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2017-08-25 digital edition
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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2017 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved. 


 

August 25, 2017  RSS feed
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Text: T T T

Glazer JCC hosts return of wrestling


(L-R) Gordon Solie who often announced matches at the armory, interviews The Great Malenko, aka Lawrence Simon, and Johnny Valentine. (L-R) Gordon Solie who often announced matches at the armory, interviews The Great Malenko, aka Lawrence Simon, and Johnny Valentine. For the first time in three decades, wrestling will return to the former Fort Homer Hesterly Armory, now the Bryan Glazer Family JCC.

On Tuesday, Sept. 26, for one night only, wrestling fans will be able to enjoy matches and walk-ons by some of the greats from years’ past. Bell time is 7 p.m. with VIP guests invited at 6 p.m.

Wrestling - before the Bucs, the Rays, the Lightning and Rowdies – was the sports king in Tampa and throughout the state. Heroes and villains of the wrestling world included Dusty Rhodes, The Great Malenko, Jack Briscoe and as the years rolled on, others such as Wahoo McDaniel, John Cena, Chris Jerico, Ric Flair, Ricky Steamboat and, perhaps the most famous of all, Hulk Hogan.

The armory was one of several venues in Florida where the scripted matches, including fighting outside the rink as well as inside, were held. Referees were often ignored or punched out, fights erupted in the stands, folding chairs were used to bash opponents over the head, and the sport included a lexicon of moves, from running powerslams, the Texas cloverleaf, chokeslams, diving leg lariats, piledrivers, sleepers, leg locks, brainbusters, arm drags and many others. The moves were often very acrobatic and nearly always rendering damage more staged than real. Championship Wrestling from Florida, announced by Gordon Solie, was televised through the state and when the wrestlers performed at the armory and fans sweltered with no air conditioning, no luxury boxes and no gourmet food stands. Still, the stands were often full, loud and boisterous.

Under the name Malenko Wrestling, Lawrence Simon operated a training facility in Tampa. Jody Simon is organizing the return of wrestling at the Armory. He is shown, center, with sons Jody, left, and Dean.Under the name Malenko Wrestling, Lawrence Simon operated a training facility in Tampa. Jody Simon is organizing the return of wrestling at the Armory. He is shown, center, with sons Jody, left, and Dean.
Jody Simon, retired wrestler and son of “The Great Malenko,” is organizing the event card and promises “a Tuesday night that you won’t forget. It’s sure to bring back great memories … a must for wrestling fans of all ages.” Simon is one of only a handful of Jewish men who wrestled at the armory.

Seating is limited and tickets are on sale now at www.bryanglazerfamilyjcc.com/wrestlingreturns. Limited VIP tickets are $100, general advanced tickets are $20 and night of the event tickets are $25. The Glazer JCC is at 522 N. Howard Ave. For more information, contact Michelle Gallagher at michelle.gallagher@jewishtampa.com or (813) 739-1687.


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