Is Fantastic Florida Wrestling Back?

It’s an exciting announcement about fantastic Florida Wrestling. It came from Coastal Championship Wrestling, who have been in the Florida area for many years and call themselves ‘The Last Territory’. Their Alive YouTube show is usually a stunner and their crowds seem clued up and cacophonous.

And now, as reported on the CCW website and also by Mike Johnson of PWI Insider, CCW isn’t just thinking about it;

CCW (Coastal Championship Wrestling LLC) has announced today that they have started pre-production in the re-creation of Championship Wrestling from Florida

This is mouth-watering for those people who remember the glory days of Florida Wrestling in the ’70s and 80s, after all, wrestling stars such as Dusty Rhodes, Barry Windham, Lex Luger, Butch Reed, the Sheepherders (later the Bushwhackers), Percy Pringle, who many would know as Paul Bearer, Harley Race, Rick Rude, Jim Duggan.

Florida Wrestling Stars The Sheepherders
Credit; Slam Wrestling

There are so many more too; oh OK, these people passed through Florida Wrestling too, often as Dusty’s opponents – Ernie Ladd, Ox Baker, Billy Graham, Ric Flair and many more.

And the TV show in this 80’s pomp, which I’m still watching now, had Buddy Colt on presenting duties next to, of course, wrestling commentary scion Gordon Solie, whose gravelly tones, calm demeanour and moral centre made him eminently watchable – when he almost tutted at a wrestler’s antics, you knew it was bad.

But this programme was good. Very good. Florida Wrestling returned after owner Eddie Graham’s suicide in 1985, with Edddie’s son Mike and popular Florida wrestler Steve Keirn working with Florida Wrestling royalty Dusty Rhodes as the Professional Wrestling Federation in 1989, which didn’t live up to the old style Florida Wrestling, the CWF, but it didn’t boast wrestling stars like Bam Bam Bigelow, Scott Hall, the Nasty Boys, even Big Steel Man (erm, Tugboat…)

And of course it couldn’t last, but when it was there (not necessarily when it was a WWE feeder federation in 2007) in its pomp, it was almost peerless.

Take a look at this;

It Has To Be Done Properly

And there’s a good chance it will be. Why? Because of a name missing from the above list.

Kevin Sullivan

The Taskmaster. In his 5 years in Florida Wrestling, from 1982 – 1987, his Army Of Darkness, with the help of ‘Purple Haze’ Mark Lewin, Luna Vachon, Bob Roop and others;  his occult gimmick seemed off limits, his activities near or past the unacceptable.

So important that Sullivan is involved in this new project;

“The ownership at CCW, and the team we have here, are the spiritual successors to what we created here in Florida with Gordon Solie, Dusty Rhodes, and the countless others who made Championship Wrestling from Florida what I believe to be the greatest territory in professional wrestling history,”

Sullivan told He’s been named Executive Producer and Creative Director.

But not just that. 2 CCW favourites are involved too…

CCW success Gangrel
Credit; CCW

Firstly David Heath, Gangrel to many others, who occasionally wrestle’s for the company to great cheers, but is more often now a greatly respected trainer – he’s thought to be Head Of Talent Relations.

Then there’s Fonzie, yes Bill Alfonso, who latterly managed then tag champs the South American Alliance, who imploded recently in huge fashion, is to be Producer and have responsibility for Media Relations. While many will remember him from ECW, Bill also did his stint as a ref in Florida Wrestling.

The Plan

Start recording shows in May, and create branded events in July. This seems to be really happening; but what will happen to Coastal Championship Wrestling? Time will tell, but CCW owner, Nelio Cuomo Costa, had made it clear that this is a ‘full circle’ moment, commenting to PWI Insider;

The spirit of Championship Wrestling from Florida clearly inspired CCW: The Last Territory.  Dusty Rhodes was instrumental in our creation and early success, so working with Kevin Sullivan in the creation of this brand is a “full circle” moment for all of us.’

Florida Wrestling Stalwart Bill Alfonso
Credit; Pro Wrestling Stories

What To Expect

Who can tell? Wrestling has destroyed kayfabe and all the best angles have been done; some may say that Sullivan revisited his occult/Prince Of Darkness idea too often, but surely few are going to argue that the Three Faces Of Fear and Dungeon Of Doom from WCW 1994-1997, even more so The Taskmaster with The Yeti, Hugh Morrus and Loch Ness, are particularly fine work.

And as CCW is stunning in the wrestling it provides, it would surely be only the angles that need burnishing, any dilution of the wrestling won’t be welcome.

Still, this is exciting. Will the new CWF/Florida Wrestling be less edgy, and more family orientated than CCW? Will CCW work in tandem with the new product or disappear?

More questions than answers.

Here’s another; can we really go back? We’re about to find out and I’m excited.

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