Luke Graham (wrestler)
|Birth name||Grady Johnson|
|Ring name(s)||Crazy Luke Graham
|Born||February 5, 1940
Union Point, Georgia
|Died||June 23, 2006
James Grady Johnson (February 5, 1940 – June 23, 2006) was an American professional wrestler, better known by his ring name, "Crazy" Luke Graham. As Luke Graham, Johnson was a member of the Graham family, a stable of wrestling brothers.
Professional wrestling career
He began his career as the storyline brother of Dr. Jerry Graham after fellow wrestler Frankie Cain (The Great Mephisto)suggested they resembled each other. They began wrestling together in 1963 in Stampede Wrestling. Later that summer, Johnson wrestled a series of matches against Chief Big Heart.
He wrestled in the World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF) with Jerry Graham beginning in 1964. They won the WWWF United States Tag Team Championship from Don McClarity and Argentina Apollo, holding it for eight months, before losing the belts to another heel tagteam, Gene Kiniski and Waldo Von Erich. It was during this time that he became known as "Crazy" Luke Graham.
Graham enjoyed most of his success for the Los Angeles territory in the mid to late 1960s. He held the WWA World Title for that office in 1965. He dropped the belt to Pedro Morales. In the late 1960s, he was a mid card performer for Verne Gagne's American Wrestling Association (AWA) out of Minneapolis.
After leaving the AWA, Luke had a brief run with Tarzan Tyler as the first WWWF Tag Team Champions in 1971. One story was that the team allegedly defeated Dick the Bruiser and The Sheik for the belts, however, no record of any match between the two teams has ever been documented. The other story is that they won it from Bepo and Geeto Mongol. Once champions, the team held the belts for six months while feuding with Chief Jay Strongbow, Gorilla Monsoon, and Pedro Morales.
In 1974, he was the United States Champion in the Pacific Northeast. He retired in the late 1980s. He teamed with his son, Luke, Jr., however, in 2001 and started Galaxy Championship Wrestling, Inc.
The Graham family
Luke Graham's Sr. storyline brothers are "Doctor" Jerry Graham (Jerramiah Martin Mathews), "Superstar" Billy Graham (Wayne Coleman), former wrestler/promoter Eddie Graham (Eddie Gosset). Other Family members include: Tommy "T.G." Graham (William Pawlak), Troy "The Dream Machine/Warrior" Graham (Troy R. Tompson), Eddie Graham's son Mike Graham (Mike Gosset), and Luke Graham's son, "Crazy" Luke Graham (Donald J. Jolly), Jr. and Nephew, Gerry "Chubby" Graham (M. Gerald Sadler).
Grady Johnson's Luke Graham persona was known for his "craziness". Whenever someone referred to Johnson as "Crazy Luke Graham", as part of his gimmick, he would claim to be sane and cover his ears. He had bleached hair and goatee. One of his signature moves was to stab people with his taped thumb, called The Golden Spike. Most all Graham Family members had the trademark bleach blonde head and facial hair for most of their careers. Gerry "Chubby" Graham was the very last known "Golden Grahams" family wrestler of this dynasty. All the members of the Graham Family are reported retired.
Johnson died, aged 66, from congestive heart failure on June 23, 2006. He had a pacemaker installed prior to his death. He is survived by his four daughters, and son Scott, eleven grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.
Championships and accomplishments
- Mid-South Sports/Georgia Championship Wrestling
- NWA Georgia Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- NWA Georgia Television Championship (1 time)
- NWA Macon Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Moondog Mayne
- NWA Southeastern Heavyweight Championship (Georgia version) (1 time)
- NWA Southeastern Tag Team Championship (Georgia version) (1 time) – with Al Galanto
- NWA Mid-America
- NWA Mid-Pacific Promotions
- WWA World Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Gorilla Monsoon
- World Wrestling Council
- World Wide Wrestling Federation