Dr. Jerry Graham
|Dr. Jerry Graham|
|Birth name||Jerry Martin Matthews|
|Born||December 16, 1921|
|Died||January 24, 1997(aged 75)|
|Professional wrestling career|
|Ring name(s)||Dr. Jerry Graham|
|Billed height||5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)|
|Billed weight||245 lb (111 kg)|
|Trained by||Self-trained at the YMCA|
Jerry Martin Graham (born Jerry Martin Matthews, December 16, 1921 – January 24, 1997) was an American professional wrestler. He is best known for his time spent in the World Wide Wrestling Federation and as the founder of the Graham wrestling family.
Professional wrestling career
Graham began wrestling at the age of 14 in his hometown of Phoenix. He was the founder of the storyline Graham wrestling family, which included Eddie Graham (Edward Gossett), "Crazy" Luke Graham (James Grady Johnson), "Superstar" Billy Graham (Wayne Coleman), Mike Graham (Mike Gossett),and Mad Dog Steele Graham (Tom Hankins). Along with Eddie, Jerry sold out Madison Square Garden many times in the 1950s and late 1960s, when they were known as The Golden Grahams. After his tag team success, Dr. Graham brought "Crazy" Luke Graham and "Superstar" Billy Graham into the Graham family.
Graham feuded with Buddy Rogers in 1956. On November 19, 1957, Graham and Dick the Bruiser wrestled Argentina Rocca and Edouard Carpentier at Madison Square Garden. During the match a major riot exploded and many fans were arrested, with eight police officers being injured from chairs that were thrown by fans. All of the wrestlers during the match were fined, and Dick the Bruiser was banned for life from wrestling in New York.
When Dr. Graham wrestled Bruno Sammartino for the World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF)'s World Heavyweight Championship, Madison Square Garden was so packed that more than 10,000 fans were turned away. He held the WWWF United States Tag Team Championship six times, including several reigns with Eddie Graham, one with "brother" Crazy Luke Graham, and one with Johnny Valentine.
Graham was adopted by his stepfather Harold Graham and his name was legally changed. He falsified his age to enlist in World War II, where he served with the 82nd Airborne Division Paratroopers. After the war, the attended Phoenix College and Arizona State University.
Graham suffered from alcoholism and depression. When his mother died, he grabbed a shotgun from the back of his car and took his mother's corpse out of Phoenix General Hospital. After the incident, he spent time in the Arizona State Mental Hospital.
Championships and accomplishments
- Capitol Wrestling Corporation/World Wide Wrestling Federation/WWE
- Gulf Coast Championship Wrestling
- Maple Leaf Wrestling
- Mid-South Sports
- NWA All-Star Wrestling
- NWA Canadian Tag Team Championship (Vancouver version) (1 time) – with Abdullah the Butcher
- NWA World Tag Team Championship (Vancouver version) (1 time) – with Abdullah the Butcher
- Stampede Wrestling
- World Wrestling Association
- Mooneyham, Mike (February 9, 1997). "Dr. Jerry Graham Tortured Soul". The Wrestling Gospel. Archived from the original on November 13, 2008. Retrieved June 23, 2019.
- "Dr. Jerry Graham". WWE. Retrieved June 23, 2019.
- Solomon, Brian (2010). WWE Legends. Simon and Schuster. p. 176. ISBN 1451604505.
- "Georgia Wrestling History Hall of Fame". Georgia Wrestling History. Retrieved June 23, 2019.
- Graham, Billy (2010). WWE Legends - Superstar Billy Graham: Tangled Ropes. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 1439121796.
- "Congratulations to the 2017 WWE Hall of Fame Legacy inductees". WWE. March 31, 2017. Retrieved March 31, 2017.