Francis Jonard Labiak (1929-2000) was a Professional Wrestling announcer from Minneapolis, MN under the name Gordon Solie. He was best known for his work in the old Championship Wrestling from Florida and Georgia Championship Wrestling territories going back to the 1960s. He also called the old Continental Championship Wrestling in Alabama and for WCW from the late 1980s until he retired in July 1995. He died of throat cancer at age 71 from years of smoking. He is considered by many the best professional wrestling announcer of all time. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2008.
"These tropes wear the crimson mask":
- Bash Brothers (on commentary): Buddy Colt, Coach John Heath.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Was broadcasting for Continental during a storyline where the Dirty White Girl came out with a "bruise" under her eye, claiming that the Dirty White Boy (Tony Anthony, aka WWE's TL Hopper and Uncle Cletus Godwinn) had hit her. This turned out to be a ruse to lure Tom Prichard out so DWB could attack him, with DWG rubbing off the makeup under her eye.note Solie went from being concerned to angry, refusing to interview DWB.
- Catchphrase: Signed off on Championship Wrestling from Florida broadcasts by saying, "So long, from the Sunshine State." When WWE had their Florida Championship Wrestling developmental program (before it was rebranded as NXT Wrestling), a clip of Solie saying this would appear at the end of every episode.
- Introduced many now famous wrestling expressions, such as "wearing the crimson mask" (meaning the wrestler's face was covered in blood) and "Katie bar the door, it's a Pier 6 brawl."
- Cool Old Guy: In his latter NWA/Crockett days as the elder statesman among later commentary greats such as Jim Ross, Jim Cornette and Paul Heyman.
- Irony: He made his living with his voice, only to ultimately die of throat cancer.
- Non-Action Guy: Well there was not much he could do when wrestlers decided to come to the commentary table, besides make snide remarks, encourage them to leave or ask a more physically inclined person to remove them.
- Only Sane Man: NOBODY did a better job of being the eye of the storm when wrestlers were ranting and raving than Solie did.
- Pretentious Pronunciation: Regularly pronounced suplex, which most announcers would pronounce the way it appears, as "su-PLAY".
- Red Baron: "The Dean of Professional Wrestling Announcers," "The Walter Cronkite of Wrestling," "The Howard Cosell of Wrestling."
"So long from the Sunshine State."