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Championship Wrestling from Florida

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Championship Wrestling from Florida (CWF) was the corporate and brand name of the Tampa, Florida wrestling office starting in 1961 when Eddie Graham first bought into the promotion. It is commonly incorrectly called Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW), but the name was Championship Wrestling from Florida until the promotion closed in 1987. The rights to the name lapsed and were acquired by an outside party, and when Mike Graham tried a return to promoting, he was forced to use another name, so he chose 'Florida Championship Wrestling'. This is the probable source of the confusion.

History

The original owner and promotor was Clarence P. 'Cowboy' Luttrell, a former journeyman heel wrestler who once fought a widely publicized boxing match, resulting from a wrestling angle, with a forty-something Jack Dempsey. It was worked but Cowboy took a severe beating. Cowboy opened the office in 1949, and Eddie Graham bought into the promotion in 1961 and took over completely in 1971, some say forcing Cowboy out. The promotion thrived with stars such as NWA champions Lou Thesz and Gene Kiniski, Graham, Don Curtis, Sam Steamboat, the Great Malenko (Larry Simon), Johnny Valentine, Hiro Matsuda, Bob Orton, Sr. and later Bob Orton, Jr., Johnny Walker, Joe Scarpa(later Chief Jay Strongbow), Wahoo McDaniel, the Funks (Terry and Dory, Jr.), the Briscos (Jack and Jerry), Buddy Colt (Ron Read), Mr Wrestling and Mr Wrestling II, Dusty Rhodes, Barry Windham, Mike Rotunda, Mike Graham (Eddie's son), Kevin Sullivan---who had a cult gimmick (The Army of Darkness) that got tremendous heat from the fans---and, in the words of the promotion's legendary commentator and a star in his own right Gordon Solie, 'a host of others'.

When Eddie Graham committed suicide on Super Bowl Sunday in January 1985, due to a combination of personal and business reverses, responsibility for the office went to Hiro Matsuda and Duke Keomuka, both of whom bought in the 1960s. The other remaining owners were Mike Graham, Eddie's brother Skip Gossett, Dusty Rhodes and Buddy Colt. The promotion continued losing money and closed in 1987. Most of the stars had gone to Jim Crockett Promotions or the WWF by that point.

The office was a member of the National Wrestling Alliance during the entire CWF era, Eddie Graham serving two terms as NWA president, and loosely aligned before that, with other 'world' champions sometimes defending their titles.

CWF filmed and later taped its weekly TV wrestling show at the famed Sportatorium at 601 N. Albany in Tampa, FL---really a small television studio with seating for a live audience of about 100 people (1/40th of the seating capacity of its Dallas counterpart), with the wrestling office and gym in the same building. Arena footage was always also used, and full arena show broadcasts began in the early '80s. CWF Spin-off shows were Championship Wrestling Superstars, Global Wrestling, North Florida Championship Wrestling, United States Class Wrestling, American Championship Wrestling, and Southern Professional Wrestling.

On March 2, 2006, it was announced that the CWF library was purchased by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) for the DVD on Dusty Rhodes.

Offshoots

Howard Brody started NWA Florida in 1990 and he booked for it until 2002.

In 2003, Kevin Rhodes started Championship Wrestling from Florida as a member of the NWA. He occasionally has some legends of the 1980s wrestling appear in his promotion.

Former FCW and CWF stars

Titles

NWA Florida Champion (old)

NWA Florida Championship (early 80's)

NWA Florida Champion (2)

NWA Florida Championship (late 80's early 90's)

NWA Southern Champion (2)

NWA Southern Championship (80's)

NWA Florida TV Champion

NWA Florida TV Champion

NWA Bahamas Champion

NWA Bahamas Championship (80's)

NWA US Tag Team Champion (old)

NWA U.S. Tag Team Championship (Florida Version)

NWA Bahamas Champion (2)

NWA Bahamas Championship (70's)

External links

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