Now this is an All Star Card!
This lineup front St. Petersburg's Bayfront Center demonstrates how loaded the Florida territory was in the 70s.
Jack Brisco returned to his adopted home state to defend the NWA World heavyweight championship against the man he defeated, Harley Race.
The biggest feud in the state at the time saw Buddy Colt defend his newly won North American heavyweight championship against Cowboy Bill Watts.
And look at the stars that weren't even in the semifinal.
Dusty Rhodes, still hated in the sunshine state, teams with the man who terrorized Florida, Pak Song. They were managed by Playboy Gary Hart. Shortly after this match, Rhodes would have a falling out with Hart and Song and go on to become the most popular wrestler in Florida.
Other stars in action were the underrated Hollywood Blondes (Buddy Roberts & Jerry Brown), Mike & Eddie Graham, Ron Fuller, Sputnik Monroe, Tom Jones, Tony Charles and Kevin Sullivan.
See great 70s Florida action this month in Ringside Retribution. Click here for details on this All Star Pay Per View.
Nick Bockwinkel and Ray
Proof that Ray Stevens and Nick Bockwinkel really were among the greatest teams of all time.
And an interesting footnote in Texas wrestling.
Traditional National Wrestling Alliance stronghold Texas brought the AWA World tag team champions to Fort Worth to defend the belts against future superstars Bob Orton Jr. and Ken Patera.
Note in the program, that Stevens and Bockwinkel are referred to as World tag team champions but not AWA World tag team champions.
5/17/63 - Former NWA World champion Nature Boy Buddy Rogers (Herman "Dutch" Rohde) is dragged from his hospital bed to do the job for Bruno Sammartino at New York's Madison Square Garden, thus beginning Bruno's legendary run as WWWF champion.
You can see Buddy Rogers when he was the hottest star in wrestling throughout the Golden Age Collection. You can see his record-breaking NWA heavyweight title match against Pat O’Connor in NWA World Heavyweight Championship 1.
5/17/93 - Marty Jannetty comes out of nowhere to pin former partner Shawn Michaels (Michael Hickenbottom) for the WWF Intercontinental title at the Manhattan Center in New York. This is during a live broadcast of USA's Monday Night Raw.
You can see Shawn Michaels & Marty Janetty team early in their careers, taking on Diamond Timothy Flowers & Art Crews in Central States Tape 6.
5/18/70 - Professor Boris " Great" Malenko (Larry Simon) downs Mil Mascaras (Aaron Rodriguez) in the finals of a Fort Worth tournament to win the American heavyweight title as recognized by the NWA promotion in Dallas (which didn't become known as the World Class Wrestling Association until the early 80s). It marked the first time Mascaras was pinned in Texas.
You can see Mil Mascaras in action throughout the IWA Collection.
5/19/72 - Shohei "Giant" Baba and Seiji Sakaguchi beat Terry and Dory Funk Jr. in Los Angeles to win the International tag team title as recognized the Japan Wrestling Association (NWA member). Today, this title is part of the Double (World) tag championship in All Japan Pro Wrestling.
The Funk Brothers have the highlights of their great careers, including both their NWA World heavyweight championship victories, available in the two-tape set, The Legend of the Funk Brothers.
5/19/81 - American Wrestling Association (figurehead) president Stanley Blackburn awards Nick Bockwinkel with the AWA World championship belt following the retirement of (AWA owner) Verne Gagne.
Nick Bockwinkel has a classic title defense against Jerry Lawler in Memphis Main Events 1.
5/19/91 - WCW World champion Ric Flair pins NWA World champion Tatsumi "The Dragon" Fujinami at SuperBrawl I in St. Petersburg, FL. This marks the second and only time in history that the NWA and WCW titles are held by the same man at the same time. The titles were never officially "unified" as the NWA board is required to sanction NWA title changes, whereas the WCW title is a company championship controlled by the actual promotion.
You can see Ric Flair in action throughout the special Mid-Atlantic Tape 3. Flair teams with Blackjack Mulligan to win the NWA World tag team championship from Paul Jones & Baron Von Raschke. You can also see the title rematch. In addition, Flair meets Paul Jones one-on-one.
5/21/52 - In a match billed as being for the "Undisputed heavyweight championship of the World," Lou Thesz (Lajos Tiza) defeats Baron Michele Leone in Los Angeles to win the Olympic Auditorium version of the World title. Thesz goes into the match holding recognition from the NWA, AWA, and MWA and establishes himself unquestionably as the top man in the business.
5/22/65 - (Maurice) Mad Dog Vachon pins Mighty Igor (Ed Garza) in Omaha to regain the AWA World heavyweight title.
5/22/72 - Sonny King and Chief Jay Strongbow (Joe Scarpa) down King Curtis (Iaukea) and Baron Mikel Scicluna in New York's Madison Square Garden to take the WWF tag-team straps.
5/22/85 - The Nightmare (Randy Culley) downs Terry Taylor in Shreveport, LA to capture the North American heavyweight championship as recognized by Mid-South Sports.
5/22/94 - After the WCWI (World Championship Wrestling International) World title, which had been held by Ravishing Rick Rude (Richard Rood), is declared vacant, Sting pins Vader (Leon White) in Philadelphia at Slamboree to win "Big Goldy."
Richard O'Sullivan has been following professional wrestling for nearly 27 years and saw many of today's 'legends' like Ric Flair and Randy Savage compete in small high school gyms and recreation centers when they were just starting out. His first foray into serious wrestling journalism pre-dated publications like The Wrestling Observer Newsletter and he has done play-by-play wrestling announcing on the radio. After a brief stint as an independent promoter, Sullivan has settled into a role as a well-paid wrestling historian, who openly laughs in the face of anyone who hasn't heard of Spaceman Frank Hickey. Richard Sullivan is also the creator of Lost Colony Entertainment.