Dory Funk Jr.
It was a Wednesday afternoon. We had just completed our television show, Championship Wrestling From Florida. It would air on Saturday afternoon and lead directly to our Saturday night's Bayfront Arena show in St. Petersburg, the main event being, Terry and Dory Funk Jr. vs Jack and Jerry Brisco. On the television show, Terry had just smashed Golden Boy Jerry Gray for an easy victory. Golden Boy made a feeble attempt to attack Terry after the match and I stepped in. Referee Bill Alfanso tried to stop us and wound up on the floor nursing his wounds. The the two of us were about to demolish this young upstart of a wrestler when the Brisco Brothers came to the rescue. Terry and I scooted out of the ring untouched.
I was the booker working for Eddie Graham since January and now with the help of some excellent talent, (Brisco Brothers, Tommy Gilbert, Sweet Brown Sugar, Butch Reed, David von Erich, El Grand Apollo, Mike Graham and my assistant, J.J. Dillon) business was booming.
I had showered, dressed and was on the way out of the building with a thousand things on my mind. Our next shot was a show in Miami that night at Convention Hall. Just before the front exit of the Sportatorium was Charley Lay's office. (Or as Terry sometimes called him, "Charley Can't Lay.") He was the last person you saw on the way out of the building. As I passed Charley, he gave me a message that the boss, Eddie Graham wanted to see me in the office before I left for Miami.
I was just wishing I could have made it out of the office. I vaguely remember a young man standing in Charley Lay's office. He handed me a resume and said, "My name is Howard Brody. I would like to work for you." With a meeting coming up with Eddie Graham and a show to run tonight in Miami and wrestling twice that day, I looked at him in a daze and said, "Where have you wrestled before?" I left the room and headed up the stairs for my meeting with Eddie Graham, thinking, "What the Hell would anyone hand me a resume for in the wrestling business???"
The air conditioner in Eddie
Graham's office on the second floor of the Sportatorium on Albany Street
in Tampa, Florida was off. The air was still and it was hot.
It was the spring of 1981. Eddie always wore an open or light shirt.
I think he liked to see people sweat and when I heard what he had to say,
I was pouring sweat.
"Dory, business is good but we have a problem. There is a lot of heat from the fans on Bill Alphonso. We have got to stay ahead of the game. Fonzie is going to have to go. It will be good for business." Eddie was the boss and I knew him well. When he wanted something done He would let you know his feelings but they were tantamount to an order. I would have to give Fonzie his notice. I knew it had to be done and I was sick. Bill's beautiful young wife Suzie who he loved so much was pregnant. Without his job, I really didn't know how they would make it.
On Saturday night in St. Pete, Bayfront Arena was a sellout at raised prices. We had a near riot in our match with the Brisco Brothers. (We wanted a near riot, it brings the fans back the next time but not a full riot, we walked that thin line all the time.)
The morning after Bayfront, again in the sweltering hot office, Eddie Graham and I were reviewing film from the Bayfront show. The Tag match between Terry and I and the Brisco Brothers had broken into a four way fight in the ring. On the far side with our backs to the camera, I had Jack down and Terry had Jerry in the ropes. The heat was hot as a firecracker. From the near side some big redneck had broken loose from security and was on the way in the ring to kick our ass from behind. Fortunately for us, 145 pound Bill Alphonso spotted this big mark and grabbed him by the hair. Fonzie was hanging on for dear life, determined that this redneck cowboy would not take us from behind. Terry was the first to see him and charged across the ring knocking him through the ropes and down to the floor where security took him away.
It was all there for Eddie Graham to see on film. Fonzie had saved Terry and myself, the show and most likely averted a disaster. (When a mark comes in the ring, you never know if they have a knife or other weapon as has happened many times in wrestling)
Eddie just grinned as we watched the film and said, "Let's run that again, Look what a hell of a job Fonzie did."
I knew I was off the hook. Eddie was proud of Fonzie and respected him from then on as being a tough son of a gun willing to give it all as a team player for Championship Wrestling From Florida.
Bill Alphonzo is now managing Rob van Dam and Sabu as ECW takes their product to national television.
Howard Brody is President of the National Wrestling Alliance.
What the Hell would anybody
hand me a resume for in the wrestling business???
Dory Funk Jr. and Bill Alphonso (Tough as Shoe Leather)
Howard Brody (President of the National Wrestling Alliance)
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