GLADIATORIAL ORIGINS OF PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING
for Gordon Solie
By His Many Fans
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+ $7 Priority Shipping
“Professional wrestling has been described as two men not wearing pants, fighting over a belt…” But, it is actually a lot more than that. It is a brotherhood born of survival.
Consider if you will, being a soldier captured in battle in the most ancient of times and sentenced to die in the arena for the crime of defending your tribe and the amusement of the masses who bet on the outcome. Perhaps you did well, fought with honor and skill and were allowed to live and fight another day by the rabid, blood-thirsty crowd.
Maybe that night one of the older gladiators came to you and said, “You did well today, the crowd likes you, you may yet earn your freedom, if you survive...would you like to know how?”
Then he told you, “We have been lucky. Long ago we realized that the mob did not want mere slaughter and gore. They wanted a contest, a sport that they could bet on. And if you did well, they would let you live. So, we learned how not to hurt each other, and to make each other look good, and to please the crowd. Instead of a real death match we gave them an exhibition, and it worked. But, they must never know, or it would be our lives. So, if you would be in this brotherhood, you must swear absolute fealty and never break the trust.” That is how wrestling became a brotherhood of life and death. That is why a wrestler will never betray another wrestler. Tradition.
Here's how it is done:
The fact or convention of presenting staged performances as genuine or authentic is obviously an evolution of the Gladiator code.
This essay was written many years ago for Gordon Solie. Long time wrestling commentator. "An iconic announcer's voice can help make the tiniest details seem important and the greatest moments seem larger than life. Names like Walter Cronkite and Howard Cosell are world-renowned in the fields of news and sports, and their unmistakable voices could sooth a dire situation yet also magnify a great one. So too, Gordon Solie.
According to wrestling lore, Solie had wrestlers that he was interviewing place him in holds so he could understand them better and call them more realistically, because he wanted to learn how it felt to be on the defensive end of a hold. He also made a point to never learn a wrestler or manager's real name because he wanted to avoid making the mistake of calling someone by any name other than the persona in which they were working.
Solie was once asked to join the World Wrestling Federation but declined the offer as the company wanted him to wear a tuxedo. Solie also worked for the Continental Wrestling Federation and USA Championship Wrestling based out of Knoxville. He was the lead announcer for Georgia Championship Wrestling's before it became a subsidiary of NWA/WCW. He remained there until his eventual retirement in 1995. Following his retirement, he started to dislike the product, saying it was a “damn shame” that wrestlers had turned into ‘roid freaks and lamented the lack of respect for the history of the business.
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