Eddie Graham

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Eddie Graham
Eddie Graham.jpg
Birth nameEdward F. Gossett
Born(1930-01-15)January 15, 1930[1]
Chattanooga, Tennessee, U.S.
DiedJanuary 21, 1985(1985-01-21) (aged 55)
Tampa, Florida, U.S.
Cause of deathMultiple gunshot suicide
Spouse(s)Lucy Gossett
ChildrenMike Graham
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s)Eddie Gossett[1]
Rip Rogers
Billed height5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)[1]
Billed weight215 lb (98 kg)[1]
Trained byCowboy Luttrell[1]
Debut1947
Retired1982

Edward F. Gossett[1] (January 15, 1930 – January 21, 1985),[1] better known as Eddie Graham, was an American professional wrestler. He was also the promoter and booker for Championship Wrestling from Florida and President of the NWA in the 1970s.

Early life[edit]

Edward Gossett[1] was born on January 15, 1930, in Dayton, Tennessee, blind in one eye. He lived in a troubled household and sold newspapers and eggs to make a living while in Chattanooga at the age of 12.[2] The newspaper provided YMCA gym memberships to newsboys, allowing him to receive physical training.[2]

Professional wrestling career[edit]

Texas[edit]

Gossett started wrestling in 1947 in Texas at the age of 17 after being trained by Clarence "Cowboy" Luttrall.[3][4] He was occasionally billed as the brother of "Nature Boy" Buddy Rogers under the name of Rip Rogers.[4] He lost a loser-leaves-town match to Pepper Gomez in May 1958 in Texas.[4]

Tag team wrestling[edit]

Graham in 1972

In June 1958, he changed his ring name, adopting the persona of Eddie Graham, who was billed as the "brother" of Dr. Jerry Graham and "Crazy" Luke Graham (Superstar Billy Graham would later join the group of brothers).[5] Jerry and Eddie were a very successful villainous tag team on the east coast of the United States.[3] They had popular feuds with teams such as the Fabulous Kangaroos, the Bastien Brothers, Mark Lewin and Don Curtis, and Antonino Rocca and Miguel Pérez.[3] They held the NWA United States Tag Team Championship (Northeast version) together in Capitol Wrestling (the forerunner of World Wrestling Entertainment) four times, winning the belts three times in victories over Lewin and Curtis, and once against Red and Lou Bastien.[6]

Florida and NWA President[edit]

In the spring of 1960, Eddie left the team and went to the National Wrestling Alliance's territory in Florida to wrestle. While there, in 1966, he had a feud with Professor Boris Malenko.[3] Eddie took over booking and promoting for Championship Wrestling from Florida in 1971. He wrestled in tag team matches with his son, Mike Graham, until 1977, when he retired from the ring due to health problems. Graham returned to the ring a year later. In 1979, he defeated Killer Khan by pinfall after the referee was knocked out and subsequent interference by Mr. Hito and Kazuo Sakurada on Khan's behalf was fought off by his son Mike and Ray Stevens. Graham's last recorded match was against Terry Funk on March 3, 1982, which was ruled a draw.[7]

He was the President of the NWA from 1976 to 1978, thanks in part to Gordon Solie and Dusty Rhodes. Graham was absent as NWA President in 1977 and 1978 due to serious health problems he suffered from, and was forced to step down as a result.[8]

Personal life[edit]

In 1968, Graham was lacing his boots in the locker room when a 75-lb steel window fell on his head, detaching both of his retinas and causing him an injury that required three hundred stitches.[3] The Florida Legislature awarded him $23,000 for the incident. According to Jim Wilson in his book Chokehold, Graham's eyesight was poor because of blade jobs, and because he needed surgery to correct the problem and could not afford the money, he had some wrestlers tamper with the window in order to pass it off as though it was the responsibility of the building. This allegation is disputed by eyewitnesses. Also, "blading" does not cause eye damage according to noted optometrist Dr. Robert W. McCullough and other eye doctors. Due to the injury, Graham was unable to wrestle for fifteen months.[3]

Graham made contributions to a number of charitable causes, as chief of the Florida Boys and Girls Ranch Villa.[9] In 1957, Graham, C.P. “Cowboy” Luttrall, and Hillsborough Sheriff Ed Blackburn began efforts to establish the organization. Graham donated funds from every Championship Wrestling from Florida show to the Villa, bringing in a reported $100,000, also donating to high school and college level amateur wrestling events.[5]

Death and legacy[edit]

Graham remained as the promoter in Florida until January 21, 1985, when he committed suicide by gunshot after a lifelong battle with alcoholism and depression.[3] It is believed that Graham’s participation in a land deal gone wrong led to him needing to raise over $500,000, including financial and marriage problems contributed to his death.[5] His son Mike and grandson Stephen committed suicide in similar manners on October 19, 2012, and December 14, 2010, respectively.[10]

He was posthumously inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame on March 29, 2008 by Dusty Rhodes, while his son, Mike Graham, accepted the honor on behalf of his father.[4]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Eddie Graham Profile". Online World Of Wrestling. Retrieved 2008-03-23.
  2. ^ a b Scherberger, Tom (September 22, 1985). "THE FINAL BOUT OF WRESTLER EDDIE GRAHAM MISMATCHED--INSIDE THE RING AND OUT, WRESTLER EDDIE GRAHAM COULD HANDLE ANYONE AND ANYTHING OR SO IT SEEMED". Orlando Sentinel. Archived from the original on 2020-11-29. Retrieved November 15, 2021.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g John Molinaro, The Top 100 Pro Wrestlers of All Time, (Winding Stair Press: 2002), page 200.
  4. ^ a b c d "Eddie Graham bio". WWE. Retrieved 2015-06-03.
  5. ^ a b c Ojst, Javier (December 22, 2018). "Eddie and Mike Graham – Triumph and Dark Tragedy". Pro Wrestling Stories. Archived from the original on 2020-10-26. Retrieved November 15, 2021.
  6. ^ NWA United States Tag Team Championship (Capitol version) at Wrestling-Titles.com
  7. ^ "Eddie Graham".
  8. ^ "Kansas City Wrestling program, August 17, 1978". Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved 2007-03-23.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  9. ^ Selman, Jim (1985-01-22). "Self-inflicted gunshot kills Eddie Graham". Wrestling-Titles.com. Retrieved 2021-11-16.
  10. ^ Mooneyham, Mike. "Mike Graham suicide leaves family, friends searching for answers". Post and Courier. Retrieved 2021-11-16.
  11. ^ United States Tag Team Title (Capitol/WWWF) At wrestling-titles.com
  12. ^ NWA Florida Brass Knuckles Title history At wrestling-titles.com
  13. ^ Florida Heavyweight Title history At wrestling-titles.com
  14. ^ Florida Tag Team Title history At wrestling-titles.com
  15. ^ NWA Southern Heavyweight Title (Florida) history At wrestling-titles.com
  16. ^ NWA Southern Tag Team Title (Florida version) history At wrestling-titles.com
  17. ^ NWA United States Tag Team Title (Florida version) history At wrestling-titles.com
  18. ^ NWA World Tag Team Title (Florida version) history At wrestling-titles.com
  19. ^ All Asia Tag Team Title history At wrestling-titles.com
  20. ^ NWA Southern Tag Team Title (Mid-Atlantic version) history At wrestling-titles.com
  21. ^ WCW Hall of Fame Inductees At wrestling-titles.com
  22. ^ NWA Georgia Tag Team Title history At wrestling-titles.com
  23. ^ World Heavyweight Title (Georgia) history At wrestling-titles.com
  24. ^ MWA World Junior Heavyweight Title history At wrestling-titles.com
  25. ^ NWA Hall of Fame Inductees At wrestling-titles.com
  26. ^ Duncan, Royal; Will, Gary (2006) [2000.]. "(Memphis, Nashville) Tennessee: Southern Tag Team Title [Roy Welsch & Nick Gulas, Jerry Jarrett from 1977]". Wrestling title histories: professional wrestling champions around the world from the 19th century to the present. Waterloo, Ontario: Archeus Communications. pp. 185–189. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
  27. ^ "Southern Tag Team Title". Wrestling-Titles. Retrieved January 19, 2020.
  28. ^ NWA World Tag Team Title (Mid-America) history At wrestling-titles.com
  29. ^ Oliver, Greg (2017-12-07). "Oooooh yeaaahhhh! PWHF announces Class of 2018". Slam! Sports. Canadian Online Explorer. Retrieved 2017-12-07.
  30. ^ Will, Gary; Duncan, Royal (2000). "Texas: NWA Texas Tag Team Title [Von Erich]". Wrestling Title Histories: professional wrestling champions around the world from the 19th century to the present. Pennsylvania: Archeus Communications. pp. 275–276. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
  31. ^ "NWA Texas Tag Team Title [E. Texas]". wrestling-titles.com. Retrieved December 27, 2019.
  32. ^ NWA Southwest Tag Team Title history At wrestling-titles.com
  33. ^ "National Wrestling Alliance World Tag Team Titles [W. Texas]". Wrestling-Titles. Retrieved February 21, 2017.
  34. ^ "Eddie Graham".

External links[edit]

Preceded by President of the National Wrestling Alliance
1976–1978
Succeeded by