A report on Championship Wrestling from Florida

Johnny Valentine with the NWA Florida Heavyweight Championship
The building once known as the Tampa Sportatorium in 2020

The corporate and brand name of the Tampa, Florida wrestling office existing from 1961, when Eddie Graham first bought into the promotion, until 1987, when it closed down.

- Championship Wrestling from Florida

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Overall

Rhodes in 2014

Dusty Rhodes

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American professional wrestler, booker, and trainer who most notably worked for the National Wrestling Alliance, Jim Crockett Promotions, World Championship Wrestling, and the World Wrestling Federation, later known as the WWE.

American professional wrestler, booker, and trainer who most notably worked for the National Wrestling Alliance, Jim Crockett Promotions, World Championship Wrestling, and the World Wrestling Federation, later known as the WWE.

Rhodes in 2014
Rhodes performing his finishing maneuver, the bionic elbow, in 1979
Rhodes battling Harley Race at an NWA event
Rhodes facing Kid Kash in Ballpark Brawl
Rhodes at the 2009 WWE Hall of Fame ceremony, inducting the Funk Brothers
Rhodes at the 2012 WWE Hall of Fame ceremony, inducting the Four Horsemen
Rhodes was a three-time NWA World Heavyweight Champion

The team traveled both nationally and internationally, appearing in Big Time Wrestling (Texas), NWA Western States Sports (Texas), NWA Detroit, National Wrestling Federation (NWF), Championship Wrestling from Florida, World Championship Wrestling (Australia), Tri-State Wrestling, the American Wrestling Association (AWA), and International Wrestling Enterprise (Japan).

Eddie Graham

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American professional wrestler.

American professional wrestler.

Graham in 1972

He was also the promoter and booker for Championship Wrestling from Florida and President of the NWA in the 1970s.

Windham as the Stalker at a house show in 1996

Barry Windham

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American retired professional wrestler.

American retired professional wrestler.

Windham as the Stalker at a house show in 1996

Much of his early career was in the NWA's Championship Wrestling from Florida territory where Gordon Solie was the head announcer.

Dick Murdoch

11 links

American professional wrestler, better known by his ring names "Dirty" Dick Murdoch and "Captain Redneck".

American professional wrestler, better known by his ring names "Dirty" Dick Murdoch and "Captain Redneck".

After splitting with Rhodes, he wrestled for several territories within the National Wrestling Alliance, most famously Florida Championship Wrestling and also wrestled in Mid-South Wrestling.

Graham in 1973.

Mike Graham (wrestler)

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American professional wrestler who was the son of Eddie Graham.

American professional wrestler who was the son of Eddie Graham.

Graham in 1973.

Michael Gossett started wrestling in 1972 in his father's Championship Wrestling from Florida, which was a National Wrestling Alliance territory.

Brisco (left) in June 1973

Jack Brisco

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Considered one of the greatest wrestlers of his era.

Considered one of the greatest wrestlers of his era.

Brisco (left) in June 1973
Brisco (left) with his brother Gerald during their WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremony on March 29, 2008

Brisco then moved to the Florida area, where he wrestled for Championship Wrestling from Florida for several years.

Luger at GalaxyCon Richmond in 2020

Lex Luger

8 links

American retired professional wrestler, television producer, bodybuilder, and football player.

American retired professional wrestler, television producer, bodybuilder, and football player.

Luger at GalaxyCon Richmond in 2020
Luger in his All-American attire
Luger in the ring during a taping of Nitro in 1998
Luger in 1998 after taping Nitro

In 1985, Luger walked into the Championship Wrestling Florida office where he met Hiro Matsuda, who had previously trained Hulk Hogan and "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff.

Funk in 1991

Dory Funk Jr.

7 links

American retired professional wrestler and wrestling trainer.

American retired professional wrestler and wrestling trainer.

Funk in 1991
Funk with his brother Terry in 1973
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Funk and his father in the ring in 1973
Funk and Gene Kiniski in October 1973
Funk in 1973
Funk (pictured in 1972) was a one-time NWA World Heavyweight Champion.
Dory and Terry Funk at the 2009 WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremony

He performed regularly throughout the NWA, particularly in the Mid-Atlantic and Ontario as a heel, Georgia, Florida and Central States regions, through the 1970s and early 1980s.

Sullivan in 2012

Kevin Sullivan (wrestler)

8 links

American professional wrestler and booker, perhaps best known for his role in World Championship Wrestling.

American professional wrestler and booker, perhaps best known for his role in World Championship Wrestling.

Sullivan in 2012

Next, he went to Championship Wrestling from Florida (CWF) in 1972 and captured the NWA Florida Tag Team Championship with Mike Graham.

Superstar Billy Graham in May 2008

Superstar Billy Graham

9 links

American former professional wrestler.

American former professional wrestler.

Superstar Billy Graham in May 2008
Graham in 1975
Graham's look influenced generations of other professional wrestlers

Later, while wrestling in Championship Wrestling from Florida, the name would serve both as his ring name and to make him the (kayfabe) youngest brother of Jerry and the other Graham Brothers (Eddie and Luke).