Dedicated to Gordon Solie
January 29, 1929 - July 27, 2000
In honor of our esteemed namesake, I am going to leave Mr. Solie's picture up for a while. It seems only fitting that I should also reprint Gordon Solie's last major, in-depth interview which was conducted by my friend Jeremy Hartley, on the telephone, in late 1998 and lovingly transcribed by yours truly. It was originally published here in the Solie's newsletter beginning on September 27, 1998.
Jeremy Hartley: Did Lutrell ever finally tell you why it took so long? If it were me I would have been thinking, "I've already got this guy who respected my boys enough to get them on the radio, to get them publicity, to get them this and that - why did it take so long? Or was that ever explained to you?
Gordon Solie: I never really pursued it, I was just so delighted to get the job - and Cowboy said, "We'll try you and see how it works..."and I guess, of course, the rest is history. But what I did too was something that...I don't know of any other announcers who have done it, that have never been a professional wrestler, but I got on the mat.
Jeremy Hartley: That's right! Lets see if I got this right. You were coached by John Heath and I guess Eddie Graham was also instrumental in...
Gordon Solie: Yeah and Curtis...
Jeremy Hartley: Oh, and Don Curtis?
Gordon Solie: Yeah, everytime I got on the mat with one of those guys I'd get hurt.
Jeremy Hartley: (laughs)
Gordon Solie: Not hard, you know, not badly - but I got hurt. They were teaching me to respect the sport. I could also earn their respect - here's this little (knock wood)150 pounder willing to get on the mat with a 250 lbs. wrestler and literally put my body in their hands... But I wanted to know what it felt like to be in a side headlock - I wanted to know what a hammerlock felt like. I wanted to understand why a guy would make a particular move when he did, that where I learned the rudiments of chain wrestling. So I was sucking up knowledge like a sponge because I wanted to be able to tell the people what was happening to an individual who was in a hold. How they were going to have to figure an escape, and once they got the escape - if it was successful - then what was their next move. Would they have to come out of it and be defensive or could they come out of it and be offensive, you know, there's so much psychology behind it and, like I've said many times, "human chess" is what it's all about.
Jeremy Hartley: Right...
Gordon Solie: So, gradually the guys not only grew to respect the way I never played games with them, I never put a guy down, I always tried to remain relatively objective even to the point where a lot of the guys that have wrestled for years - I don't know their real names! I didn't ever want to make the mistake of calling them by their real names...
Jeremy Hartley: Absolutely, it's good to hear you say that. There's too many people,,,I mean I do the same thing - with today's internet technology, everyone wants to put up the real names - when I speak to folks I call them by their wrestling names and I don't do anything other then that because there names are what they are - and we don't know them - we don't walk into their houses, why should we show them any disrespect? So it's great to hear you say something like that.
Gordon Solie: Well, thank you, I'm glad to hear you're pursuing the same bent on the thing because I think it's very important. You know, we don't do it with other personalities who have taken on stage names, so to speak. But anyway, that's how I got my start, then of course it was Saul Weingroff who got me thrown off the air...
Jeremy Hartley: Yeah, go ahead and talk about that. People have tried to sketch me a little bit of this stuff and they never seem to tell the entire story.
Gordon Solie: Well, we had the Von Breuners here, and of course they were red hot, they were absolutely red hot, and Weingroff was one of the most despised managers that you could find simply because there was the racial and religious ethnic background differences between these Arayan's and Weingroff. So one day, Weingroff...I'm doing the show and rocking along pretty well - we're having resonable success with it - so one day Weingroff comes on with an interview and we had...I forget who they were...they were the Eagles or somebody, we had a couple of other tag teams because tag team action was hot...and so we had these other tag teams and I and I asked Weingroff, "To what do you owe the success of your team?" And he said, "Well Gordon, it's very simple, now if you Americans (and he's as American as any of us) would do like we Germans do - concentrate on that we are all German, we're not Yankees and Southerners and so on and so forth and on and on and on..." Well, there was a retired judge who was a wrestling fan and heard all of this and he became livid. He wrote Channel 13 a letter, and this was not too long after they got their license, here was an ethics situation - that judge was furious! So he wrote Channel 13 a letter just raising hell. Channel 13 went to Cowboy and said they were going to take the show off the air, and of course that was disasterous, here I am part of it because I asked a question. Anyway, a compromise was reached but they had to have a fall guy - so I became the fall guy. The official word at that time from Channel 13 was, "Mr. Solie lacks control."
Jeremy Hartley: For asking, "To what do you owe the success of your team..?"
Gordon Solie: Well, that and the fact that I didn't control the answer. That I lacked control on my interviews so consequently I could stay on the program as a color commentator but they would have to use their own people to control the interviews. So, the first one they put in there was Paul Reynolds. Paul was on for a couple of weeks and was not doing extremely well because his attitude toward wrestling was a bit humorous. And then he got the mumps - so he had to come off the show. They brought in another fellow who is still alive and well and I don't want to bring up his name because I don't want to embarass him, but he was, very frankly, real solid ad he took it all very seriously and approached it, I thought, very correctly. And then he got into it with Saul, and the Von Breuners, by the way, had departed by now. So about six or eight weeks, maybe two months later they returned and this lead announcer asked Saul, during a TV taping, "Where have you been?" Saul looked at him and said. "I thought you were a sportscaster! If you were a sportscaster you'd know where I've been. I've been in the newspapers all over the country..." and he went on and on and on. It got this guy so mad that he got up and walked off the set!
Jeremy Hartley: (laughs) So there goes his wrestling announcing career...
Gordon Solie: Well I thing the think about it was that Channel 13 finally realised that, "Hey wait a minute. We're either going to put up with this sort of thing and let it go..." - and I don't think this fellow was all that anxious to do it because he was pretty much of a sports purist and is to this day - a delightful guy, a really delightful person - in fact I just got a letter from him the other day, he had just learned of my wife's passing and sent me a letter of condolence, which I thought was very nice, even though it happened over a year ago - but he had just heard about it...so, anyhow, he left and Channel 13 said, "Alright, give it back to Gordon." And, of course, the heat was off by then, you know, things were back on a normal keel - so that's kind of the story on that picture.
Too be continued...
In fact Nash, Goldberg and Scott Steiner all all three getting into it backstage. Sting starts to leave the ring and runs into Scott Steiner who first threatens him, then hits him with his steel pipe. In the ring, Steiner switches to Sting's bat to administer a beating before he splits, leaving Sting laying in the ring.
The Cat makes his appearance and books a Pipe on a Pole match for Sting vs. Scott Steiner. Then he wants to dance, but the music is for Lance Storm, who shows up and demands a World Title match for tonight against Booker T. Miller decides to let the audience decide...and then books the match so he can dance.
The Rookie Monsters (Jindrak and O'Hare) get a second shot at the World Tag Titles tonight. It is dominated by the Champions yet again, but these youngsters have a lot of moxie. Suddenly the former Tag Team Chumps, who have been with the announcers, decide to invade the ring. As tey attack, the Rookies join them in the beat down of the Champions. Then the Filthy Anumals run out and also join the frey. Kronic are on the receiving end until the Misfits run in to even the odda a little. The Animals run off with the Title belts.
The Misfits make it their mission to find the Animals and recapture the stolen Tag Team Title belts. In the ring, Buff Bagwell arrives with his mom. Meanwhile, Backstage, Kanyon is turned down by Torrie when he demands she join him in a mixed tag match. So he grabs Miss Paulshock instead. She is reluctant but is announced as a participant. The match in the ring is then: The Bagwells vs. Kanyon and Pamela Paulshock (who stands in the corner and refuses to participate. When Kanyon tries to tag her in, she slaps his face. He is about to Kanyon Kut her when Mean Gene runs in and delivers a kick to his groin. Buff takes the blockbuster and the pin. Oh yeah...Judy got knocked down and didn't take part in the fight (yawn...)
Tony again announces for the second Nitro in a row, that they plan to air an interview with Vince Russo tonight. And then they do it! Russo isn;t allowed to talk about what happened with Hulk Hogan at Bash at the Beach. He says he came to WCW for the challenge, and claims that the WWF peaked in the ratings before he left (not exactly true, actually...) He talks about the young talent he is trying to promote. He goes into the whole old guys vs. new guys schtick, yatta, yatta... then he goes into some fight he wants to have with John Rocker..? What..?
Sting makes his way to the ring for his Pipe on a Pole match with Scott Steiner right at the end of the first hour. The fight starts out in the aisle as Sting attacks his nemesis. He succeeds in grabbing the initiative, but once they return to the ring, Steiner takes firm control. But then Sting turns the tables with a clothesline, then hits the referee accidently. Sting has things well in hand when Rick Steiner shinnies up the pole and hands the pipe to his brother. Sting is being punked when Kevin Nash runs in followed by a masse of security guys.
Mike Awesome joins the broadcast team after the break and brings his big lady, Heidi for the next match - Lance Storm challenging Booker T for the World Title. He makes his usual demand for the Canadian National anthem...but gets Booker's music instead. The Champion is bristling with intimidation, but it doesn't seem to faze the young Canadian. As the match gets underway, someone delivers a big plate of sandwiches. She wanted donuts, but decides to eat the sandwiches anyway. In the ring, Storm has taken control of the match by attacking Booker's injured wheels. He can't quite put Booker down, however. Booker then comes back with an ax kick and a spinning round kick and gets a two count. Booker puts the challenger down again and gets two again. Suddenly, Storm reverses a pin attempt and gets his half-crab. Booker struggles mightly to get to the rope and escape. He turns it around again and and again takes a two count off a missle drop-kick. Then he hits the Bookend and takes the pin. Jeff Jarrett runs in after the count and attacks Booker, of course. He grabs the Candian flag off the corner and whacks Booker with it. Outside the ring, he is pursued by Storm and tries to deliver a guitar shot - but gets Heidi instead.
Miss Pamela interviews Jarrett backstage and demands a match against Mike Awesome. In another part of the building, the Misfits are still looking for the Filthy Animals.
Billy Kidman has declared tonight Torrie Wilson Appreciation Night earlier in the evening. He comes to the ring with a huge heartshaped box of chocolates, red roses and champagne. Backstage, Torrie is completely bowled over and argues with Shane Douglas - she wants to participate. She bounces to the ring a moment later looking hot is gold lame. She accepts the flowers as he extolls her virtues. Then he says he plans to air a "sweet sixteen" birthday party video. Torrie is depicted in the video as an overweight food addict. In the ring, Torrie is freaking out, apparently this is "really" her. He drops leaflets with her high school picture on them. Shane Douglas runs out to attack but Kidman gets the drop on him until the mysterious "Reno" appears to help "the Franchise". Meahwhile the damage has been done as far as Torrie is concerned.
As we return from the break, the Misfits have caught up with the Animals and mayhem is ensuing. The Animals try to escape and walk right into the arms of Kronic with sledge hammers. The Animals stash the belts in a car with Disco. Kronic make short work of the car and Disco.
Meanwhile, Major Gunns has dragged Tigress to the mud pit which has been waiting for them since the program began. Miss Hancock won't allow herself to be uninvolved and joins right in. Major guns is outnumbered and...uh...gunked.
Jeff Jarrett is next up for his challenge match against Mike Awesome, who dominates the action in the ring, but loses his steam once they adjourn to the floor. But only for a moment as he comes roaring back with a big chair shot and then pulls a table out from under the ring and sets it up. Back intyhe ring for a moment and Jarrett is back in control. As Awesome is again asserting himself, Lance Storm shows up and seems to be in Jarrett's corner. In any case he causes Awesome to lose the match.
For out main event we get the Steiner Brothers vs. Sting and Kevin Nash in a grudge match. So this is ad hoc good guys against arguably the greatest tag team of all time. Hmmm....I wonder how this will go... In the midst of the slaughter, the crowd starts chanting Goldberg's name. The Steiners dominate, as expected, until Sting gets his second wind and then tags in Nash to clean house. Soon all four men are in then Rick and Kevin leave the ring. Sting goes for his splash and misses. Steiner is going for the recliner when Goldberg runs in and whacks him. Sting gets the pin then is kicked out of his boots by Goldberg. The three big guys are attacking each other as the program fades.
Backstage, Commissioner Foley thoroughly confuses Kurt Angle while at the same time sanctioning the Benoit/Rock Title match. Angle wants the #1 contender spot, but Floey takes it "under advisement".
Backstage, HHH has turned the tables on his wife, who wants to talk about their situation now. He says he "needs his space" right now...
X-Pac gets to face Rikishi in the next squash match. Of course, he starts out strong - he even gets the bronco buster early on...but eventually Rikishi sidesteps one of those flying moves and turns the tables with a butt splash and the Stinky Face. The big guy then takes his time getting to the corner bomb so that the Road Dogg can run in and rescue his partner. They punk the Samoan together. Backstage, HHH tries to intimidate Foley into putting him in the #1 contender spot. Foley uses the opportunity to twist the screw a little concerning the possible relationship between Stephanie and Kurt Angle, and takes HHH's idea "under advisement". After the break, Hunter takes his ire out on his wife and then vows to kick Angle's butt the next time he sees him.
The Right to Censor stable invades the ring as the demonstrating garden tools shriek at them from the sidelines. Steven Richards throws out an invitatation for any one in the back to come out and "discuss it". The Dudleys respond to the challenge and the fight is on between the Dudleys vs. the Goodfather/Bull Buchanan. Of course the Dudleys are all ovtheir opponents then attack Richards, who then enters the ring and causes a DQ for his team. The Dudleys set up Richards for the 3D - but GF and BB attack him before he can complete the move. He is punked and then the girls are dragged into the ring and menaced. One is put through a table by Buchanan.
Backstage, Stephanie is in conference with Kurt Angle who suggests sensitivity training for Hunter and then shakes her hand. Meanwhile, "Joe" tells HHH that the guys in the back believe that Hunter can't take Kurt Angle. Hunter throws him out.
Eddie G (w/Momacita) makes his way to the ring to join Too Cool in an 6 man match against T&A and Val Venis. Eddie gets dragged out to the floor by Val and piledriven before the match can get started - leaving Too Cool to face three opponents. Chyna finally takes her man's place at the critical moment and cleans house for a bit before getting mowed down by Albert. Val is about to deliver the Money Shot when Too Cool springs into action to help her out. He still manages to secure a submission hold on her - but Eddie comes through with a frog splash and she gets the pin.
Now "Joe" is telling Kurt Angle that HHH is disrespecting him backstage and has reduced Stephanie to tears. He perks up his ears at that...
Stephanie comes to the ring after the break to offer Hunter a public apology concerning her celebration with Kurt Angle last Thursday on SmackDown. She begs him to come to the ring and talk about their tribulations, so she can apologise to his face. Hunter comes to the ring looking petulent, standing stonefaced as she delivers her apology. She admits to experiencing jealousy over Trish Stratus and tells him she loves him. He pretends to think about it for a moment before grabbing her in an embrace as the crowd boos. She then suggests that they talk business...and invites Angle to the ring. HHH and Kurt Angle are about to come to blows when Stephanie gets between them and tries to calm them down. This brings Commissioner Foley out to make a match between them for the #1 contender status.
The Rock uncharacteristically runs in from out of the crowd to attack Chris Benoit as he and Shane Arrive at the ring. Their battle is brutal and spends as much time on the floor as it does in the ring. Shane, meanwhile, injects himself at every opportunity. A released German suplex lands Benoit right on his head - he is out of it for a bit. It seems like the Rock is trying to prove that he can beat Benoit at his own game. But Benoit is double tough and executes his flying head butt...but gets a two count. The Rock comes back with a spinebuster and the drops the People's Elbow. Shane breaks up the pin attempt then is attacked. Thus distracted, Maivia falls prey to the Crippler Crossface. Then Chris Jericho hits the ring and and Benoit is foiled - Shane is chased away from the ring area. Back in the ring, the Rock recovers and gets a Rock Bottom for the pin. Jerciho gets punished for his interference by being thrown into the #1 contender match later...
After the break Tazz comes out and confronts Jim Ross with some of his statements of late. He goads Ross into hitting him then tries to get him to do it again. Jerry Lawler steps in at this point and delivers a stinging right hand which decks the New York bomber. Security wrestles to control Tazz as we cut to commercial.
Matt Hardey took the Acolytes as his partners to go up against Edge, Christian and the Big Show. The midst of the frey, the Undertaker suddenly rides into the arena. He cleans house and then tosses Shane to the floor. As Shane runs toward the platform, UT jumps on his bike again and cuts hom off so that he has to climb out onto the titan tron to escape. The Big Show attacks the Undertaker but his tossed off the stage and smashes a table on the floor. Meanwhile, Shabe escaped to the back and drove off in a limosine. After the break the medics get ready to haul the Show away, While back in the dressing room, Chris Jericho attacks HHH.
After the break, HHH is out looking for Jericho but runs into Kurt Angle instead. Switch to a scene outside the WWF New York complex where Eddie G and his squeeze arrive for the post RAW party.
The main event is a three-way match for the #1 contender spot in the WWF. HHH, Chris Jericho and Kurt Angle battle it out to see who gets the shot at the next PPV. Angle tried to get Jericho to shake his hand and got spit in the face! HHH made his entrance and then the Rock showed up to join the broadcasters. You would expect to see both HHH and Angle go after Jericho, but they seem just as likely to get into it with each other in this one. Jericho gets the Walls of Jericho on Angle early on and HHH stands back and enjoys the sight before whalloping Jericho in the back of the head. In fact the two bad guys consistently get in each other's way, giving Jericho a little edge in the contest. After a while Jericho has both of them on the ropes. But as soon as he goes for one, the other gets up but Jericho is still on top of it. In the end they all collapse together in a heap after a double superplex (you figure it out...) put on Jericho. Both HHH and Angle have arms over Jerico so both of them get their hands raised. All three get creamed by the Rock moments later - then Steph gets in Maivia's face and gets Rock Bottomed. That's it until Thursday night. I will be out of town from Friday until the following Thursday of next week so the Weekend Edition will be early this week and there will be no Monday Night Wars Edition next week.
At least that's the way I see it...
Editor, Solie's Wrestling Newsletter
This page is a personal tribute and is in no way connected to any of the wrestling promotions mentioned on it. It is dedicated to the memory of the Dean of Wrestling announcers, Gordon Solie.
Copyright 2000 - Jump City Productions