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RECAP AND REVIEW: Ron Fuller’s Studcast on Finishing Florida 1974 – Bill Watts turns heel on Ron, why he felt his time in Florida was going to be short, what Dusty Rhodes needed to get over, why there was concern of running in St. Petersburg

Ron Fuller Studcast – Finishing Florida 1974

Release Date: January 30, 2019

Running time: 1:05

Recap by: Joe Aguinaldo

DIRECT LINK TO LISTEN/DOWNLOAD

On this week’s podcast, Ron talks about the end of his run in Florida. He’s spent four years in the territory, which set the tone for the next phase of his life. He learned a lot about the business that helped him later in his career as a promoter.

-Ron was teaming with Bill Watts, however, they aren’t wrestling together as often as Ron would like. Watts is battling Buddy Colt regularly.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x5Nkv1vbL_Y

-Ron beat Colt earlier for the Florida title, however, Colt beats Watts for the North American Title.

-Watts doesn’t have a belt and he and Ron start chasing the Hollywood Blondes for the tag titles.

-Ron and Bill wrestle the Hollywood Blondes a number of times for the titles.

June 3rd – Watts and Ron win a non-title match.
June 4th – Watts and Ron win by DQ.
June 8th – Watts and Ron win a non-title match.
June 10th – Watts and Ron win a non-title match.

-Even though they’ve won, these weren’t title matches, which frustrates Watts.

-Ron says Watts may have been upset that Ron was the Florida champ, yet Bill did not have a title.

-On June 11th, during a match against the Blondes, Bill turned on Ron. Throughout the match, Bill was hesitant to tag Ron. Eventually, Bill hit Ron from behind and left the ring.

-Bill and Ron wrestle a number of matches in the territory.

June 17th, they wrestle for the first time in a non-title match. Ron wins.
June 18th, Ron beats Bill in a non-title match.
June 24th, Ron retains his title against Bill with Don Curtis as special referee.
June 25th, Ron beats Bill by DQ in a non-title match.
June 27th, Ron beats Bill and retains his title.
July 1st, Ron and Don Curtis beat Bill Watts in a handicapped match.

July 2nd, Ron missed his flight for a title match against Watts. Bill came to the ring and realized Ron wasn’t there and started saying he wanted to be crowned champion by forfeit. Ron’s brother Rob came out and offered to defend Ron’s championship even though he had just lost a tough match against Pak Song. Watts beat Rob and was declared Florida Champion.

-Ron got four title matches against Watts before the end of July, but Bill got DQ’d in every one of those matches.

-Behind the scenes, Ron had the feeling his time in Florida was short. Bill wasn’t putting Ron over, which was a little bit of a question mark. Ron could see things were changing and he started to think about his future. He had been in the territory for four years, which is unusual, but he was beginning to wonder about it.

-In August 1974, Ron wrestled his first match is in Philadelphia against Strong Kobayashi representing the Florida territory on a show for Vince McMahon Sr. This was the first wrestling card at the Spectrum.

-This was the first time Ron had been in a building that wasn’t sold out, because the Florida Territory was on fire at the time compared to other territories.

-On July 4th, Ron wrestled Buddy Colt for the North American title working a 60 minute broadway.

-Buddy was a great worker and called a lot of high spots. Ron says the last five minutes of that match felt like 50 minutes because of how Buddy worked.

They had a great match to 60 minutes however, Bill came out wanted them to wrestle for five more minutes. After those five minutes, he wanted them to wrestle five more minutes, however, both Ron and Colt left the ring.

Bill came to the back and said that was one of the best broadway matches he had seen.

Dusty Rhodes

-Dusty is three months in as a babyface and has a great group of heels to work with in Gary Hart’s army.

https://youtu.be/O8BiY29gVAk

-Fans are still going crazy for Dusty while Dusty is still developing his style.

-Dusty is a great seller, which makes it easy to keep heat on the heels. His timing is great when doing his comeback. Dusty’s timing and how he sold always brought the crowd to its feet.

-Dusty is a totally new worker compared to when he was a heel. He also has more confidence in and out of the ring and does articles for newspapers and radios.

-Dusty has been doing a lot of bleeding from his head, so he decides to start bleeding from his arm, which is not something the crowd would normally see.

-Some of the other wrestlers would cut their ears, but anytime you cut yourself anywhere other than your forearm, the crowd will look at it differently.

Card from June 1974 in Tampa

Dusty/Eddie Graham vs. Pak Song/Bobby Duncum
Dusty vs. Pak Song
Dusty vs. Terry Funk
Dusty vs. Giant Baba
Dusty vs. Strong Kobayashi

Watts was smart and was feeding Dusty different heels.

Ron says Dusty needed to bleed to get over. Florida fans were used to a more wrestling product from guys such as Jack Brisco and not a lot of bleeding.

With Dusty, they were getting a lot of blood so Watts made sure to balance the undercard by loading the underneath card with a lot of wrestling which would level out the blood and guts at the end of the evening.

The Hollywood Blondes

-The Hollywood Blondes were a fabulous team (Buddy Roberts and Jerry Brown).

-Oliver Humperdink was the perfect manager for them and they could work with any team.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xLhnyn8AeGw

-Ron enjoyed working with them.

St. Petersburg

-Around this time, they started running St. Petersburg which had a bigger and better building. There was some concern though because it was so close to the Armoury in Tampa which was an established town.

-They decided to run St. Pete as a regular town on a Saturday night. It became a huge success in the box office but now the problem was how to book both places which were only miles apart.

-Eddie Graham suggested booking return matches using the two arenas in Tampa and St. Pete’s.

-Opening St. Pete’s lead to the territory making $100,000 profit in one month which was huge money back then.

Twitter Q&A

-Ron answers questions about Lou Thesz, a young Arn Anderson’s potential and how he met Ric Flair, Jerry Stubbs, how friends turning on him and trying to destroy what Ron tried to build  affected him (during the Knoxville Wrestling Wars).

Rating – 7.5/10

Another great Studcast from Ron Fuller. The wrestling historian geek in me loves listening about the business back in the ’70s and ’80s and how sensibilities have changed when it comes to what is considered a lot of money to blading. The story about how Bill turned on Ron was told in half kayfabe but was still a fun story to listen to. Also, I got to know Dusty mainly from his days in the Crockett promotion and later on his work in the WWE. It’s nice to get some insight into his early career before all that happened. Definite recommend.

About Joe:

Joe is a long time wrestling fan from Toronto. He is a co-host on the Pull Apart Podcast with Jeff Rush and Caitlin Lavelle as well as a contributor to www.pwpodcasts.com. One of his life goals is to be a guest host on one of Wade Keller’s post-show podcasts. He doesn’t consider himself any sort of expert, he just likes wrestling. Check him out on Twitter and Instagram @ja113.

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