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7mm Florida footage

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Southern Heavyweight Title Match: Johnny Valentine (c) vs Tim Woods (1973) -- great looking brawl for the title. There's a lot of Greg in the way Valentine sells. Really cool sleeper spot that ends with Valentine punching Woods in the eye. Finish is forgettable, but Woods keeps pummeling Valentine afterward. Johnny rolls under the bottom rope with a bloodied forehead and the title in hand. Great footage.

World Title! Jack Brisco vs Johnny Valentine (June 24th, 1975) (Championship Wrestling From Florida) -- Great looking title match. Tremendous selling from both men, and a cool looking submission from Valentine. Brisco was such an incredible athlete. Why don't we talk about him more? He should be in the upper echelons of discussions for the best ever, but his name is hardly ever brought up. Great dynamic here with Valentine's power vs. Brisco's skill & finesse. Great footage. 

Harley Race vs Bob Roop (June 11th, 1974) (Championship Wrestling From Florida) -- personally, I like Harley Race's bomb throwing style, but this clearly isn't as good as the Valentine matches. Harley doesn't really look like a guy who should be a Buddy Rogers type. You kind of wish he would just maul folks. Roop is a guy who I should love in theory, but I've never really seen any evidence that he was able to transfer his amateur skills to the pro game in a compelling or successful way. Nothing special.

Eddie Graham & Paul Jones vs Buddy Colt & Chris Markoff (May 15th, 1973) (CWF) -- I'm interested to see what Eddie Graham brings to the table. He looked like a masterful old hand here. This was classic Southern style tag wrestling -- blood, sweat, tears, pain. Huge heat. Plenty of peroxide blonde hair. Always nice to see Chris Markoff again. He has some much credit in the bank for that Inoki match. Paul Jones pretty cool here. I'll definitely be checking him out. Good stuff. 

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Bearcat Wright vs. Johnny Valentine (April 18th, 1972) (Championship Wrestling From Florida) -- pretty good fight. For a guy with a reputation as a tough SOB, Valentine is remarkably giving with his selling. Bearcat was a maniac here, so Valentine spent most of the footage selling from underneath, and it actually cemented Valentine in my mind as a great worker. Bearcat was never the greatest worker around, but the heat these guys generated was impressive. Good stuff. 

Jack Brisco vs. Mr. Wrestling (1971) (Championship Wrestling From Florida) -- this looked like a great match-up, but we joined it in time for a worked knee injury. Ends without a finish as well. Nothing special. 

Florida Heavyweight Title vs Cadillac: Eddie Graham (c) vs. Buddy Colt (Title Change!) (12-17-73) -- I'm digging Graham as the veteran master. He's wildly entertaining in these bouts. Colt isn't bad, either. Good stuff. 

Lights Out Match: Paul Jones vs. Dick Murdoch (May 22nd, 1973) (Championship Wrestling From Florida) -- a lights out match was Florida's version of a street fight. I'm no expert in this sort of thing, but it looks like Paul Jones throws a pretty good punch. Some nice brawling, but I didn't see any blood. Good stuff. 

Hiro Matsuda vs. Bob Orton Jr. (June 3rd, 1975) (Championship Wrestling From Florida) -- Matsuda is badass with his barefoot style of wrestling and his close-in fighting. There's a hint of orientalism with his chops, but he also has that air of superior mat skills and suplex ability. Early Bob Orton Jr is great. Super quick and super skilled. Good stuff.

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Florida Heavyweight Title Match: Paul Jones (c) vs. Johnny Valentine (June 19th, 1973) -- Johnny Valentine is awesome. Why was I never high on him before? I must've been stupid. I guess I didn't consider this sort of thing a wrestling match. What I love about Valentine is his selling. He's really great at not only selling these wars of attrition, but putting himself over as Johnny Valentine, which is probably the hardest thing to do in all of wrestling. Who can forget the name after watching his bouts? Great footage. 

Florida Heavyweight Title Match: Jack Brisco (c) vs. Bob Orton Jr. (Title Change!) (May 17th, 1976) -- Jack Brisco vs. Bob Orton Jr.? Are you kidding me? Orton was heel here and took big flamboyant bumps, but at its heart it was still Brisco vs. Orton Jr and there was some great technique on show. The finish was screwy, but I was still excited to see these guys go at it. Good stuff.

Eddie Graham & Bob Armstrong vs. Bob Roop & Dick Murdoch (December 28th, 1974) -- Chaotic tag. Graham is fun to watch, but I'm not so sure I'm sold on 'Georgia Tornado' Bob Armstrong. There was a time when I really liked Dick Murdoch but it hasn't been for awhile. I haven't seen a lot from him in this footage aside from that weird thing he did where he hit himself in the face with a chair. Match ends with a Pier 6 brawl. OK footage.  

Hiro Matsuda vs Tosh Togo (Judo Jacket Match) - Championship Wrestling from Florida TV 1973 -- this is Matsuda vs. Oddjob. It's worked like a fake-looking judo match until Togo begins to cheat. Matsuda ends up shedding the gi to win the bout with catch-as-can wrestling. Better than Delaporte vs. Oddjob but nothing special. OK footage. 

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Is this footage that's been around for a while? I'm always interested in anything that showcases why Johnny Valentine was an all time great 

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I don't think it's new. It's just all on one YouTube channel.

Lou Thesz vs. Johnny Valentine (July 31st, 1973) (Championship Wrestling From Florida)
Lou Thesz vs. Johnny Valentine (September 1st, 1973) (Championship Wrestling From Florida)

Thesz was 57 here and had been wrestling for more than 40 years, and he still looked great. The purpose of the first film was to air the controversial finish. The second film was shot by Solie and extremely stylized. It was almost like he was trying to portray wrestling as a type of ballet. There are a lot of great close-ups and slow motion shots. I don't think people realize how good Thesz was at forearm smashes and inside moves. It's something he did a lot when he worked heel. He does it a lot against Valentine because he knows he's in the ring with a tough son of a bitch. Valentine's grappling is awesome. It's amazing how multi-talented and versatile he was. Lou Thesz doesn't really need any more feathers in his cap, but it's impressive how good he was in the early 70s. I'd put his work in his 50s up against anybody else's. He truly is the Godfather. So, you've got two top 100 guys of all-time going at each other's throats. Great footage.

N.W.A. World Heavyweight Title Match: Jack Brisco (c) vs. Terry Funk (Title Change!) (12-10-75) -- this is basically the finishing stretch showing how the title was won, which to be honest, is probably the least interesting thing they could show. There are some nice moves and some cool slow motion replays, and Solie is amusing trying to sell Funk's punch drunk antics as deadly serious (Funk has lost his equilibrium!), but I would have rather seen what they were capable of on the mat. Funk's promos afterwards are better than the match. The promo in the locker room where Solie announces him as the new World Heavyweight champion is a brilliant post-match promo. Funk really was a genius at telling a story with his promos. The shift from the look on his face when Solie declares him World Champ to the disgust at the clause in the contract and Solie goading him about Brisco having him down for a five count. It's brilliant stuff. Footage is good stuff.

N.W.A. World Jr. Heavyweight Title Match: Hiro Matsuda (c) vs. Bob Orton Jr. (December 23rd, 1975) -- Matsuda continues to fascinate me. He looks a lot like those Hawaiian-Japanese heels from the 50s except he's lightning quick and does a ton of suplexes. He seems like an underappreciated figure in the history of light heavyweight wrestling. I'm not really sure why they made Orton a heel when he had all the credentials to be a popular young babyface, but he didn't hold back on the bad guy act. Pretty exciting match. Good stuff. 

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Jack Brisco & Paul Jones vs. Johnny Valentine & Buddy Colt (June 5th, 1973) (CWF) -- Brisco vs. Valentine looks like an all-time great match-up. Johnny's elbow drops are incredible. Add great tag wrestler to his resume as well. Good stuff. 

Jack Brisco (c) vs. Terry Funk (November 13th, 1973) (Championship Wrestling From Florida) -- This was another piece of the puzzle of what a Brisco vs. Terry Funk match must have been like. I liked the way Solie gave us some narrative here. You don't often get a lot of narrative from Funk fans about his career. They generally describe his career based on whatever phase he's in. Here, Solie tells us that Funk is no longer in the shadow of his brother Dory, and that instead of being a gatekeeper for wrestlers who wanted a shot at Dory's title, he is free to chase the title for himself. I thought that was interesting. We all know that Terry was World Champ in the 70s, but to have a bit of narrative is appreciated. Good stuff.

N.W.A. World Heavyweight Title Match (No DQ): Harley Race (c) vs. Jack Brisco (August 12th, 1978) -- We get more of this that you might think. The no DQ stip doesn't come into play in the way it would in most bouts, but it does set the tone for a proper fight for the World's Heavyweight title. I thought Brisco looked like the better wrestler, but he was the one working from underneath striving to win the belt. One cool thing about this is that you could hear fans in the crowd calling out shit. Good stuff. 
N.W.A. World Heavyweight Title Match: Dory Funk Jr. (c) vs. Jerry Brisco (January 23rd, 1973) -- Jerry Brisco is an underrated wrestler. He was more of a showman than his brother. He was almost like the Terry to Jack's Dory. He deserves a better rep than being remembered as Vince's stooge. I don't have a problem with Junior, but it was interesting that Brisco's fire made Junior bump and sell like Terry. I don't know how often that happened, but it was something I was expecting. Good stuff. 

Grudge Match: Dusty Rhodes & Eddie Graham vs. Bob Roop & Bob Orton Jr. (January 27th, 1976) (CWF) -- Fun heel commentary from Roop & Orton. Dusty was basically Dusty Rhodes here, but he could move, which you'd probably expect from 1970s Dusty. Graham continues to be a legend in this footage. Roop kept putting Orton over as the new breed of wrestler. I'm buying it. Good stuff. 

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Jack Brisco vs. Don Muraco (May 28th, 1974) (Championship Wrestling From Florida)
N.W.A. World Heavyweight Title Match: Jack Brisco (c) vs. Don Muraco (July 30th, 1974)

I think this is the first time I've seen 70s Muraco. He looked like a good young wrestler, and was a decent match-up for Brisco. I don't know the context behind this, or how big a deal it was, but Solie went bananas over Muraco reversing the figure four. He proclaimed it as the first time in the history of professional wrestling that anyone had reversed the hold. Whether that's true or not, I don't know, but skip ahead a few years and everybody would be reversing it. Good stuff.

Terry Funk vs. Tony Charles (October 8th, 1974) (Championship Wrestling From Florida) -- Funk was feuding with Dusty Rhodes during this period while moonlighting as a mercenary for Gary Hart. This was a short clip showing Tony Charles injuring his shoulder after a dropkick and selling it like a WoS finish. Funk unleased a vicious attack on the shoulder, and we got to see some of his early heel work on film. I get the impression that Tony Charles wasn't used very well in the States, but maybe there's some contradictory footage out there. Good stuff.

N.W.A. World Heavyweight Title Match: Terry Funk (c) vs Dusty Rhodes (February 10th, 1976) -- this was wild and crazy Terry Funk. Dusty commented his own match which can't be beat. Smoke and mirrors stuff, with lots of outside interference, but undeniably fun. Good stuff. 

Dory Funk, Jr. vs. Harley Race (July 20th, 1974) (Championship Wrestling From Florida) -- the last few minutes of a 60 minute draw. This was supposed to determine the number one contender to Brisco's title. Solie gave the match to Race since he withstood Dory''s best stuff and still had something in the tank. I'm not sure if I've ever seen this match-up before. The action wasn't very exciting given it was the finishing stretch. I can't say this Florida footage is doing much for Harley's stock right now. OK footage.

Texas Death Match: Jerry Brisco vs. Abdullah The Butcher (August 12th, 1975) - never, in my wildest dreams, would I ever conceive of Jerry Brisco and Abdullah the Butcher as a match-up, but here it is, and Brisco continues to shine as a great worker. Watching Brisco throw rights and lefts at Abby was a total blast. Time to step out of your brother's shadow, Jerry. You are a bona fide great worker. Good stuff. 

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Terry Funk vs. Sonny Rogers (1976) (Championship Wrestling From Florida) -- this was a studio match, so it's kind of cheating, but nice to see Terry posing with the World Heavyweight Championship at the beginning, and pretty much a clinic from the champ. You get some gorgeous looking matwork from Funk as well as those  huge clubbing forearms (Solie calls them sledgehammers.) Rogers gets a couple of neat hope spots before Funk hits an insane brainbuster for the victory. High quality TV match. If I had to guess, I'd say Funk was in the best shape of his career here. Great footage. 

Greg Valentine vs. Bill Dromo (July 23rd, 1974) (Championship Wrestling From Florida) -- Greg is being billed as Johnny Valentine's younger brother here. He uses the same moveset as his dad but without the poise. Everything is a million miles an hour, as you'd expect from a younger wrestler. He even takes some uncharacteristic bumps. Dromo is a big unit, and I can only imagine how awesome Johnny Valentine vs. Dromo would have been. Still, it was fun to see baby Hammer. Good stuff. 

Southern Title! No DQ! Killer Karl Krupp (c) vs. Cyclon Negro (July 22nd, 1975) -- I don't have to spell out what's going on in this one. I like Killer Karl Krupp a lot, but this is just the tail end of a wild brawl that ends in a pull apart. OK footage.

Florida TV Title Match: Bob Roop (c) vs. Jerry Brisco (Title Change!) (1978) @The Sportatorium -- this was an excellent match. Brisco & Roop working amateur holds with Coach John Heath on commentary? Yes, please. Jerry Brisco could flat out wrestle. And this is the version of Bob Roop that I need to see more from. The only downer about this is that Dick Slater gets involved on commentary, which detracts from the match. Otherwise, great footage.

N.W.A. World Heavyweight Title Match: Jack Brisco (c) vs. Dory Funk Jr. (November 23rd, 1974) -- Holy crap balls, this is amazing and easily the best thing I've watched so far. People used to say that Brisco vs. Funk was the Steamboat vs. Flair of the 70s, which kind of got picked apart a lot by people who didn't like the match they had in Japan, but this was incredible. The pace of the work, the selling, the grappling, Dory's bladejob... this is the exact same scenario as Funk vs. Race (the finish to a 60 minute broadway), but the action couldn't be further apart in quality. I love the desperation from Funk in trying to win back his title, and Brisco has to be considered one of the all-time great babyfaces and one of the best at selling. Special referee, Lou Thesz, makes an odd call when he allows Brisco to have a two minute moratorium, and there's a bit of tension between him and Dory -- what a match-up that could have been even in the mid-70s. Great finish with Brisco roaring back. All-time great footage.

 N.W.A. World Heavyweight Title Match: Harley Race (c) vs. Wahoo McDaniel (10-31-78) -- you want this to be like Johnny Valentine vs. Wahoo McDaniel, but touring champ Race is too much of a goofy bugger for that to be possible. Am I being too harsh on Harley? Is it wrong to wish he wrestled more like Johnny Valentine than Pat Patterson? Right now, he looks like the least of the 70s NWA champions. Hopefully, he comes storming back soon with some better footage. Nothing special.

 

 

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I don't really know how you do it. As a rule, I hate the 3 minute Florida clips with a passion as a sign of what we don't have. I think it'd be more fair to all of us to have nothing than to have these.

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There's an art to it, Matty, my boy.

Jack & Jerry Brisco vs. Paul Jones & Dory Funk Sr. (1972) (Championship Wrestling From Florida) -- Paul Jones was new in the territory and only wanted to wrestle Jack Brisco. In reality, I believe it was Brisco's idea for Jones to turn heel. He sure as hell wrestled Jones like it was his idea. Plenty of feisty brawling between the pair. Jack has so many great match-ups in Florida. He owned that territory in a way few babyfaces did. Dory Funk Sr looks like Dory Funk Jr if you slapped on Terry's face. Good stuff. 

Jack Brisco & Jerry Brisco vs. Dory Funk Jr. & Terry Funk (November 22nd, 1972) -- this was a short clip, but people who say Funk vs. Brisco was boring need to witness the intensity here. Brisco chasing Funk in the early 70s was a real thing. It's pretty clear to me that Terry didn't come into his own until 1974. That might be me swallowing Solie's narrative about Terry living in his brother's shadow, but it seems that way from the footage as well. OK footage.

Mike Graham vs. Bobby Shane (May 23rd, 1972) (Championship Wrestling From Florida) -- this was supposedly Mike Graham's professional debut. Bobby Shane is one of those guys who wasn't that great but had a flamboyant gimmick. If I see more of him, he may win me over, but my first impression is that he suffers in comparison to a lot of the other workers I've been watching. According to Solie, Graham is supposed to be a great amateur wrestler, but it's not so evident in this footage. OK footage. 

Florida Heavyweight Title Match: Jack Brisco (c) vs. Greg Valentine (April 18th, 1978) -- Hey, look! Brisco wrestled Greg too! Brisco is supposed to be washed up in the late 70s, but he looked pretty good here. This wasn't a fair comparison to the Brisco vs. Johnny Valentine footage, but I think it's safe to say that Greg wasn't as good as his daddy. Perhaps in the 80s, but not in the 70s. OK footage. 

Jack Brisco vs. Dory Funk Jr. (1972) (Championship Wrestling From Florida) -- this was that slower, chess match style of wrestling that some people find boring, but I can appreciate for what it was. They've had more fiery footage, but I liked what we saw here wrestling-wise. OK footage. 

CWF - Terry Funk vs Cowboy Bill Watts (Dusty Rhodes Interferes!) (March 26th, 1974) -- Funk vs. Watts is a great match-up. Watching Watts in his younger days is an eye-opener. Scratch that. Watching Watts wrestle is an eye-opener. I'm pretty sure these two could work an excellent bout if the circumstances permitted. This was booked for Dusty and Slater to make run-ins. Apparently, Dusty and Funk were on the same side at this point. I guess Dusty was a heel. OK footage.

N.W.A. World Title Lumberjack Match: Harley Race (c) vs. Dusty Rhodes (October 28th, 1978) -- If you're going to wrestle like a Buddy Rogers type then I guess this is closer to an ideal match-up for Harley than fighting Brisco or the Funks. The finish was controversial so the footage was centered around that. Dusty cut a cool promo afterward in the locker room. OK footage. 

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Handicap Match: Dusty Rhodes vs. Terry Funk & Gary Hart (1974) @Miami Beach Convention Center -- Short clip. Terry has his eye taped up after being attacked by Dusty. Classic Terry. No finish shown. OK footage.

Dusty Rhodes Seeks Revenge On Terry Funk (September 4th, 1979) (Championship Wrestling From Florida) -- this is Funk commentating over an angle where he attacked Dusty and tried to rip the cast off his arm to prove it was loaded. This was classic wild man Funk. He's done better angles and cut better promos, but if you like Funk going nuts then this is an early prototype of it. He even squashes a jobber at the end and lets out a primal scream. OK footage. 

Dusty Rhodes vs. Terry Funk (September 18th, 1979) (Championship Wrestling From Florida) -- Short clip. Terry is still obsessed with the cast. Dory attacks Dusty. I liked the beard Junior had. I didn't know Funk vs. Rhodes was such a big deal in Florida. OK footage. 

N.W.A. World Heavyweight Title Match: Jack Brisco (c) vs. Buddy Colt (October 6th, 1973) -- this was great stuff. Colt was on commentary and was a delight. He had this beautifully understated delivery that built to hilarious one liners. Brisco was phenomenal again. Was there a better babyface in the States in the early 70s than Brisco? This was great stuff. Fantastic action, and Colt put himself over brilliantly. 

Florida Heavyweight Title Match: Pak Song (c) vs. Jack Brisco (April 17th,1976) (CWF) -- Pak Song was a stereotypical Asian heel and didn't bring much to the table offensively, but man, the slow motion replays of Jack's work in this match were a thing of beauty. Brisco is poetry in motion. Good stuff. 

Harley Race vs. Dick Murdoch (April 22nd, 1975) (Championship Wrestling From Florida) -- now this is the Harley Race I want to see! A tough, gritty bastard that kicks ass and justifies the legality of his headbutts as a God blessing him with a hard head. More of this Harley, please! Good stuff. 

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Terry Funk vs. Jim Dillon + Terry Funk vs. Bob Roop (1975) (Championship Wrestling From Florida) -- Solie commentates over clips of Funk in action. This is my favorite era for Funk. He was in the best shape of his career and in his athletic prime. He still wrestled during his bouts instead of all-out brawling, but he could kick ass when he wanted to, and had all of the charisma and personality of his later years but without the wildness and over-exaggerated craziness. I'd take this Funk over crazy, wildman Funk any day of the week.

Jack Brisco vs. Buddy Colt (August 12th, 1972) (Championship Wrestling From Florida) -- Brisco vs. Colt is quickly becoming one of my favorite match-ups. Colt is a fantastic performer. I generally prefer wrestler types over performers as a preference, but I can appreciate a performer when they're as skilled as Colt. How good was Jack Brisco at selling? As good as he was at actual wrestling, and as aesthetically beautiful as his professional wrestling moves were, what sets him apart is his outstanding of how to sell. He wasn't a great promo, and I don't think he was hugely charismatic, but man he knew how to sell. Great footage.

Steel Cage! Paul Jones vs. Buddy Colt + Florida TV Title! Jack Brisco (c) vs. Bobby Shane (4-14-73) -- Bobby Shane's outfit needs to be seen to be believed. He looks like the most Matt D wrestler ever, and I mean that in the nicest way possible. I'm not a guy who goes gaga for territory wrestling, but Buddy Colt vs. Paul Jones in a cage match? C'mon now. My only regret about this was that I watched in the morning without a beer in hand. Buddy Colt rules. Good stuff.

Lumberjack Match: Buddy Colt vs. Johnny Walker (September 29th, 1972) @Tallahassee Sports Stadium -- Holy crap, Johnny Walker is fucking awesome. I clearly need to see as much Walker as I can find. Not only is he an intense technical wrestler, but he can brawl like a motherfucker too. Colt is on commentary here, and I think it's from a later date because his partner sounds like a generic shoot interviewer. Buddy was a brilliant performer. Just flat out brilliant. He cracks me up by saying he had more intestinal fortitude than anyone in history. Great footage.

N.W.A. World Heavyweight Title Match: Harley Race (c) vs. Dusty Rhodes (August 13th, 1977) -- Harley Race cuts an awesome promo before the footage like only Harley Race can. He calls Dusty the Goodyear Blimp of professional wrestling, but Dusty is amazing shape by Dusty Rhodes standards. He's incredibly athletic compared to the Dusty I'm used to. Dusty thinks he's won the title and a bunch of babyface workers and fans storm the ring to congratulate him. They carry him out of the ring on their shoulders amid huge celebrations from the fans. I'm not keen on this switch from Brisco to Dusty as the biggest babyface star in Florida, but you can't deny that Dusty was the people's champion. Jerry Brisco is having a blast pouring champagne over Dusty in the locker room, but a grave Gordon Solie tells us that "all is not well." Dusty used the ropes for leverage, which was probably the most athletic thing I've ever seen him do, and the decision was reversed after the referee lodged a protest. Good stuff, and an eye opener for me about Dusty. 

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