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The book on wrestle-speak

By JIM VARSALLONE

© St. Petersburg Times,
published September 10, 2001


B. Brian Blair, who rose to prominence as one-half of the Killer Bees tagteam in the WWF, wrote the bookSmarten Up! Say It Right, published by Kayfabe Publishing Co. in St. Petersburg.

"I decided to write this book after Gordon Solie, Jack Brisco and I were at one of our many lunches together, as Jack and I still have a bi-monthly lunch with guests like Buddy Colt, Wade Boggs, Coach Wayne Fonts, Lou Thesz, Don and Dotty Curtis and others," Blair said.

"I had been getting bombarded with questions I've answered in the book: i.e., 'How do you speak carny?'; 'What's a heel or a babyface?' etc., terms used by the announcers and wrestlers on TV that they assumed the fans knew. 'How can I keep up with the day-to-day news about wrestling?'; 'Where can I learn to wrestle?' etc.

"So, I asked Gordon and Jack what they thought about me writing this book, since we were from such a Kayfabe background. Their reply was 'There is no such thing as Kayfabe anymore, Brian. We like the concept'. So I started the writing process."

Drawing from his knowledge, friends and first-hand experiences, Blair's written work is a reference for wrestling fans and wrestler wannabees, providing an inside look at the behind-the-scenes of the biz. The book also serves as a dictionary and encyclopedia of information and wrestling jargon.

"I enjoyed working for almost everyone that I mentioned in the book," he said, "because I was always trying to learn, as I still am today. That's in part where I came up with the saying: You're a product of who told you, who taught you, what you comprehended and how you put it into action."

Blair, who has lived in Tampa for 33 years, wrestled in the WWF during the high-profile, Hulk Hogan era. He also wrestled internationally and spent several years competing for Championship Wrestling from Florida with announcer Gordon Solie.

"I started writing the book in June 2000," he said, "about a month before Gordon Solie's passing. So it took me about six months total."

The book is more informational than autobiographical. "I did not have a ghost writer," Blair said, "but I had a good editor in Diane Marcou, who helped make my words a little more understanding."

Chapters include: an explanation of the jargon used by announcers and wrestlers; a checklist of attributes a successful wrestler should have; instruction in the secret code called "carny," spoken by members of the wrestling fraternity; a list of Web sites, newsletters and magazines to keep you up-to-date on all the current news, scoops and scandals; a list of wrestling schools throughout the country.

"The easiest thing to write about," Blair said, "was the introduction that talks about what I wanted to be and how I got there. The hardest thing to write about was where 75 percent of the real blood comes from."

The book also contains a humorous audio carny lesson. Blair self-published the book through his attorney, Brad Wood. Also 50 cents from the sale of each book will go to the CAC (Cauliflower Alley Club) for the benefit of retired wrestlers in need.

"I reside in Tampa with my wife of 15 years, Toni, along with our two 'Killer Bees', Brett, 9, and Bradley, 6. I also manage Bradley's baseball team and have helped coach Brett four years. I stay very active in the community, speaking at schools for the FCA and doing as many charity functions as I can."

At age 10, Blair's family moved to Tampa. He graduated from Tampa Bay Tech High School before entering the University of Louisville on a football scholarship. He has lived on his own since his 16th birthday. "My parents were divorced when I was 12," he said. "I am the eldest of four siblings. This in itself is a long story. We moved to Florida when I was 10, and I'm glad we did. I truly love our community and am always doing what I can to participate in community functions. Gary, Ind., was a tough place to live the first 10 years of my life."

Recovering from injuries, Blair competes on the indie wrestling scene in St. Petersburg and Tampa. He had an old school feud with veteran grappler Steve "Gator" Keirn, and the cover photo of the book shows Keirn biting a bloody Blair in a photo by the IPW's Shannon Rose. If you are interested in purchasing the book, or for more information, go to www.smartenupnow.com.

* * *

Visit www.ringfury.com for more wrestling news and information and listen to the new Internet wrestling radio show WrestleLine Live Worldwide with CBS Sportsline's Dave Richard, Denny Burkholder and myself at www.wrestleline.com, 6 to 7 p.m. Wednesdays.

* * *

NWA Florida has a show Sept. 18 at the Fort Homer Hesterly Armory in Tampa with NWA World Heavyweight Champ "King of Old School" Steve Corino facing "Black Nature Boy" Scoot Andrews; NWA World Tag Team Champs the Heavenly Bodies vs. NWA Wildside's Total Destruction (Sean Royal and Rusty Riddle); newly crowned NWA World Junior Heavyweight Champ Lex Lovett making a title defense against an opponent to be named later; NWA Florida Heavyweight Champ "Iceman" Buck Q. taking on "Marvelous" Mike Sullivan; Florida Unified Tag Team Champs the Shane Twins (with Ron Niemi) meeting TCW's Jason Sugarman and Jorge Estrada; NWA Florida Junior Heavyweight Champ Jet Jaguar squaring off against "Boston Bad Boy" Jason Rumble and IPW Light Heavyweight Champ "Miami Pound Machine" Rod Steel in a three-way dance; and Pepe Prado facing Barry Horowitz. Tickets are $10, $12 and $15. Visit the NWA "Battle of the Belts" Web site at www.nwa-florida.com/botb.htm.

-- Pro wrestling columnist Jim Varsallone can be reached at wrestling@tampabay.com. His Web site is at http://www.ringfury.com.

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