Eddie Gilbert (wrestler)
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|Birth name||Thomas Edward Gilbert, Jr.|
August 14, 1961|
Lexington, Tennessee, USA
|Died||February 18, 1995
Isla Verde, Puerto Rico
|Professional wrestling career|
|Ring name(s)||Eddie Gilbert
Tommy Gilbert, Jr.
|Billed height||5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)|
|Billed weight||222 lb (101 kg)|
|Billed from||"Every Girl's Dream"
|Trained by||Tommy Gilbert|
|Debut||February 10, 1979|
- 1 Professional wrestling career
- 1.1 Early career (1979-1982)
- 1.2 World Wrestling Federation (1982-1984)
- 1.3 Mid-Southern Wrestling
- 1.4 Universal Wrestling Federation (1986-1987)
- 1.5 Continental Wrestling Federation
- 1.6 Jim Crockett Promotions / World Championship Wrestling
- 1.7 Independent circuit
- 1.8 Looking For Mr. Gilbert Shoot Interview
- 2 Personal life
- 3 Death
- 4 In wrestling
- 5 Championships and accomplishments
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Professional wrestling career
Early career (1979-1982)
Gilbert started wrestling in 1979 as "Tommy Gilbert Jr." in honor of his father, Tommy Gilbert. Eddie absolutely loved professional wrestling and his idol was Jerry Lawler because he wrestled and booked at the same time. His mother said he used to make up matches and booking sheets while he was still in school.
World Wrestling Federation (1982-1984)
He spent a little bit of time wrestling in the World Wrestling Federation as a jobber in 1982, before being promoted to mid-card status. He continued to work his way up the card when he was (legit) seriously injured in a car accident in 1983. He spent several months recovering before returning to the ring; upon his return, he stated on television that WWF Champion Bob Backlund had been a tremendous inspiration to him. Gilbert continued wrestling for the WWF until 1984.
Later, he began making a name for himself as Eddie Gilbert in CWA in Memphis, Tennessee. He teamed with his father and Ricky Morton in those years. In addition, he formed a team with Tommy Rich as "Fargo's Fabulous Ones", an attempt by Mid-Southern (Memphis) to bury and still cash in on the fame attained by the previous incarnation of the Fabulous Ones, Steve Keirn and Stan Lane, who walked out of the territory after a dispute. They held the AWA Southern Tag Team titles in 1984 until dropping them to Phil Hickerson and the Spoiler (Frank Morrell). The duo would break up soon after, with Gilbert turning heel. The two had a brief but intense feud, which memorably began on television when the two were presented with a "Tag Team of the Year" award by announcer Lance Russell and two guests. Gilbert, unaware his former partner was at the taping, badmouthed Rich, then the International Heavyweight Champion, until Rich came out to confront him. Rich immediately got the upper hand, running Gibert into the steel ringpost several times, bloodying him in the process before the cameras went to a commercial. After the commercial break, Gilbert told Russell he wanted Rich to come back out so he could apologize to him in person, stating he was wrong for still being bitter about the break-up of the team, and was fueled by jealousy of Rich's championship title reign and new found star status. When Rich accepted Gilbert's apology, Gilbert suddenly turned on him and, in front of a stunned audience and a speechless Russell, rammed Rich's head into the ringpost, just as Rich had done to him moments earlier. Gilbert then made his way to Bill Watts' Mid-South territory.
Universal Wrestling Federation (1986-1987)
In 1986, Gilbert went to work for Bill Watts at Universal Wrestling Federation, Eddie added the "Hot Stuff" to his name. He started a heel stable of wrestlers called "Hot Stuff International, Inc." and he managed it and wrestled. His stable included Sting, Ultimate Warrior and, Rick Steiner before they were stars. He was always a ladies' man and he stole Missy Hyatt from John Tatum in 1987, with his stable being renamed "H & H International, Inc." He married Hyatt in 1988. Iceman Parsons and Dick Murdoch would also join his stable later on at different times as well. Sting would eventually leave "Hot Stuff International, Inc." and feud with them.
Eddie also worked as a booker, who came up with the famous Battle of New Orleans angle in late-1987 involving Chris Adams, Terry Taylor, Sting, and himself. Following a match in which Taylor defeated Shane Douglas due to interference by both Gilbert and Rick Steiner, Adams told referee Randy Anderson of the interference. As Adams pleaded his case with Anderson, Gilbert and Taylor attacked him, and Sting eventually evened the sides. The angle eventually spilled outside of the ring into the stands, and near the concession area, featuring a huge brawl involving beer kegs, chairs, trash cans, tables, popcorn machines and other objects. Gilbert was awarded Best Booker of 1988 by the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. He would stay with the Universal Wrestling Federation until the Purchase from Jim Crockett Promotions
Continental Wrestling Federation
From there, Gilbert worked in Alabama's Continental Wrestling Federation (CWF), where he reformed Hot Stuff Inc. Gilbert also served as booker, with Paul Heyman as his assistant. The CWF was broadcast nationally on the Financial News Network, and Gilbert's creative work was widely praised by wrestling journalists. However, Gilbert left due to conflicts with management.
Jim Crockett Promotions / World Championship Wrestling
Gilbert went to the NWA's Jim Crockett Promotions (JCP) -- which had purchased the UWF—and brought Hyatt, Heyman and his brother Doug Gilbert with him. Eddie teamed with Rick Steiner to feud with Kevin Sullivan and his Varsity Club. He also became involved in a feud with Ric Flair and Barry Windham in which he teamed with Ricky Steamboat and Lex Luger. Near the end of his stint there, JCP was renamed World Championship Wrestling, and Gilbert was featured in the first WCW video game.
Eddie left WCW in late 1989 and also divorced Hyatt. He went back to the independents where he could book again. He worked for the United States Wrestling Association (USWA) in Memphis (where he feuded with Jerry Lawler) and the Global Wrestling Federation (GWF), as well as Philadelphia's Tri-State Wrestling Alliance promotion. Gilbert also married Madusa at this time after having hit it off with Madusa on TWA promoter Joel Goodhart's radio show, but the marriage was brief.
Gilbert's most famous feud in the Memphis territory involved an angle between himself and Lawler in 1990. Eddie and his brother Doug were "fired" from the promotion, and in retaliation hit Lawler with their car and fled the scene. Numerous home viewers, fearing for Lawler, immediately called the police to report what they had just seen as a legitimate vehicular assault. Lawler had to inform the police what was going on and Lawler was forced to appear on television (while selling his "injuries") sooner than intended out of concern that Gilbert would have been legitimately arrested if he didn't show on TV that he was all right.
Due to a pay dispute, Gilbert, along with his brother Doug (who wrestled under a mask as the Dark Patriot) left the GWF in 1992. Eddie Gilbert took with him the GWF North American Heavyweight Championship belt. He made a few defenses of the title in the USWA as the GWF World Heavyweight champion, despite being stripped of the belt and not being recognized as such by the GWF.
He wrestled in (and booked) the successor to Tri-State Wrestling, NWA Eastern Championship Wrestling, in 1993 where he again teamed with Doug. He also served as head booker, but gave up his position in September 1993 to Paul Heyman, who eventually took the company national under the name Extreme Championship Wrestling.
Looking For Mr. Gilbert Shoot Interview
Shortly after leaving ECW in late 1993, Gilbert sat down with Bob Barnett and conducted a filmed shoot interview titled "Looking For Mr. Gilbert." Gilbert spoke openly about his life and career at a time when professional wrestlers rarely appeared on film out of character and almost never spoke publicly about the behind-the-scenes machinations of the wrestling business. The footage from the interview was later marketed on home video and sold through wrestling newsletters, as well as at independent wrestling shows, the first of its kind. "Looking For Mr. Gilbert" is now considered the first professional wrestling "shoot video", and in the decades since, countless professional wrestlers have conducted sit-down shoot interviews, most notably in RF Video's Shoot Interview series and Kayfabe Commentaries' YouShoot interview series.
On February 18, 1995, Gilbert died of a heart attack. His father, Tommy Gilbert, stated that injuries to Eddie's chest and heart muscle had occurred in a serious car crash in 1983 and could have been a factor; Eddie's alleged use of painkillers since the accident could also have contributed to his heart condition. The Eddie Gilbert Memorial Brawl was held in his memory from 1996 to 1999.
- Theme Music
Championships and accomplishments
- Continental Wrestling Association
- Eastern Championship Wrestling
- Global Wrestling Federation
- NWA Tri-State / Mid-South Wrestling Association / Universal Wrestling Federation
- Mid-South Tag Team Championship (1 time) - with The Nightmare
- NWA Tri-State Tag Team Championship (3 times) – with Ricky Morton (1), and Tommy Gilbert (2)
- NWA United States Tag Team Championship (Tri-State version) (1 time) – with Tommy Gilbert
- UWF World Tag Team Championship (2 times) – with Sting
- UWF World Television Championship (1 time)
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- United States Wrestling Association
- USWA Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- USWA Southern Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- USWA Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Brian Christopher
- USWA Unified World Heavyweight Championship (4 times)
- GWF World Heavyweight Championship (actually GWF North American Championship brought over to USWA)
- Memphis Wrestling Hall of Fame (Class of 1995)
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards
- Best Booker (1988)
- Power Slam Staff (January 1999). "Power Slam". This Month in History: February (SW Publishing). p. 28. 55.
- Shields, Brian; Sullivan, Kevin (2009). WWE Encyclopedia. DK. p. 88. ISBN 978-0-7566-4190-0.
- Profile of Eddie Gilbert, part 1. EddieGilbert.com
- "Big Business Brown's website". Big Biz. Retrieved 2012-01-01.
- "Bruno Lauer's profile". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2009-08-03.
- "Jimmy Hart profile". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2009-09-04.
- Smoky Mountain Wrestling (1995-01-02). "Unabomb introduced by Eddie Gilbert; Unabomb & "Hot Stuff" Eddie Gilbert Vs. The Rock 'n' Roll Express". SMW.
- "Legends of the Arena Results 6.27.09".
- "Pro Wrestling Illustrated's Top 500 Wrestlers of the PWI Years". Wrestling Information Archive. Retrieved 2010-09-15.
- "Memphis Hall of Fame". Wrestling-Titles.com. Puroresu Dojo. 2003. Retrieved April 15, 2012.