To preserve a piece of wrestling history for the Championship Wrestling from Florida Wall of Fame at the Fort Homer Hesterly Armory in Tampa, a super fan fest fundraiser is 6:30 p.m. EST Thursday, June 11 at the Tampa Jewish Community Center & Federation in North Tampa.
The wrestlers featured at the fan fest fundraiser include a Who’s Who of talent -- past and present -- including former CWF legend and WWE Hall of Famer Jerry Brisco. During the CWF days, he was a very good singles wrestler and who could forget the great tag team Jack and Jerry Brisco -- 4315 North Hubert Avenue.
What do you remember about the Fort Homer Hesterly Armory and your days with CWF?
Brisco said via email: “I think of going to the armory for the first time and being in awe of the place. I had only heard of the place from a few guys, but it was the building that everyone wanted to work. It meant you were on your way up. All the top guys were there like the Funks, Dusty, Murdoch, Muraco, Gary Hart, Pak Song, all future HOF guys. [Promoter] Eddie Graham only brought the best to the Tampa armory.”
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What do you think of this event for the CWF Wall of Fame?
Brisco said: “I really am honored to be part of this. For the JCC to put this up shows the impact and the respect wrestling had in Tampa and with the community overall.”
Joining Brisco at the fan fest are Ric Flair, Chris Jericho, Rocky Johnson, Roman Reigns, Dory Funk Jr. and Terry Funk, Kofi Kingston, Kevin Sullivan, Sheamus, Steve Keirn, Brian Blair, Dean and Joe Malenko, Robert and Ron Fuller, Danny Miller, Paul Orndorff, Greg Valentine, Ricky Steamboat, Ron Bass, Hector Guerrero, Brutus The Barber Beefcake, J.J. Dillon, Bob Cook, Tiger Conway Jr., Bugsy McGraw, Fred Ottman (a/k/a Big Steelman, Shockmaster, Tugboat, Typhoon), Natalya Neidhart, Tyson Kidd and more.
About the fan fest
Long before the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tampa Bay Lightning or Tampa Bay Rays and even before the Tampa Bay Rowdies and Tampa Bay Bandits played in the Big Sombrero, pro wrestling was king in Tampa, drawing huge, raucous crowds to the Fort Homer Hesterly Armory, which featured some mega wrestling cards. Steeped in pro wrestling tradition, all the greats wrestled there during the CWF days.
Tampa’s Jody Simon, the son of the late, great Great Malenko, is working with the Tampa Jewish Community Center & Federation to organize the fan fest fundraiser, commemorating the history of wrestling at the armory, which is being renovated with plans to reopen as a campus of the JCC late next year.
The fan fest will kick off a fund-raising campaign to pay for a permanent display of photos and memorabilia at the new JCC, celebrating Tampa’s and the armory’s wrestling history.
Jack Ross, executive director of the Tampa JCC, said he is proud that the son of a Jewish wrestler is organizing the event. While Simon said there is no shortage of photos, fight programs and memorabilia available for display, Ross indicated that the size and prominence of the display will depend on the amount of funds raised.
While supporting the history of professional wrestling in Florida, join the stars from 6:30-9:30 p.m. Thursday, June 11 at the Tampa Jewish Community Center & Federation, 13009 Community Campus Dr., Tampa, Fla. 33625.
Tickets will be $60 adult and $38 children.
For information, call 813-264-9000 and visit
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