Fighting

Fan fest to raise funds for Championship Wrestling from Florida Wall of Fame at Fort Homer Hesterly Armory/Tampa JCC

WWE superstar Roman Reigns (down but not out) will appear at a fan fest fundraiser for the Championship Wrestling from Florida Wall of Fame starting at 6:30 p.m. EST Thursday, June 11 at the Tampa Jewish Community Center & Federation in North Tampa.
WWE superstar Roman Reigns (down but not out) will appear at a fan fest fundraiser for the Championship Wrestling from Florida Wall of Fame starting at 6:30 p.m. EST Thursday, June 11 at the Tampa Jewish Community Center & Federation in North Tampa. Photo By Jim Varsallone

Mark the calendar for this one.

In hopes of preserving 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 wrestling talent -- past and present.

They are: Ric Flair, Chris Jericho, Rocky Johnson, Roman Reigns, Dory Funk Jr. and Terry Funk, Kofi Kingston, Kevin Sullivan, Sheamus, Jerry Brisco, Steve Keirn, Brian Blair, Dean and Joe Malenko, Robert and Ron Fuller, Danny Miller, Paul Orndorff, Greg Valentine, Ricky Steamboat, Buddy Colt, Ron Bass, Hector Guerrero, Brutus The Barber Beefcake, J.J. Dillon, Tiger Conway Jr., Bugsy McGraw, Fred Ottman (a/k/a Big Steelman, Shockmaster, Tugboat), Natalya Neidhart, Tyson Kidd and more.

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

www.jewishtampa.com

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