On a Saturday morning in Brooklyn in 1987, a young Brian R. Solomon is flipping through the TV in search of cartoons. But what he finds instead is just as colorful but far more dramatic.
“It was the Piper’s Pit segment,” said Solomon, “where Andre the Giant turns on Hulk Hogan, and he rips off (Hogan’s) crucifix, and Roddy Piper’s there, and Jesse Ventura’s there. It was just so mesmerizing to me.”
Little did he know that following Hogan and Andre’s path to WrestleMania III would lead him to a career in wrestling as a writer, first for WWE Magazine and WWE.com, and today for Pro Wrestling Illustrated and Inside The Ropes Magazine.
Solomon is also a historian and author whose book Blood and Fire: The Unbelievable Real-Life Story of Wrestling’s Original Sheik was named Best Pro Wrestling Book in 2022 by the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
And since 2022, Solomon has been the amiable host of the industry’s most must-hear podcast, Shut Up And Wrestle, a phrase that has become synonymous with Solomon since his days in WWE.
“Shane McMahon, who was our boss, was pushing us to get edgier and write columns that were more edgy and controversial,” Solomon said.
“And I thought, You know what, I’m going to write a column about how they never shut up on the show, and there should be more wrestling and less promos.”
Unlike most wrestling podcasts, Shut Up And Wrestle gives listeners a detailed peek into the business, thanks to conversations with pro wrestlers, fellow writers and historians, executives, and everyone in between.
A great conversation about old school Detroit wrestling history, old school WWWF, the Grand Wizard, The Sheik, and a lot more! https://t.co/edsw12wkby— Brian R. Solomon (@BrianRSolomon) June 21, 2023
“I worked in Titan Towers (WWE’s existing headquarters). I was there for seven years. I worked with so many interesting people. And at the time I was there, we always used to say, ‘These stories from the office are things that no one has any idea about,’” said Solomon. “So I thought, Well, that’s an angle I want to explore.”
Among those Titan tales are those from Debra Jaswaye, a former WWE Creative Director, whose resume includes coming up with Chyna’s name and designing the Royal Rumble collage posters of the early ‘90s. Jaswaye also tells a story about Hall of Fame wrestler and manager Freddy Blassie coming to her office and flirting with her.
Longtime fans (and anyone who loves listening to salty old-timers) will want to hear Solomon go one-on-one with former WWE Intercontinental Champion Ken Patera, who blew the show’s language restrictions to smithereens during a hilarious rant that comes highly recommended by the host.
While much of the show is devoted to Solomon’s love of old-school wrestling, modern wrestling buffs will appreciate Episode 35 with AEW interviewer and personality RJ City. The two men have a humorous yet frank discussion about ageism in entertainment ranging from the Golden Girls to ring legend Earthquake.
Shut Up And Wrestle also includes intimate sitdowns with the family members of wrestling icons. Jonard Solie, the son of Gordon Solie, the Dean of Wrestling Announcers, gives listeners, as Solomon described, a unique look at the struggles of growing up as a child whose parent is a celebrity.
Putting a bow on this gift is the host himself, Brian R. Solomon, whose friendliness and passion shine through. Each episode is like eavesdropping on friends having a grand time talking about the extraordinary world of wrestling.
“I look at my show as a conversation,” said Solomon. “I always call it that; it’s not an interview. I do not have questions prepared. I do not sit there and fire off questions. It’s just a conversation.”
In addition to his podcast, Solomon is working on his next book, Irresistible Force: The Life and Times of Gorilla Monsoon, which should be available by late 2024 or early 2025.
Part of the Arcadian Vanguard Network — which is also the home of the Jim Cornette Experience and Jim Cornette’s Drive-Thru — Shut Up And Wrestle is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and other podcast platforms. New episodes are released every Wednesday.
However, Solomon says only one place has every episode available to listen to.
“If you want to go back to the beginning, the only place to do that is on the website suawpod.com. That’s the only place that has every single one of the 74 episodes.”