Dr. Jerry Graham
|Birth name||Jerry Martin Matthews|
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||210 lb (95 kg) (in his prime)|
|Trained by||Self-trained at the YMCA|
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
Jerry Martin Matthews was adopted by his stepfather Harold Graham and his name was legally changed. Dr. Graham began wrestling at the age of 14 in his hometown of Phoenix. He was the founder of the storyline Graham wrestling family, which held numerous professional wrestling championships. The family included "Crazy" Luke Graham (James Grady Johnson), "Superstar" Billy Graham (Wayne Coleman), Eddie Graham (Edward Gossett), Mike Graham (Mike Gossett), Dr. Jerry Graham Jr. (Jerry Jaffe), 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 which set attendance records at that time. On November 19, 1957, one of the most infamous matches in wrestling history occurred when 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 WWWF (World Wide Wrestling Federation) World Heavyweight Championship, Madison Square Garden was so packed that more than 10,328 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.
On March 31, 2017, Graham was posthumously inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame as apart of the Legacy wing.
It is well documented that Dr. Graham had many run-ins with the law and had alcohol problems. 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. In "Superstar" Billy Graham's book Tangled Ropes, he speaks about the real life hatred that Dr. Graham had for Freddie Blassie. In 2005, Dr. Graham was inducted into the GeorgiaWrestlingHistory.com Hall of Fame.
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
- "Congratulations to the 2017 WWE Hall of Fame Legacy inductees". WWE. March 31, 2017. Retrieved March 31, 2017.
- Dr. Jerry Graham on WWE.com
- http://www.ugo.com/sports/tag-team-greats/?cur=graham&morepics=17[permanent dead link]
- http://www.hospital-data.com/hospitals/PHOENIX-GENERAL-HOSPITAL-PHOENIX.html (PHOENIX GENERAL HOSPITAL - PHOENIX, AZ)
- http://www.modernphoenix.net/churches/azstatemental.htm (Arizona State Mental Hospital Chapel)
- https://books.google.com/books?id=Y6Yb4ojtx6EC&dq=tangled+ropes&printsec=frontcover&source=bl&ots=lCFHRjPYws&sig=-kO0E8fNdDDdZEnmmeHWiumKSGA&hl=en&ei=kSeISfCoEcyatwfB9K2gBw&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=4&ct=result (Tangled Ropes by Billy Graham)