Jonard Frank Labiak (January 26, 1929 – July 27, 2000), better known as Gordon Solie was a Florida-based professional wrestling play-by-play announcer working for World Championship Wrestling. Solie was also the regular announcer for Georgia Championship Wrestling, Championship Wrestling from Florida, and Continental Championship Wrestling among others.
The "Dean" of wrestling announcers
Gordon Solie is possibly the most recognized voice from the days of "classic wrestling" (used here synonymous with the territorial system) and was nicknamed the "Dean" of wrestling announcers, the "Walter Cronkite of wrestling" and the "Howard Cosell of wrestling".
He is best known for his laconic, intelligent commentary, and he tried to impart a seriousness to ring action that many of his coworkers eschewed for the loud, bombastic style more common today. One of his trademarks was his pronunciation of "suplex" as "su-play," a term later used by the AWA's Rod Trongard and wrestler/announcer Terry Taylor and, more recently by Mauro Ranallo, during Pride FC broadcasts. Other famous Solieisms include: "he's not fast, he's sudden", "He'd fight a buzzsaw and give it the first two rounds", "five letters, two words, I Quit", "his face is becoming a Crimson mask", "They're going at it hammer and tongs", and "Pier 6 brawl".
World Championship Wrestling
In 1995, "Macho Man" Randy Savage pushed for World Championship Wrestling to place his father, Angelo Poffo, in its Hall of Fame. Solie opposed this decision, because he felt wrestlers (or in this case, family of wrestlers) should not be asking for spots in the Hall — in this case, especially, since Poffo did not have much of a career in WCW. Gordon Solie was involved in the selection of the '93 and '94 inductees but was not consulted in regard to the '95 group. Although Solie was also inducted in the 1995 WCW Hall of Fame, he had already given his notice of termination. Poffo's induction went on and Solie left the company shortly after.
Death and memoirs
Solie's last announcing job was to be the Heroes of Wrestling pay-per-view in 1999, but he could not attend due to failing health. He died of throat cancer on July 27, 2000.
In 2005, Florida Media, Inc. published a collection of Solie's short stories and poetry in a book entitled Gordon Solie...Something Left Behind. On March 29, 2008, Jim Ross inducted Solie into the WWE Hall of Fame in the Class of 2008, even though Solie had never worked for the WWWF/WWF during his career. Later the same year WWE's 24/7 On Demand video service began offering The Film Room with Gordon Solie, hosted by Ross, focusing on Solie's announcing and interviewing of a specific wrestler or group of wrestlers involved in a feud.
On August 11, 2009 Solie's biography, The Solie Chronicles was released by crowbarpress.com
Championships and accomplishments
- Other honoree (1996)
- The Gordon Solie Website
- WWE.com Profile
- GORDON SOLIE: LEGENDARY ANNOUNCER
- Solie's Vintage Wrestling
- Gordon Solie feature from SLAM! Wrestling
- Pick My Brain interview with Bob Allyn, author of "Gordon Solie... Something Left Behind"