Billy Graham

billy graham

[Billy Graham GALLERY]

Title History

  • NWA (San Francisco) world tag team titles w/Pat Patterson defeating Peter Maivia & Ray Stevens (January 1971);
  • NWA Hawaii heavyweight title defeating Ed Francis (January 9, 1974);
  • IWA (Japan) world heavyweight title defeating Billy Robinson (August 16, 1974);
  • NWA Texas Brass Knuckles title defeating Mad Dog Vachon (August 5, 1975);
  • NWA Florida heavyweight title defeating Dusty Rhodes (November 22, 1976);
  • NWA (Florida) Southern heavyweight title defeating Dusty Rhodes (1977);
  • NWA Florida tag team titles w/Ox Baker defeating Jack & Jerry Brisco (1977);
  • WWWF heavyweight title defeating Bruno Sammartino (April 30, 1977);
  • NWA Texas Brass Knuckles title defeating Mark Lewin (1978);
  • CWA (Memphis) world heavyweight title defeating Pat McGinnis (October 8, 1979);
  • NWA Texas Brass Knuckles title defeating Mark Lewin (January 18, 1980);
  • NWA Florida heavyweight title defeating Billy Jack Haynes (June 10, 1984);

Career Highlights

In The Beginning:

  • Wayne Coleman became a devoted Christian as a teenager.
  • Wayne Coleman won numerous bodybuilding titles as a teenager.
  • Wayne Coleman would use his feats of strength as a tool to draw people into his evangelistic meetings.
  • Wayne Coleman played pro football for nearly three years with the Houston Oilers & Oakland Raiders before starting wrestling.
  • Wayne Coleman appeared as a guest on the Truth Or Consequences program hosted by Bob Barker in the late 1960s.

Getting Into The Business:

  • Wayne Coleman was recruited by Stu Hart into Stampede Wrestling when he was being scouted by the CFL’s Calgary Stampeders.
  • Wayne Coleman move onto the San Fansisco territory, and became “Billy Graham” in dedication to the world renowned evangelist.

Championship Wrestling from Florida:

American Wrestling Association:

  • Billy Graham made a huge impact on the sport when he gave AWA World Heavyweight Champion Verne Gagne a serious run for his money.
  • 1974: Billy Graham won the NWA Hawaiian Heavyweight title.

Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling:

  • October 1975: Billy Graham competed in the Mid-Atlantic territory of the NWA for several months.
  • ~~~While in MACW, Graham feuded with Wahoo McDaniel and briefly teamed with Steve Strong.

Championship Wrestling from Florida:

  • 1976: Billy Graham defeated Dusty Rhodes to win the NWA Florida Heavyweight title.
  • Billy Graham won the NWA Florida Tag Team titles with Ox Baker.
  • 1977: Billy Graham defeated Dusty Rhodes to win the Southern Heavyweight Championship.

World Wide Wrestling Federation:

  • Billy Graham went to the WWWF where he was managed by The Grand Wizard.
  • March 30, 1977: Billy Graham defeated Bruno Sammartino to capture the World Wide Wrestling Federation title!
  • ~~~Billy Graham faced every worthy challenger in the WWWF during his reign as champion.
  • ~~~Defeated Sammartino, Rhodes, Putski, Strongbow, Monsoon, Zbyszko, Garea, Mascaras & Backlund and many others.
  • 1977: Billy Graham battled Harley Race in the first ever NWA vs WWWF World Title Unification match.
  • ~~~The two World champions for rival promotions wrestled to a bloody one-hour time limit draw.
  • February 2, 1978: Bob Backlund defeated Billy Graham to win the WWWF World Heavyweight title.
  • WORTHLESS TRIVIA: Billy Graham the only WWF champion to both win and lose the title with his feet on the ropes.
  • Billy Graham teamed briefly with his “half-brother” Crazy Luke Graham, and also Ivan Koloff, having great success with both.
  • Billy Graham continued his legendary feud with Dusty Rhodes in the WWWF.
  • Billy Graham defeated Dusty Rhodes in a classic Texas Bullrope Match.
  • Billy Graham left the WWWF shortly after.

Keeping Busy:

  • 1980: Billy Graham appeared on CBS’s “The World’s Strongest Man” competition.
  • Billy Graham made a few scattered appearances in Memphis to face Jerry Lawler in matches.
  • Rumors began to spread that Billy Graham had died — which obviously turned out to be FALSE.
  • Billy Graham worked a series of matches on the Phoenix indy circuit gearing up for his WWF return.
  • ~~~In his final match, as a going away present, he put their top man, Jody Arnold, over in two straight falls.

Back in the World Wrestling Federation:

  • 1983: “Superstar” Billy Graham (with a new bald look) reappeared on WWF television and confronted Bob Backlund.
  • ~~~Graham then proceeded to take the leather and gold WWF title belt and literally tear it in half!
  • ~~~Graham left the WWF again soon after.

The AWA & Floria Return:

  • Billy Graham wrestled briefly in Verne Gagne’s American Wrestling Association.
  • Billy Graham would eventually resurface back in Florida territory.
  • June 10, 1984: Superstar Billy Graham defeated Billy Jack for the Florida State Heavyweight title.
  • November 22, 1984 – Starrcade: Wahoo McDaniel defeated Billy Graham to retain the United States title.
  • July 6, 1985 – Great American Bash: Manny Fernandez & Sam Houston & Buzz Tyler beat Billy Graham & Barbarian & Abdulah.
  • November 28, 1985 – Starrcade: Billy Graham defeated the Barbarian in an Arm Wrestling match.

Last Run in the WWF:

  • Summer 1987: Billy Graham once again jumped to the World Wrestling Federation for one last run.
  • Billy Graham won his first match back (WWF “Superstars”) in a squash against Bob Bradley.
  • Billy Graham was immediately challenged by “The Natural” Butch Reed, who claimed that he had the better physique.
  • ~~~This led to a posedown on WWF TV that resulted in both Reed and his manager Slick attacking Graham!
  • 1987: The years of steroid use had finally taken their toll on Billy Graham’s body.
  • ~~~Some of Graham’s skeletal structure was eaten away and died, most affected area was his hip.
  • ~~~Graham actually wrestled with a severely damaged hip during this last WWF stint.
  • ~~~Graham was told by doctors that he required hip-replacement surgery.
  • Fall 1997: Graham vs Butch Reed ended when Slick & One Man Gang interfered and they demolished Graham.
  • ~~~Luckily, Don “The Rock” Muraco came to Billy Graham’s rescue.
  • Billy Graham underwent his hip-replacement surgery knowing it would end his wrestling career.

Billy Graham the Manager:

  • Billy Graham became the manager for Don “The Rock” Muraco.
  • Summerslam 1988: Billy Graham’s last big WWF appearance where he provided colour commentary from ringside.
  • Billy Graham left the World Wrestling Federation for the last time (until 2004 when he was inducted into the Hall of Fame).

Legacy of the Superstar:

  • Graham influenced many wrestlers including Austin Idol, Steve Strong, Jesse Ventura, Hulk Hogan, Scott Steiner & Flesh Gordon.
  • Billy Graham now speaks out against drug and alcohol abuse.
  • Billy Graham also helps point people to the benefits of a personal relationship with God.
  • 1996: Billy Graham’s Christian play, “The Empty Ring”, debuted at Tommy Barnett’s church in the suburbs of Phoenix.
  • Famous Quote: “I’m the man of the hour, the man with the power, too sweet to be sour!”

Billy Graham’s Battle:

  • January 2, 2002 – Billy Graham has made a remarkable recovery after suffering four burst veins stemming from advanced liver disease.
  • ~~~This sort of occurance could have been fatal.
  • ~~~Graham underwent several blood transfusions during the day as he had lost so much blood.
  • ~~~Due to a lack of circulation, he was in danger of losing his extremities.
  • ~~~Graham’s internal bleeding has stopped and they are hopeful he will be able to get out of intensive care unit.
  • ~~~Graham was hospitalized with internal bleeding for ten days about one month ago.
  • ~~~Graham first learned that he would be needing a liver transplant a month ago.
  • ~~~However, he didn’t learn until the last few days of the severity of the liver damage.
  • October 2002 – Billy Graham’s liver was checked out yesterday and he does not have the feared liver cancer.
  • ~~~Graham is also in line for a liver donation that would potentially save his life.
  • October 18, 2002: Billy Graham underwent a successful liver replacement operation at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix.
  • ~~~Graham was called in earlier that day with word that they had found a liver from a woman who had died in an accident.
  • ~~~Doctors have said his recovery after surgery considering all his health problems has been amazing.
  • Billy Graham has reached a deal with Vince McMahon to publish his autobiography with Simon & Schuster.
  • March 12, 2004: Billy Graham was hospitalized in New York with the same intestinal ailment that had him hospitalized a month back.
  • ~~~Billy Graham’s intestine began poking out of his stomach, in an “Alien” type fashion.
  • March 13, 2004 – WWE: Billy “Superstar” Graham is inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame during a ceremony in New York City!
  • March 14, 2004 – WrestleMania XX: Billy “Superstar” Graham is honored with all the other Hall of Fame inductees during the PPV.
  • December 28, 2004 – WWE Live Event: “Superstar” Billy Graham appears for a live interview and knocks the Coach out cold!
  • February 25, 2005–Live Event @ MSG: The Coach interviews Superstar Billy Graham, who knocks the Coach on his ass!
  • February 28, 2005 – RAW: Superstar Billy Graham encourages Randy Orton to step up and do something to set himself apart.
  • October 3, 2005 – WWE Homecoming: Billy Graham participated in a Legends Ceremony which included roughly 24 Legends.
  • January 23, 2006 – RAW: Superstar Billy Graham made a brief appearance to promote his book AND dvd.
  • May 28, 2006: Billy Graham was hospitalized for several days due to a bowel obstruction that stems from a prior operation.
  • Superstar Graham announced that he has less than one year left to live after his transplanted liver started to show signs of failure.