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THE TWENTY-FIVE GREATEST ANGLES IN CWF HISTORY!

 

 

When I originally made the decision to write an article entitled "The Twenty-Five Greatest Angles In CWF History," the thought of tackling that task seemed a bit overwhelming. How do you choose only twenty-five angles in a promotion that provided great booking and intelligent storylines on a consistent basis for so many years? Also, what constitutes a 'great' angle? Was it because they were my personal favorites? Was it because they were the most memorable, or do we base our decisions on the historical value of each angle? Or do we rank them because they made the most money and drew record crowds? Sounds like an impossible assignment, doesn't it? That's what I thought, so I decided to enlist some help. I rounded up nine other veteran CWF wrestling fans, 'experts' who had lived in Florida and witnessed many CWF cards live and in person. I tried to include a varied mix of fans, those that had seen the promotion in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s-and some who had actually been fortunate enough to see CWF in all THREE decades. I asked each of these experts to list what they considered the greatest CWF angles of all time, and include their comments on why these angles were so special.

The results are an interesting mix of Florida wrestling's top talent. There are really no great surprises in who made the list. Sure, Dusty Rhodes, Johnny Valentine, Eddie Graham, Kevin Sullivan and the Brisco brothers all made the cut. The big surprise comes in the talent that didn't make the list. Rocky Johnson, Lars Anderson, The Ortons, Wahoo McDaniel, Bobby Shane, The Missouri Mauler, Dick Slater, Harley Race, The Spoiler, Cyclon Negro and a handful of legendary greats are nowhere to be found. But, before you blame me, remember the nine other judges who are equally responsible. Just for the record, I did vote for Wahoo!

In alphabetical order, here are the ten judges who voted on the twenty-five greatest angles in CWF history.

  • Michael Bauman attended his first wrestling card at the age of 7 in August of 1968 at Miami's Dinner Key Auditorium. Michael's father was renowned photographer, Paul Bauman, who shot for various wrestling publications, including all of the Apter magazines, from 1973 until 1986. For eighteen years, Michael was a fixture on the Miami Beach wrestling cards, and is considered a historian on CWF. He also possesses one of the largest professional wrestling program collections in the world.
  • Jeff Bowdren had a life altering experience at age 12 when his grandmother took him to his first wrestling card in Savannah, Ga. Almost 30 years later, his love for the business has survived 2 bad marriages, 4 really great dogs (2 he still has) and a number of roadtrips with people you certainly wouldn't associate with....sober.
  • Crimson Mask saw his first match when this kid named Jake did a 12-hour Broadway with some guy with wings, then asked everyone to call him 'Iz' instead. He would have been at Gotch-Hackenschmidt but couldn't find his buggy whip. He saw most of the great wrestlers who came to perform in the hard-hitting, wrestling-oriented Florida style, starting with Eddie Graham and Iron Mike DiBiase almost up until the very end, which he thankfully missed having to witness, living in California at the time. He is only almost 29.
  • Greg Goode went to his first wrestling show when his father took the family to see Lou Thesz at Fort Lauderdale's War Memorial Auditorium in the early 60's, and became a hardcore fan from 1968 to 1971. Greg has a website (in desperate need of an update) at http://www.wrestlingonline.com/. Greg also can't claim to be a historian due to the effects of lifestyle in the later 70's...you know - Woodstock syndrome: if you remember it you weren't there.'
  • Rick Kogelschatz was first introduced to professional wrestling in late 1984 by a friend who dragged him to his high school gym. He enjoyed notoriety in his neighborhood for dead-on impersonations of his two favorite CWF wrestlers, Superstar Billy Graham and Rick Rude. Although he always wanted to step into the ring, his career was cut short when he replaced a young Kendall Windham as the skinniest man in Florida.
  • Lou Kring saw a chain/cage match between The Great Malenko and Eddie Graham in either '67 or '68 at the Ft. Homer Hesterly Armory and was hooked from that point on. There is no truth to the rumor that Lou lives in a dumpster behind the Sportatorium sipping the backwash from Blackjack Mulligan's old Pabst Blue Ribbons.'
  • Pete Lederberg started attending CWF shows in 1976, shortly after moving to the sunshine state from New York. Pete was a regular at shows in Miami Beach, West Palm Beach, and Ft. Lauderdale for several years, often selling photos or setting up rings. Pete was also the president of the Wrestling Fans International Association, and can be seen in the memorable Memphis angle where Eddie Gilbert turns heel on Tommy Rich. Pete, who has wrestled, promoted, ring and TV announced, and booked, also has one of the largest collections of wrestling photographs and negatives in the United States.'
  • Barry Rose attended his first live show on Miami Beach in 1971, and continued to watch CWF until it's demise in 1987. Barry, who claims his personality developed from watching Killer Karl Kox, Jos LeDuc, and King Curtis at such a young age, is currently the CWF writer on the Kayfabe Memories website. Barry takes no responsibility for the splotch on Dusty Rhodes' belly or the effect it may have had on fans.
  • Mike Siegel attended many TV tapings at the Sportatorium in Tampa in the late 1970s as well as visits to the Ft. Hesterly Armory in Tampa and the Bayfront Center in St. Petersburg for CWF events. Over 20 years later, still spending 43.5 hours a week trying to bring mosquitoes to extinction, one can only conclude that he may have been the volunteer of a sleeper hold demonstration at some point in time. Obviously, the heel refused to wake him up in a timely manner!
  • Robert VanKavelaar became a CWF fan in 1981, attending his first card in a small town called Williston, one that was highlighted by a Dusty Rhodes & Barry Windham vs. Dory Funk, Jr. & Assassin # 3 main event. Since that time, Robert has amassed an amazing collection of Florida wrestling memorabilia, including thousands of programs and posterboards. Robert is also the publisher of the multi-volume publication, Florida Mat Wars, which looks at newspaper clippings and articles dating as far back as 1956, and is a MUST for any serious fan of Florida grappling.

So, here they are. From number twenty-five all the way down to number one, what the crew listed above considers 'THE TWENTY-FIVE GREATEST ANGLES IN CWF HISTORY!'

25. Johnny Valentine and The Great Malenko split. Two legendary heels who formed a legendary tag team. Malenko turns on Johnny, making JV a face. Those who saw it say the crowd reactions were possibly the best ever.

Crimson Mask: Johnny came down to the ring with tunnel vision, didn't even notice the crowd was cheering for him. Then he hit the ring and realized. He got this LOOK... 'is THIS for ME?' He looked to his left. Half the audience as if the arena had been split with a ruler, roared. He looked right. The other half roared. He got the look on his face, still shocked, but accepting it. He turned left and thrust his arms into the air. That half of the house rose to their feet in absolute unison, cheering. He turned right and thrust up his arms. The other half did the same. I have never seen any other performer in ANY medium WORK an audience like that. Not even close.

Greg Goode: 25? 25? 25? Barry you polled too many youngsters! As a kid, this was Frankenstein vs. Dracula! I couldn't see JV as a face - simply two monsters going at it! The split totally had me marking out to the nth degree. Classic.

24. Bob Roop unmasked as The Gladiator (1976). Roop, supposedly recovering from a possible career ending knee injury suffered at the hands of Eddie Graham's figure four, is unmasked during a television match while wrestling as The Gladiator. The figure-four, which had been banned because it was deemed a crippling hold, is reinstated when Roop's plan backfires. More on this angle can be found at http://www.kayfabememories.com/Regions/cwf/cwf13.htm

Barry Rose: Back in the mid 1970s, this Olympian was the epitome of a cool wrestling heel. Roop was coming off a long, successful run as Florida champion, and in the beginning of 1976 he aligned himself with The Ortons. Bob Jr.'s career had just taken off, and he was the current Florida Champ. They made an unbelievable team, getting amazing heat from ringsiders. Roop had a great spot where he's leap over the ropes upon entering the ring, but his foot would always catch the top rope and he'd fall tumbling to the mat. The Gladiator angle was great because everyone knew it was Roop under the hood, from the smartest mark in the building to the beer concession stand guy. The heat he got wearing the mask was incredible, with fans chanting 'ROOP' the entire match. I was sorry to see him unmasked as I wish The Gladiator would've lasted longer.

Mike Siegel: Bob Roop played this angle brilliantly. It was cool to see him join Solie at the Desk while he was "injured". His biased commentaries on the matches were excellent!

 

23. Red Bastien vs. Johnny Valentine feud (1968). Bastien shows up unexpectedly in CWF vowing revenge on Valentine for "hospitalizing" him in San Francisco. Red unveils a secret weapon-the sleeper! Valentine reveals his secret weapon-the sleeper! Great angle from those who saw it. More on this feud can be found at http://www.wrestlingonline.com/cwfmemories/htm/fanpage.htm

Crimson Mask: This played out over a period of months (couple years if you start from the San Francisco match), and was just the best, most compelling wrestling angle I ever saw.

Greg Goode:This is what made me a regular, a hardcore fan...at least until I discovered girls, then my attention spanned changed. As much as Malenko scared me - Valentine gave me absolute nightmares!

22. Ron Bass heel turn (June 1983). Bass was the special referee of a Rhodes vs. Race NWA title match, when he unexpectedly turns on his "close pal" Rhodes just as Virgil is about to score the win. Bass would become one of the state's top heels from this point forward. For more on this angle go to http://www.kayfabememories.com/Regions/cwf/cwf4.htm

Jeff Bowdren: This was a really well done angle, I just don't think anyone bought Ron Bass as a main event heel.

Crimson Mask: Ya know I wish everybody could see this---Dusty knew when it was time to NOT look strong, as he at first 'in shock' would not fight back as Bass punished him, just crying, ''Why, Ronnie, why?' Truly great acting.

Pete Lederberg: Didn't really care for this one as I saw it too many times before. Bass just didn't do it for me.

Robert VanKavelaar: This was an angle that I was happy about because Bass was boring as a baby face. Bass was a redneck from the word go and played a very good and aggressive heel.

21. Windham-Muraco feud (1981). Begins with veteran Don Muraco piledriving a young Windham on the concrete floor, and ends with Windham becoming a "man." This was the year that Barry really started to show what he was capable of, and this is the feud that made BW a star.

Jeff Bowdren: Now this was a terrific angle.At this point, BW and Ted Dibiase were my two favorite wrestlers in the world.

Crimson Mask: Yeah this was terrific all the way through. Muraco kept suckering Barry into 'rookie mistakes' and beating the hell out of him. The way Barry finally got even was great booking. Muraco and Humpy had suckered him into doing a run-in on their promo by claiming Muraco was a great mechanical bull rider (this during the time of 'Urban Cowboy'), thereby dissing the real Texans and cowboys like Barry and Dusty. A few weeks later Dusty showed up with photos from Hawaii of himself and Lord Blears on the beach with surfboards and said Blears had told him he was the best surfer of any wrestler, thereby dissing Muraco, a real surfer. Muraco took the bait, Dusty took care of Hump, and Barry came up with a 2 x 4...

Lou Kring: Barry did indeed bloom as a worker here. He was beginning to bulk up a bit and was losing the awkwardness in the ring that a young tall worker has to deal with, and turned out to be very good.

Pete Lederberg: Define springboard for BW. He took the most incredible bumps back then. I remember him flying over the top rope, going over so high that his hand missed the top rope. Awesome.

Barry Rose: He was still rail thin, but Windham had the gimmick of being able to take heaps of abuse and still hang tough in every match. He did some incredible things, and Muraco should take a lot of credit for making BW look like a major player during this angle.

 

20. Jack Hart losing streak (June 1985). What was the official count? Jack went like 0-150, before he got his first victory and the Florida title. Great booking and execution by all those involved.

Jeff Bowdren: I hated this angle. I thought it was everything that was wrong with CWF by this point.

Crimson Mask: Absolutely. Jack (Barry Horowitz of course) could always wrestle and so the gimmick which he used his whole career of being the guy who would always shine during the match but then manage to lose always worked, because his skills were and still are such that you could imagine him beating ANYBODY any given night.

Greg Goode: Funny stuff! I remember in Miami at the matches where fans actually would hold up cards with his count!

Rick Kogelschatz: Let's hear it for one of the best wrestlers to crack the'Florida mid-card scene in the 80s.The official count (according to PWI - March 1986) was 0-131 before he beat Leo Von Stroheim in Tampa.Then he works his way to the Florida title!What a Cinderella story.Hart played the crowd like there was no tomorrow.The crowds went crazy with the "Loser" chants.Still a classic angle. Hart was a great worker.

Lou Kring: Barry Horowitz is a great starmaker and deserved the title. Great angle!

Pete Lederberg: Enjoyed this one. It was fun and another long-term deal.

Robert VanKavelaar: This was another fun angle to watch. For weeks Jack Hart had been coming out and doing his best to win a match. I believe his record was somewhere around 0-90 something. Percy Pringle was at the podium with Gordon Solie and said that (if my memory serves me right), 'I can make him a star.'' I think that's when Hart began wearing his black glove. After a few weeks of continually losing, he finally gets his win. I just happened to be at a show on a Wednesday night at the Ocala Jai-Alai Fronton and when it was Jack's turn to work, he came out wearing the Florida Title. Pringle was with him and was yelling "I knew I could make him a champion, I just knew it"!!!!

 

19. King Curtis face turn (1976). The Assassin and Rock Hunter get into a verbal altercation with Buddy Colt on television, which leads to The Assassin knocking a handicapped Colt to the ground. Curtis makes the save and a great feud is born. Curtis would remain a face, until dropping a series of loser leaves town matches to Hamilton. He'd return three years later as a bald, heavier, more maniacal version of his former self.

Barry Rose: King Curtis, with his flowing black hair and a forehead so scarred that it rivaled the very best in the blade business, was one of the most intimidating and scary heels that ever put on a pair of boots. So, the thought of him as a babyface is improbable, right? Wrong. Not only was Curtis a face, he was a damn good one at that. King had this really booming bark, similar to what Bruiser Brody would popularize just a few of years later. When he'd start getting his heat back, he'd start with this bark, and the crowd would follow every step of the way. The Assassin was the perfect heel opponent for Curtis and their matches were as bloody and brutal as any I've ever seen, and they wrestled in every gimmick match imaginable from Steel Cage bouts to Texas Death matches. If you sat ringside for their matches, your shoes had blood splattered on them.

Mike Siegel: I remember The Assassin's manager yelling at Colt 'Where's your wheelchair, you're half a man!' Colt responded that even with a bad leg he could take him right now (this wasn't too long after the plane crash). As they're about to go toe-to-toe, The Assassin knocks Colt to the ground with a forearm sending him to the concrete.

18. Buddy Rogers comeback (May 1979). Buddy Rogers returns to his first territory in many years. Rogers appears as an advisor to Jim Garvin, as well as wrestler for several months. Rogers feuds with Sonny King and his family before suffering a 'career ending injury' at the hands of King Curtis and Jos LeDuc. Rogers pops up in the Mid-Atlantic area a month later, wrestling Ric Flair several times in a battle of the Nature Boys.

Crimson Mask: I'll tell ya it was magic just to see Buddy. Even though his matches on TV followed the same pattern---three dropkicks and the Figure-4---he still had the look and the vibe. One of his squash TV wins was vs. a promising young Japanese who had looked very good in previous weeks, by the name of Tenryu.

Lou Kring: Not a very long angle, and not Buddy at his best, but It was good to see him one more time.

Pete Lederberg: It was really cool to see this legend return. This one was a little too short lived for me, but for obvious reasons it was short lived.

Barry Rose: I remember the week in Miami Beach when Buddy first showed up. He worked the main event, which was a six-man tag, and he saw roughly thirty seconds of action. Physically, he looked pretty good for a man who was in his late fifties, and had the physique of someone much younger. Even though he was limited and looked overmatched in several of his matches, we still knew that we were in the presence of a legitimate wrestling legend.

Mike Siegel: I think when LeDuc punched Rogers, his head flew off and landed in the parking lot!

17. The Midnight Rider saga. An angle that started when Dusty Rhodes lost a loser-leaves-town match to Kevin Sullivan and peaked when Rhodes, under the hood, defeated Flair for the NWA title on Feb. 9, 1983. Rhodes forfeits the title when he refuses to unmask. For more on this angle go to http://www.kayfabememories.com/Regions/cwf/cwf3.htm

Jeff Bowdren: Finally the years of the "Dusty finish" were smartening us up. I went down to Miami (really moreso to see Roddy Piper live for the first time--against Golden Boy Chick Donovan no less) and saw Dusty get screwed again.Told my friend Craig Hallick---"no cameras...titles not changing hands tonight."

Crimson Mask: I got more of a kick out of Uvalde Slim, tell ya the truth.

Greg Goode: I'll never forget the title match in Miami. First time seeing Piper live as he was on the undercard against Mr. New York (LOL - Chick Donavon, who simply dyed over his initials "CD" on his boots.) Dave Flaherty and I were front row and freaked when we watched very clearly Dusty blading himself! MR wins only to have Bob Giegel come out and tell Dusty on the house mic according to NWA by-laws he would have to unmask in order to retain the title. Ha! Classic Dusty finish - po'd the crowd big time!

Pete Lederberg: Living in Florida, I saw so many incarnations of Dusty under the mask, Uvalde Slim, Midnight Rider, etc. I really didn't like this one, however the shock of Dusty losing a LLT match earlier was interesting.

Robert VanKavelaar: This was a fun angle to watch. Dusty had lost a loser leave town match and had come back as the Midnight Rider. Of course everyone knew who was under the hood but that made it fun to watch. If I'm not mistaken J.J. Dillon had a bounty on the mask of the Rider. There was a really good build for this night of wrestling. It was called "Night of the Mask". I was a kid that lived to see a Florida star win the strap. When the next Saturday rolled around it was said that the Midnight Rider had defeated Flair for the strap. Next thing you knew Gordon Solie said that Bob Geigel had stripped the title from the Rider because he wouldn't reveal his "real" name to the N.W.A. office. They showed a clip of the Rider w/ out his mask in the lockerroom with his hands covering his face in disappointment. It was obvious it was Dusty.

16. The Assassin face turn (January 1977). Superstar Billy Graham and Ox Baker interrupt The Assassin during an interview with Gordon Solie. After words are exchanged, Graham holds back Assassin's arms as Baker nails him with an elbow to the face, "breaking" Hamilton's nose. The Assassin would team with hated rival Rhodes to face the Baker-Graham combo all over the state. For more on this angle go tohttp://www.kayfabememories.com/Regions/cwf/cwf10.htm

Pete Lederberg: This was the first angle on the list from when I moved to Florida (August of 76). I remember it well, and it made a great impact. Man, Baker was scary back then.

Barry Rose: Graham and Baker had both just arrived in the Florida and both were impressive figures. Baker was frightening and had one of the loudest voices I ever heard in my life. Graham's physique was like nothing any of us had ever seen before. Aligned together, they claimed they were 'gonna rule the state, baby' and they were right. The Assassin was probably the most hated man in CWF at this time, having just had major feuds with Dusty Rhodes, King Curtis, and others. This angle, which came out of nowhere, ranks right up there as far as most unexpected. The Assassin was an instant face from this, having been attacked by two 'outsiders.' He'd appear on TV the next couple of weeks, still wearing the hood, but with a very large bandage covering his 'broken nose,' and vowing revenge. Hamilton's interviews also rank right up there as some of the best.

15. Kox turns face (Oct. 1978). As Pak Song has Steve Keirn in a claw, Keirn's father, a retired military man, enters the ring to free his son. Song attacks the elder Keirn. Kox, also a retired military man, has "flashbacks" to the Korean War and enters the ring to save the Keirns. Within a couple of weeks, Kox is teaming with Rhodes and is the number two babyface in the promotion.

Pete Lederberg: Another well-done turn, but I hated when KKK was a babyface.

Barry Rose: Kox was great no matter what role he was in, because he never changed his character (maybe a little less crazy as a face). Kox did a TREMENDOUS interview shortly after saving Keirn's father, where he and the elder Keirn (I believe his name was Richard) are sitting and discussing the war, and what it meant to be in the US service. CWF had an incredible knack of being able to get over the most hated heel in a babyface role, and this was once again proof of that.

14. Ernie Ladd heel turn (June 1977). Ladd teams with Rhodes to face Ivan Koloff and Buddy Wolff in the main event, and after weeks of hints, Ladd finally turns on Rhodes almost creating a near-riot on Miami Beach. More on this angle can be found at http://www.kayfabememories.com/Regions/cfcwf14.htm

Pete Lederberg: This one wasn't unexpected, but was well done. Very early in my days watching CWF.

Barry Rose: Ladd understood how to work a crowd, and Rhodes, playing the innocent victim, made this one work. After a slow build of close to a month, when the payoff finally came, I remember jumping up and down, screaming my head off. Ernie arguing with ringsiders really heated everything up, and I remember this was the closest I ever saw the Beach to breaking down. Ladd's commentary was priceless, as he tried to claim that Solie had doctored the film that showed his turn. "That was not in the match when the match took place, you could do anything to the film.. What are you trying to make this thing look like? A Watergate situation? The man was out signing autographs again. You saw before the match started, he was so worked up and geared over the fans. It's good to be concerned about the fans, I'm concerned about the fans, but I'm more concerned about getting in the ring and wrestling. This man was outside signing autographs and where this come from I do not know! A situation like this was not in the match in Miami Beach." In my top five of all time, based on the electricity that Ladd created on the Beach when he finally turned.

Mike Siegel: Ernie Ladd and the Taped Thumb always cracked me up! His comments on the air during the replay of this match on TV were tops!

13. Briscos feud with Graham and Keirn. Great semi-scientific feud, with both teams getting wins from this series. Jack and Jerry played subtle heels, and while still cheered by a good percentage of the crowd, it was obvious that Graham and Keirn were the favorites.

Crimson Mask: Yeah, these were GREAT matches. It was very very strange, even subtle as it was, to see Jack and Jerry turn heel.

Lou Kring: I was there and this was unusual stuff. Briscos could have been awesome heels if they chose, LOTSA wrestling in this series.

Pete Lederberg: I loved this one, as I was Keirn's fan club president at the time. I didn't think it would rank this high, and it was an unusual scientific feud. Briscos were quasi heels until both teams saved each other, I believe.

Barry Rose: This was fun, because it was pretty obvious that these four guys were enjoying the hell out of working together. Jack was a bit more reserved (in a Dory Jr. kind of way), but Jerry took delight in sneering to the crowd, while Graham and Keirn played pure babyfaces. 'You can't say the Briscos were full out heels, because they weren't, but whatever category they fell into worked. It was also fun to see how the audience was divided. Mike and Steve got the majority of the cheers, but Jack and Jerry still had their fans. As a matter of fact, Pete Lederberg and I were at odds when these two teams wrestled.

12. Terry Funk wins the NWA Title from Jack Brisco on December 10, 1975 as a last minute substitution (replacing Dory Jr.) on Miami Beach.

Michael Bauman: It was the first time that the NWA title had ever changed hands on Miami Beach and it was a history making event. I was shocked and couldn't believe it, but was happy to see it along with my father who was taking pictures by ringside that night.

Crimson Mask: I don't wanna hear it again, okay? Yeah, I had the car keys in my hand that night, and decided to skip the matches at the last minute because I had seen Jack vs. Dory so many times, and yeah, that was the night Terry 'late subbed' (a work) for Dory, and... OH SHUDDUP!

Barry Rose: I was there, having just turned twelve and sitting ringside with my dad. When the announcement came that Dory wasn't going to make it, and Terry was his substitution, a collective groan let out from the audience. Terry had just finished a run in CWF, losing lots of matches and NO ONE in the audience figured that he had an actual shot at walking out of the ring with championship gold. Besides, this was Jack's home turf, so he wasn't expected to lose the strap. When we saw the cameras, we knew something was up (whenever a match was filmed for TV it was a dead giveaway that a memorable occurrence was going to happen). I consider this the most important match that I ever saw. I also would've liked to have seen this rank higher, but I guess it made more of an impact on those that were there that night.

11. Briscos feud with the Funks. Going back to 1969, when Dory won the NWA Title in Tampa, the Briscos and the Funks would meet for the next decade in CWF rings. Who could forget Jack chasing Dory Jr. and the strap for four years? Or the series of broadways they had-sixty minute, ninety minutes draws. The apex may have occurred when Terry defeated Jack for the NWA Title on Miami Beach, but even as late as 1982 these two teams were still feuding over tag titles in CWF.

'Michael Bauman: One of the greatest feuds in wrestling. Jack wrestled Dory, Jr. for the first time back in 1967 at The Texas Stadium in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and 2 years later, Dory was NWA World Champ. Jack and Dory met so many times during their reigns as NWA champion, and each match was a classic. One of the best matches that I ever saw was a draw between the two on Miami Beach.

Crimson Mask:Just years worth of incredible matches that went all the way from purely scientific to all-out bloody punchouts and everything in between.

Greg Goode: Surprised to see this listed so low! This had more legs than Eddie & Malenko's long program. My favorite match from this era was when Dory was champ and all the Funks took on Jack, Jerry & Eddie Graham (playing the Brisco's father figure) in a 6 man tag match at the Miami Beach Auditorium. Incredible heat! ...and there were no over-the-top antics, just solid wrestling with some roughhousing thrown in! This was a text book example on how to draw heat and a return crowd which is a totally lost art today.

Lou Kring: ANY match with the Funks and Briscos in any combination was magic stuff. Jerry was every bit as good a worker as the other three in those days and I was blessed to see much of this.

Pete Lederberg: Classic matches, classic multifaceted feud (family, TX Vs OK, Cowboys Vs Indians), great wrestlers, what else can you say?

Barry Rose: Whenever they hooked up, it was a guarantee that ANY combination of these four wrestlers would go all out and fans would get to see REAL wrestling. I was lucky enough to see many matches between the Briscos and the Funks, many of them NWA Title matches. This angle/feud was my number five pick and covers ALL the bases from a historical perspective to drawing money. This truly was wrestling's finest hour!

10. Magnificent Muraco unmasked (1979). Everyone knows the angle, but there is argument over who actually unmasked him. Some recall Steve Keirn doing the unmasking, while others swear that Jack Brisco was responsible. Twenty-three years later, this angle has turned into a whole new controversy. For more on the original angle, as well as the current discussion, go to http://pub8.ezboard.com/fkayfabememorieschamionshipwrestlingfromflorida.showMessage?topicID=569.topic

Crimson Mask: Yeah, not gonna start that again. The thing I remember is the shape Muraco was in. He was so huge and ripped he barely looked human. The moment when JACK ripped the hood off and revealed Muraco's totally-shaven head was a shock, too.

Barry Rose: It was very obvious that it was Don under the hood, but when the mask came off and Muraco's bald noggin shined under the Sportatorium lights, I was literally stunned. The previously handsome Muraco now looked evil-very evil! Muraco seemed much more comfortable as a heel, and his interviews picked WAY up during this period.

9. Humperdink and The Super Destroyer cigar angle with Mr. Florida (April 1980). As Mr. Florida and the SD wrestle on CWF, Humperdink jumps on the ring apron. Mr. Florida nails him, causing SOH's cigar to fall to the mat. SD picks it up and proceeds to rub it in the eyes of Paul Jones.

Jeff Bowdren: One of the reasons I remember this angle so much is that I had sort of stopped watching wrestling for a period of time and picked it up just a few months before this angle.I remember thinking how hardcore it was, and how I had no idea whatsoever that Mr. Florida was Paul Jones (thereby making me, at that point in time...the dumbest mark in the U.S.)

Barry Rose: I wasn't a huge fan of Mr. Florida at the time, but this angle was innovative and well executed by everyone involved. Super (Scott Irwin) Destroyer was a great worker, and these two had some pretty good matches throughout the state.

Mike Siegel: One of the best examples of Gordon Solie knowing how to "Sell". No one on earth could sell an angle better than Gordon Solie.

8. Enter The Rooster. After Dusty Rhodes defeats Ivan Koloff in Lakeland, Hump becomes the property of Rhodes for thirty days. When his time is up, SOH goes to reclaim his family, only to have guys like Jaggers and Volkoff turn on him. Rooster Humperdink becomes one of CWF's rare babyface managers and feuds with Lord Al Hayes and his stable.

Michael Bauman: This was a great angle with Humperdink getting beaten on by Bobby Jaggers after ordering Nikolai Volkoff to come back to the House Of Humperdink with him. SOH was such a fan favorite at the time.

Barry Rose: In the blink of an eye, Hump goes from hated heel manager to lackey for CWF's biggest star to one of the top babyfaces in the promotion. Masterfully acted by all, and Hump has to rate as one of the greatest wrestling managers in the history of the business.

7. Kox heel turn on Jimmy Garvin (1979). After teasing the turn for several weeks, including costing Garvin the NWA title in a St. Pete match with Harley Race, Kox finally turns on Jimmy during a TV match for the Florida title with King Curtis. Garvin is destroyed, Curtis wins the belt, and Kox is again a heel. For more on this angle go to http://www.kayfabememories.com/Regions/cwf/cwf7.htm

Crimson Mask: The vignettes during their association were great. Koxie was the D.I.-type trainer making Jimmy work his ass off ('Oh, no! ANOTHER twenty-five miles?') while he sipped a drink in the shade on a hammock. Never forget the turn itself. Jimmy was wrestling either LeDuc or King Curtis Iaukea, I forget which, and just after the bell Koxie called him back to the corner for 'more instructions'... and then you saw Koxie's hand behind Jimmy's back waving the opponent in.

Pete Lederberg: I really enjoyed this one, including the slow build, and having KKK as a heel again. Having the King of Swing back was awesome.

Barry Rose: Loved how they dragged this out for several weeks and Kox was brilliant as the older veteran who felt he was overshadowed by his young protege. This was the angle that made Garvin a main event wrestler, and Kox should get tons of credit for putting Jimmy over in all of the revenge matches. In a word-flawless!

6. Eddie Graham and Great Malenko feud (1962 -1971). The stuff legends are made out of. Highlights include Eddie punching Malenko's false teeth right out of his mouth and then stomping them into the mat as well as a series of brutal and bloody chain matches that witnesses would tell you were as close to real as pro wrestling gets. Malenko also injured Graham (serious back injury-an accident, no doubt). Many consider this the feud that put CWF on the map.

Michael Bauman: The Malenko-Graham feud has to be one of the greatest feuds of all time. I remember reading about Eddie stomping on Malenko's false teeth during a TV match in 1967. Malenko was biting Sam Steamboat on the ear, and Eddie came out and nailed Malenko, causing his teeth to fall out. He then stomped them into the mat, and their feud continued.

Crimson Mask: Yes, I believe the injury WAS legit. These guys were so stiff and tight and brutal in their matches it's not hard to understand how it happened. We couldn't BELIEVE anybody could do that to Eddie Graham. They beat the living hell out of each other for years.

Greg Goode: Ah! The stuff of childhood legends! I would kill to get a copy of this on tape. I wasn't hooked too bad on wrestling when this occurred but my dad & I would always watch. Malenko scared me when I was a youngster!

Lou Kring: The first chain/cage match that I ever attended at the armory in Tampa was lights out between Boris and Eddie. Although I had wised up to the business, I still thought that these guys were killing each other. I was hooked and attended many matches in Tampa until the early 80's. They were really, really good at what they did-two of the very best and I miss them.

Pete Lederberg: I wasn't down in FL for this, heck I was born in 61, but I know all about this one, and it's what every one talks about (the false teeth gimmick).

Barry Rose: The only thing that prevented me from seeing any of this feud was being born a little too late. I remember going to the matches in the early 1970s and listening to all the old-timers sitting around ringside and talking about Graham VS. Malenko. They would discuss it with a passion I'd never seen before (and rarely since), constantly comparing what was going on then with this legendary feud. According to them, there was no comparison.

5. Dusty Rhodes and El Santo (January 1981). Mexican great El Santo (Assassin Jody Hamilton having lost a ton of weight) appears on CWF to present a plaque and several "Mexican" souvenirs to Dusty Rhodes. Santo slams Rhodes with the plaque and reveals himself as Rhodes' arch-nemesis.

Crimson Mask: This was great. Jody pretended not to understand English, so when Gordon asked him for the baseball (the first 'gift' for Rhodes), Jody gave this blank look and Gordon said very slowly, 'EL... BEIS-BOL,' and Jody nodded in comprehension and got it out of his shopping bag. Then Gordon said, 'The plaque, ', Jody gave him the blank look again, and Gordon, lost, went, 'EL... ' and described the plaque in the air with his hands. Jody waved his arm in comprehension, got the plaque and smashed Rhodes over the head with it. A hush fell. Jody stood over him yelling in suddenly-perfect English, 'Get him out of here! Get this garbage out of here!', and out of the hush a kid in the audience thought he recognized the voice and said audibly, 'MURDOCH?' Then Jody took the Assassin mask out of the bag and cut a typical brilliant promo about going to Mexico and drinking the water so he could get dysentery and lose the weight so he could get his revenge. He had lost at least 100 pounds. (Sure didn't KEEP it off, though!)

Greg Goode: I remember popping big time on this angle. Dusty & Jody showed they were masters of psychology in this angle.

Pete Lederberg: Classic, classic angle. I loved The Assassin faking the Spanish accent too. Great way to "welcome" him back.

Barry Rose: This was one of those angles that literally had me jumping up and down when it aired. I couldn't put my finger on who was under the mask, but there was something so familiar about him. The Assassin was so good and so talented in the ring, he could've had a good match with anyone. When you hear the names of great wrestlers of the past, Hamilton is one that deserves to be mentioned much more frequently.

Robert VanKavelaar: This is probably my all-time favorite angle that I got to watch unfold from day one. When the segment started, Dusty was standing with Gordon and looked thrilled to be there to accept the award. As Santo was about to present the award, he WHACKED Dusty in the head. Santo then grabs (if my memory is right) a mannequin head with the mask of the Assassin. Then we get a brief history of the Assassins career and long time feud with Dusty. This is my all-time favorite era for wrestling and thought these two gave it there best. One cool angle they had was around July of '81 and the Assassin had Dusty's shoulders pinned for about 7 sec. I believe the match took place in Jacksonville. This set up for a good series of matches between the two. For "big" guys, they both moved with pretty good agility.

4. Freebird heel turn and interview (March 1985). This interview has taken on a legend all it's own, with the word 'tasteless' most often used. Shortly after Eddie Graham's suicide, The Freebirds slammed both Mike and Eddie during an interview on CWF, with Buddy Jack Roberts calling EG 'a loser.' Mike is attacked and does a nice blade job, and then gets beaten with boots.

Jeff Bowdren: This whole angle has taken a life of its own within my group of friends that goes to the matches...we'll all assume the roles of the different wrestlers and yell out the dialogue.Buddy Roberts: "Face it Mike Graham...your father was a.....a LOSER!!!" Mike Graham:"They said things about my father...that I'll NEVER LET STAND!!" And the fact that poor Mike is standing there waving his hand in front of the camera, holding his blade...just makes it all the more priceless.Truly, wrestling has no shame.

Greg Goode: Best part of the TV interview is Mike holding the blade and waving it around prior to the Freebirds attack...right up there with the Von Erichs when it came to exploitation of a tragedy!

Rick Kogelschatz: Boy, this is the angle I will always remember.The Freebirds had just cleaned out the nasty Commies and were feuding with the Pringle Dynasty.They were riding high!The ladies loved Hayes and the guys wished they could drink as much as the other "brothers."Until that fateful taping!Although I still think it is pretty tasteless, it lit the Freebirds heel flame!Everyone hated them for going off on Mike.The ladies loved Hayes from a distance, we still wished we could drink like the other brothers, but we wanted to see Mike get even with them!

Lou Kring: Eddie probably fondly looked down and saw this as natural, but it was not what one would expect of Mike.

Pete Lederberg: Definitely shocking but awesome interview, my only argument with this one is that it went no where after that.

Barry Rose: I remember first seeing this when it aired on TV and being stunned that Mike would give his okay to those kind of comments and this kind of angle. Looking back, it's certainly tame by today's standards. The blade shot may be the most obvious I've ever seen on television, and the usually laid-back Mike gives one of his most passionate interviews of all-time right after the beating. Overall, with everything that went on in CWF over the years, this angle definitely doesn't deserve to be so high on this list, if even at all.

Robert VanKavelaar: Without a doubt the most tasteless angle I think I've ever seen. Eddie Graham was a god to wrestling fans (and non-fans as well) in the state of Florida. His suicide was a total shock to anyone who kept up with wrestling. I remember Mike Graham being interviewed on television and the Freebirds came out and said (if memory serves me right) it was their turn to be interviewed. Well, of course I saw an angle coming but I had no idea that it would be done in such a distasteful manner. To actually say derogatory remarks about Mikes dad on TV just to "get over" was beyond pathetic. This was actually when I started to not care too much about the CWF product.

3. Jos LeDuc heel turn (Jan. 1979). As Gordon talks to Garvin about whether LeDuc is "owned" by Sonny King or not, CWF airs footage of King managing LeDuc in Memphis and paying him heaps of cash. An enraged LeDuc storms the set, traps Garvin in a bearhug, and poor Jimmy bleeds from the mouth. It takes several chairshots from Killer Kox to get Jos to break his grip. For more on this angle go to http://www.kayfabememories.com/Regions/cwf/cwf5.htm

Crimson Mask: What I remember most about this was the Memphis clip, which was LeDuc throwing Jerry Lawler over the top rope and what looked all the way across the studio and through a table, and then the wild-eyed maniacal promo he cut while taking the money from King... ''Money! HAHAHAHAHAHA! How does it feel to be in hospital, Lawler? HAHAHAHA! I have never been in hospital in my life!''

Pete Lederberg: I loved this angle, taking LeDuc, who was always a face in Florida until this time, and making him into a maniac. I also loved the airing of the Memphis footage.

Barry Rose: I always liked Jos LeDuc as a babyface, but as a lunatic heel, Jos LeDuc was as good, if not better, than anybody EVER in that role. If I had to pick just one face/heel turn as my absolute favorite, this is the one.

Mike Siegel: Fantastic execution of an angle by all the talents involved.

2. Kevin Sullivan Devil gimmick. Hard to say exactly where the angles started and ended, but, with the exception of one, every judge had Sullivan and his devil based gimmick listed at least once. From Mike Davis impersonating the American Dream, to the Purple Haze rising from the depths of the sea, Nivek Navillus was the lead heel for CWF in the 1980s. Add the throwing of ink in Rhodes' sister's eyes, the introduction of Luna & Lock, the Jake Roberts association, Maya Singh, Superstar Billy Graham, as well as the "stabbing" of both Rhodes and Mulligan. More on this angle can be found at: http://www.kayfabememories.com/Regions/cwf/cwf2.htm

Jeff Bowdren: I mean...c'mon, has Vince ever done anything THIS controversial?That's saying a lot, isn't it?My favorite part was the whole "Nivek Navillus" deal. Jake Roberts gives a hint as to who is paying the "$1,100 bounty" (and just what in the blue hell is it that made them come up with that amount??) and Gordon Solie looks into the camera and says...."Nivek Navillus....there is something very familiar about that name..." Was terrific stuff in the beginning that ended up going overboard.

Crimson Mask: This REALLY pushed the envelope for wrestling angles. Underneath the bizarreness though, a lot of what kept it viable for SO long was Kebbin's ability in the ring. He's really underrated as a wrestler.

Greg Goode: Got into this at the beginning but tired of it at the end. Wasn't Buzz Sawyer briefly in there somewhere as being under Sully's influence? Kevin's gimmick really wore this course out with Blackjack Mulligan.

Rick Kogelschatz: Although I've only seen the original incarnation of this on videotape, it is an awesome angle and one for the books!This angle and everything involved with it are classic psychological wrestling at its best.Sullivan and his cronies swept through the Bible belt of Florida and put the fear of the Devil in everyone.The first time around, it was great, very original.However, when I saw it again in late 85, the thrill had worn off, but it was still exciting!

Lou Kring: Long running angle, but there was a lot of entertaining stuff going on by a lot of top stars. Jake was insanely good at psycho promos, maybe the best that I have ever seen.

Barry Rose: The beginning of this angle was pure genius and as original and innovative as anything I've ever seen, and giving Sully credit, he sustained it for many years. By the end, though, it all kind of seemed rehashed to me and I wasn't buying some of the guys like Tombstone, Incubus (or was it Succubus?), and Kharma. Blackjack Mulligan also had no business in a wrestling ring by the mid 1980s, either. Creative booking all around, though.

Mike Siegel: Sullivan bringing the Purple Haze out of the ocean was great! Sullivan was performing miracles right in front of our eyes!

Robert VanKavelaar: Coming from the eyes of a 12 year old, Kevin Sullivan, Jake Roberts, the Purple Haze and later Maha Singh used to scare the living **** out of me. Kevin made you think that he was the actual devil himself. He not only played his gimmick on TV, but he lived it in front of the fans that would see him after the shows. I still have an autograph from him signed Kevin X. His phrases like "chew upon the beetle nut" and "I'll hang Rhodes from the tree of woe" are classical. He put a lot of time into his character and that's probably why it worked so well. Mark Lewin as The Purple Haze was a perfect fit for this group. The main events never (IMO) got stale until around late 84 early 85.

1. Dusty Rhodes face turn. Rhodes teams with Pak Song against the Grahams in Tampa in May 1974, and when Song nails his partner with an errant chop, Dusty begins one of the greatest face runs of all time.

Jeff Bowdren: Having just watched a "Best of Dusty Rhodes" video (geez, talk about your guilty pleasures), I had a chance to see this again.The commentary from Dusty really sold the angle tremendously.As he's laying on the floor, and then hits the ring to attack Song, he comments "and look there Gordon Solie...its that Gary Hart...a minor league wino from Chicago!" of course...in Dusty lingo, it comes off as... "Gawden...its Gary Hard...a minor league wino...from Chee-cog-O!" really good stuff, and he takes the time to get Mike Graham over also...."and now they got me down Gordon...and Michael Graham....a MAN Gordon...NOT a boy...a MAN...comes to the aid...of the American Dream."

Crimson Mask: You could see it coming. Dusty's incredible humor and creativity and just plain hipness on the stick AND in the ring had already made him incredibly popular even as a heel.

Lou Kring: Both Rhodes and Song were unusual workers. Lotsa noise, spit, and claw holds to the armpit. It was great to be in the arena when these two guys worked against each other.

Barry Rose: This was my number one pick based on a historical perspective, and few angles in wrestling EVER had the ramifications that this one had. Really good angle that was perfectly executed by everyone from the main players like Rhodes and Song, to the supporting cast like Gary Hart and Mike Graham. This turn changed the direction of CWF and professional wrestling forever, as Rhodes would become the most popular wrestler in the world for the next decade.

There you have it. Whether you agreed or disagreed with the judges' picks, you have to admit that all of the above were great angles. Special thanks to everyone that contributed!

This article originally appeared on www.kayfabememories.com. Please join the discussion on KayFabe Memories.

- Barry Rose

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