|Birth name||Edward F. Gossett|
|Born||January 15, 1930|
Chattanooga, Tennessee, U.S.
|Died||January 21, 1985 (aged 55)|
Tampa, Florida, U.S.
|Cause of death||Multiple gunshot suicide|
|Professional wrestling career|
|Ring name(s)||Eddie Gossett|
|Billed height||5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)|
|Billed weight||215 lb (98 kg)|
|Trained by||Cowboy Luttrell|
Edward F. Gossett (January 15, 1930 – January 21, 1985), 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.
Edward Gossett was born on January 15, 1930, in Dayton, Tennessee, blind in one eye. He lived in a troubled household and sold newspapers while living in Chattanooga. The newspaper provided YMCA gym memberships to newsboys, allowing him to get physical training. In later life, he would remember the benefits of the YMCA and help set up something similar for disadvantaged youth.
Professional wrestling career
Gossett started wrestling in 1947 in Texas at the age of 17 after being trained by Clarence "Cowboy" Luttrall. He was occasionally billed as the brother of "Nature Boy" Buddy Rogers under the name of Rip Rogers. He lost a loser-leaves-town match to Pepper Gomez in May 1958 in Texas.
Tag team wrestling
In June 1958, he changed his ring name to Eddie Graham and was billed as the brother of Dr. Jerry Graham and "Crazy" Luke Graham (Superstar Billy Graham would later join the group of brothers). Jerry and Eddie were a very successful villainous tag team on the east coast of the United States. 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. 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.
Florida and NWA President
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. 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. He made a one-shot return to the ring for one final match in 1979 when 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 Mike Graham and Ray Stevens.
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.
In 1968, Graham was lacing his boots in the locker room and a 75-lb steel window fell on his head, detaching both of his retinas and causing him an injury that required three hundred stitches. 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.
Graham made contributions to a number of charitable causes, as chief of the Florida Boys and Girls Ranch Villa. 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. Graham also donated to high school and college level amateur wrestling events.
Death and legacy
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. It is believed that Graham’s participation in a land deal gone wrong led to him needing to raise over $500,000. His son Mike and grandson Stephen had committed suicide in similar manners on October 19, 2012, and December 14, 2010, respectively.
Championships and accomplishments
- Capitol Wrestling Corporation / World Wrestling Entertainment
- NWA United States Tag Team Championship (Northeast version) (4 times) - with Jerry Graham
- Hall of Fame (Class of 2008)
- Championship Wrestling from Florida
- NWA Brass Knuckles Championship (Florida version) (2 times, inaugural)
- NWA Florida Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- NWA Florida Tag Team Championship (1 time) - with Mike Graham
- NWA Southern Heavyweight Championship (Florida version) (3 times)
- NWA Southern Tag Team Championship (Florida version) (2 times) - with Don Curtis (1) and Lester Welch (1)
- NWA United States Tag Team Championship (Florida version) (2 times) - with Dick Steinborn
- NWA World Tag Team Championship (Florida version) (7 times) - with Ike Eakins (1), Sam Steamboat (3), Bob Orton (2), and Jose Lothario (1)
- Japan Wrestling Association
- Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling / World Championship Wrestling
- Mid-South Sports
- Midwest Wrestling Association
- MWA World Junior Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- National Wrestling Alliance
- NWA Mid-America
- Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame
- Class of 2018
- Southwest Sports, Inc.
- Western States Sports
- NWA Southwest Tag Team Championship (3 times) - with Art Nelson
- World Wrestling Entertainment
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter
- "Eddie Graham Profile". Online World Of Wrestling. Retrieved 2008-03-23.
- John Molinaro, The Top 100 Pro Wrestlers of All Time, (Winding Stair Press: 2002), page 200.
- "Eddie Graham bio". WWE. Retrieved 2015-06-03.
- NWA United States Tag Team Championship (Capitol version) at Wrestling-Titles.com
- on YouTube
- "Kansas City Wrestling program, August 17, 1978". Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved 2007-03-23.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
- United States Tag Team Title (Capitol/WWWF) At wrestling-titles.com
- NWA Florida Brass Knuckles Title history At wrestling-titles.com
- Florida Heavyweight Title history At wrestling-titles.com
- Florida Tag Team Title history At wrestling-titles.com
- NWA Southern Heavyweight Title (Florida) history At wrestling-titles.com
- NWA Southern Tag Team Title (Florida version) history At wrestling-titles.com
- NWA United States Tag Team Title (Florida version) history At wrestling-titles.com
- NWA World Tag Team Title (Florida version) history At wrestling-titles.com
- All Asia Tag Team Title history At wrestling-titles.com
- NWA Southern Tag Team Title (Mid-Atlantic version) history At wrestling-titles.com
- WCW Hall of Fame Inductees At wrestling-titles.com
- NWA Georgia Tag Team Title history At wrestling-titles.com
- World Heavyweight Title (Georgia) history At wrestling-titles.com
- MWA World Junior Heavyweight Title history At wrestling-titles.com
- NWA Hall of Fame Inductees At wrestling-titles.com
- 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.
- "Southern Tag Team Title". Wrestling-Titles. Retrieved January 19, 2020.
- NWA World Tag Team Title (Mid-America) history At wrestling-titles.com
- Oliver, Greg (2017-12-07). "Oooooh yeaaahhhh! PWHF announces Class of 2018". Slam! Sports. Canadian Online Explorer. Retrieved 2017-12-07.
- 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.
- "NWA Texas Tag Team Title [E. Texas]". wrestling-titles.com. Retrieved December 27, 2019.
- NWA Southwest Tag Team Title history At wrestling-titles.com
Fritz Von Erich
| President of the National Wrestling Alliance