The Solie Chronicles
Don’t Hit the Dean
In addition to calling the action for over 25,000 professional wrestling matches, Gordon Solie was a master when it came to interviews. Gordon already knew the physical attributes of the wrestlers after describing their exploits in the ring but he said that the interviews allowed him to see a philosophical side of the guys. Normally, the interview process was something that the “Dean” really enjoyed but of course, there were exceptions.
On one particular occasion in 1960, Gordon was interviewing a “heel” named Iron Mike DiBiase (father of the Ted DiBiase, the “Million Dollar Man”). Iron Mike was mad at the world and made some comments to which Gordon took exception. At that point, Iron Mike promptly slapped Gordon very hard across the side of his head. There wasn’t much that Gordon could do physically because he was a slender 145-pound man at the time and DiBiase was a 230-pound pro wrestler. Gordon did manage, however, to express his opinion after the fact:
“To call the television viewers ‘Free loadin’ beer drinkers is hardly my way of expressing appreciation to the thousands of loyal wrestling fans that have been watching the matches each Saturday over WFLA-TV. Iron Mike, the present Southern Heavyweight Wrestling Champion called the viewers just that on television last week. May I say this; we do not consider Iron Mike or his opinion worth the powder to blow it you know where. He is a disgrace to the profession and should be barred. If you are wondering if I am bitter over the manhandling I received from him last week you are exactly correct. I am mad, plenty mad, but I also realize that I am no match for a man as big as he is and a professional wrestler at that.”
As a result of the incident, the Southern Wrestling Alliance came up with a penalty for any wrestler that struck an announcer. After Championship Wrestling from Florida joined the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA), the NWA had a similar policy.
Any wrestler who hit the announcer would be fined a minimum of $250 and could be suspended for up to 30 days. The suspension was worse than the fine because it meant up to a month without a paycheck for the wrestlers. The guys learned not to hit the “Dean” or suffer the financial consequences.
More information about Gordon Solie is available at www.soliesports.com
The Solie Chronicles