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Solie's Tuesday Morning Report

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

Steve Austin appears on RAW

The first appearance in almost a year

The Rock challanges Austin
to a match at WrestleMania

The Way I See It...

by Earl Oliver

Crossface Connection

by John Cross

Tony Altomare Dead at 74

Teamed with Lou Albano as the Sicilians

Volume 7, Issue 725 - March 3, 2003

In this edition of the newsletter we have our weekly Crossface Connection by Solie's regular, John Cross, plus my own TV Reports and topical rants. But first some sad news to report...

Tony Altomare Dead at 74

I received this item from Readers' Forum regular Charlie Harvell this week:

Another wrestler passes away.

ANTHONY C. ALTOMARE (aka TONY ALTOMARE), 74, (the figure seated in the center in the photo above - Lou Albano is the standing figure at right) a lifelong Stamford CT resident and retired chief lifeguard for the city, died Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2003, at Mediplex of Stamford. He died of heart failure, according to his family. Born July 24, 1928, in Stamford, he was a son of the late Frank and Pauline Vescio Altomare. Altomare was the chief life guard for the city of Stamford for about 25 years. He rescued people from the channel at West Beach and Cummings Park Beach in Stamford. He also was a certified American Red Cross swimming instructor and instituted free swim lessons for local children at West Beach about 45 years ago.

He served in the U.S. Army with the 82nd Airborne Paratrooper Division from 1946 to 1948.

He was a professional wrestler known as "The Sicilian" with the World Wrestling Federation for about 25 years.

He is survived by his wife, Mollie Gawitt Altomare of Stamford; a son, Brian A. Altomare of Jupiter FL; a daughter, Donna A. Bruno of Stamford; two brothers, Peter B. Altomare of Stamford and Robert P. Altomare of Greenwich; and three grandchildren. He was predeceased by a sister, Madeline Altomare. A Mass of Christian burial was celebrated February 22 at St. Gabriel Church, 914 Newfield Ave., Stamford. Burial followed in Spring Grove Cemetery in Darien.

I understand that he and Lou Albano wrestled as "the Sicilians", wearing fedoras and smoking big cigars.

They did indeed, Charlie. The Sicilians were both loved and hated by wrestling fans throughout the Mid-West during the late 50's through the late 60's. Solie's wishes to extend our condolences to the family and friends of this great wrestling star.

Crossface Connection

by John Cross

Torrie Wilson is going to pose for Playboy.

Bye, Torrie. Another Diva takes the plunge.

Folks, this is one of the penalties to the Sex, Lies, and Bodyslams that the WWE has become. The first penalty was the desertion of the established fans. The second was the loss of the ability to perpetuate storylines over the long term. Now, this.

There is a created storyline to this process, and I want to go over it at this time...tell me if this sounds familiar:

Where is Rena Mero? Making videos? What? How about Joanie Laurer? Back in wrestling, and more famous in US wrestling circles for deciding to marry Sean "X-Wrestler" Waltman.

Lord....I am going to hate myself for even saying this......they really screwed the WWF/E. I mean, the WWE brought them in, exposed them (no pun intended...the exposure comes later, I promise) to the public eye, worked to put them in a popular position or situation, paid for breast enhancement (or more), and pushed them towards what has become a sort of agreement with Playboy. Then, as soon as the Diva-in-question gets naked for Hugh, they want to ditch the WWE, which was the vehicle of their success and popularity. It is frustrating to see it. Even if the WWE is setting itself up for this, I HATE it when employees of a company like this treat it with distain.

If you read the Connection from last week, you know that I find Austin's actions of last year reprehensible. I find Sable's and Chyna's just as bad, and even more so, because they were nowhere on the screen before the WWF/E picked them up and pushed them. At least Austin had been a wrestler for years, working on his gmmick, and dealing with hard times. These women were GIVEN popularity, and gave no credit to the WWE once they had bared all.

If I may, the website for Joannie Laurer is nothing but bare self-promotion. Maybe it should be, but there are little thanks for the WWE for all of its work. Look at pictures of her before, her employment before, and what she is doing now. Presently, she is on the Monster Truck circuit, making ends meet that way. Even if you include her Japan swing, that opportunity would not exist if she had not been pushed by the WWE, and her entry (facilitated by the WWE) into the pages of Playboy.

Rena Mero (Sable) is long gone from the scene, having absolutely destroyed her bridges. Her arrogance was of epic proportions, and after she bared all in Playboy, she left the WWE for what she thought was her inalienable right to money, popularity, and exposure. Well.....

I want to give Torrie Wilson a message, and I want Earl to make sure she gets it (you know, he has CONNECTIONS...):


Hi. My name is John Cross. I am a fan of the WWE, and I think you have been a very good Diva in the WWE. You are arguably the most popular Diva in the fed,and the most popular on Smackdown. Your in-ring work has also improved, and I laud your efforts to improve there. I hope the compensation that the WWE is giving you is fair.

I would like you to reconsider the idea to pose naked in Playboy. While baring all in that magazine might bring a spike in your popularity, let's consider the people who are going to be eager to ogle your private areas.

You are going to be showing your genitals to 18-30 year-old men. They really don't care about your history, your work ethic, and your smile. They are not looking for your personality, or to read the article...they are looking at the area between your neck and knees, Torrie. Whatever wrestling talent you may be developing, or whatever acting skills you are starting to display, it will all be forgotten as soon as you spread your legs. To me, that is sad. It is sad that you are forgetting that that audience will look at that picture, and you're wrestling career will be over.

Being a Diva means wearing bathing suits and sexy lingere. It means teasing the crowd with skin in unexpected places, with surprising wrestling moves, and with the occasional foray into risqué situations. However, as soon as the audience sees all of you, and that novelty wears off, you will become passé, like DX and mopeds.

In addition, please remember that being naked in front of a million people doesn't make you more of a person. It makes you naked. To let this striptease in Playboy color your outlook in the future would be a fallacy. Look at Chyna, and Sable, and what happened when they turned on the hands that had fed them. Though I disagree with the WWE allowing you to pose for Playboy, you shouldn't forget the fact that the WWE has made you popular, and you will owe it to them to treat the WWE like it.

Don't Burn Your Bridges. Thanks for your time. John

Now, if I were the WWE, I would make it part of the Playboy contract that the Diva would have to stay with the WWE for 12 months after the pictures are first posted. That would allow the WWE the full benefit of the exposure that the Diva would bring to the fed. It would also keep the Diva within a bit of a box. They couldn't just go nuts with the ego...they would have to keep it under wraps, and may learn about the problems a big ego could cause. The WWE locker room can do that to a person.

OK...I'm done. I don't read Playboy, I don't care what Torrie does, but I care that it ruins a lot of investment by the WWE. Vince or no Vince, it's just wrong.

OK...longer than normal this week, and I'm a bit off, since I gave blood today. Any questions, comments, or just to shower me with praise, e-mail me at . And, make the needed visits to and Solie's for the wrestling fix you must have.

See you next week for another Connection.

The Way I See It...

by Earl Oliver

SmackDown! came to us on tape from the John Labatt Centre in London, Ontario, Canada where Vince McMahon came to the ring to start the show with the announcement that the Rock will not be on hand tonight because he has chosen to jump to RAW. He then announced that Hulk Hogan would also not be there tonight, saying that Hogan was using the "flimsy excuse" of a family emergency. Vince contended that Hogan's real reason for not coming tonight because he's afraid of Vince (right...) He went on to brag about "screwing" Hogan at the PPV, describing his own participation in the screwjob and promising to show the footage from the PPV later in the broadcast. he ended his rant by declaring Hulkamania dead (once again..?) and McMahon-o-Mania to be the coming thing...

First up - Jamie Noble and Nidia, taking on Funaki who managed to get Torrie Wilson as his partner in a mixed tag match. This was one where the girls could take on the boys and vice versa. Early on, Nidia came in to beat up on Funaki when he was down. This one was going along pretty good when Dawn Marie showed up and hopped onto the apron. Torrie used Dawn by running Nidia into her head-to-head then rolled her up and pinned her. After the match Stephanie showed up on the platform and talked about the upcoming Playboy spread that will feature a WWE Diva, at first impinge that she would be the "lucky" lady - but then saying that actually it will be Torrie Wilson! In the ring, Torrie was ecstatic - Dawn and Nidia retreated disgruntled...

Oh my God! They have decided to call Nuncio's group "FBI - Full Blooded Italians". Tonight Nuncio took on Eddie Guerrero in a singles match. This was, of course, a three on two contest, with the younger Guerrero outside having to contend with both Palumbo and Stamboli. This was a fine scientific match for all of that, with plenty of hold and counter-hold, ending when Guerrero triple reversed a roll-up and took the pin. FBI tried to do a punk job afterward, but Rikishi ran down and saved the Guerreros' butts.

Paul Heyman confronted Stephanie over the fact that she is giving Brock Lesnar a chance to take on any member of his choosing of Team Angle in a cage match next week if he can defeat the two lesser members in a handicap, match tonight. Stephanie told him to stuff it. Later she told young Brian Kendrick that he would be the next addition to the SmackDown roster if he can stay in the ring with Kurt Angle for five minutes.

In the next segment it was announced that Edge could be out as long as a year! Chris Benoit and Brock Lesnar conferred about Lesnar's handicap match against Team Angle later tonight. Benoit mentioned that he had a special "friend" to help him tonight - but we didn't see who it was.

After the break, Benoit came out to take on Matt Hardy and Shannon Moore, and we found out that his friend/partner is the rookie monster, Rhino!! The match got underway, and Benoit was in and isolated for a while - then Rhino came in and obviously has not lost a step. Moments later he gored Hardy and pinned him.

In a taped segment, Nathan Jones made it clear he is interested in the Undertaker. Speak of the devil, Big Evil made his way to the ring after the break. His attention was focused on the A-Train, because of what happened on Sunday at the end of his match with the Big Show. He called the Train out, and got him...and Paul Heyman with a microphone (a lethal combination). He flapped his gums for a while, then called the Big Show out to join himself and A-Train on the platform. Then they advanced to the ring, where the two big guys separated to surround the Dead Man, then attacked. In no time, UT was down and beaten on. TBS went out and got a chair and was about to use it, when suddenly Nathan Jones ran in and chased them off. It wasn't clear what the relationship was between the ex-con and the Dead Man, but UT seemed to appreciate the help.

After the break, Vanilla Lice, performed one of his execrable raps in front of a laptop computer.

Brian Kendrick came down for his five minute challenge match against Kurt Angle. As usual, Angle was over confident, taking it all as a joke. The first thing he did was get down into the referee's position. He out wrestled the kid, of course. Then invited him to punch him. Kendrick did him one better and delivered a big kick then through a flying forearm. At the three minute mark, Kendrick was in the corner being pummeled, then ws punched over the top to the floor. back in the ring, Angle toyed with the kid, clearly dominating him but refusing to take the pin. Suddenly Kendrick exploded with a burst of offense and was all over Angle with punches and kicks. Angle overcame it and managed to pin the kid at the 2 second mark.

After the match, Angle grabbed a mic and denied that Team Angle had anything to do with Edge's injury (I'm sure that is true, actually...) He then congratulated Kendrick for having guts, then attacked him unmercifully. He ended the attack with his one version of an F5.

After the break, Sylvain Grenier, who was the referee in the Hogan/Rock match over the weekend, introduced the footage from end of the match. He started out in French, and then switched to English to do the honors as we watched the replay of Montreal Screw-Job II. After that tape we saw a second one, which showed Hogan encountering Stephanie backstage right after the match and telling her to tell her father that he is going to beat him silly the next time they meet.

Brock Lesnar took on the two rookie members of Team Angle in the next match and wiped the mat with them before winning via an F5 on Benjamin. After the match Heyman and Angle were freaking out. Brock left the ring and dragged Heyman back inside to F5 him but, Angle ran in and prevented it. Brock then grabbed the mic and assured them that he could wait until Wrestlemania to get hold of Angle - he would settle for "another member of the team" in the cage next week...Heyman!!

Raw came too us live from the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, Long Island, New York which opened with Eric Bischoff in the back parking area giving his "Steve Austin reception committee" (Rico and Three Minute Warning) a pep talk. We then switched to the ring where Booker T came down to talk about his title shot at WrestleMania. HHH came out with Ric Flair and tried to put him down - saying he was just an entertainer, not good enough to be a World Champ. He kept referring to "people like you..." which seemed to have some slight racial overtones. Booker disputed his assertions, of course. HHH ended by wishing Booker luck in his match against Scott Steiner later tonight.

Jeff hardy got a chance to take out some of his recently acquired "ruthless aggression" on Christian. Of course, Christian is pretty aggressive these days as well, so this was a very competitive match. Christian won it with an Unprettier.

Backstage, Uncle Eric recruited Lance Storm and Chief Morley as his "second line of defense against the Rattlesnake.

Speaking of Morley, he was up next in a match against Spike Dudley in which Spike had the chance to get his brothers reinstated if he could beat the Chief of Staff in this match. Unfortunately, he didn't... Morley won it with a Money Shot.

Christian and Chris Jericho met backstage and Jericho congratulated his tag team partner on his win, and mentioned that he would have a "surprise" for Test in their match later. Bischoff then walked up and recruited the two of them as yet another layer between himself and Steve Austin.

Trish Stratus and Jacqueline took on Victoria and Jazz in the next match. After letting Jacquie carry most of the match, Trish put on her usual scrappy show and ended up pinning Victoria with a bridge roll-up.

Back in his dressing room, the Rock is disturbed by the Coach looking for an interview. Maivia dismisses the announcer and goes looking for his guitar to serenade...nobody. He finds Hurricane hiding behind a curtain and they have another little comedy bit together, like last week. This time, Hurricane taunted him for saying he was going to call Steve Austin out this week, but then letting Eric and his minions do the dirty work. He tells Maivia his is full of "Brahma Bullcrap!"

Test vs. Chris Jericho was up next. Test tried to get Stacy to stay away from the ring, but Christian forced her down to the ring area a few minutes into the match. From there it was pretty predictable. Test was too worried about Stacy to concentrate on the match. Jericho beat him with a sneaky low-blow and the Breakdown. Afterward he tried to set up Stacy again - this time for the Con-chair-toe - but Test revived enough to prevent that happening - then had the move put on himself instead. Again they tried to set Stacy up, but Shawn Michaels ran down to break it up. He was outnumbered and chaired down. Jericho mused about hitting him some more, but then decided to wait until WrestleMania.

In the back, a car screeched up and the "reception committee" set themselves for battle...but Goldust emerged from the car.

In the ring, Chris Nowiski had some pithy things to say about the return of Steve Austin, until the Dudleys ran in and 3D'd him. They retreated through the crowd afterward.

Booker T and Scott steiner had a real barn-burner of a match. Of course, Triple H and company showed up to interfere, and eventually cost Steiner the match through distraction. He lit out after them in the aftermath as Booker did the Spineroonie back in the ring to celebrate his victory.

In the back, the Rock played his guitar and sang, then confronted Bischoff, saying that if he doesn't get to beat Stone Cold down tonight, he's going to be unhappy and will walk out and go to SmackDown. He told Bischoff that he and his "welcoming committee" can have their fun, but only after the Rock gets his hands on Austin. Bischoff rushes out to make some changes...

Next up an unlikely tag match - Rob Van Dam & Kane vs. Al Snow & Tommy Dreamer. Apparently, everyone has forgotten about Uncle Eric's edict banning Hardcore matches a while back, as they show up with a cart full of weapons. Weapons or not, RVD and Kane won the match when Van Dam hit a Frog Splash on both of his opponents.

Stone Cold finally arrived, but at this point Bischoff has called off his dogs. Austin went on into the arena and made his first appearance on RAW in almost a year. He started by thanking everyone for their support then talked a little about the circumstances of his departure last year. The Rock then showed up and talked some trash from the ringside area until Bischoff's music started up and the General Manager made his entrance. He started his rant by saying that he was going to give the Rock choices, then announced a match next week against Booker T. If Maivia wins the match he can choose whether to face off against Austin, or get a shot against Triple H for the World Title, at Wrestlemania. As for Austin, said Bischoff, the show was running about "three minutes overtime..." Rosie and Jamal ran out but Austin dispatched them pretty quickly with a Stunner each. The Rock finally entered the ring and confronted Austin...but then backed off. He feigned leaving, then whipped back around to strike, but Austin anticipated the move and ducked the shot. He went for the Stunner but Maivia slipped away from it. which do you think the Rock will choose..? Assuming he beats Booker next week...

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

Earl Oliver
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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.

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