodder for many, from President Clinton to David Letterman.
Ventura is not without political experience. He served as mayor of the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Park, a community of about 60,000, from 1991 until early 1995. The government was largely run by the city manager, but Ventura consistently opposed tax increases and took credit for a drop in crime.
On Wednesday, Ventura was visibly tired and uncharacteristically solemn as he appeared with outgoing Gov. Arne Carlson, who pledged a smooth transition. The governor, by the way, also prepared detailed manuals for Ventura on how to lay out a $23 billion, two-year budget.
Ventura struggled to explain his victory.
"Ask them,'' was his response to why he thought the voters elected him. Pressed for more, he said, "They wanted someone who wasn't going to make a lot of promises they may not be able to fulfill in the end.''
Solie's wishes Jesse the best of luck in his new adminstration. We expect that he will be a great Governor despite the mainstream news medias tendency to write him off as a joke.
This interview, which is the one most eagerly anticipated by yours truely, was conducted in late September 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
Thunder is live from Roanoke, Virginia. Tony says the Horsemen are here tonight. He then offers congratulations to Jesse Ventura for his election as the Governor of Minnesota. The next thing out of his mouth is the news that Hollywood Hogan plans to announce his candidacy for President of the United States! Gosh - and I thought the "Chucky" stuff was stupid.
Barry Horowitz vs. Kanyon (w/Raven) - Kanyon goes through his usual nonsense before the match - same response as always. He attacks Horowitz in his anger at the fans, as usual (yawn...) He misses an elbow drop and gives Barry an opening a truck could drive through. It turns into a pretty lengthy flurry but eventually he trips himself up by pushing Kanyon into the corner and beating down on him from above. Kanyon just elevates him and drops him on his face. After that it looks like Kanyon has it made. Then he messes up, climbing the corner too slowly and gettiing caught and powerbombed. Its to no avail as Kanyon comes right back with a Flatliner and gets the pin.
nWo music plays and Buff Bagwell leads Scott Steiner to the ring. Steiner starts by putting down the Roanoke crowd, and making sexual inuendos. Buff takes the mic and continues in the same vein. Steiner takes back the mic and tells JJ Dillon he can fine him all he wants, then throws out a challenge to the Wolf Pack in general and Lex Luger in particular. Cut to commercial.
Raven vs. Alex Wright - Wright starts to address Raven in German then switches to English. He says Raven is a prime example of what Americans are like - dirty, depraved etc. He turns his back as he rants - meanwhile Raven is walking on his knees up behind him. He delivers a low-blow from behind and Wright splits the ring. Raven slumps back into the corner until Wright comes back and starts beating on him. This starts a short brawl which ends when Raven fakes Wright into sprawling on the top rope. Raven sits back down as Lodi approaches the ring followed by Disco Inferno. Lodi tries to fire Raven up, Disco tells Lodi to leave the ring area. Lodi shoves him aside so Disco decks him. Now Kanyon is here and waffles Disco then tries to attack Wright on the floor. He is thwarted and ends up taking a snap suplex on the concrete. Wright returns to the ring to engage Raven, who decides he's had enough and simply splits. What a waste of time. Cut to commercial.
Tony invites Chris Jericho to the ramp for an interview. Jericho looks like he just got up - his hair is flying every which way. He rants about Bill "Greenberg" - claiming that he has four victories over the World Champ (he's delusional, obviously).
Fit Finley vs. Booker T - I missed Booker's return to the ring against Scott Hall on Monday through circumstances I am embarrased to relate. Finley approaches this opponent very cautiously - with good reason. Booker T is arguably the most talented wrestler I've ever seen. Finley's caution pays off as he lulls his opponent into a slight over confidence and manages to get the drop on him. It only lasts until Booker can get his feet working. The match goes into see-saw mode with Booker gaining ground. He seems in control but turns away to acknowledge the fans then turns back and gets speared. He is on the receiving end for the next exchange but then pulls off a spectacular twisting dive into a sunset flip and gets the pin. Cut to commercial.
Replay of Konnan's rap music video from Halloween Havoc.
Ernest Miller (w/Sonny Oono) vs. Glacier - Miller's act was already old when he started it weeks ago. He tells Muhammed Ali and Evander Hollyfield to stop using "his" nicknames (the Greatest and the Real Deal, of course). Kaz Hayashi runs in and tries to attack Sonny Oono but the camera pans back to the entryway where Glacier has appeared for the first time in several months. We see that Kaz is down in the ring as Glacier enters and faces off with the Cat. He then takes the mic and addresses Miller, telling him he doesn't want to fight him - he wants to watch his back. Miller isn't interested. Glacier leaves the ring and we cut to commercial.
Horace (w/Scott Norton/Vincent/Scott Hall/Stevie Ray) vs. Norman Smiley - I don't like Smiley's odds in this one. He is out-powered immediately then thrown out to the wolves. They beat on him and toss him back in. Smiley has had no offense. He is pinned easily. Cut to commercial.
Eddie Guerrero vs. Rey Misterio, Jr. - this could be the match of the night. Guerrero tries again to recruit Misterio for the third time claiming that there is a stipulation to this match that if Rey loses he has to join the LWO. He gives Rey the choice to join or fight. Rey chooses to fight of course. Misterio controls the early going with his aerial tactics but then gets suckered into range for a short-arm clothesline. He comes right back with a lariat then pounds Eddie into the corner. Eddie then comes back with an atomic drop and goes to work on Rey's notoriously injured left knee. He has it barred and is stretching it out as we cut to commercial.
Eddie has a modified figure four leglock as we return. He releases it then executes a pump-handle into a back breaker. He ties Misterio upside down in the corner then baseball slides...right into the post! Guerrero slides out to the floor where Misterio hits him with an inside-to-out Thesz press. Back in the ring, Eddie starts in on the knee again. He hits it with a drop kick then removes Rey's brace. LWO members approach the ring as Guerrero puts on a deathlock/surfboard combination. It seems like Misterio gives up but in fact the time limit has expired. So Misterio is still independent of the LWO. Guerrero's thugs want to attack Rey but Eddie holds them back. Cut to commercial.
Prince Iaukea vs. Chris Jericho - Television Title match - apparently Jericho hasn't looked in a mirror since his appearance earlier this evening. The Champ is overconfident to start and pays for it by losing the iniative early on. Iuakea is a lot more aggressive in his latest incarnation. Eventually Jericho regains his composure and turns the tables. He tries a foot-on-the-chest cover to demonstrate his arrogance then grabs a reverse chinlock. Releasing the hold proves to be a mistake as Iaukea takes over again briefly but Jericho isn't done. The match goes into a see-saw affair. Jericho goes for the Lionsault and falls onto the Prince's upraised knees. Next he goes for the Liontamer but Iaukea reverses it and almost gets a three count. The Prince thwarts Jericho again on the second go-round but succombs on the third. Good match. Cut to commercial.
Disco Inferno vs. Scott Hall (w/Horace/Stevie Ray/Scott Norton/Vincent) - we've seen this matchup once before, several months ago before Hall's extended absence in rehab. Hall comes to the ring without a drink and looks sober. Disco retreats in the face of these overwhelming odds and backs into the Giant who tosses him into Hall's waiting arms. Disco gets zero offense in the first few minutes then has a very short flurry until he is tripped from the outside and stumbles right into the Outsider's Edge. Cut to commercial.
Tony invites the Horsemen to the ring for an interview. Again Mongo is missing but nobody mentions it. Arn starts by congratulating the nWo for only needing six guys to beat up on the Disco Inferno then challenges Eric Bischoff to let the nWo face the Horsemen. Malenko and Benoit echo Arn's sentiments. The Nature Boy is in rare form tonight and lays into Bischoff with a vengence. He congratulates Jesse Ventura as well and hints that he (Flair) might want to be president...of WCW! He wants Bischoff's job!
Lex Luger vs. Scott Steiner (w/Buff Bagwell) - apparently Steiner is the only one who doesn't need the entire gang around him tonight. Before the match, Steiner attacks Nick Patrick for being the referee that counted him out against his brother at the last PPV. Lex Luger runs in and starts whalin' on Steiner. The EMT's come and start to wheel Patrick away. Steiner regains the advantage with Bagwell's help then attacks Patrick on the guerney. He goes back to work on Luger - now there is no referee in evidence. Bagwell is using a hocky stick blade as a weapon. Luger takes it for a while and then comes back to life, but only briefly. Scott beats on him some more then stops to pose. Buff sticks a mic in Luger's face and asks him how he feels. He gets flattened. Luger is back into it but gets stopped by a kneelift. He then ducks a clothesline and goes on the offensive. He gets the Rack on Steiner as a second referee comes to the ring. Bagwell takes out the second official then the nWo guys beat on Luger until Rick Steiner runs in and runs them off. Fade to black.
This show was pretty pathetic...
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