In Funk's Corner

WWE Comes to Florida

Kurt Angle, Lita, Val Venis, Taka Michinoku, Alexis Laree, Matt Hardy, Paul London, Rico Constantino, Rikishi
Lord Steven Regal, A-Train, Mark Henry, Test, Christian, Crash Holly Adam Windsor and Magnum the Giant.
Call 352-895-4658
E-mail Dory Funk Jr.
Visit Dory's Home Page

106 North Albany just off Kennedy Blvd. in Tampa, Florida was the headquarters of professional wrestling throughout the State of
Florida. Eddie Graham was the man behind the scenes from the days of the original Florida promoter, Cowboy Luttral. The early
stars were Bob Orton Sr. The Von Brauners, Hiro Matsuda, The Great Malenko, Terry Funk and then The American Dream, Dusty
Rhodes. Then there was a young amateur wrestler fresh out of Oklahoma State University where he had won the NCAA collegiate
wrestling championship, Jack Brisco. Brisco was Eddie's choice, the franchise to carry the territory.

Eddie called Jack in to the office at 106 North Albany. Eddie's office was upstairs. The air conditioner in the window didn't work.
Eddie was always dressed comfortable and in the hot Florida summertime he enjoyed watching his wrestlers sweat as they listened
while he would lay out programs for the territory. Eddie told Jack, "We are going to take our time in building you. In fact it will take
long enough that at times you may feel it is taking too long, but when you are finally over with our fans, you will really have become a
star and it will last a long time." Jack listened while dripping in perspiration.

I came to Florida early in 1964 but made little impression until I returned February 11, 1969 to face Gene Kiniske for the NWA
World Title. It was Gasparilla celebration in Tampa and just like the pirates that invaded Tampa Bay and took what they wanted, I
took the World title from Gene Kiniski. I returned to wrestle Hans Schmidt, Hans Mortier, Kurt Von Brauner, Eduardo Perez, Corsica
Joe and some more "sly foreigners." On my fourth trip to Championship Wrestling from Florida, I wrestled the Gladiator (Ricky Hunter)
in Miami, Florida. The match went one hour to a draw. We returned at Convention Hall in Miami and the match sold out. Eddie
Graham saw the style of wrestling he wanted and he had the man who could cut it as the challenger for the NWA World Title. One
year had been invested in Jack Brisco and it was his time to chase me everywhere. We first wrestled all over the state of Florida, then
interest in the match became more wide spread We wrestled in St. Louis, Amarillo, Abilene, Texas, Charlotte N.C. and Japan. During
the four and a half years I was NWA Champion, I must have wrestled Jack Brisco at least two hundred times. The match, Funk vs
Brisco has been said to be the all time hottest drawing feud ever in professional wrestling.

Now the faces are different and the athletes maybe even better. The pace is intense and the production more flamboyant.

The wrestling fans in Florida have always had good talent and great wrestling matches. I am sure that will be the case when
Armageddon comes to Orlando and we as the "!BANG! Gang" travel to Raw in Tampa and Smackdown in Jacksonville.

If you would like to join us in the Funking Conservatory,
Call 352-895-4658
E-mail Dory Funk Jr.
Visit Dory's Home Page