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Forgotten Legends13: Billy Graham

1135 Views 2 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  dave 1981
Before WWE started calling every tom, dick and Harry in the roster Superstar, there was only one, Superstar Billy Graham who defined the word in every sense. Trained in the Hart Dungeon, he started his career in the name of Billy Graham as a tribute to his Evangelist, he shot to fame in his feud with none other than Verne Gagne of AWA, another legend often overlooked.

By the time he took to WWWF, he was one of the notorious heel who bent the rules, taunted the crowd and became the first heel after defeating Bruno Sammartino who held the title for 296 days when heel won the title was merely for transitional purpose.

He moved on to fight Harley Race of NWA for WWWF vs NWA championship for an hour and holds the distinction of 95% sold out in MSG with 19 of 20 shows, highest for any superstar.

A glimpse of his personality can be caught in Austin Idol, Hulk Hogan (who went on to rip of his "Brother" promos shamelessly), Scott Steiner, HHH, Jesse "The Body" Ventura. He is with 13 titles to his name and is a member of Pro-wrestling/WWE/Wrestling Observer Hall of fames.

Did he get his due credit with the current generation and the wrestlers even who took it up from him?
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Obviously i never saw a lot of Superstar Billy Graham but from what i have seen of him i know his character was basically the blueprint for Hulk Hogan and that he was years before his time, had he come along a decade later he would have been a HUGE star. If memory serves me right he was the first heel to have a long term reign as WWE champion when he beat Bruno Sammartino which was a HUGE deal as Bruno Sammartino was to his era what Hulk Hogan, Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock and John Cena are to their own era's.

I've seen some of his promos on Youtube and there were very much a hybrid of what i saw from Hulk Hogan and Dusty Rhodes but they were done as a heel and he was probably the first cool heel which was something Ric Flair, Tully Blanchard, Shawn Michaels, The Outsiders, Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock all went on to replicate. It's a shame Superstar Billy Graham didn't get on well with Vince McMahon Jr during his second run as he could have been very successful as WWE really lacked a major heel in the pre WrestleMania era outside of Rowdy Roddy Piper and Hogan/Graham could have been a major draw and money maker.
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