Grado (wrestler)

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Grado
Grado at Greektown 2018.jpg
Grado in 2018
Birth name Graeme Stevely
Born (1988-06-02) 2 June 1988 (age 30)
Stevenston, North Ayrshire, Scotland
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Grado
Grant Dunbar
Matt Classic[1]
Odarg the Great
Billed height 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)[2]
Billed weight 235 lb (107 kg)[2]
Billed from
Trained by Conscience
Killian Dain
Drew McIntyre
Andrew Wason
Adam Shame
Debut 2004

Graeme Stevely[4] (born 2 June 1988),[5] better known by the ring name Grado (/ˈɡrd/ GRAY-doh), is a Scottish professional wrestler and actor, currently signed to Impact Wrestling. He is best known for his work with Insane Championship Wrestling (ICW) where he is a former ICW World Heavyweight Champion.

Professional wrestling career[edit]

Early career (2002–2006)[edit]

Grado first got into wrestling in 2002. He trained briefly with Red Lightning, Kid Fite, and Drew Galloway at British Championship Wrestling. He then went back to train a few years later with Scottish Wrestling Alliance as they were closer to home. He made his debut for the Scottish Wrestling Alliance (SWA) in 2004, under the ring name Grant Dunbar, as part of The Lowlanders with Glen Dunbar. They achieved little success, but held the SWA Tag Team Championships on two occasions.

Insane Championship Wrestling (2012–2017)[edit]

After years of wrestling sporadically and performing as lead singer of Scottish metalcore band Prezident Prime, Grado returned to training at SWA, this time with new head trainer Big Damo. He made a Facebook video to sell tickets for a Scottish Wrestling Alliance show next to his home town, leading to a promo feud with Jackie Polo which included his first time dancing along to Madonna "Like a Prayer". These videos and promos became popular and Mark Dallas from Insane Championship Wrestling (ICW) hatched the "Get Grado Booked" campaign. During this time, Grado was the subject of a Vice documentary, The British Wrestler, which saw his popularity rise with American stars like Sonjay Dutt voicing their support.[6] As part of the Vice documentary, Grado appeared to defeat ICW Heavyweight Champion Red Lightning at Super Smokin' Thunderbowl to win the ICW Heavyweight Championship. The match was later restarted as Red Lightning had his leg under the bottom rope. Red Lightning would go on to retain the title.

During the ICW Fringe Tour in 2014, Grado teamed up with Colt Cabana to face the New Age Kliq (Chris Renfrew and BT Gunn) and won the first Official ICW Tag Team Championships. Grado and Cabana are known as Irn Jew and on the last night of the tour they lost their Tag Team Champship Belts to The Age Kliq on 15 November 2015 Fear & Loathing VIII Grado defeated Drew Galloway to win the ICW World Championship at the SECC.

At the fifth annual Square Go on 24 January 2016, Grado lost the ICW World Heavyweight Championship to Chris Renfrew, ending his reign at just two months, the shortest reign in ICW History. At the event he also debuted a new theme, and a new look, coming out to a rock version of "99 Problems" replacing his long time theme "Like A Prayer", as well as ditching his long time singlet for trunks, and the flannel given to him by Mick Foley at Fear and Loathing VIII. On 16 April 2017 At Barramania III Grado turned heel for the first time in his career by attacking his longtime friend Sha Samuels and aligning himself with Red Lightning. At Shug's Hoose Party 4 on 30 July he lost to Samuels in a Loser Leaves ICW match forcing Grado to leave ICW.

Premier British Wrestling (2012 - Present)[edit]

On 3 November 2012 Grado was in a Tag Team Match. The Match was The Coffey Brothers (Joe Coffey & Mark Coffey) vs Grado & JD Bravo. The Coffey Brothers Joe Coffey & Mark Coffey won the Match. On 14 March 2015 Grado in Tag Team Match for the Tag Team Championship. The Match was Grado & Kenny Williams vs Darkside & TJ Rage. Grado & Kenny Williams won the Match to become new Tag Champions.

Pro Wrestling Elite (2013 - Present)[edit]

Grado won the PWE Elite Rumble there for earning a title shot and the opportunity to name the next event. The next PWE show was called Gradomania. He won the Pro Wrestling Elite Heavyweight Championship from Dave Mastiff at GradoMania.[2] He lost the title to Iestyn Rees after Rees cashed in his title shot at PWE Jingle All The Galloway.

Independent circuit (2006–present)[edit]

In addition to working in Insane Championship Wrestling, Grado also appears for various companies around the UK. He has worked for SWA, PWE, SWE, PBW and Wrestlezone among other companies. At WrestleZone's Aberdeen Anarchy event in the Beach Ballroom in front of a sold out 1,300 crowd, Grado defeated childhood hero Scotty 2 Hotty. On 27 & 28 July, Grado worked for What Culture Pro Wrestling.

Total Nonstop Action Wrestling / Impact Wrestling[edit]

Various storylines (2014–2016)[edit]

Grado in 2014

In 2014, Grado appeared on the second season of TNA British Boot Camp in an ongoing feud with judge Al Snow.[7][8] After missing the second round of the competition due to having lunch and losing track of time, Snow threw Grado out of the competition. Grado would then appear at the Manchester auditions and was once again thrown out. He reappeared in London and with some convincing from Gail Kim, Snow allowed him back into the competition. Snow would then send Sha Samuels to rough up Grado in the second round. He would make it through to the British finals and onto the U.S. finals before finally being eliminated at the Top 6. After Snow eliminated Grado from the competition, Grado challenged Snow to a match at the SSE Hydro as part of TNA's Maximum Impact Tour in January 2015. Snow accepted and Grado went on to win the match, followed by Snow shaking his hand.

Grado appeared at Destination X on 10 June, having earned another chance in TNA following his victory over Snow. Grado later appeared in several backstage segments, attempting parkour and trying to lose weight to be able to compete in the X Division. Only at the weigh-in did Jeremy Borash inform Grado that "there are no limits in the X-Division". Grado would immediately compete against Kenny King and Cruz, getting the pinfall victory over the latter. Grado fought for the TNA X Division Championship in a losing effort against Low Ki and Tigre Uno. Uno won the match and the title. During October and November (taped in July), Grado went on to participate in the new TNA World Title Series tournament, where he was placed fourth of his block in Team UK. He failed to win all the matches against Drew Galloway, Rockstar Spud, and Bram, thus failing to advance to the round of 16 from his block. On the 26 January 2016 edition of Impact Wrestling. Grado competed in the Feast or Fired match and was the first man to grab the briefcase. Unfortunately, later in the broadcast, during the reveal ceremony, the briefcase revealed that Grado contained the pink slip and as a result of that, he was immediately fired from TNA.

On 9 February 2016, Grado returned to Impact Wrestling claiming he was screwed and was going to show proof that he was screwed when Eli Drake arrived with security. His security then chased Grado out the ring, and Drake attempted to attack him only to be assaulted by Grado. Grado escaped through a tunnel. Later in the night, Billy Corgan was talking about the new UK tour when Grado complained about being screwed. After repeatedly making a rant, security escorted him away. Drake then interrupted Grado and told him "he better shut up about whatever he thinks he knows" and then attacked him.[9]

Teaming with Shera (2016–2017)[edit]

During TNA's Maximum Impact tour of the UK, Grado would make an appearance as a masked wrestler under the guise of Odarg the Great, tagging with Mahabali Shera against Eli Drake and Jessie Godderz.[10] He was billed from "Parts Unknown" and used Grado's move set and entrance theme. At Lockdown, he defeated Eli Drake in a Six Sides of Steel match. Grado would continue appearing during the Maximum Impact 8 tour claiming to have proof that he was "screwed" by Eli Drake. A week later, while showing viewers at home a proof for Grado's point of showing Drake peeking into Grado's briefcase, though it could not be seen if Drake indeed switched cases with Grado, the fact Drake opened Grado's case was enough for Grado to receive a contract ladder match against Drake, which he went on to win. Two weeks later, when he started talking to Mahabali Shera about his comeback party, both men were, with no clear reason, brutally attacked by Al Snow. More than a month after, on the 10 May 2016 episode of Impact Wrestling, Grado returned during a rematch between Snow and Shera, making sure Shera won the match. On the 24 May episode of Impact Wrestling Grado had a street fight with Snow with Shera at ringside, which he went on to lose after interference by two unknown men. At Slammiversary, Grado and Shera were defeated by the two men, who are Basile Baraka and Baron Dax, also known as The Tribunal. On 14 June edition of Impact Wrestling, Grado and Mahabali have a four-way tag team match for the TNA World Tag Team Championship against The Tribunal, The BroMans and Decay, in a losing effort. On 28 June edition of Impact Wrestling, Grado, Mahabali Shera and Tyrus defeated Al Snow and The Tribunal. On 4 August edition of Impact Wrestling, Grado and Mahabali Shera defeated Al Snow and The Tribunal in a handicap match. At Bound for Glory, he participated in the Bound for Gold but was quickly eliminated by Rockstar Spud. On the 24 November episode of Impact Wrestling, Grado lost to Robbie E in a Turkey Bowl match where he was forced to wear a turkey suit.

American deportation storyline (2017)[edit]

Grado made his return to Global Force Wrestling on the 13 July 2017, where he asked Joseph Park for help because if he doesn't get married to a United States citizen in order to avoid deportation he will be deported from United States, so asked Laurel Van Ness on a date which was interrupted by Kongo Kong but answered yes to Grado at the backstage interview and dated Laural Van Ness the following week. On 27 July, Grado proposed to Laurel Van Ness before Kongo Kong came out and scared Grado and Joseph Park away. On the 3 August, Grado would team with Braxton Sutter and Suicide as they defeated Fallah Bahh, KM and Mario Bokara, after the match Grado tried to propose again by was attacked by Kongo Kong. The following week, Grado and Joseph Park would face Kongo Kong in a handicap match where they were defeated, after the match Grado was saved by Tyrus. The following week on Impact Wrestling Grado announced that he was going to be deported, and would say his goodbye's on the following week. On the 24 August episode of Impact Wrestling tapings, while Grado said farewell to America on his last night in America, Van Ness came out and proposed to Grado. On the 31 August episode of Impact Wrestling, Van Ness revealed that she is Canadian, while Grado needed to marry an American and refused to marry Van Ness because she was Canadian. Grado was subsequently granted a work visa by Joseph Park when he signed a sports entertainment contract with Park's law firm. Park began using Grado as a "meal ticket" to live a lavish life style and paying Grado very little. When Grado confronted Park about being underpaid, Park challenged Grado to a match at Bound for Glory for control of Grado's visa. Grado did not read the contract which stipulated a Monster Ball's match against Park's brother Abyss. Grado was defeated by Abyss at Bound for Glory after Laurel Van Ness interfered and distracted Grado.

Return (2018- Present)[edit]

he made his return this time with a new manager and his girlfriend Katarina.

Acting career[edit]

Grado portrayed Police Constable Hugh McKirdie in the BBC Scotland sitcom Scot Squad. He later starred as Brian Doyle / Buster on the BBC Scotland Scottish soap opera River City, Buster was axed from the show after only few months of appearing. He also starred in BBC Two Comedy pilot The Sunny as Haircut. In 2016 he starred in the "Elfie's Magical Adventure" Pantomime at the Pavilion Theatre, Glasgow. In 2017 he also starred in another Pantomime called "The Wizard That Never Woz" in Pavilion Theatre, Glasgow. In 2018, he appeared in Two Doors Down, a Scottish based BBC sitcom, where he played Alan, who moves from East Kilbride with his partner Michelle into a house opposite the main characters once occupied by an old man who was found dead in the lounge.

Personal life[edit]

Grado is a supporter of Scottish football club Rangers F.C. and appeared as a special guest in The Legends Return match at Ibrox Stadium along with fellow River City actors Jordan Young and Stephen Purdon.[11]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Revolution Pro Wrestling June 14 London, England, results: AJ Styles, Nakamura, Ishii, Colt Cabana, Matt Sydal". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Retrieved 2015-06-14. 
  2. ^ a b c "Grado". Pro Wrestling Elite. Archived from the original on 5 November 2014. Retrieved 12 November 2014. 
  3. ^ "Grado". BBC One. 
  4. ^ Virtue, Graeme. "Grado: Buckfast and banter with UK wrestling's new hope". The Guardian. 
  5. ^ "Grado". Grado Wrestling. Retrieved 18 June 2016. 
  6. ^ "The British Wrestler – Full Length". Vice. Retrieved 2014-11-12. 
  7. ^ "Comedy wrestler Grado lands his big break after earning a place on US-based TV show British Boot Camp". Daily Record. Retrieved 2014-08-22. 
  8. ^ "TNA British Boot Camp 2: The 'clown prince of wrestling' Grado tries to impress the judges". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 2014-10-16. 
  9. ^ Boutwell, Josh. "Grado claims he was screwed". Wrestleview. Retrieved 12 February 2016. 
  10. ^ Carapola, Stuart (24 June 2015). "COMPLETE IMPACT WRESTLING REPORT: NEW X DIVISION CHAMPION, YOU'LL NEVER GUESS WHO SHOWED UP, ANGLE'S MYSTERY OPPONENT IS REVEALED". PWInsider.com. PWInsider. Retrieved 24 June 2015. 
  11. ^ Rangers Football Club. "Grado Lines Up Best Moves". rangers.co.uk. Retrieved 2018-03-19. 
  12. ^ Kreikenbohm, Philip. "All England Championship « Titles Database « CAGEMATCH - The Internet Wrestling Database". 
  13. ^ https://www.cagematch.net//?id=5&nr=2933
  14. ^ "Swiss Wrestling Entertainment - Timeline - Facebook". 
  15. ^ "Internet Wrestling Database - Grado: Pro Wrestling Illustrated Ratings". 
  16. ^ "WOS Wrestling 12/31: Relaunch of UK-based promotion with Grado vs. Dave Mastiff for World of Sport Title, plus ladder match, battle royal". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved 1 January 2017. 

External links[edit]