The Solie Chronicles – #9
Sports Shots with Solie
On November 10, 1959, Tampa’s souvenir wrestling program (The Sportscaster) reported that the Southern Wrestling Alliance (SWA) was gearing up for their annual meeting. Thirteen states were sending promoters to elect new officials and discuss future plans. The main goal of the meeting was to keep wrestling as the “King of Sports.” To accomplish this, the SWA would have to keep top talent coming to the arenas.
Part of the plan was to establish only one recognized Southern Heavyweight Champion. The champion would be required to defend the title every thirty days. Jim Crockett Sr. (of Charlotte, North Carolina) pointed out that top contenders wanted a shot at the title and the large purses that went with it. Crockett, president of the Alliance at the time, said the fans would continue to see the best wrestlers from the southern cities. Hopefully, by bringing matches that had attracted record crowds in the South, more championship matches would follow. This would also increase the possibility of top flight contenders from across the nation coming to the South to vie for the title. Promoter Cowboy Luttrall was lobbying to have the meeting in Tampa, but New Orleans, Memphis, Atlanta, and Charlotte were also being considered.
In Tampa, a new column appeared at the time in The Sportscaster and it was called Sport Shots with Solie. The former Sportscaster writer, Bob Frick, had moved into publicity for several Greyhound Tracks. Gordon Solie began his new column with: “Carpenters have been busy this past week repairing the ring damage caused by wild Eddie last week. Ed snatched several ring supports from the underside and was using them with reckless abandon on anyone who got in his way.”
Gordon went on to tell how Eddie Graham was screaming that he was robbed of a match he had against Ray Villmer and Graham said that wrestler Harry Smith entered the ring when he had no reason to be there! Graham, however, was not supposed to use clubs, either. It was Graham’s claim that the worst of three cuts on his forehead was caused by Villmer hitting him with a 2 x 4 during the match. Eddie claimed that Villmer was a highly over rated wrestler and would have lost to Eddie had it not been for Harry Smith’s interference.
Villmer was being quiet but insisted that the match, the title, and the belt were still his.
Boxer Joe Maxim, who refereed the match, told Gordon that he never had such a workout before. “These are two really tough guys. It was too bad I had to hit Graham, but I felt he had it coming,” said Maxim.
Gordon Solie closed his column by reminding fans that the card listed below would be videotaped and could be seen Saturday afternoon on WFLA-TV. He and Milt Spencer would be “sitting mike-side” and they would appreciate feedback from the fans.
More information about Gordon Solie is available at www.soliesports.com