RIP to former ALS player Wayne Coleman who went on to wrestling stardom as WWWF champion Superstar Billy Graham. He was 79.
My fav preacher
I spent my middle school years in the ‘80s watching pro wrestling and now I find myself trying to find out what happened to those guys. Many had really sad lives.
My son named his first cat Andre (the Giant) and his current one Steele (as in George the Animal).
In spiration for Hulk Hogan and Jesse “The Body” Ventura
RIP Eldridge Wayne Coleman
Old rasslin’ fan from about age of 12. Attended old Winnipeg Auditorium matches with folks like Gene Kiniski, Don Leo Jonathan, Harley Race, Bulldog Bob Brown, The Alaskan, Rene Goulet, Mad Dog Vachon, Dr. X, Butcher Vachon, etc.
Took a break from this fixed script biz for approx. 20 yrs before regaining interest when I met Hulk Hogan at Golds Gym. Also in the gym before an event - Jesse The Body Ventura, Greg Gagne, The Sheik, few more.
Never got to see Superstar Billy perform (other than youtube & TV) but I do know this - there’d never be a Hulk Hogan if their hadn’t been a Superstar Billy Graham.
btw - my favorite rasslin’ stars from approx. 1965 to current -
- Gene Kiniski
- Killer Kowalski
- Stone Cold Steve Austin (or as Mike Tyson called him Cold Stone)
- Don Leo Jonathan
- Harley Race
- The Alaskan
- Maxwell Jacob Friedman (brilliant)
- Nick Bockwinkel
- Billy Robinson
- Mad Dog Vachon
- Lou Thesz
- Trish Stratus
- Crybaby Cannon
- Angelina Love
- George ‘The Animal’ Steele
- Jesse Ventura
- Brett Hart
- Mr. McMahon
- Chris Jericho
- Larry Pfohl
- Abdullah the Butcher
- Mitsu Arakawa
- Mr. Fuji
- Don Cyrus Callis
- Gilles “The FIsh” Poisson (for all my Quebec friends)
what, no Rock, Undertaker, Randy Savage, Ultimate Warrior, Hogan, Big Show?
Always called himself “Canada’s Greatest Athlete.”
Stole it from Kiniski - who played briefly with Edmonton Eskimos in the early 50s before blowing out a knee.
My dad had a large girth and would wear his sweatpants up to his belly. I said “you look like Abdullah the Butcher!”
He said “who’s that?”
Fortunately, this was pre-Internet so he wasn’t able to look up a picture.
All (except Warrior) deserving of most lists. Hogan changed the game. Savage was his main protagonist. Undertaker was the game’s greatest locker-room lawyer and ran tons of interference for the McMahons.
HHH also deserves mention - he did some good things as The Game. Helps if you marry the boss’s daughter, no?
was the first man of that size I ever saw “walk the ropes” … and did so more nimbly than any other I have seen.
Taker wasn’t 7 feet (as he was often billed) but he was a legit big guy at 6’7" or 6’8", around 3 bills. The tightrope walk was so impressive. His promos were good to start with but got better with age and of course, having Paul Bearer as his early sideman. (Like Paul did for Brock Lesnar only Lesnar has never risen to Undertaker’s microphone skills)
Don’t recall him being billed as a seven-footer … always heard referenced as 6’ 10" … and always thought he was a good 4 inches taller than 6’6" Hogan.
It mighta been Undertaker’s fake brother Kane who was billed at 7 ft. Kane was a legit 6’9", 6’10" guy and Taker was slightly shorter. Hogan was early billed at 6’8" in and around his movie performance as THunderlips in Rocky. Hogan might have peaked at 6’6" but due to his numerous back surgeries and ageing (he’s nearly 70) he might top out at 6’1", maybe 6’2".
Ric Flair was always billed at 6’2" but today he barely stands 5’9" – - - - in his heyday Flair stood a tad over 5’11".
Superstar Graham wasn’t a particularly adept professional rassler. In fact, he was downright horrid. Most of his heat came from showing off his steroid-induced physique, getting into arm-wrestling battles with set-up opponents (vs. actual matches) and cheating (mostly from behind as heels are wont to do.
Ric Flair & Harley Race were prolly 2 of the best in ring performers I ever saw. Race was a legit 6’2" guy at his peak, Flair a tad under 6’0" but looked bigger due to his swagger and physique. Both guys were totally adept at weaseling in and out of the ring to buy time, adjust their tights & get some air back into their lungs (in smoke-filled, steamy hot arenas this was an absolute necessity).
Most impressive Harley Race match I saw (youtube) was Race vs. Andre the Giant, circa 1978-79 before Andre had begun to deteriorate. Race actually put Andre into a bearhug (I kid you not) and had Andre screaming in pain for close to 3 minutes. You have to have long arms and muscularity to put a big fat boy like Andre in that kinda hold. Race also legit body-slammed Andre (with Andre’s help, I’m sure) but Race did it many years before Hulk Hogan did it - and Hogan just about ripped his back to shreds trying to hoist the 550 lb. Andre in the air. In essence WWE used a bit of in-ring magic to pull off the Hogan slam of Andre. Andre was fully in on it - so he started the slam by bouncing off his shoes and doing a half pike by himself, Hogan just had to put himself in a position where he had his arms under Andre to make it look like it was all Hogan strength that hoisted the Giant when in reality if was Andre offering himself up thru a basic gymnastics move.
RIP Superstar Billy Graham. Didn’t know he tried out for the Alouettes.
A couple other greats that I don’t think made it on Lyle’s list - Superfly Jimmy Snuka and Ricky The Dragon Steamboat.
How is Jake the Snake Roberts not on this list? That man cut possibly the best promos I’ve ever seen and his in-ring work was great too. If alcoholism hadn’t derailed his career he’d have been huge.
Andre is far too far down on the list. I would add Archie the Stomper Goldie to the list too. Maybe Budy Rogers and Verne Gagne
Demolition (Ax and Smash) don’t get enough credit. They were formed as a rip-off of the Road Warriors but they were far better in-ring workers.
Also, Mr. Perfect!!! Come on, that man was magic.
I cannot defend leaving Jake the Snake off my list (put together mostly top of mind in under 3 minutes). HE was one of the great ones, no doubt. Saw him go after Ted "Million Dollar Man’ Dibiase in one of the last live matches I saw in Winnipeg during the 1990s. Best live match I saw in WInnipeg was in the early 1970s, Angela Mosca vs. Gene Kiniski. The hate level was very high - had to end in a double DQ as neither guy wanted to lose face accepting a clean pin.
Another guy I’d like to place on my list is Archie ‘The Stomper’ Gouldie. Never saw him until seeing TV from Stampeder Wrestling in Calgary. His promos were something else. Really quite amazing for the times.