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Area Wrestling Will Continue Under A New State Banner

Published: Sep 8, 2007

NEW PORT RICHEY - Ralph Mosca has closed Florida ACW to become a promoter with Florida Championship Wrestling.

Although the last body has been slammed under the Florida ACW banner, Mosca said weekly Florida Championship Wrestling shows will begin this month at the Bourbon Street nightclub in New Port Richey, where Florida ACW held shows for nearly three years under various names.

"It's been a fun ride the last three years with ACW," Mosca said. "I appreciate and thank them for all their efforts, and good luck on all new ventures."

Mosca said a Florida Championship Wrestling fundraiser for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of the Suncoast will be Sept. 25 at BourbonStreet.

Florida Championship Wrestling shows also will be held regularly at the Jewish Community Center of West Pasco in Port Richey. The first event there will be a Sept. 15 fundraiser for a youth soccer league.

"Right now, I'm free to go wherever I want in Florida," Mosca said. "I'm looking to reach out as far as I can get."

Mosca's promotions will feature wrestlers from Florida Championship Wrestling's stable. He said he was approached by the organization's owner and former wrestler Steve Keirn, who wrestled as Doink the Clown, among other aliases, in a career that began in the 1970s.

A Tampa native, Keirn said he attended a Florida ACW show at Bourbon Street last month and liked what he saw.

"One of my jobs is to scout future talent," he said. "I don't just watch the show, but how it's done, from the announcers to technicians and Web operators to trainers to all kinds of situations. If I can find the right promoters who hustle and want to make some money, then maybe we can work together.

"I had several wrestlers in this area I trained in the past and based on some of their comments, Ralph had an ability to talk to people and tried to work with benefits and fundraisers. He wasn't greedy and trying to take everything."

Keirn said the idea is to run Florida Championship Wrestling in a style reminiscent of the old "Championship Wrestling from Florida" program that featured announcer Gordon Solie and wrestlers such as Dusty Rhodes, Dick Slater and Hiro Matsuda.

He characterized Florida Championship Wrestling as a "developmental territory" for industry juggernaut World Wrestling Entertainment, run by Vince McMahon. A WWE spokesman did not return a phone call seeking comment.

Mosca, who wrestled for McMahon several times in the early 1990s, said he views his new role as an opportunity to re-establish widespread interest in pro wrestling in the state. He said one way to do that is by doing shows at local high schools.

"For the fans of Florida, this is a great opportunity to get top-quality wrestling," he said. "And for the wrestlers working in the state right now, it's an opportunity to get their names in on an organization like this."

Reporter Geoff Fox can be reached at (813) 948-4217 or gfox@tampatrib.com.


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