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Eddie Graham

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Edward Gossett (better known as Eddie Graham) (January 15, 1930 – January 21, 1985) was a professional wrestler. He was also the promoter and booker for Championship Wrestling from Florida and President of the NWA in the 1970s. His son, Mike Graham, was also a professional wrestler.

Career

Edward F. Gossett started wrestling in 1947 John Molinaro, The Top 100 Pro Wrestlers of All Time, (Winding Stair Press: 2002), page 200. in Texas at the age of 17 after being trained by Cowboy Luttrell. He was sometimes 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 June 1958, he changed his ring name to Eddie Graham and was billed as the brother of Dr. Jerry Graham and "Crazy" Luke Graham. Jerry and Eddie were a very successful heel 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 Miguel Perez and Don Curtis, and once against Red and Lou Bastien.

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 famous feud with Professor Boris Malenko.

In 1968, Graham was lacing his boots in the locker room and a 75-pound steel window fell on his head, detaching both of his retinas and causing him an injury that required three hundred stitches. The Florida State 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. Due to the injury, Graham was unable to wrestle for fifteen months.

Eddie took over booking and promoting for Championship Wrestling from Florida in 1971. He wrestled 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. Eddie remained as the promoter in Florida until January 21, 1985, when he committed suicide by gunshot wound after a lifelong battle with alcoholism.

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

Championships and accomplishments

  • MWA World Junior Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
  • NWA Southwest Tag Team Championship (3 times) - with Art Nelson

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