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RIP Superstar Billy Graham


The Reverend

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He's probably one of my top 5 favourites ever. I wish more footage existed of his prime WWF run and not a decade later when he was absolutely fucked and his ankle was the size of a watermelon. I barely watch wrestling now but I find myself going back to Superstar Graham promotes regularly - they're brilliant, this massive jacked guy dressed like he's taken a tumble in a thrift shop and cutting promos like Muhammed Ali.

The matches barely matter but he was decent until the 80's. Always appreciated that he'd play the chickenshit heel, getting beaten in tests of strength etc. by the likes of Dusty Rhodes and Mil Mascaras when he had more muscle in one arm than they did in their whole body. Proper wrestling.

 

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7 minutes ago, Gus Mears said:

. I wish more footage existed of his prime WWF run and not a decade later when he was absolutely fucked and his ankle was the size of a watermelon.

What was his WWE DVD like for that side? It didn't get a release here due to BBFC cuts needed on one of the matches so I've never heard much on it.

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@Tommy! from recollection most of it was the stuff that's out there on YouTube now, the win over Bruno and one of the Dusty Rhodes defences. A fair few promos from whatever the hell their weekly TV was at that point. It wasn't bad but there's so much of that run and the period before it that to the best of my knowledge (and I don't have the Network so might be wrong) there's not a tonne out there which they've bothered preserving/releasing outside of the MSG shows.

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I've always been fascinated by the brief run he had as some sort of karate master, in black tights. Complete contrast to his established persona and a massive bomb apparently, but what a mad thing to do. 

Edited by gmoney
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13 minutes ago, gmoney said:

I've always been fascinated by the brief run he had as some sort of karate master, in black tights. Complete contrast to his established persona and a massive bomb apparently, but what a mad thing to do. 

It made a sort of sense; he thought the "Superstar" gimmick had run its course because Vince wouldn't allow him to turn babyface even though the fans were cheering him (often over Backlund), nor was Vince going to put the title on him, so there was nowhere to go but down. And rather than diminish the appeal of the "Superstar" by having him do the usual (W)WWF heel thing of dropping down the card after a big loss, he came up with a whole new character that was as far from Superstar as he could get. 

Timing-wise, he was doing the Karate gimmick when Hogan was doing Rocky III, and maybe he saw that Hogan was coming in strong and that, on a national stage, people would see Hogan as the star and Graham as the knock-off if he kept up his old look.

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Didn't he say in his biography that he didn't tell Vince he was doing the karate gimmick? Probably bollocks but absolutely hilarious if true - you book the Superstar in the tie dye and mad clobber and he turns up wearing Sports Direct joggers and doing this world's worst  chops.

Edit - forgot about the brilliant poster - "here's my new tag team partner, a sabretooth tiger". Absolutely class.

Edited by Gus Mears
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Without Billy Graham we probably wouldn't have Hogan as we know him, or Big Poppa Pump Scott Steiner. He was massively influential. Didn't he do commentary at a Summerslam or Wrestlemania and he was terrible? 

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He's a great drinking game for how many times he says 'brother' on the Summerslam 88 commentary.

His main work is just before my times, I've seen bits and pieces. As a promo though, amazing, wicked patter. There's a top promo where's he's in the desert with tarantulas on his head for reasons. Pissed charisma.

 

 

Edited by Chili
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17 hours ago, jazzygeofferz said:

Didn't he do commentary at a Summerslam or Wrestlemania and he was terrible? 

Plus loads of MSG closed circuit gigs and Coliseum tapes including WrestleFest 88. There's a cracking line in the hatchet job piece from WWF Magazine in 93 (chiefly about Billys steroid use and defrauding his way back into a job in 87) about, and I paraphrase, "When he couldn't wrestle any more, McMahon paid him to be a manger. When he couldn't manage any more, McMahon paid him to commentate. And when he couldn't do that any more, McMahon fired him." Basically saying Vince was an angel and tried to find any way he could feasibly justify paying him a cheque.

Graham was the poster child for "slag the company off for a decade but go back if there's a payday." Him and Vince deserved each other.

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