Dedicated to Gordon Solie
January 29, 1929 - July 27, 2000
I was on vacation last week and didn't watch any wrestling, so there will be no SmackDown or Judgement Day reports in this issue, but here is a little news from the PPV last night. Congratulations go out to Kane, who captured the Intercontinental Title from HHH in Sacramento, CA, at Judgement Day. This adds his name to the list of wrestlers who have held the WWF World, IC and Tag Team titles.
You can get more of the latest news and rumors by listening to this weeks Solie's Wrestling Radio report.
We begin this issue with a House Show Report from Solie's Readers' Forum regular, ES.
I had the opportunity to attend a local Central Wrestling Organization indie card, here in Denver on Saturday night. It was titled "CWO's Uncivil War". Noteworthy because WCW Cruiserweight champ Shane Helms worked a decent match against CWO mainstay Psycho Sarge (Sarge had a dark match on the recent Smackdown Denver card). Important to note that Helms was billed as "The WCW Cruiserweight Champ" and even had the belt with him. The match was announced as a title match, but the title was obviously not in danger. Helms launched an impressive running somersault plancha onto the floor against his opponent, and eventually wins with the vertebreaker. Also on the card, Jimmy Hart appeared and worked a ridiculous match against some local radio dorks. The match featured run ins by Sonny Onoo, some loser who owns a tattoo parlor and various other nobodies.
Madusa also worked a decent women's match against CWO's Nikita.
Rest of the card as follows:
The show opens with a guy named "Lethal Litigator" running down the crowd with some standard juvenile/Lawler-esque insults and mom jokes. He wears a cheap Abe Lincoln costume, to hammer home the point of "Uncivil War". He calls out CWo owner Don "Magnum man" Magnus. Kinda looks like Don Callis/Cyrus. Magnus tells us of a running feud with Sonny Oono, for possession of CWO (Onoo's actually one of the head bookers). Magnus tells us he's hired Madusa to get back at Oono.
Litigator introduces an interview with members of "EVIL". Two young guys named Coroner and Pain. Coroner looks like Vampiro-LITE. They call out their former, renegade member, Mad Dawg. They proceed to launch a mild beat down on Mad Dawg (including a failed attempt at a double suplex..awful). A big dude named "Reverend Black" comes down and helps out Mad Dawg. Black looks like a pro wrestler..the other three look like backyard wrestlers. I assume this will set up a tag match down the road.
Then, things get annoying...as Litigator joins a warm dishrag on the "announcer's table". These two buffoons then proceed to call ALL THE MATCHES, over the PA system. Awful! I understand the need to tell stories, but having two guys garble over the house mic all night long takes away from the wrestlers and their ability to interact with the crowd. ONe call went like this: "Oh, and he throws him off, with a mighty...throw". Is this a standard practice for indie shows??
Joe Juvenile vs. Jose Cuevo (CWO cruiserweight title) - Juvenile has an Eminem gimmick going. He wins the title with a reverse uranage. decent match. Juvenile leaves, but forgets to grab his newly won belt... huh?
The Excellences vs. Doc and Hyde (CWO Tag title tourney) - Excellences are Deuce and Tom Terminator. A Kid Cash and Jamison wannabe, in that order. Ex's win the belts with a facebuster and reversal.
Phobia defeated money man Jon Blaze - Phobia is a 6-something chic.. Blaze runs around in a suit and looks like a mini Elix Skipper. Blaze did a great job of pantomiming and acting to the crowd.
Hannibal defeated Dom Perignon - more backyard wrestler castoffs. Hannibal has fluid movements, but lacks the size to break out. He's about 5-5
Shane Helms defeated Psycho Sarge - As mentioned, the announcers kept screaming that this was for the WCW cruiserweight strap. Funny spot, as Sarge keeps doing push-ups, ala Scott Steiner. Helms decks him and then imitates him, with push-ups of his own. Sarge knows how to sell, as his interaction really made Helms' charging plancha look awesome!
Badger defeated Crazy Nate - Nate was pretty funny..he's a crazed ref, who argues with, and reprimands himself. He came down earlier and reffed a few matches.. I'm not sure of the storyline behind him, but he's funny in a Mick Foley sorta way. Before the match, a TINY oriental wrestler comes down to join Nate. Think Hakushi meets Rey Mysterio meets the lightning dudes from "BIg Trouble In Little China".
Hat Trick defeated Extreme Machine - Horrible.. Hat Trick is simply a rip off of the "Goon"!. Sloppy match, the less said, the better. Trick wore a St Louis Blues jersey for the CHEAP HEAT. Hat Trick gets the pin.
CrossCheck defeated Bud Doobie - CrossCheck is Hat Trick's partner in the "Lethal Enforcers". Doobie was fun, though. He came down with a water bottle and pretzels. He stands on the apron to flex and do Triple H's water bottle trick..only he burps and spits out pretzels! He also did the steamroller, from the movie "Strange Brew".
Boobzila vs. Jimmy Hart - Jimmy continues his quest of Matches with DJs that Nobody Gives a Hoot About. Boobzilla is some radio flunky for the "Lewis & Floorwax Show". Typical "whacky morning DJs". Pure crap. Sonny Onoo runs in and has powder tossed in his eyes, and the announcers shout "He's BLINDED". Never mind that Sonny was wearing wraparound shades at the time. Looking back.. I'm not sure WHO won this thing!
Madusa defeated Nikita - This should have been a "Winner gets Madusa's implants" match. Nikita's flat and needs em! Cool spot as Nikita shoulder blocks Madusa into the post, while bending her leg back and kicking Madusa in the face. They reversed a figure four, and bent around to "spank" each other. Better than any women's match I've seen the WWF toss out.
C-blockk defeated Corpse - C-Blockk's the CWO champ and a friend of mine. Corpse looks like a bigger, badder version of Mideon. Corpse also worked a dark match on that Smackdown card, too. Rather old school match, with a horrible ending as the tattoo parlor guy runs in and hits Corpse with the WEAKEST chair shot ever. C Blockk covers him to retain the strap. I'm not sure why they included this tattoo parlor guy.. the radio DJs were tolerable, but this guy is a NOBODY! He was accompanied by two slu....errr, self-employed models.
It was an interesting show... and answered the question: "What would WOW be like with men??" They even had a few SHOCKING SWERVES!!! Worst thing was the live announcers! They were both from the old Vince Mcmahon school of broadcasting, circa 1990. ("A series of kicks.. wotta maneuver!") I've been to several live shows, and never felt the need for an announcer. Furthermore,it makes the refs seem not only blind, but DEAF as well!
I was discouraged because this is the type of stuff that gives wrestling a bad name. The banner on the ring blazed out with : "Pleasures Adult Palace! Videos for 5 dollars!" I understand the need for sponsors, but still...nevermind that several children were present. Add in the tattoo parlor sponsorship/interaction and the words "White" and "trash" start to form in your head. Heck, I'm a single 27 yr old male... and I was a bit embarrassed.
Still, I got to meet several wrestlers and had a decent time. Afterwards, ALL the wrestlers hung around to chat and sign autographs. The tattoo parlor guy stayed in the ring to take pictures of himself and the sluts... loser. I even got to meet Sonny Oono, very briefly. I'm definitely going again!
I like to joke a lot and make cracks, but despite my nitpickings, I think CWO definitely deserves a look. All the wrestlers I met were very dedicated to the "sport" and you could sense their enthusiasm. Really, the only bad match was Extreme Machine/Hat Trick. Everything else was pretty tight. Next time, I'm taking a camera, as C Blockk mentioned he'd let me wear the belt :)
Thanks for your time.
P.S Bad News Brown STILL Rules!
By Ervin Griffin, Jr.
While I was getting ready for the morning news broadcast at my local NBC station here in Bluefield, WV, I came up with an idea for Earl's 5th Anniversary of the Solie's Vintage Wrestling web site. Who were the most influential stars during the years that Solie has been up and running? While several could be made a case for I came up with seven sure winners while I will make some honorable mentions along the way. Enough with the intros, let's get too it! By the way, this is not a ranking, just a list.
1. Sting - During the Solie years, Sting has undergone quite a few changes. When Solie's was started, Sting has already begun to forsake the spiked blonde hairdo that had become a trademark in favor of a dark brown style but kept the multi color outfits and face paint. As the nWo angle began to gain power within WCW, Sting also began to radically alter his look as he went with the look of the comic character The Crow. Gone was the energetic Sting that always threw an "owwwwww!" at the crowd and had a truckload of energy. The determination was still there but he became a brooding character for a time. Later, as a member of nWo Wolfpack, Sting adopted a red face paint as a pose to the black & white paint. Also, the charisma that marked his early career returned and still remained even when he returned to the black and white Crow look. Despite the emergence of ex-WWF stars Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Hulk Hogan and others, Sting managed to remain in the public eye in the federation that he called home since the NWA days. In fact, he's the only wrestler that remained with WCW during good and bad. Word has it that he is now leaving the sport so if anyone has the final WCW Nitro on tape, you might want to hold on to it! I know I will. Sting was a charismatic, loyal and hard worker during his years in the ring. In fact, the only other federation he has worked for was Bill Watt's old UWF and that was at the beginning of his career. When it was en vogue (no disrespect meant to the R&B singing group) to jump to the WWF, Sting stayed in WCW. He was also the man that made Riki Choshu's "Scorpion Deathlock" (which the Japanese star used for years in Japan) famous over here in the U.S. His contributions and great performances will be cherished and missed.
2. Hulk Hogan - Love him or hate him but you can't ignore him. The most popular star in the 1980's was still rolling around in the 90's when Solie's was put up. Though, by this point in time, Hogan was not nearly as popular as he was. Even in the WWF (the federation where his name was made), his popularity was beginning to wane in the early 90's and it got a bit worse in WCW where he was viewed as an outsider from up north. While certain areas like Florida and California still cheered Hogan, he was routinely booed in WCW strongholds like North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. So, what did Hogan do? He turned in what many consider the greatest heel turn in the history of pro wrestling during the nWo/WCW angle as he turned on WCW and joined nWo founders Hall & Nash! From that day, he adopted the moniker "Hollywood" Hulk Hogan and kept it throughout his whole time as the leader of the nWo. I would dare say that his heel change makes the recent one by "Stone Cold" Steve Austin seem weak in comparison (though Austin's has been much more violent)! True, Austin's turn has been marked with mayhem but Hogan's had a much more far reaching effect because no one called for it! The only one that I can remember calling for it was Earl Oliver himself but no one thought it would happen just because Hogan had been a favorite for so long that no one could fathom a crowd booing him but with that one leg drop on "Macho Man" Randy Savage, the crowd was virtually booing him out of the building and.......he shot WCW to the top of the wrestling world (at least for a time)! For that reason, he's on my list!
3. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin - Before the Solie years, Austin was already a top star that had just gotten a rotten break the year before by WCW when then boss Eric Bischoff called him over the telephone and fired him as he was recuperating from a torn bicep! When Solie's came on line, Austin was in the WWF as "The Ringmaster" and was being managed by Ted DiBiase. This arrangement by the WWF didn't set too well with Austin so he began calling himself "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. When Dibiase left the federation to go to WCW, Austin started wearing black tights and a leather vest to further distance himself from "The Ringmaster" gimmick. He also began cussing and using strong language during his interviews which was (even in 1996) sort of taboo but people began to connect with him because it was more realistic. His breakout performance was the 1996 King Of The Ring in Milwalkee, WI when he defeated Jake "The Snake" Roberts to win the event in the tournament finals. Austin, in a post match interview, uttered the words that would become his trademark: "YOU TALK ABOUT JOHN 3:16! AUSTIN 3:16 SAYS I JUST WHUPPED YOUR ASS!" From that night on, Austin's career would skyrocket! Staying with the same heel style that had brought him success in WCW, Austin raised hell in the WWF! Still, there was an added element that had been not present before in his character and that was courage. I know that sounds a bit weird but before his WCW tenure, Austin was the classic heel in that he took all kinds of short cuts to get where he wanted to be. In 1996, he was still a heel but instead of taking the easy way out, he would go head first into battle not unlike fellow texan Stan "The Lariat" Hansen! Until recently, this was Austin's forte whether he fought heels or even fan favorites, Austin would not surrender to anyone, not even Vince McMahon! We, as an audience, connected with that because I am sure that we have worked under one superior at a job that we just wanted to beat the living hell out of but didn't only because of the repercussions. We lived voyeuristically through Austin because he could do what none of us could do in real life and that's beat the crap out of our boss! True, McMahon did steal the idea from Eric Bischoff but I think Austin/McMahon took the idea further than WCW ever did! Austin's character made for hours of discussion on the Reader's Forum, even today! Austin is a key figure during the Solie years.
4. The Undertaker - Mark Calloway has been in the sport since, at least, 1989 when he wrestled first as The Master of Pain and later The Punisher in both the USWA and World Class organizations. In late '89, Calloway moved to the NWA/WCW area as"Mean" Mark Callous and teamed with "Dangerous" Dan Spivey in the second version of the team called The Skyscrapers. Ironically, Callous took the place of future rival "Sycho" Sid Vicious when Sid went down to a punctured lung as his team with Spivey was just taking off. The second version had some success but Dan suddenly left WCW and went back to Japan, leaving Mark by himself. Callous didn't let that get him down as he embarked on a solo career in WCW with limited success. He was managed by Teddy Long and later Paul E. Dangerously. In 1990, he made his debut in the WWF as The Undertaker at the WWF Survivor Series! After feuds with Dusty Rhodes, Bret Hart and Jimmy "Superfly" Sunka, the sadistic side of UT began to emerge as he engaged in a shocking series of matches with The Ultimate Warrior which included UT locking up UW in a coffin! Not one of those wood boxes but a modern coffin! UT split a series of matches with UW but was victorious in subsequent feuds with Sid Vicious, Hulk Hogan, Jake "The Snake" Roberts, The Beserker, Kamala, Giant GonzŠlez and others. When Solie's came around, UT was in the mists of a feud with Kevin Nash (aka Diesel) and had a hard hitting match with him at WrestleMania 12 (an event that UT is STILL undefeated at). We have seen him go from a brooding dark knight (no offense to BatMan fans) to a sadistic devil worshiper to a tough talking, tough acting biker over the last five years. We have even seen him change finishers. When he started, it was the Tombstone piledriver. For the last year or so, he's used "The Last Ride" powerbomb though he occasionally dusts the Tombstone off (as he did in this year's WrestleMania against Triple H). Besides Hulk Hogan, The Undertaker may be the most enduring character in wrestling. Despite all the image changes, fans still come out to see him in arenas all over the country if not the world.
5. Triple H - The man that would become known as "The Game" today was just plain Hunter Hearst Helmsley back when Solie started. Born Jean Paul Levesque, Triple H was a highly touted young prospect that came from WCW in late 1995. By the time Earl created his web site, Triple H was being groomed for a big push in 1996. Even his jobbing to The Ultimate Warrior at WrestleMania 12 did not diminish those plans.........but his open celebration in center ring at Madison Square Garden with Shawn Michaels, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash DID get him in hot water with WWF Head Vince McMahon and other officials. Triple H, who was supposed to win the 1996 King Of The Ring, was forced to job to "Wildman" Marc Mero in the first round as punishment for that act at MSG. The winner, ironically, would be his future ally and rival "Stone Cold" Steve Austin! Meanwhile, Triple H was kept up enough to be in the public eye but was forced to job to guys like Mero and even Austin. Finally, he was let out of the dog house when he won his first WWF Intercontinental Title in mid October! He held that title until February of 1997 when he jobbed to Rocky Maivia. If that name sounds familiar, it should because it is the same man that would become "The People's Champion" The Rock. Triple H would rebound from that loss with a win at WrestleMania 13 over Dustin Rhodes (who was known as Goldust then) and a victory at the 1997 King Of The Ring! He also introduced the world to Chyna, dubbed The 9th Wonder Of The World. His union with Shawn Michaels would spawn Degeneration X! This same group would also become Triple H's chance to be a star and he took full advantage of it, winning the WWF European Title and a second WWF I-C title along the way. In 1999, he left DX to forge his own road with the ending being the WWF World Title. The champion at the time was his long time roadblock "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. While Triple H has never defeated Austin for the title, he HAS defended it against The Rattlesnake and with success. "The Game" also has defeated The Rock, The Big Show and Mick Foley for his other WWF titles and was the dominant wrestler in the WWF in 2000, surviving wars with Foley, The Rock, Chris Jericho and Kurt Angle. The dominance hasn't really let up in 2001 either so I am sure he will provide more things for us all to talk about!
NEXT: More Magnificence and some Honorable Mentions, as well.
If you have a question, comments, criticism, or just want to talk pro wrestling, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Ervin Griffin Jr. is Solie's resident historian and formerly contributed to the Ringside Insider on a regular basis. Many of his previous articles are available in the The memories of Solie's Vintage Wrestling are many. The old Fantasy Guestbook, where we had a lot of goofy fun with our smark booking and laying the smack down on each other. The fact that Solie's taught me how the internet makes the world more of a community, rather than a vast expanse of land. So many characters were introduced to me, yourself, Wild Bill, J-Byrd, Hitman, Mothership, Mr Wrestling III, SED, Sensei, System Down, RotsMan, steele, Ervin Griffin . Too many names to remember. I have actually met Mr. Wrestling III on several occasions. We started corresponding by e-mail and it turned out that he lived just a couple of blocks from my best friend. My friend lives about 2 hours away from me and when I go down to visit I try to check in with MWIII. That's what I mean about community. Here's a guy I now know in North Carolina, that I first met on a website in California...... One thing you might want to do is to have a recap of all the wrestler's and wrestling personalities that have passed on just since Solie's has been around. I collected a list from Scott Teal's site and have attached it. Some of the names I am not very familiar with, but many were big in the business. Thank's for putting up Solie's. It's given me 5 years of entertainment, analysis, discussion, and much knowledge about the wrestling industry. Plus I made friends. Charlie Harvell Solieís has turned five. First, congratulations are in order for Earl Oliver. He has provided a place for the intelligent discussion of wrestling on the internet and a site that helps to preserve the history of the sport as it covers the current events. All wrestling fans should appreciate what Solieís adds to the wrestling community. That being said, this was one of the first wrestling sites I found when I was baptized into the world of the internet many moons ago. I liked the style of the newsletter and inquired as to whether Earl would publish a series about the history of the world heavyweight title. This was a fun subject for me because it was something that was being discussed in the Readerís Forum from time to time and I loved looking into the history of wrestling. Everyone in the Forum had different standards for what a world heavyweight champion was, and I aimed to analyze the WWF and WCW title histories and provide my thoughts on the matter. Earl was gracious enough to publish the series. I still remember writing those pieces. It was the summer between my first and second years at college and I was working second shift at Wal-Mart. Iíd leave work at 11 and type my world title series for Earl into the early hours of the morning. It was stimulating to read the responses from people in the Forum and realize that Earl had allowed my musings the possibility of reaching anyone in the world who has electricity and phone service. Over the years, my interest in wrestling ebbed and flowed. When Owen Hart fell from the rafters I felt motivated to write a memorial article and was fortunate to be able to team with Ervin Griffin, Jr. on what I still think was an important article to write. Previously, I had the pleasure of working with Ervin when asked for my help with a book of lists for his Bret Hart series and I was more than happy to help out. For his next series, Ervin consulted me on the title histories for Ric Flair and was very patient in waiting on me to finish my part for the final edition. I think Earl also published a short Tribute To Bret Hart article I wrote when Bret left for WCW and a few house show reports from Topeka, Kansas. When I wasnít writing articles, I helped Earl to establish Solieís Title Histories. I unplugged from wrestling following the Montreal Incident and returned when Owen passed away. It brought I smile to my face to see how Solieís Title Histories hadnít just survived, but had flourished as it was nurtured by Earl and many other devoted historians and fans of the sport. It feels like it took me a really long time to say, "Thank you, Earl." When wrestling was a part of my life, you allowed me to be a part of wrestling. In the spirit of returning to my roots, Iíve compiled a book of lists for world heavyweight champions of WWF, WCW, ECW, and the NWA from May 01, 1996 to May 21, 2001 that shows how much time each man spent as world heavyweight champion during the life of Solieís Vintage Wrestling. Enjoy. Length of Time Spent as WWF, WCW, NWA,or ECW World Heavyweight Champion From May 01, 1996 to May 21, 2001
From Charlie Harvell -
Here is Charlie's List
A Look Back at the Solie's Years Retrospective by Matt Benaka
1.Dan Severn--2 years 10 months 14 days Length of Time Spent as WWF World Heavyweight Champion From May 01, 1996 to May 21, 2001
2.Hulk Hogan--1 year 11 months 19 days
3.Naoya Ogawa--1 year 3 months 15 days
4.Shane Douglas--1 year 3 months 12 days
5.Shawn Michaels--1 year 4 days
6.Raven--11 months 18 days
7.Steve Austin--11 months 13 days*
8.The Sandman--9 months 13 days
9.The Rock--8 months 25 days
10.Taz--8 months 21 days
11.Hunter Hearst Helmsley--7 months 18 days
12.Mike Awesome--6 months 22 days
13.Mike Rapada--6 months 1 day
14.Sycho Sid--5 months 26 days
15.Bill Goldberg--5 months 23 days
15.Booker T.--5 months 23days**
17.The Undertaker--5 months 19 days
18.Justin Credible--5 months 10 days
19.Bret Hart--5 months 7 days
20.The Giant/The Big Show--5 months
21.Kurt Angle--4 months 5 days
22.Scott Steiner--4 months 1 day
23.Terry Funk--3 months 27 days
24.Sting--3 months 12 days
25.Kevin Nash--3 months 10 days
26.Rhino--2 months 25 days***
26.Steve Corino--2 months 25 days****
28.Jeff Jarrett--2 months 2 days
29.Mankind--1 month 20 days
30.Sabu--1 month 18 days
31.Bam Bam Bigelow--1 month 16 days
32.Mikey Whipwreck--1 month 13 days
33.Ric Flair--1 month 8 days
34.Jerry Lynn--1 month 5 days
35.Diamond Dallas Page--1 months 2 days
36.David Arquette--13 days
37.Gary Steele--9 days
37.Vince Russo--9 days
39.Vince McMahon--7 days
39.Masato Tanaka--7 days
41.Lex Luger--6 days
42.Randy Savage--4 days
43.Chris Benoit--2 days
45.Tommy Dreamer--1 day
*Current WWF World Heavyweight Champion
**Current WCW World Heavyweight Champion
***Final ECW World Heavyweight Champion
****Current NWA World Heavyweight Champion
1.Shawn Michaels--1 year 4 days Length of Time Spent as WCW World Heavyweight Champion From May 01, 1996 to May 21, 2001
2.Steve Austin--11 months 13 days
3.The Rock--8 months 25 days
4.Hunter Hearst Helmsley--7 months 18 days
5.The Undertaker--5 months 19 days
6.Bret Hart--3 months 10 days
7.Sycho Sid--3 months 8 days
8.Kurt Angle--4 months 5 days
9.Mankind--1 month 20 days
9.The Big Show--1 month 20 days
10.Vince McMahon--7 days
1.Hulk Hogan--1 year 11 months 19 days Length of Time Spent as ECW World Heavyweight Champion From May 01, 1996 to May 21, 2001
2.Bill Goldberg--5 months 23 days
3.Booker T.--5 months 23days*
4.Scott Steiner--4 months 1 day
5.Sting--3 months 12 days
6.The Giant--3 months 10 days
6.Kevin Nash--3 months 10 days
8.Sid Vicious--2 months 18 days
9.Jeff Jarrett--2 months 2 days
10.Bret Hart--1 month 27 days
11.Ric Flair--1 month 8 days
12.Diamond Dallas Page--1 months 2 days
13.David Arquette--13 days
14.Vince Russo--9 days
15.Lex Luger--6 days
16.Randy Savage--4 days
17.Chris Benoit--2 days
1.Shane Douglas--1 year 3 months 12 days Length of Time Spent as NWA World Heavyweight Champion From May 01, 1996 to May 21, 2001
2.Raven--11 months 18 days
3.The Sandman--9 months 13 days
4.Taz--8 months 21 days
5.Mike Awesome--6 months 22 days
6.Justin Credible--5 months 10 days
7.Terry Funk--3 months 27 days
8.Rhino--2 months 25 days
9.Steve Corino--1 month 27 days
10.Bam Bam Bigelow--1 month 16 days
11.Mikey Whipwreck--1 month 13 days
12.Jerry Lynn--1 month 5 days
14.Masato Tanaka--7 days
15.Tommy Dreamer--1 day
1.Dan Severn--2 years 10 months 14 days Send any comments or criticisms to firstname.lastname@example.org
2.Naoya Ogawa--1 year 3 months 15 days
3.Mike Rapada--6 months 1 day
4.Sabu--1 month 9 days
5.Steve Corino--28 days
6.Gary Steele--9 days
The memories of Solie's Vintage Wrestling are many. The old Fantasy Guestbook, where we had a lot of goofy fun with our smark booking and laying the smack down on each other. The fact that Solie's taught me how the internet makes the world more of a community, rather than a vast expanse of land. So many characters were introduced to me, yourself, Wild Bill, J-Byrd, Hitman, Mothership, Mr Wrestling III, SED, Sensei, System Down, RotsMan, steele, Ervin Griffin . Too many names to remember. I have actually met Mr. Wrestling III on several occasions. We started corresponding by e-mail and it turned out that he lived just a couple of blocks from my best friend. My friend lives about 2 hours away from me and when I go down to visit I try to check in with MWIII. That's what I mean about community. Here's a guy I now know in North Carolina, that I first met on a website in California......
One thing you might want to do is to have a recap of all the wrestler's and wrestling personalities that have passed on just since Solie's has been around. I collected a list from Scott Teal's site and have attached it. Some of the names I am not very familiar with, but many were big in the business.
Thank's for putting up Solie's. It's given me 5 years of entertainment, analysis, discussion, and much knowledge about the wrestling industry. Plus I made friends.
Solieís has turned five. First, congratulations are in order for Earl Oliver. He has provided a place for the intelligent discussion of wrestling on the internet and a site that helps to preserve the history of the sport as it covers the current events. All wrestling fans should appreciate what Solieís adds to the wrestling community.
That being said, this was one of the first wrestling sites I found when I was baptized into the world of the internet many moons ago. I liked the style of the newsletter and inquired as to whether Earl would publish a series about the history of the world heavyweight title. This was a fun subject for me because it was something that was being discussed in the Readerís Forum from time to time and I loved looking into the history of wrestling. Everyone in the Forum had different standards for what a world heavyweight champion was, and I aimed to analyze the WWF and WCW title histories and provide my thoughts on the matter. Earl was gracious enough to publish the series. I still remember writing those pieces. It was the summer between my first and second years at college and I was working second shift at Wal-Mart. Iíd leave work at 11 and type my world title series for Earl into the early hours of the morning. It was stimulating to read the responses from people in the Forum and realize that Earl had allowed my musings the possibility of reaching anyone in the world who has electricity and phone service.
Over the years, my interest in wrestling ebbed and flowed. When Owen Hart fell from the rafters I felt motivated to write a memorial article and was fortunate to be able to team with Ervin Griffin, Jr. on what I still think was an important article to write. Previously, I had the pleasure of working with Ervin when asked for my help with a book of lists for his Bret Hart series and I was more than happy to help out. For his next series, Ervin consulted me on the title histories for Ric Flair and was very patient in waiting on me to finish my part for the final edition. I think Earl also published a short Tribute To Bret Hart article I wrote when Bret left for WCW and a few house show reports from Topeka, Kansas.
When I wasnít writing articles, I helped Earl to establish Solieís Title Histories. I unplugged from wrestling following the Montreal Incident and returned when Owen passed away. It brought I smile to my face to see how Solieís Title Histories hadnít just survived, but had flourished as it was nurtured by Earl and many other devoted historians and fans of the sport.
It feels like it took me a really long time to say, "Thank you, Earl." When wrestling was a part of my life, you allowed me to be a part of wrestling. In the spirit of returning to my roots, Iíve compiled a book of lists for world heavyweight champions of WWF, WCW, ECW, and the NWA from May 01, 1996 to May 21, 2001 that shows how much time each man spent as world heavyweight champion during the life of Solieís Vintage Wrestling. Enjoy.
Length of Time Spent as WWF, WCW, NWA,or ECW World Heavyweight Champion From May 01, 1996 to May 21, 2001
Mat Benaka is one of Solie's resident historians and the originator of Solie's Title Histories. Several of his previous articles can be found in the Articles section of the Solie's web site.
I'm sure that you still have your doubts about whether this is really me or not. Just as before, when I signed your guestbook on a couple of occassions. I don't blame you - it's easy to pretend like you are someone else on the internet. Be that as it may, I just wanted to congratulate you on your 5th anniversary. Solie's always reported fairly on WCW, unlike a lot of wrestling sites, and you should know that the team at World Championship Wrestling always appreciated your efforts. During a conversation I had with Gordon shortly before he passed away, he said some very nice things about your web site. Considering the source, that was high praise indeed. I hope you have 5 more years of success - and however many more you desire after that.
KING OF THE INDIES 2001
It has been announced that the 2001 King Of The Indies Tournament has officially been expanded to a 16-wrestler field, and will be held over a two-day period. The opening round for this very prestigious tournament, will be on Friday, October 26th at the Pacific Sports Center in Vallejo, Ca. with a start time of 7:30pm. The Championship round will take place the next night at 7:30pm. There will be a special PRESS CONFERENCE Q & A Session will all the participants on Friday, October 26th from 6:30pm to 7:00pm, prior to the show, and a special PRESS CONFERENCE Q & A Session with the 8 Finalists on Saturday from 6:30pm to 7:00pm. Doors will open at 6:00pm for both days of this HUGE event.
In how the tournament will be presented...On Friday night, there will be one or maybe two tag team matches added to break up the tournament. Those matches will consist of APW wrestlers not in the tournament, that are worthy of being on this big card. On Saturday night, there will be two tag matches, and one singles match to break up the tournament, and give the finals a breather, because some of the wrestlers on this night will have to wrestle two or three times. Those matches will consist of wrestlers who suffered opening round losses. This guarantees fans of seeing the out-of-state top Indie wrestlers on both nights.
APW is also in talks with a major radio sponsor and will make every attempt at making this weekend a major media event.
Even though it is still six months away, it is not too early to begin making plans to attend APW's biggest event in the history of the promotion. Mark down Friday, October 26th, Saturday, October 27th & Sunday, October 28th on your calendar, and come join us for what is shaping up to be the biggest APW extravaganza of all time! The Pacific Sports Center in Vallejo has signed for APW to hold back-to-back shows on the 27th & 28th, and will play host to the 2001 King Of The Indies Tournament. This will all be part of APW's Halloween Hell 5 weekend, and there is already a lot being planned for this event.
Not only will there be a 2-day 16-man tournament to crown the 2001 King Of The Indies (which was won last year by Christopher Daniels). But rumor has it that there is going to be a special tribute to all of the Cauliflower Alley Club Legends, who wrestled in Northern California. There will also be a Northern California Wrestling Reunion BBQ, the Sunday afternoon following the tournament. Fans who purchase the "King Of The Indies VIP Package", will be entitled to a VIP RINGSIDE TICKET for the tournament (on both days), and entrance to the reunion/bbq. This will be a huge weekend that not only celebrates the 5th Annual Halloween Hell weekend, and the 2nd Annual King Of The Indies Tournament, but also the 10th Anniversary of All Pro Wrestling being in business. All of this is being planned still, and no exact dates or times have been announced yet.
Also, as a special treat for any out-of-towners who are coming to the Bay Area for the October 26th-28th Halloween Hell/King Of The Indies weekend, can take part in a Free Mini Boot Camp! This would take place just before an actual session of the real APW BOOT CAMP, on Saturday afternoon (before the Saturday night show). You will be able to bring your gear and participate in the Free Mini Camp, and check out if pro wrestling is for you or not. That will be proceeded by an actual session of the APW Boot Camp. Then, you can check out the Championship Round of the 2001 King Of The Indies Tournament on Saturday night. Anyone from anywhere will be able to attend this Free Mini Camp as long as they have a ticket for the event. Naturally, those with a package ticket for the entire weekend, will be given first crack at entry to the Free Mini Camp. Due to liability reasons, you'll have to be 18 years of age and provide photo I.D. to enter the Free Mini Camp.
When asked for comments, one APW employee stated: "This weekend is going to have so many things going on, fans from all over can come and get a taste of every aspect of APW. Whether it's a live event, a boot camp session or the family atmosphere APW is known for. It's going to be a lot of fun."
My most vivid memory is from around 1997 when an internet reporter who called himself "Shadow" tried to build himself a reputation by attacking Earl in print. Someone had signed Earl's name to a post on a newsboard somewhere, and Shadow picked up the post and reprinted in it in his wrestling newsletter (called "The Truth", if I remember correctly). Earl contacted the guy and let him know that he had not made that post - it concerned a prediction that Sting was going to jump to the WWF - that whoever had made it was an impostor. "Shadow" printed Earl's email message but then went on to imply that Earl's denial was a lie. Earl took offense at this and wrote to him again, telling him what a jerk he was - and again "Shadow" reprinted the message exchange, doing all he could to make Earl look bad. This went on for several weeks and finally died down after Earl wrote the guy again and apologized to "Shadow" for his intemperate language. "Shadow" never apologized to Earl for attempting to humiliate him for his own self-aggrandizement. The interesting thing about all this is that Earl is still here, while "Shadow" disappeared soon after and hasn't been heard from since. What I took from that incident was that Earl always showed great integrity. He stated the facts "As he saw it..." and stuck by his opinions regardless of the consequences.
Thanks, Earl, for five years of great reporting.
Well, here we are. The Big Report. The huge super-important, big-time 5th Anniversary Issue of the Tuesday Morning report.
Yes, Ma'am, the fireworks will be starting at dusk.....Yessir, the confections are at the white stand at the bottom of the hill, over there.
Well, it is a celebration of sorts, isn't it? The longest running wrestling review e-piece is 5 years old? Heck, my kids put together aren't that old.
Earl has done a great thing here, at Solie's. He has redefined the wrestling web-page. He has set the standard that we, as web surfers and as site managers, should strive for in our work. Our Crossface Report, at bodyslam.cc, was designed to be like the "topical rant" that we have all learned to love, listen to, and learn from. You could even say that every Crossface Report and Crossface Connection is a direct effect of the Solie's cause.
In addition to all of this, Earl also is responsible for allowing bodyslam.cc access to all of you, and is personally responsible for this opportunity that I have to share my thoughts with you. It was quite a risk.....I had never written a solo column before, and he gave me a chance. He also spelled out the literary parameters to follow, which I impose on my writers at bodyslam.cc. I owe him a personal debt, one which I will probably never be able to repay. From a junior member of the community to the elder, I say "Thank you."
Now, after all that, I would like to lighten the mode a bit and tell you about the first time I encountered Solie's Vintage Wrestling.
Actually, it was a fluke. I was at work, when I heard someone talking about Tito Santana. I immediately perked up, as I was a big Tito mark when I was younger. I jumped headfirst into the conversation, as I am want to do, and soon the topic of Georgia Championship Wrestling came up.
Now, I am really warm on that memory. I would steal upstairs into Mom and Dad's bedroom, turn on TBS at 6:05 EST on Saturday nights, and watch two hours of that show. Of course, we would watch it now with a humorous smile and laugh about the campiness of the production, but then, it was Raw, Nitro, and Smackdown all rolled into one, especially to a 11-year old (and that is a FACT.....not an opinion). Ric Flair, Tommy Rich, Superstar, and the job squad (Mike Jackson, Pat Rose, and the rest) would parade out, masks and hair and belts and all, and shout out their intentions for that funny little guy with the glasses.
You saw that guy every week. Short, impartial, to-the-point, and totally kayfabe (although I thought back then that it was all real), this guy would call the matches, interview the big guys, and generally hold it together....that was Gordon Solie.
So, I got on the Internet and searched "solie wrestling".......you can guess what I found. A great big site with all the info I wanted, needed, and desired about wrestling. This was mid-1997 or so.
That is how I found Solie's Vintage Wrestling...the best site on the Net for Professional Wrestling.
And the guy hasn't quit, even though you can feel the distaste for some of the offerings as of late. The Big Show/Bossman angle, for one, was the proof in the pudding about this site's standards and feelings towards the grand old institution of wrestling. Earl said that he wouldn't report on it, and he didn't. It wasn't within the pale of wrestling, and he had no bones about sharing that with 20,000 readers a week. Damn the McMahons, full speed ahead.
So, know that reading this proves that you are among the highest ranks of website readers, just by your arrival at this site. I wish Earl Oliver 5 more years of success, wherever he decides to pursue it. I hope for a long continuation of the creative sharing and communication we have between Solie's and bodyslam.cc, and I thank you all for reading.
5 Years Already?
I remember this website being one of the first Wrestling Sites I looked at when I first got a internet connection. In fact, this was the site that I discovered the rumor that Hulk Hogan would be the third man of a bunch of so-called "WWF INVADERS" that most fans knew as "Razor Ramon" and "Diesel". This site has changed over the years, but Earl Oliver has always been a man that just wanted to give his humble opinion about wrestling. Sometimes his wrestling opinions may not be our opinions, but that was what made Earl's webpage so fun. Because he admitted "The Way I See It". Sometimes we agree, and sometimes we don't, but Earl has always tried to give us the facts.
Happy 5th Earl.
by Earl Oliver
RAW comes to us live from the Compaq Center in San Jose (formerly San Jose Arena), and opens with an appearance by the World Champion, Steve Austin, who is a bit in dutch (or should be) with his team mate, since it was Austin's fault that HHH lost his title last night. Before he starts his rant, he takes a powder from the ring for a moment to confront a vociferous female fan...then thinks better of it and returns to the squared circle. He shouts his detractors down, declaring that the bottom line is that he is still the WWF Champion. He is greeted by a rather halfhearted "Austin Sucks" chant as he shouts that there will be no rematch for the Undertaker. He demands respect from the crowd, and a standing ovation...and gets none of either... He challenges any man in the back to try and stop him. The Millennium Bug shows up at this point, in answer to the challenge, and to tell him to, "...shut the hell up!" He continues to insult the Rattlesnake as only Jericho can. The crowd breaks into a rather half-hearted "Y2J" chant as Jericho challenges Austin and HHH to defend their Tag Team titles and then rushes the ring. HHH shows up followed closely by Chris Benoit, who helps his partner clear the ring. When you think about it, Jericho and Benoit are perfect for each other. Jericho has charisma enough for two, but is ultimately a lightweight (figuratively speaking). Benoit has the personality of a dishrag, but enough intensity to make up for Jericho's shortcomings in that department. McMahon's strategy with these two is masterful - they will help push each other into the main event stratosphere. A program with Austin and HHH is a perfect vehicle. All of this, and it only took thirteen minutes to get through...
After the break, the bad guys discuss strategy with the boss, then Kurt Angle arrives on wings after winning back his medals last night.
The Big Show challenged Rhyno for his Hardcore title. The latter paused outside the ring to toss in some weapons, which causes the challenger to leave the ring and get the fight started on the floor. He downs Rhyno with a big clothesline, then drags him up the ramp a ways to suplex him on the steel. Back at ringside, Rhyno manages to duck a charge and sends the big guy shoulder first into the corner post. He then tosses some more trash into the ring while TBS recovers his poise. The big guy is definitely feeling some pain in his injured shoulder as he rolls back into the ring and is immediately assaulted by the Champ. Show takes it for a while, then uses a big headbutt to down his opponent. Rhyno comes right back with some trash can lid shots, but then plows headlong into an upraised chair. Show chokeslams him onto a trash can to take the pin and the title.
In a hallway, Angle bores a stage hand with his plans to re-enact his Olympic medal ceremony while Terri distracts the APA by pouring a can of beer on herself. A set up as Saturn and Malenko jump them. In another part of the backstage area Steve Austin is searching for his wife while Spike Dudley presents Molly Holly with a pair of glasses held together with tape (my, how romantic...)
Next up - the tag team match between the APA and the Radicalz, nicely set up just before the break. In this match the only thing Saturn and Malenko have going for them is their slightly superior teamwork. Oh yeah...and Terri, of course. In this case it wasn't enough. APA basically squashed Saturn to win the match running away.
Backstage, Willy regal is harassing a stranger when Austin shows up - still looking for Debra. Regal suggests that maybe the Undertaker has abducted her.
In the next segment, Matt Hardey defended the European Title against X-Pac, who showed up newly shorn of his facial hair (I guess he was this way last night...I don't know, I didn't see the show). Like myself, Waltman tends to look younger with less hair. In fact he harkened back to his old "1-2-3 Kid" look. Of course, the "Kid" had his bad guy buddies at ringside to provide distraction and an extra measure of muscle, but it didn't help. X-Pac's tendency to grandstand got him into trouble late in the match and it was all downhill from there. Of course, at the critical moment, the Champ was not hurt by the fact that Eddie Guerrero ran down and attacked the challenger.
Kurt Angle came down after the break for his ceremony. He had tried earlier to get Edge and Christian to be his flunkies for this but they begged off by appealing to his ever present vanity. He reads an essay on "What is a Hero?" He has American flags set up in the ring along with a three tiered platform, like they use for award ceremonies in the Olympics (of course). The Olympic theme blares forth, fireworks explode and red, white and blue confetti falls from the ceiling as Angle bawls. This is all suddenly interrupted by...Shane McMahon! Shane comes down to the ring to the tune of "Money, Money, Money..." then launches into a rant about WCW. He states that it is starting sooner then anyone thinks. Angle is not impressed, but Shane is not to be halted as he continues with an explanation of the meaning of the letters WCW as he climbs to the top tier of Angle's platform. This is too much for Angle, who grabs him and puts an Olympic slam on him then grabs an ankle lock for a moment before splitting.
Backstage, Austin finally finds Debra, who was out getting coffee. As they are discussing the situation, the Undertaker shows up and throws a fright into both of them by threatening retaliation against Austin's family. After he leaves (unmolested, I might add), Austin claims that he didn't light into the deadman in consideration of his wife's welfare...right...
After the break, Shane McMahon was escorted firmly out of the building.
The Dudleys took on the Hollys in the next match. The back story here is the Romeo and Juliet-esque relationship between little Spike and little Molly. Apparently, the Holly boys feel the best way to discourage their sister's interest in Spike is to beat up on his big brothers (Hey folks, I just report this stuff, I don't write it...) Unfortunately for them, it is usually the Hollys who end up on the business end, but in this case it went the other way, thanks to some judicious use of the ring bell by Steroid Bob.
Backstage, Mr. McMahon apologizes to Kurt Angle on behalf of the McMahon family. He then "rewards" Angle with an Intercontinental Title match...against Kane... After the break, the Dudleys conferenced and, over Spike's objection, decided that Molly was going to have to go through a table. In another part of the building, HHH reminded Austin that they are a team and that Steve blew it last night and cost his partner the IC Title. Steve says that he doesn't deserve to be addressed that way, but HHH says that Steve needs to prove himself tonight. Why do I see an upset coming..?
After the break, Stevie Richards tries to make an "important" announcement at WWF New York - but Paul Heyman cuts him off, telling him he doesn't care what Richards has to say.
Eddie Guerrero and Jeff Hardey faced off against Edge and Christian in a tag team war. Matt was urged to relax backstage while his girlfriend joined the boys at ringside. In this one the 7 time former champs have a definite advantage as a team and they dominate the action from the get-go. At the same time, we can see that Guerrero is trying his best to fit in. The deciding factor turns out to be, as so often happens, Lita interfering at just the right moment to throw a monkey wrench into E&C's game plan and hand the victory to her men.
Kane defended his new title against the Olympic Schmuck, who approached the ring with obvious reluctance. It seemed like his instincts were good as Kane started out strong. But as the match progressed, Angle employed his formidable wrestling skills to work on the big guy's injured left arm. But as hard as the challenger kept trying to turn this into a wrestling match, Kane kept bringing it back to what he does best...an all out brawl. In the end, kane proved what we knew al along - that he could eat Angle with one arm tied behind his back...and a little help from a Shane McMahon run-in!
In the back Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit discussed the next match. benoit reminded Jericho of their parallel backgrounds - their years in the Hart Dungeon, their tours of Japan and Europe, and their time together in WCW.
In the main event, HHH and Steve Austin defended their Tag Team Titles against the Canadian Chris's. Both teams made separate entrances, not a good sign when they are supposed to be a team. Stephanie is looking hot in gold lame short-shorts. She really does have a "great set of gams", as we used to say in high school (that was back in the stone age of the 60's, folks...) As the match gets underway, Jericho stands toe-to-toe with Austin, then gets the drop on HHH when he tags in before handing him over to Benoit. Benoit is immediately beaten down but then comes right back and is in control. He hits a superplex on Austin and almost pins him. Throughout the match it is Benoit who is repeatedly isolated by the Champs, but he then repeatedly fights his way out of trouble. Toward the end it comes down to Benoit vs. HHH in the ring while Austin and Jericho brawl out on the floor. A Pedigree in the ring is ineffective because the referee is out with the brawlers. Back in the ring, Jericho gets Austin into the Walls but HHH saves his partner once again then drags jericho out to try and pedigree him on the announce table. But Jericho reverses the move into the Walls once again. Back in the ring, Benoit has Austin pinned, but the referee is out on the floor again! Back in the ring, HHH is ready to use the sledge hammer, and does...on his partner by mistake. From there it is only a matter of time before Jericho pins Austin and we have new Champions!
Well, I can't possibly publish a 5th Anniversary Edition without including one of my infamous Topical Rants...
Fortunately, there is a lot to write about these days.
It seems somehow appropriate that the Solie's Newsletter, which was born out of the excitement of those months when Eric Bischoff and his WCW promotion first managed to wrest control of the Monday Night Wars TV ratings from the WWF juggernaut, should celebrate its 5th year of publication at a time when all the competition has passed away, and Vince McMahon finds himself again holding the reins of the wrestling business.
The last time we were in this situation, the wrestling landscape on TV was in the midst of a downslide, foisting a moribund product on those of us desperate to see something new happen. Something did, of course, the afore mentioned Eric Bischoff conceived of the idea that challenged Vince's power and managed to give him a pretty good run for his money. The result was the revival of great wrestling on TV, a situation which lasted throughout the existence of this newsletter, and peaked in 1999 with the monumental McMahon vs. Austin feud.
But then, something happened. WCW, which had begun to slip previously, began to falter. WCW continued to be interesting, if only because of the fascination engendered by watching its gyrations as it descended into its death throes. For his part, McMahon continued to churn out an excellent product although storylines became more and more "adult oriented" (actually, this was a misnomer because the real target for this sleaze was juvenile males who really aren't adults at all - more on this in a moment), further nailing down the coffin lid of its rival.
As WCW continued its downward slide, however, things started getting a little loose over in WWF land. There was a marked appearance that the powers-that-be were beginning to become complacent. Ratings began to slip as the WWF switched networks and, at the same time, the shows became less interesting. This was partly due to the fact that the WWF had begun to recycle the same feuds over and over. This trend was further exacerbated in recent months when the WWF's top star, the Rock, took a sabbatical in order to shoot two movies. Monday Night RAW, which was hitting ratings in the 6 to 7 range during it's peak, is now consistently topping out under 5, and that is without any competition.
I would chalk this change up to three distinct factors:
1) The complacency shown of late by the WWF. As mentioned above, this stuff just isn't nearly as interesting as it was a few years ago. How many times can we see the World Title rotate among HHH, the Rock, Steve Austin and Kurt Angle? These have been our only World Champs since January of 2000.
2) Vince McMahon's declining interest in wrestling as his core business. With the collapse of the XFL football league, we could, and have, seen some improvement in this area. But McMahon has stated his intention, on several occasions, to leave the wrestling business behind and move into other entertainment fields. With virtually the entire wrestling business securely in his hands, this intention on his part could spell the death of an industry. The WWF has tended in recent years to attract a more general audience of those other than hard core wrestling fans. The real wrestling fans have subsequently begun to pay less attention to the WWF product. If the quality (as entertainment) of the WWF continues to decline, these "fly-by-night" fans are bound to lose interest and the decline in popularity of the WWF, and wrestling in general, could be precipitous.
3) The decline of WCW. There is no doubt in my mind that a significant contributing factor to the rise of popularity of our favorite sports entertainment has been the competition between the two major promotions. Not only did the challenge of WCW force the WWF to improve its product, but the cut-throat nature of the competition itself has also served to heighten the interest of the fan base. With the possibility that WCW is either gone, or greatly watered down (this has yet to be shown, of course), the impetus for the WWF to maintain a high quality product is further diminished.
And then there is the sleaze factor...
This month the WWF finds itself in a situation where the UPN Network is suggesting that they give up a half hour of their Thursday night program so that the network can place one of their original series' in that spot to use SmackDown as a strong lead in. On the surface this seems flattering to the WWF, but unsaid in all of this is that, because of the PTC fiasco, the networks are finding it more difficult to line up sponsors for WWF programming. When the PTC first went after the WWF, Vince McMahon had a decision to make. He could concede their point and tone down a bit, or he could do what he did, which was to thumb his nose at the critics. In fact, he went beyond thumbing his nose by incorporating the pro censorship group into his storylines and attempting to hold them up to ridicule. His cocky attitude ultimately lost him the fight because, not only was he forced to tone down his programming as the important advertisers began to pull out in droves, but his action was to little too late. Now, the fact is that, even though a new UPN series may not be able to draw the audience enjoyed by SmackDown, UPN can make more money during that half hour because a non-WWF show can draw a larger variety of advertisers, including the ones that pay the really big bucks like Coca-Cola, McDonalds, AT&T, the US Army, etc.
Another sign of this was the way that the new management at Turner Broadcasting suddenly announced that they were depriving WCW of their TV time, a move that ultimately doomed the sale of the struggling wrestling company. It can be argued that the WWF shaped the nature of pro-wrestling TV programming in the minds of the public, thus poisoning the atmosphere for the entire industry.
This is not good for the wrestling business, or the fans.
Some final thoughts...
The Solie's web site, though ultimately satisfying, has sometimes seemed like a mixed blessing for me. Mostly, it has been good. I have worked hard, I have been praised and reviled and I have made many new friends. Among those friends and acquaintances can be counted many famous, near famous and not-so-famous figures in the wrestling business. Coming from a wrestling family (for those who don't know, my uncle was Ray "Rip the Crippler" Oliver - his two sons, Ray, Jr. and Larry "Crippler Rip Oliver", were also pro wrestlers), I grew up always wanting to be part of the "business". Not being athletically inclined, I confined myself to being a fan until one day in March of 1996.
My employer (a digital printing firm) had set up internet connections to all the company computers and encouraged workers to explore this new technology for the eventual benefit of the company. During one of my lunch hour excursions on the net, I stumbled across a page consisting mostly of links to Wrestling Sites called Dinferno's. There were only about a dozen or so wrestling sites out there at the time and I quickly became familiar with all of them. With a couple of notable exceptions (The Bagpipe Report page, for one), all of them were created and edited by college kids. Despite their obvious enthusiasm and love for the sport, there was one thing consistently lacking from these sites - historical perspective.
It occurred to me that perhaps this was an area in which I could make a contribution. I started by combing my extensive library of wrestling on video tape (I have been collecting it since I bought my first VCR in 1979) to create a Classic Image Gallery. During this research, I conceived of the idea of the Illustrated History of the Four Horseman - which went onto the site shortly after it - Solie's Vintage Wrestling - was first created in early April 1996. A month or so later, on May 15, the Solie's Newsletter was born. In June, I decided to put up a guestbook, called the Solie's Readers' Forum, which really took off - and "the rest is history", as they say.
Over the years, Solie's has been host to many outstanding writers. First and foremost, Ervin Griffin showed up "at my doorstep" shortly after this newsletter went on line. He has been with me every since and I never cease to be amazed and truly grateful for the contributions of "Solie's In-House Wrestling Historian".
In 1997, Matt Benaka made his first appearance in these pages with an epic article about the lineage's of the WCW and WWF World Titles. Matt later went on to found the Solie's Wrestling Title Histories section of the site by contributing the first 60 or so of what eventually became more than 400 title histories from more then 40 promotions (both current and defunct) around the world. Solie's Title Histories continues to grow and has overtaken its nearest rival (the Title Histories of my friend and collaborator, Hisaharu Tanabe) as the most complete repository of Wrestling Title Histories available on the internet. I have many people to thank for its success, besides Matt and Hisa, Brian Westcott has labored mightily to make the section what it is today. Manuel Gonzalez, Eric Roelfsema, Samual Eannes, Richard Palma, Jim Dupree and Richard Sullivan have all contributed significantly, and special thanks go out to Scott Teal, Royal Duncan and Gary Will, who pioneered the concept of researching pro wrestling stats then publishing them for the benefit of those of us who love wrestling history. Of all the different features here at Solie's, the Title Histories seem most likely to provide a legacy of which I can be very proud.
Other writers who have graced these pages include: Ric Drasin, Joe Crowe, Jeff Yelton, "Wild Bill" Rawlings, Len Berkowitz, Scott Braddock, Alex Kreit, "Dirty" Dutch Mantell, Erwin Michael Green, Joseph Holt, Jess McGrath, Jeremy Hartley (who also granted yours truly the exclusive right to transcribe and publish his telephone interviews with wrestling greats such as Lou Thesz, Buddy Landel, George Steele, Les Thatcher, and others), Robert Wilonsky, Mike Siroky, Mary Elizabeth Deangelis, Miss Pamela, Terry Todd, Rudy Van Koll, Garland Chan, ES and a host of others, including, most especially, John Cross, who contributed his 30th consecutive weekly Crossface Connection column to this issue.
Solie's has truly been blessed, especially in the thousands of readers who visit this place every week. As always, I thank you all for your tremendous support - Solie's wouldn't be possible without an audience.
My greatest thrill came in 1998, when I was listening for the first time to Jeremy Hartley's interview with the namesake of this site, Gordon Solie, and heard him say that Solie's Vintage Wrestling was the only web site he visited on a regular basis!
All of the above has helped me to feel like I truly have become part of this business that I love so much, if only in a "sideline" fashion.
At least that's the way I see it...
Editor, Solie's Wrestling Newsletter
for great wrestling discussion.
Copyright 2001 - Jump City Productions