Dedicated to Gordon Solie
January 29, 1929 - July 27, 2000
You can get more of the latest news and rumors by listening to this week's Solie's Wrestling Radio report.
Jeremy: There were a couple of people I wanted to ask you about to see if you have any memory of wrestling. Did you ever wrestle Bruno Sammartino either when you were the NWA Champion or when he was the Champion of the World Wide Wrestling Federation?
Lou Thesz: When I was NWA Champion I wrestled him in Toronto, Canada...
Jeremy: With Frank Tunney as the promoter..?
Lou Thesz: Tunney was the promoter, that's right...
Jeremy: What type of match, if you can recall...
Lou Thesz: It was a wrestling match, it lasted about 30 minutes and I pinned him.
Jeremy: Oh, you pinned him...that was going to be my next question...
Lou Thesz: I figured that...
Jeremy: Now, you always hear of professional and personal rivalries in the business, most recently with this whole, Stu Hart's kid, Bret Hart incident. How about you and "Nature Boy" Buddy Rogers? You had a pretty intense rivalry. Could you take us through this match which culminated in some of the North Eastern promoters breaking off and forming the World Wide Wrestling Federation. They said Rogers had beat you but in reality all Title matches were supposed to be two out of three falls...
Lou Thesz: Never happened...
Jeremy: Never happened..?
Lou Thesz: Never happened...you can check all of the records...we had a situation out in California where he was DQ'd for throwing me over the top rope and they changed the publicity because they couldn't handle it financial-wise and I wanted my money, you know from the promotion. So they decided they were going to try and bury me so they try to play a little gitchie-goo game but it didn't work. And as far as Rogers is concerned, the last time I won the NWA Title it was him I beat for it in Toronto, Canada. And I was over 50 at the time.
Lou Thesz: Now, you've been able to wrestle in a lot of areas and I always batter this word around, the term territories. That doesn't seem to hold any clout with today's fans - which is sort of a sad thing because the more I learn, I mean honestly I'm only 22 years old and I've been a student of this sport for the last couple of years and the more I read about the territories the more I learn about how a wrestler was able to develop in these territories. A lot of wrestlers talk about in interviews the overexposure, and you being all over the world, did you ever face that?
Lou Thesz: Well, overexposure could be a problem, particularly with TV because its on the tube and they could run it over and over again kind of like a broken record. But so far as traveling internationally, you really kind of evade the problem because you're in so many different places like in India and Australia and they didn't have the TV situation like we do in this country, they do now but 25-30-40 years ago they didn't. But over-visibility is a real problem. Jack Dempsey once said, "...the wrestling game is going to hurt itself because you show it over and over again on TV", and he said, "How much rice can a Chinaman eat?" And it's true, you know. It's a repetition thing. But traveling internationally is a very challenging thing especially with foreign referees, because you get a local boy and the referee's got to live in that town and no matter what happens you're not going to get preferential treatment, he is. That happens frequently. So that's when we had to come in with that rule about no Title change under disqualification. They could disqualify you for using a legitimate hold. But anyway, it was a real adventure running around the world wrestling the local Champion, by the time we would get in with the local guys, the local Champion we knew if he was a wrestler or not because we hustled and worked out with some of the people he trained with, so it was an adventure and it was an exploration. Every one of them was a little different until video came out...
Jeremy: Which leads me to another question. When television came into being you'd already been World Champion for several years. Guys that came down the pike such as Gorgeous George, it seemed to me like he kind of brought wrestling back into the mainstream, so to speak...
Lou Thesz: Oh he absolutely did...
Jeremy: What you did was you kept the history going and kept it alive, would that be a safe assumption?
Lou Thesz: I didn't disagree with what he was doing at all as a matter of fact he was not a bad wrestler, a lot of people didn't know that, he was a pretty good heavyweight wrestler. So far as publicity and stuff, I thought the guy did a fantastic job of hyping himself and if anybody had challenged him at ringside they'd have made a big mistake because he was like a buzzsaw. I saw him deck a lot of people. People think that because they wear a fancy robe and do something like show business, and you know, milking the people as it were that they don't have ability, and some time they surprise you.
Jeremy: You've been able to stay active in the world of wrestling, in and out, a lot of behind the scenes training certain individuals. The question I have, the wrestling world has kind of split into two factions again where you have the World Championship Wrestling and the World Wrestling Federation. I recently watched an event where the World Wrestling Federation "honored you" along with the other St. Louis guys, Sam Muchnik, the Briscos, the Funk Brothers and others. But have you done anything, or tried to negotiate either training, or working with some of the young stars in the big two...or is it just kind of a lost art?
Lou Thesz: Well the reason I don't do it or even attempt to do it is that isn't what they are showing the public. Because if I can't contribute something, and have an effect on what they're doing then there's no point in wasting my time. But what I am doing, I'm on the Board of Directors of the Museum there in Newton, Iowa. I'm going to be spending at least one week a month up there and we're going to have a little theater there, we'll have video there and we'll have some instructive stuff on the videos. I'll be doing some coaching, and other people will as well. That's right on Interstate 80 incidentally, and there's 20,000 automobiles go by there each day. So it's going to come to pass and it's going to be very very successful and we're getting very hyped about it. I'm really pleased to be a part of it, a very small part of it. But just to be there, and there will be a mat there, of course, and there will be some workouts. And right there in Iowa, with Dan gable, he can arrange a tournament in a heartbeat...
Editor's Note: Part 4 of this interview will run in the next issue.
My grandma is dying.
Not your standard, "Johnny, your grandma is sick." type of dying.......it's the "Johnny, we'll page you when she goes." type of dying. The immediate, look over your shoulder type of dying. The time is being measured in minutes and hours....so, figure that this past weekend was Thrillsville '02
However, she is 90, and she isn't in any visible pain, so I figure it is her time, and as long as she is surrounded by those who love her, it will be a blissful release, and she'll make that life shift that awaits all God's children.
All that, to tell you that this column might be a bit vitriolic.
Scott Hall self-destructed, didn't he? When I spoke to Miss Pamela about this a couple months ago, we kinda came to the agreement that he was trying, and that the E-rags were just looking for a way to report his downfall, though he looked the world like he was giving it a good try. Well, he collapsed, didn't he?
OK, let's think about this....here's the thought process, in my opinion... "Okay...let's see...I can work in the WWF(E), making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, and take this drug that makes me puke if I drink, or, I can feel dizzy and nauseous by 10:00 in the morning, and lose my job, and any chance I can make this kind of money in the future."
Stupid...and sick. Good riddance, in my opinion. Now, there are angles that are injured and crippled now because he couldn't get his idiot face out of the booze. Stupid.
He's a fool, and his venture into the WWE was a fool's errand....or at least it turned out to be. Damn it, Scott.....what are we missing here? What are you gaining here? I think of Scott Hall, and I see the old WWII film reels of German fighters,spinning out of control, plummeting to oblivion.
RIP, Scott Hall's career.
Now, what I am more down about is the release of Curt Hennig...though I think that the WWE management just used this as a excuse to free up his salary. They didn't use him very much (heck, they let him finish third-to-last in the Royal Rumble, remember?)
Remember? Read this:
Crossface Connection, January 21st, 2002
See, they could have used him a lot more than they did. He had intangibles that make him come off well in the ring, and on the mic. Well....no more.
OK....I'm sick of talking about things dying. Sorry this column is on the weak side, but I have other things going on around me. I'll try to get myself together next time...which may not be until the 27th...I have a much needed vacation upcoming.
Come to bodyslam.cc, for all your news, rumors, and results info, as well as our columnists. After you are done here at Solie's, of course.
See you next time, with another Connection.
by Earl Oliver SmackDown! was taped on Tuesday at the Arena at Harbor Yard, Bridgeport, Connecticut and opened with Stacy Keibler coming to the ring and introducing the boss. McMahon started into a rant against Triple H, making a rule that HHH can't come within 10 feet of him. He then used an expletive to describe the Game - which brought the man himself to the ring. Triple H had his own mic, of course, and proceeded to walk right up and get in McMahon's face! Called him a liar to his face. Then he turned his attention to Stacy and tempted her with his charms - before turning it into an insult directed at Vince. Then he issued a threat to do bodily harm. Vince turned and escorted Stacy from the ring then started talking trash. As soon as HHH called his bluff, Vince jumped out of the ring and some of his minions showed up (Hardcore Holly, Test, D'Von, Lance Storm and Christian). Vince set them on the Game, who was beaten down. Then Chris Jericho showed up and brought a chair into the ring. He got in HHH's face and got slapped for his trouble. He then hit Trip with the chair while the thug patrol held him in check. Jericho slapped on the Walls of Jericho. While HHH struggled, Vince informed him (and us) that Jericho and Triple H would face each other in a Hell in a Cell match at Judgement Day.
I just want to take a moment here to comment on the name change from WWF to WWE. I must commend Vince McMahon and his staff for the smoothness with which they accomplished the transition. The "Get the 'F' Out" campaign is brilliant, if a bit crude. Where they might have been (perhaps even justifiably) expected to take a vitriolic attitiude toward the World Wildlife Fund, instead, except for one or two comic asides by Ross and Lawler, it wasn't mentioned at all. I can honestly say that I never expected to do this, but again, I must commend McMahon and company for taking the high road.
The Hurricane took on Tajiri for the Cruiserweight Title. Nothing special about the match until Stacy chose that moment to declare her independence. She jumped up on the announce table and stripped off her kimono to reveal a green bikini underneath. Tajiri went into shock and was counted out of the ring.
Test thumbed the eye of the referee and then hit a low blow to on Mark Henry to get a victory over the World's Strongest Man.
Backstage, after the break, Kurt Angle promised Christian that he would show Edge bald tonight. Somehow I think this will involve some retouched photos or something. Billy, Chuck and Rico gave an interview regarding their 6 man tag match later, and then we peeked into D'Von's dressing room to find him talking to an unidentified monster, who was shot from behind so that we couldn't see who he is.
After the break, D'Von made his entrance with a gigantic bald guy whom D'Von introduced as his bodyguard (and protector of the collection box) Deacon Batista. I think this is Leviathan from Ohio Valley Wrestling. This match was against Triple H, who came to the ring with a big bandage on his forehead but apparently all of his usual fight. He dominated the opening moments, but soon began to lag. HHH took it for several minutes, left the ring and was attacked by the bodyguard. As he returned to the ring, Chris Jericho ran in and whacked him with the collection box. D'Von got the upset win.
Sure enough, Angle used PhotoShop to show us what he expects Edge to look after Judgment Day. Unfortunately for him, Edge got a hold of the controls and substituted a baldo image of Kurt himself for the second photo that Kurt tried to show! Angle was furious and called Edge out...but got Hulk Hogan instead. Hogan got right in Angle's face and took him to task for ragging on bald guys. he pointed out the "great champions" who have been bald - like Superstar Billy Graham, and Steve Austin and...the Hulkster himself (as he whipped off his bandana). Kurt got disrespectful and had his clock cleaned by Hogan. Then he retreated up the ramp and was speared by Edge! Poor Kurt...NOT!
After the break, Angle cornered Vince in his office and demanded a match tonight against Hogan! No, Edge! No, Hogan! Vince booked a tag team match for Angle and Jericho against Hogan and Edge.
Billy, Chick and Rico took on Maven, Al Snow and Rikishi in a 6 man tag match. As soon as the match started, Snow tried to pull Chuck's tights down. Rikishi came in and immediately cleaned house, until his eyes were attacked. Rico came in for his first official action since arriving in the WWF. He lasted for about 6 seconds with Rikishi then bailed out. He came back in a little later against Maven and showed off some pretty fancy martial arts moves. Later he surprised Snow with a spin kick to the face...Billy followed up with his Fame-A$$er and that was all they wrote.
Randy Orton took on lance Storm in a challenge match with Hardcore Holly as the referee. You guess how this one turned out. orton dominated the action, but couldn't get a three count to save his life. Storm got the pinfall, but only because Orton got screwed.
Backstage, Edge came looking for his tag team partner, but Hogan wasn't there. The Canadian star indulged in a little hero worship, trying on Hogan's bandana, boa and promo delivery in front of a mirror. Hogan walked in - Edge thought he was in trouble. But Hogan just told him to follow him to the ring. Edge was thrilled to have Hogan call him "brother"...
That match was the main event, and it was next. Hogan/Edge vs. Angle/Jericho. Hogan dominated Angle during the early exchanges. Later, when Jericho was about to apply the Walls - Triple H ran down with his sledge hammer and flattened everyone in the ring! Vince showed up and distracted the Game so that Jericho could hit him with a chair from behind.
Raw came to us live from the Air Canada Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada and opens with a montage that makes Ric Flair's defection to the nWo into the equivalent of the end of the world (Well? It is...isn't it?) So now Jim Ross gets to go back to cursing out his boss again.
Brock lesnar competed (?) in a handicap contest against the Hardy Boyz for the first match. Jeff started the match against the monster and tried in vain to take him off his feet. As a former NCAA Heavyweight champ, Lesnar has all the wrestling credentials a pro-wrestler could ask for - but little or none of that showed in this match. It took both hardys to finally get the big guy off his feet - then a moment later Paul Heyman got a little anxious and interfered in plain view of the referee, thus getting his man disqualified. The Hardys got the win and were on their way out the door when Heyman challenged them for a rematch at the PPV - then thought better of it and turned it into a tag team battle - the Hardeys against Lesnar...and Heyman.
Backstage, Ric Flair explained the firing of Scott Hall to X-Pac and the Big Show by saying that Hall "dropped the ball" in his matches against Steve Austin (how convenient...) then told them that he would announce a new member of the group tonight.
Flair came to the ring, right after the break, with the Big Show at his side. Flair started by tooting his own horn and then slipping in an insult on the Toronto Maple Leafs (Leaves?) Then he started in on Steve Austin. After excoriating the Rattlesnake for a while, he then announced that he would challenge Hulk Hogan for the World Title in no DQ match tonight!
After the break, Hogan showed up on his motorcycle...what can he be thinking?? In a segment taped earlier today, Sean Stasiak got into a verbal sparring match with Eddie Guererro and ended up being challenged to a match. That match was next (probably why they played the video...) But before it could get started, Rob Van Dam out in an appearance and took a seat ringside. Stasiak was doing well, dominating the action, until Eddie G hit a drop kick on his knee (ouch). That contest was over in no time, then Van Dam entered the ring and did a number on his rival then split. Eddie was livid and stopped RVD to demand of him, "Who do you think you are??" What an opening...
Coach interviewed Austin outside his dressing room door. As usual, Stone Cold was not impressed by anything Ric Flair did or had to say.
After the break we were treated to a video called "A Day in the Life of Tommy Dreamer". This guy shaves his tongue and drinks water from toilet bowls and urinals (eeeewwwwww!)
Willy Regal joined the announce team for the next contest - a ladies' match between Terri and Molly Holly. Terri took the early advantage by attacking her opponent before she really get into the ring. Once Molly had weathered that storm, it was all down hill for Terri until Molly lost her balance on the top corner. Terri climbed up with her and hit a rather sloppy Frankensteiner. She failed to get the pin and it was all over for her in a matter of moments. Regal then entered the ring and offered to escort "Miss Holly" to the back.
Flair came to the ring in his classic blue spangled robe to take on Hulk Hogan for the Undisputed Heavyweight Title. Hogan made his entrance ala the Undertaker - by riding his bike to the ring. Why do I smell a rat..? Interestingly, it was "liL' Naitch" Charles Robinson who did the officiating for this match. Flair made all of his classic mistakes - trying to chop Hogan - going to the top and getting caught there, etc. Finally he hit a low blow to turn the tables. But it didn't last for long. Hogan was back in charge in no time. A thumb to the eye put Flair back on top - then he started trying to work on Hogan's knee. But Hogan turned the tables on him and actually put Flair into his signature hold! Not long after that. Hogan got the boot to the face and the leg drop and was going for the pin when X-Pac ran in and broke it up. Hogan dispatched Waltman with no trouble, then the Big Show hit the ring. Hogan was knocked down and then Flair was setting up the figure four when first Bradshaw drove Big Show from the ring and then Steve Austin ran in and clobbered Flair. Flair was pinned, Hogan retained and left on his bike as we cut to commercial.
Backstage after the break, Flair was throwing a fit in his office. He directed his ire toward Bradshaw - who he booked into a handicap match against Big Show and X-Pac. For Austin, Flair reserved a lumberjack match against the unnamed newest member of the nWo.
Trish Stratus was up next, joining Bubba Dudley in a tag team match against Jazz and Steven Richards wherein both the Hardcore and the Womens' Title were up for grabs. This one was not an inter gender match - so that meant that the men faced the men and the women faced the women. In no time Trish and Bubba were throwing weapons into the ring, then proceeded to use them with abandon. Next Justin Credible and Crash Holly showed up to get involved in the Hardcore aspect. Bubba took off chasing the men away, leaving Trish to face Jazz. Moments later she hit the Stratusfaction and got the pin for the title. Jazz came back to attack but was caught flatfooted and flattened. Trish ordered Bubba to "Get the table!!" Bubba did - and then put Jazz through it.
Coach tried to get some comments from the Undertaker regarding what happened to his motorcycle last week. UT wasn't talking...
Backstage, Goldust was trying to get Booker T to sing the Monty Python Lumberjack song with him. Booker, was dressed up like a lumberjack, complete with slouch cap, overalls, plaid flannel shirt, ax, and even a fake beard! Goldust had to tell him that it wasn't necessary for him to dress that way...
Big Show and X-Pac made their entrance to take on Bradshaw in a handicap match. This was a sort of preview of what is set to happen this weekend, with Bradshaw playing the part that Austin will play in his match against Big Show and Ric Flair. Basically, Bradshaw would make mincemeat out of X-Pac then would have to face the big guy. When he was completely worn down - then X-Pac tagged in one last time and pinned him.
Coach interviewed Hulk Hogan as he was preparing to leave. Hogan was just changing his mind and deciding to stick around to watch Steve Austin's back when the Undertaker attacked him with a tire iron, tied him up to the back of his own bike, then rode off dragging the Champion! Conveniently, Hogan was wearing full leather gear. They rode down the hall and out of sight. We cut to a replay for a moment - and then back to a live feed showing Hogan being dragged into a storage area and then swung into a stack of cardboard boxes. i have to say that this stunt didn;t really come off as horrific as Ross and Lawler would have liked us to think.
After the break, we watched Sgt. Slaughter direct the efforts of some EMT's to tend Hogan's injuries.
Steve Austin faced Flair's mystery nWo member in a lumberjack match for the main event. The lumberjacks were handpicked by Flair, so Stone Cold had to fight his way just to get into the ring. In typical WW(E) fashion, the "mystery" wrestler was a disappointment. Booker T became the newest member of the group. Booker had no idea this was going to happen (according to the storyline). Austin was outside the ring soon after the opening bell amd getting his can kicked by Brock Lesnar. back in the ring, Austin was on rubber legs and being dominated by his opponent. But soon he recovered - then the Big Show dragged him to the floor for another mass beating. Back i9n the ring for the third time in this match - Austin was on the receiving end of a scissors kick. Booker did the spinerooni - then was clotheslined. Again Austin was tossed to the floor to suffer at the hands of the nWo. back in the ring again, Booker was getting cocky - let himself be distracted. He was clobbered then bodies were falling right and left. Austin rolled Booker up and pinned him, then beat a hasty retreat before Flair could rally his torups. At the top of the ramp - Arn Anderson appeared and attacked Austin . He was forced back to the ring and punked by the nWo (mostly, the Big Show). The Show hit a chokslam. Austin began bleeding from the mouth as Flair bent over him and peppered him with punches to the face.
next stop - Judgement Day...
At least that's the way I see it...
Editor, Solie's Wrestling Newsletter
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