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1980's Wrestling

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Florida on Cable

I always considered myself very lucky. In 1968 my family got cablevision and my television world exploded from three stations locally to multiple stations from around the country.

You cannot imagine the impact - first you could see the stations clearly. And secondly you could see them all.

This opened my world to Florida Championship Wrestling and I knew instantly it was the big time. That was saying something because I grew up in the Bloody MID-ATLANTIC and I knew the goods.

The first show I caught by total accident. A friend of mine was going nuts talking about the GREAT MALENKO getting his ass kicked and bleeding all over the place. Well, I had to see what that was all about. The local cable station had this wrestling block set up with two hours of FCW in a row on Saturdays so you could watch the last weeks show and then see the new broadcast next hour.

I walked into Billy Cummings house and sure enough there is this Russian guy yelling at this huge guy. I mean he was in a rage because he had lost his match. Suddenly the big goof snapped and beat the hell out of Malenko! I do not think I ever saw a guy bleed so much on TV well anywhere for that matter. And nobody came to help pull the big guy off of him. It was brutal. And the amazing thing was my friends thought it was the funniest thing they had ever seen.

Well from that moment on I was hooked on Florida grapps. I never missed a show. One time I broke into a neighbors house to see a show. I was totally into it. And the reason was the amazing booking. That was the power of wrestling in the first place. It became my soap opera. There was an amazing cast of talent that was always carrying the story along.

My favorite from that moment on was Boris Malenko and it seemed he was the ultimate classic heel. Every thing revolved around this driven insane guy.

The big four of Florida were Gordon Solie the classic announcer that could make anything seem possible and believable. Solie was just amazing at getting over the faces and very carefully let you know that the heels were the bad guys.

He was the constant that the whole show relied on to make sense of this sweaty mad world. And it was not easy but Solie did it with ease. The second was Eddie Graham the owner and booker. Quite frankly the man was brillant and he could tell a story and could direct you from one action to the next flawlessly. This is a tough thing to do.

Graham would often appear as the proud father, the color commentator or the enraged observer it all depended on what was needed to make the story clear. And I am sure he made money after all that was the point.

Third was Malenko. As I said above he stirred the drink. And now I am going to cheat. Really the third are all the great heels that followed Malenko too. Graham booked so you would hate the heels so much that you would cheer the faces no matter who they were. Face it Jack Brisco was a tremendous wrestler but he was dull as paste on the microphone.

And fourth, the ring was amazing. The sound of the wrestlers falling had a metallic sound that made everything sound so devastating.

I cannot estimate the power that sound had over the TV, it sounded like they were killing each other when they took a bump. No other ring had that ping.

Well that was my introduction to the world of Florida and I do not think wrestling was ever the same.

Next: The Big Cat Ernie Ladd!


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