22-inch biceps, dyed blonde hair, feather boas, tie-dyed tights, and the ridiculously talented professional wrestler and superstar Billy Graham are the future stars of Hulk Hogan and Jesse Ventura. The pro wrestler who inspired the style died Wednesday in Phoenix. he was 79 years old.
The cause was sepsis and multiple organ failure, said Graham and autobiography co-author Keith Elliott Greenberg. Years of steroid use weakened Graham’s bones and required at least six hip replacements, leaving him sterile. He also underwent a liver transplant in 2002 after contracting hepatitis C.
“If you look at those who came after him, perhaps more than anyone else followed in the footsteps of superstar Billy Graham in this business.” Triple Ha superstar wrestler whose real name is Paul Levesque, As Graham was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, he said: “And when it comes to bodies, no one could touch the superstar, so no one.”
Graham, whose real name is Eldridge Wayne Coleman, was an evangelist, 605-pound bench-press bodybuilder, Canadian Football League defensive end, debt collector and bouncer before turning to wrestling in 1970. .
He enlisted the help of a former wrestling villain to come up with a quirky ring character. Dr. Jerry Graham, He suggested dyeing his hair blonde with a bottle of Clairol.
“Dr. Jerry said it was part of the deal,” Graham told the New York Daily News in 1998. “Jerry said if I was successful in wrestling, I would be blonde.”
Coleman also adopted the surname of his mentor (which, of course, was the surname of Reverend Billy Graham, whom he admired). For even more flamboyance, Broadway added a “superstar” taken from his musical “Jesus Christ Superstar.”
His chiselled 6-foot-4, 275-pound physique was the centerpiece of a package that included blonde hair and a goatee, tights and earrings, leather fringes and boots, plus great wrestling skills and a vaunted style. . Muhammad Ali himself borrowed it from the boastful, flamboyant wrestling star of his time. gorgeous george.
“We took some old stuff and made it new,” Graham told the Daily News. “I wasn’t the wrestler I used to be. I was the first guy to look and pose like a bodybuilder, get down on one knee, do a bicep shot, and show off a 22-inch python.” .”
Graham found success early on.he Won the National Wrestling Alliance Teaming up with Pat Patterson in 1971, they defeated Ray Stevens and Peter Maivia to win the Tag Team Championship. Mavia’s grandson is wrestler and actor Dwayne Johnson. Graham and Patterson held the title for eight months before losing it to a duo that included Dwayne’s father, Rocky Johnson.
Graham wrestled for several organizations throughout his career, but he earned his greatest fame with the Worldwide Wrestling Federation (now WWE). In 1977, he defeated popular WWWF champion Bruno Sammartino.towards the heavyweight title.
The Baltimore Sun reported that “Graham used the cunning he’d gleaned from years of ring experience, not to mention a dirty trick or two,” adding, “Graham used the ring ropes to prop up the champion. He nailed Sammartino, who the referee didn’t realize he was using.”
According to Keith Greenberg, in the scripted world of professional wrestling, Vincent J. McMahon, who ran the WWWF (his son, Vincent K. McMahon, is WWE’s executive chairman), was forced out of Sammartino. It is said that Graham told him the day he would take the title. On that day, about a year later, he would lose it to Bob Backlund.
Graham’s pull increased as he defended his title, but unsuccessfully tried to convince the older McMahon to extend his reign.
According to his autobiography Superstar Billy Graham: Tangled Ropes (2006), he told Graham, “Billy, my head is on Buckland.” “I am determined.”
Graham retired in 1987 at age 44 after his first hip replacement. This indicated that the effects of his physically taxing steroids were beginning to show on him.
Eldridge Wayne Coleman was born on June 7, 1943 in Phoenix. His father, also named Eldridge, worked for the local power company, but he had multiple sclerosis and turned to office work. His mother, Juanita (Bingaman) Coleman, was a homemaker.
Ms. Graham recalled being beaten by her father even though his father’s body was weaker and his father’s body was stronger.
“When I hesitated or stumbled, he beat me down,” Graham wrote in his autobiography. “So I stayed still.”
From an early age, he fell in love with weightlifting and in 1961 won the West Coast division of the Mr. Teenage America Bodybuilding Contest. At about the same time, he became a born-again Christian and began speaking in small churches and tent revivals, reciting sinners’ prayers, speaking in tongues, and speaking with the laying on of hands. His preaching pattern became well known to wrestling fans when he was later interviewed.
However, his service pay was not good, so he gravitated towards football. In 1968, he briefly played for the Montreal Alouettes of the CFL. After his release, he worked as a debt collector at a Las Vegas casino, but he considered an offer to professional wrestling.
“I think they called me out because I’m strong and tough and fast and I have showmanship,” he told the Canadian press. “And I’m handsome. It makes sense.”
His wrestling journey began in 1970, Stu Hart, a Canadian promoter and trainer. When Hart first saw Graham, he stared at his biceps. His response was, “Oh, oh, oh, that’s the biggest weapon I’ve ever seen,” Graham writes.
“He was just spitting,” Graham said. “How can you not love this person?”
For the next 17 years until his retirement, that arm and the rest of his body attracted a lot of attention, inspiring Hogan, Ventura and others to take his example to even greater heights.
“Without the in-ring success and pioneering showmanship of superstar Billy Graham, there would be no Jesse the Body Ventura,” he said, elected governor of Minnesota in 1999. The Ventura said on twitter After Graham’s death.
Graham, who lived in Phoenix, is survived by his wife, Valerie (Verkas) Coleman. his daughter, Capella Flaherty; his son, Joe Milso; and four grandchildren. Shirley Potts’ marriage to Madeline Milso ended in divorce.
After retiring, Graham came to criticize his use of steroids, which first shaped and then destroyed his great physique. In 1991, he testified at the trial of osteopathic surgeon and surgeon George Zahorian III, who was found guilty of selling illegal anabolic steroids to wrestlers. Graham, limping to the witness stand, testified that he had purchased large amounts of steroids from Zahorian in the 1970s and 80s.
“They ruined my life” he testified. “They ruined my wrestling career,” he added. If you stop taking steroids, you will become very depressed. Steroids make me feel so much better, more confident and like I can conquer the world. It’s almost a plague in today’s wrestling world.”