Click the banner above for great wrestling DVDs

Solie's Tuesday Morning Report

Dedicated to Gordon Solie
January 29, 1929 - July 27, 2000

Weekend Special Edition

ECW on TNN Report

A Conversation with Gordon Solie: Part 4

Conducted by Jeremy Hartley
Transcribed by Earl Oliver

All Pro Wrestling News

by Jermz


Volume 5, Issue 588 - August 19, 2000
Editor's Note: As many of you know, I was out of town from Friday of last week until yesterday. As a result I saw very little wrestling this week - about 30 minutes of Nitro and an hour of Thunder. I was home in time to see the ECW show this week so I am reporting on that.

In this issue we also continue with our reprint of an exclusive interview with the late Dean of Wrestling Announcers, and this web site's namesake, Gordon Solie. This interview was conducted by telephone in October of 1998 and constituted the last in-depth interview involving this giant of wrestling broadcasting before his death on July 27th of this year.

But first...


QUICK QUOTES EXCERPTED FROM "BODYSLAMS!"

GROUND BREAKING WRESTLING MEMOIR

New York, New York---August 18, 2000--Little Bro' Ltd.

In anticipation of "BODYSLAMS! - Memoirs of a Wrestling Pitchman" penned by former WWF/WCW wrestling announcer, Gary Michael Cappetta, Little Bro' Ltd. has released a series of Quick Quotes from the text of the controversial book. Spanning Gary's twenty-one year career in pro wrestling, "BODYSLAMS!" chronicles the wacky world of wrestling's two most explosive decades as Cappetta shares his many experiences with the countless superstar wrestlers of Vince McMahon, Jr.'s World Wrestling Federation and Ted Turner's World Championship Wrestling.

"There has been incredible interest generated by initial news reports of what Gary reveals in 'BODYSLAMS!'", says Little Bro' Ltd. media representatvie Sherry Lambert. "After reading the galleys of "BODYSLAMS!", I have no doubt that this project, independent from the WWF and WCW organizations, is the most truthful, most informative and most revealing account ever offered to the public about the pro wrestling business. And the best way to give readers a sense of Gary Cappetta's honesty and style is to allow them to read his well-chosen words for themselves."

The following Quick Quotes from "BODYSLAMS! - Memoirs of a Wrestling Pitchman" have been released by Little Bro' Ltd. in advance of its October 3rd release date.

FUTURE PROMOTIONAL DATES
September 1st - "BODYSLAMS!" Chapter Excerpts
October 6th - "BODYSLAMS!" Release Date
November 4th - "BODYSLAMS!", The Event
Christian Brothers Academy, Lincroft, NJ

CONTACT:

LITTLE BRO' LTD.
Jeff Christner {Media Relations}
bodyslams2000@aol.com
{212} 874-5300 Ext. 1556



I received the message below from Jermz, who writes the news for our local indy promotion, All Pro Wrestling (APW)


APW News...

by Jermz

Carnival Of Carnage 2

All Pro Wrestling returns to Antioch, Ca. on Saturday Night August 26th at 8:00pm with their second installment of the "Carnival Of Carnage" series. The show will take place in the "Flower Building" at the Antioch Fairgrounds located at 1201 West 10th Street in Antioch, Ca.

APW has paid the expenses of flying in former WWF Intercontinental Champion, and pro wrestling living legend, The Honky Tonk Man for this show. Honky will meet APW Universal Champion "Filthy" Frank Murdoch in a match for the APW title. Also, former WWF & ECW wrestler "Vicious" Vic Grimes will be making his return to APW, the promotion where he got his start...all this and more!

Tickets for this event can be purchased at the door the night of the show, or at BASS ticket outlets (www.basstickets.com). For more information visit the APW website (www.allprowrestling.com) or e-mail jaugust@allprowrestling.com

Upcoming APW Shows...

Bison, Frost & Rocket Gone From APW

APW announced earlier in the week on www.allprowrestling.com that they have released two rookies. "Vanilla Frost" Jason Goodwin and "Johnny Rocket" Matt Fischer were let go, and will no longer be working for APW. Rocket made his debut at the last APW show in a Battle Royal, and never got a chance to wrestle a singles match. Frost was loved by fans of APW as a member of The New Breed. He was an immediate hit in October 1999 when he debuted at Halloween Hell 3, dancing and immitating former rapper Vanilla Ice.

Matt & Jason are two very good guys, and i, as well as everyone associated with APW, wish them well wherever they go.

Bison Smith, one of the toughest guys to ever wrestle for APW announced that August 26th in Antioch will be his final match for APW. Ironically, Smith will be taking on the man who he debuted against last year, Ma'och (who then wrestled as James Watkins). Smith had a great run as a member of Shane Dynasty's "TWD" Dynasty Inc. in the second half of 1999, and formed an awesome tag team with Maxx Justice. Smith is another that will be missed by APW fans and wrestlers alike. Best of luck to him.


A Conversation with Gordon Solie: Part 4

Conducted by Jeremy Hartley
Transcribed by Earl Oliver

Part 4

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: Well, and I think too, we were talking about educating the fans and sort of telling the story as the story is being unfolded. You were fortunate because there were talented enough workers, wrestlers, whatever you want to call them, performers, athletes, that were there. Uh, nowadays I don't know if a young announcer coming up through the ranks, I don't even want to use the term "ranks' because there is no such thing, there's no ranks in wrestling anymore - but a young announcer starting out, I don't think he has the same opportunity that you did with the folks that are in the matches right now.

Gordon Solie: No, well you don't because, first of all you have to go back to the philosophy of the business...

Jeremy Hartley: Right...

Gordon Solie: ...and the philosophy is totally different now. Young kids come up to me and some guys that aren't so young, and want to get in the business. And the first thing they tell me is, "Boy, you ought to see the gimmick I've got..." "Well, really? What have you got..?" "Well, I come out as this, and I want to come out and this kind of a robe on, and so on and so forth..." and they go all through this intricate detail about the gimmick. And then I ask them a simple question, "Yeah, but have you ever wrestled?" "Well, no..." "Did you ever wrestle in high school?" "Well, uh..." Then some of them come along, "Well, of course I did but that was all different..." And I always say, "Well, no the basics are the same...a take down is a take down, the only difference is going beyond 90 degrees and being able to grip your hand..." and so forth. "Well, yeah...but I tell you this gimmick will work..."

Jeremy Hartley: (laughs)

Gordon Solie: So there's a whole different philosophy today, its gimmickry and not the basic premise of the name of the game is "wrestling". So, the average announcer today doesn't have an opportunity...you've got precious few that really know the sport. Jim Ross, I think is one of the best. Lance Russell certainly was, Larry Zbyzsco of course because he wrestles, so Larry knows what's going on in the ring. Dusty Rhodes is good.

Jeremy Hartley: Yeah, you can almost sense the frustration between Rhodes and Zbyzsco anytime they're calling a match because they are not, I think, given anymore the freedom to expand upon what they know. I got in a conversation with, I believe it was Les (Thatcher) about this where he says, "You know, too many people are now changing their names, changing their characters..." - I'll bring up a name, Michael Hayes, who has years and years of stories to tell about the Freebirds and about his matches with Ted Dibiasi, etc., etc. Well, he goes up north, he changed his name and he has no more history. And unfortunately we're seeing that with Rhodes, and Zybszco as well...of course their names are the same but its almost as if they're being muzzled now, its almost as if we were talking about the mentality issue. I'd like to sort of get a survey to find out what the big wigs think of the mentality right now. Maybe its dropped a few years, I don't know (laughs).

Gordon Solie: Well, that's because of audience selection. That's not because of mentality. The targeted audience - Vince, Jr. did that, he targeted the young audience, the 4, 5, 6 - 8 years olds. And that is still carrying on to a degree. Les Thatcher, by the way, is a guy who is still on the air and is still doing it, in my opinion, in the right way, which is the old fashioned way. He's not one of these "new and improved" individuals. He gets out there and reports a solid match, in my opinion, the way a match should be called. No, they target the audience today, so consequently when you target your audience to an 8 year old, or a 10 year old, or a 12 year old mentality...but then they are much sharper today ten they were thirty years ago. You no, good lord, they sit down at the computer and they have access to information around the world at their fingertips, these kids are growing up very quickly mentally, I don't know how emotionally well they are doing...but that's another subject...

Jeremy Hartley: So, you had all of this talent...when did you start working in Georgia?

Gordon Solie: Oh gosh, I think that was in uh...(pause)...probably 1970, I think. I'll tell you what, look it up, whenever Ray Gunkel died, I started about three weeks after that.

Jeremy Hartley: Oh, okay...

Gordon Solie: When Gunkel died a war broke out, Georgia Wrestling split into two factions...Gunkel's wife split off and Paul Jones hung in and Ed Caprel, the announcer for Paul, went with the Gunkel group. That left Paul without anybody. And so I was called in to help Paul Jones out, who was the original promoter. Caprel had been with Paul I guess for seventeen or eighteen years and Left him. I had a sort of a strange sense of loyalty but when they called Eddie and said, "Can you send Gordon up here to do the show?" He said, "Sure..." So I started working for them as well as Florida.

Jeremy Hartley: Ah, so you were doing two shifts...

Gordon Solie: Yeah, I was flying up once a week doing the show in Atlanta and then...of course this was all very exciting...I mean, my God, hopping on a plane every week and flying to Atlanta and coming back...and like I said, I wish they had been giving out Frequent Flyer miles then, because, even though I racked up plenty of them over the years, I was several years flying with just, "Thanks a lot for being with us."

Jeremy Hartley: (laughs) I remember hearing that a lot of the shows were done live, some were taped as far as on television...when you were working both territories, what was an average week like for you?

Gordon Solie: Well, at that time I think we were doing our TV show in Tampa on Wednesdays, and so, of course I worked full time at that point. I was handling all of the publicity and all of that, for the State of Florida. I did all the newspaper ads, all of the radio advertising and all. We would do the show on Wednesdays, then, if I remember correctly, we'd do the interviews on Thursday then Friday the tape would be shipped out around the State. So then on Saturdays I would fly to Atlanta and do the show up there Saturday morning and then fly back Saturday afternoon. Well then that finally got to a point where (Ron) Fuller wanted me to do the show in Alabama, so for a while I was flying up to Atlanta twice a week, and then they backed up to one...it eventually ended up with me doing the show in Tampa on Wednesday, flying to Atlanta on Friday night, because I blew a show one day when weather suddenly blocked in Atlanta on a Saturday morning and I couldn't get in and ended up in Minneapolis! And I had to call them and tell them that I wouldn't make it for the show. They had a backup, of course, Freddy Miller, and anyway...then they started saying, "You come in Friday night..." so I started coming in Friday nights. Then I started doing the Alabama show on Saturday afternoons, So what I would do is get through the show in Atlanta Saturday morning, I was catching a 2 o'clock flight out of Atlanta to Dothen, Alabama and do the show there Saturday afternoon then I'd catch a flight out of Dothen back to Atlanta, then back into Tampa. So I'd usually get home Saturday night around midnight or so. Well, then they did some other switching around and "Pro-Wrestling This Week" came along. So then I would do the show Wednesday in Tampa, fly to Atlanta on Friday, do the show Saturday in Atlanta, then I would fly to Birmingham, if I remember correctly...anyway, I'd fly into Alabama and do a show there, and then fly into...no, they started doing the show on Monday nights there. Then I would fly out of there back to Atlanta, do "Pro-Wrestling This Week" with Joe Pedicino on Tuesday, then I'd fly back to Tampa on Tuesday afternoon late. (Editor's note: Gordon has skipped way ahead at this point, "PWTW" was in the mid-eighties as I recall - unless there was an earlier version I am not aware of)

Jeremy Hartley: Now was "Pro-Wrestling This Week" more of as talk show? Was it sort os a recap of the week? What exactly was that?

Gordon Solie: We had excerpts from matches all around the country and so we'd do the "wrap-around" - and that was a lot of fun. Then, of course, Ron (Fuller) switched to Tennessee, and for a while I was flying either to Birmingham or to Dothen, Atlanta, and Knoxville, plus Tampa. It was getting crazy!

Jeremy Hartley: Now, stylistically, I think one of the unique things was that you were able to announce different matches in several different territories where you had different minds in the business - did you notice a lot of crossover, or were there certain subtleties that made each territory so special?

Gordon Solie: No, each one had a different philosophy. I didn't change my philosophy, certain things remained constant. You still had the basics of good vs. evil. You still had the situation of who was the best athlete. In some cases there was no contest, and those times I would say, "It's not a question of whether or not he'll beat this guy, it's a question of when."...and that used to get some people a little warm but I said, "Hey, if you put a 280 lbs. superstar against a 220 lbs. kid they've never seen before, which way are you going to go with this?"

Jeremy Hartley: Yeah, and the interesting thing was that a lot of those kids that nobody had ever seen before turned out to be somebody but it would take years and years of "cutting teeth" as I like to say, in the territories...

Gordon Solie: Of course. Exactly, you don't get a Center College beating Notre Dame except, you know, once every hundred years. But it was fascinating and I thoroughly enjoyed it. And we could have a certain amount of crossover of talent, which I liked because I was able to call upon my past personal knowledge of who this guy could beat and be able to offer commentary about the past performances, so that was very helpful.

Jeremy Hartley: Right. Before the matches would take place, for example on a television taping, before you would broadcast your matches, what would you do to prepare for these matches? Would you care to get into that a little bit?

Gordon Solie: Well, of course a lot of it I relied upon my memories of individuals, competitors, I also instituted, and I guess I was the first one to do it in pro-wrestling, but I was the one who made up sheets on the guys, had them fill it out with their background so that I knew what schools they went to, where they participated in sports, what sports did they participate in. You know, a lot of that. I'd have a general overall background knowledge on the competitor. A lot of the guys I would just talk to, particularly if I was going to interview them. I would talk to them, not specifically to find out what they were going to talk about, I was more interested in just getting to know them to see how reluctant they might be to speak. And if they had any trepidations about coming on the air. If a kid was particularly...if he was fairly new and green and all of that, and was saying, "Well, boy I don't know if I can go...we've got a three minute interview, and I don't know if I can go three minutes..." And I would say, "Hey listen, don't worry about that, that's my job..." and I said, "...if I ask you a question and all you want to say in 'yes' or 'no', just say 'yes' or 'no', and I'll ask you another question." I would have a general idea of, you know, "Next week you're going to be facing so and so..." and I could lead into a question like that. But then I always, as you do, and I admire this, I always listened to what they had to say because many times then, they would say something in their answer that would springboard into my next question. Instead of, "You're going to wrestle Joe Bonofotski next week..." "Yeah, that's right." "Well, how do you feel about that?" "Well, I feel pretty good about it, of course my left arm's been bothering me a little bit..." "Oh really? So what's wrong with your left arm?" In other words, it gave you a springboard if you listened to what they're saying. I've heard too many people doing interviews, not only in wrestling, but in other sports, saying, "You're going to be wrestling so and so." "Yeah and my arm is bothering me..." "That's nice. Now, lets talk about where your going to be wrestling..." And I would say, "Wait a minute, you're missing the point here..." We've got a commercial that will tell them where they're going to be wrestling. And of course that's the other problem today is that everything is bottom line to the point where they're not interested in anything but their particular storyline and where and when and how much. And that's too bad.

Too be continued...



Finally!! The Rock'sand Mankind's Autobiographies are now both available at Solie's Storefront! Check it out for great deals on wrestling books, records and videos. In association with Amazon.com.


ECW on TNN Report

The program opens with CW (the Phoney) Anderson getting a pinfall over Tommy Dreamer - then Doring and Roadkill run in and a melee ensues as Tommy slowly rolls his battered body out of the ring. Anderson's cronies Simon and Schuster (or whatever...)help him clean house. Rob Van Dam makes a typical RVD rant against Rhino and we are off and running with the opening montage.

Lou E and Cyrus are again in charge in the ring as the program continues. Cyrun rails against newborn babyface Steve Corino until the man himself decides to invade the ring with his new best friend, Scotty Anton. He admits that Corino has gotten himself over with the fans - but that doesn't count in his book. Corino goes into his best Joel Gertner impression, threatening to inflict bodily harm on Cyrus. Cyrus responds with a challenge for a tag team match pitting himself and Lou E against Corino and Anton! Corino accepts...then Anton attacks him...

ECW is back to promoting WCW news on their hotline...

Little Guido and the Full Blooded Italians take on Psicosis, Tajiri and Mikey Whipwreak for the second match of the evening. The actual match got underway after the next commercial with Whipwreak taking the fight to Guido but having the tables turned on him. He tags in Psicosis, whi comes in against Tony Marmaluke and creams him. Guido comes back in but is caught between Tajiri and Psicosis and says bye bye. Even Big Sal can't seem to make a dent until Psicosis tries to dive on him on the outside and is caught. This doesn't faze the Anti-Italians who manage to hit a double drop-kick from each side of Guido's head (ouch!!!) All of this feverish activity comes to a halt when the big guys manages to drop an elbow on Whipwreak. It is only a momentary lull however, as the two sides spring back into action. The rest of the match takes place at a furious pace and ends when Guido manages to pin Tajiri even after he is blinded by a green misting to the eyes.

The World Champ and his ladyfriend come to the ring just after the mid-point of the program to give a rematch to Kid Kash, who probably doesn't deserve it. This Jerry Lynn wannabee just doesn't ring my chimes - but then Justin Credible is not exactly my idea of a real exciting Heavyweight Champ, so I suppose I don't really care who wins this one - but I can imagine who the winner will be. Credible (who has the lamest name and the lamest catch phrase of anyone in wrestling), is an example of a promotion using what is left after their legitimate stars have all started leaving the fold for greener pastures at the competition. As soon as the challenger turns the tables, of course, Rhino runs in and attacks. The referee is down from a previous blow. Rob Van Dam then runs in to attack Rhino. Still the referee is out of it. Credible regains control of Kash as the invaders disappear from camera range but Kash again turns the tables. Rhino is (with Van Dam in hot pursuit) back and knocks the referee down again before spearing Kash. But the latter just shakes it off and turns the tables yet again. He takes the Champ to the top and is setting up a superplex when Francine whacks him in the back with her cane. The Champ retains.

Has anyone else noticed that the "Army Men" video game commercial uses the term "gooks" to refer to the enemy of the Army Men in the game - how do they get away with that?

The main event sees RVD challenging Rhino for the TV title he still considers his. Not surprisingly, the fight starts out on the floor and takes it's time making it's way into the ring. In fact the match on the floor goes on for about 5 minutes. During that time, Rhino takes control of things and drags his challenger into the ringside area where he really goes to work on him. Van Dam takes it for several more minutes then finally slips in a back kick to turn the tables. As soon as Rhino hits hits the mat, Alfonso throws him a chair - Rhino is creamed in the corner then hits a somersault splash before stopping to gesture to the crowd. Rhino recovers somewhat but RVD is right back on him and hits the Van Daminator then the 5 Star Frogsplash. Justin Credible hits the ring and the match is thrown out as the challenger is punked by the two of them until Kid Kash runs in wearing a neck brace...and gets some of the same. The Sandman makes the fastest entrance of his career to come to the rescue just before the program fades.

I'll be back on Monday. Until then...

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

Earl Oliver
Editor, Solie's Wrestling Newsletter



Visit Solie's Mailroom: We get letters...


(Editor's Note: If you have found anything that's been said here to be particularly offensive please read this disclaimer).


Visit the Extreme Sports Network Guestbook
for great wrestling discussion.


Bret Hart's Weekly Column in the Calgary Sun


Back to the Main page

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 memory of the Dean of Wrestling announcers, Gordon Solie.

Copyright 2000 - Jump City Productions


Click the banner above for great wrestling DVDs