The Great Malenko used to bite and poke the likes of Eddie Graham on his way to finishing off his opponents with his signature Russian Sickle — similar to a modern day clothesline.
Championship Wrestling from Florida was big in the 1960s and '70s and Tampa's art-deco Fort Homer Hesterly Armory was a key venue for entertaining antics from greats like Dusty Rhodes, Jack Brisco and Dory Funk.
After renaming the building the Bryan Glazer Family JCC last month, the former Tampa Jewish Community Center has announced plans for a Wrestling Wall of Fame as part of its $26 million renovation project.
Heidi Shimberg, director of external relations, said that approximately 25 wrestlers have committed to attend a fundraising fan fest June 11 and that nearly 200 people have bought tickets ($60 adult, $38 children) for a meet and greet.
The event will run from 6:30- 9:30 p.m. at 13009 Community Campus Drive Tampa.
"This wrestling community, both the current day and back in the '70s, is still a very connected group," Shimberg said.
This legacy project will commemorate and memorialize what wrestling and its past stars meant to the people of Tampa from the 1950s through the mid 1980s. In the preliminary stages, this display will include photos (and possibly videos) of the superstars and local heroes of those bygone days.
Memorabilia, programs and posters will mark the different eras of the sport, and those who made the Armory what it was will be recognized. All donors who support this effort will be recognized permanently as part of the collage, which Shimberg said likely will reside in the new 9,000 square foot gymnasium. The renovations are expected to be complete in summer 2016.
For more information or to make a tax deductible donation to the project visit gofundme.com/wrestlingtampa.
Contact Eric Vician at [email protected]