Corrigan’s Corner: A Q&A With ‘Pro Wrestling FAQ’ Author Brian Solomon (Part III)

Brian Solomon has “toasted champagne cocktails with Ric Flair all night in Manchester, England; hung out in ‘Classy’ Freddie Blassie’s basement while wearing his house slippers; and once got...
Freddie Blassie

Brian Solomon has “toasted champagne cocktails with Ric Flair all night in Manchester, England; hung out in ‘Classy’ Freddie Blassie’s basement while wearing his house slippers; and once got stuck in a limo with Vince McMahon for three hours and lived to tell the tale.”

I was lucky enough to hear that tale while chatting with Solomon for an hour regarding his new book, PRO WRESTLING FAQ. Covering the carnie origins to modern day sports-entertainment, Solomon’s tome is the definitive guide to everything one must know about the history, athletes, and appeal of professional wrestling.

For my review of PRO WRESTLING FAQ (with a comment from The Fabulous Ones’ Steve Keirn aka SKINNER,) click here.

To order PRO WRESTLING FAQ, check out or or hit up Brian Solomon on .

Here’s Part I of the interview. Here’s Part II of the interview.

John Corrigan: You also mentioned a story about being in “Classy” Freddie Blassie’s basement.

Brian Solomon: “Yes, one day I’m going to write a memoir about all my personal experiences working there. I think I’ll have to wait until everybody’s a lot older or dead. But that’s one of my favorite stories. When Freddie Blassie died, he was a beloved person in that company. He had been like a godfather to a lot of people. When he died, his widow came to the company asking if they could help her sell some of his memorabilia. She was communicating with Linda and Linda sent some people from the company over, mostly big shots, but also me. They sent me to his house in upstate New York and his wife was like this real neat freak. She didn’t want anybody coming in with their shoes on so I took them off. So I’m in his basement, he had like a bar and a lounge, and I’m looking through tapes and posters and magazines and I get so excited, I ran out of the house to talk to the people I came with.

I ran out onto the driveway in my socks and tried to go back in, but she’s this little, little Japanese lady, and she says to me, ‘No, no, no. Don’t come in house with dirty feet!” So then she says, ‘I be right back. I get you shoe.’ She comes out with this pair of giant house slippers. So I put them on, I’m walking around the house thinking, Goddamnit, I’m wearing ‘Classy’ Freddie Blassie’s freaking slippers!”

JC: (laughs) Let me ask you about your Uncle Peter. You say that he taught you “that one can be both a cultured intellectual and an unapologetic wrestling fan.” How?

BS: “Well, I can’t thank you enough for asking that because my uncle Pete was somebody extremely special to me. He was my grandmother’s brother. He passed away two years ago so he was on my mind a lot when I was writing the book. He was a very eccentric guy. He was an actor involved in musical theater. He was an artist. He was very well-read, very well-spoken. He had performed on Broadway. He also happened to be a crazy wrestling fan. He wouldn’t go to live shows, but he would watch religiously. As far as I know, he had been watching since at least the 1960s. He appreciated it because of his theatrical background. He knew it was baloney (laughs,) he knew it wasn’t a legitimate sport. But he loved the fun stuff. He loved Randy Savage—he used to imitate his promos all the time. He loved Baron Mikel Scicluna—he was this really wacky, former main eventer who was kind of a jobber. He loved Rick “the Model” Martel—he told me he looks like he’s constantly smelling shit. (laughs)

Available on Amazon

Available on Amazon

He stopped watching around the Attitude Era for a couple of reasons. He didn’t have cable and RAW became the main show. And then he started shying away from it when it got away from the matches and a little more tasteless. The thing that finally put him off was when Pat Patterson gave the stinkface. That was when he drew the line. In his very distinctive voice, he said, ‘Brian, can you believe that they had Pat Patterson out there, in his underwear, with a brown streak? I can’t believe this ridiculous nonsense, I’m not watching this anymore.”

JC: He sounds like quite the character.

BS: “In a way, I’m just like him now. My kids will say to me, ‘Dad, you’re the weirdest guy in the world because you will go to see the Stamford Symphony Orchestra, you’ll come home and read Shakespeare, and then you’ll watch wrestling all night. How can you do all those things?’ Well, my uncle Pete did it, so I can do it, too.”

JC: Do you think that stigma of wrestling fans will ever go away?

BS: “I think it’s not as bad as it used to be. There was a time when no publisher would touch a wrestling book because the idea was wrestling fans don’t read. The thing that changed that was Foley’s book, ‘Have A Nice Day.’ And that opened the floodgate to every wrestler under the sun writing a book and all the historical books. None of us would be doing this if it wasn’t for Foley.

You have kind of a different fan base now. I mean, there are many fans who perfectly fit the stereotype of wrestling fans, I’m not going to lie. But the fans now are a little bit more kind of with it. There’s a younger fan base, very millennial, snarky, and if you listen to the chants on RAW, a lot of times they’re very clever. It’s very different from old school wrestling fans who were a little more blue-collar, a little less educated, and maybe fit more into the stereotype. Again, that’s still not completely true, because you still have fans like my uncle Pete.

I don’t think the stigma will ever completely go away because there are still areas of popular culture where professional wrestling is untouchable. That’s why to this day it’s still so hard for them to sell advertising. RAW could be doing a 20 share every week and a car company will not advertise on that show because they don’t want to be associated with that kind of material. That’s just a fact.”

JC: It’s unbelievable when you consider how different the product has become since the edgy Attitude Era.

BS: “Oh yeah, I’ll show you how strong the stigma is. Traditionally, the U.S. Open would always preempt RAW on the USA Network. The running joke, especially in the Attitude Era, was that RAW was getting better ratings than the U.S. Open. So why the hell are you still running it? Why not put it on tape delay or put it on a different Viacom channel? And the answer was the prestige. It was more prestigious and looked better for sponsors to have the U.S. Open on than RAW.” editor John Corrigan can be reached at . Follow him on Twitter at .

2 Comments on this post.
  • Corrigan's Corner: A Q&A With 'Pro Wrestling FAQ' Author Brian Solomon (Part II) | Wrestledelphia
    4 May 2015 at 6:02 PM
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  • Corrigan's Corner: A Q&A With 'Pro Wrestling FAQ' Author Brian Solomon (Part I) | Wrestledelphia
    4 May 2015 at 6:05 PM
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