“Superstar” Billy Graham, one of his generation’s most important professional wrestlers, passed away at the age of 79.
Former Heavyweight Champion and Hall of Fame wrestler Graham was renowned for his remarkable physique and his flamboyant, charismatic style, which significantly impacted wrestlers who came after him.
“WWE is saddened to learn that WWE Hall of Famer ‘Superstar’ Billy Graham has passed away,” the company said in a statement. Graham, a former WWE Champion, set the standard for a generation of Superstars that came after him with his colorful fashion sense, outrageous interviews, and bodybuilder physique.
According to his family, Graham spent more than four months in the hospital fighting an infection in his ears, head, and sinus cavities. His wife refused to let medics take him off life support on Monday.
“He is a fighter, and although his body is weak, his will is powerful. God is our hope,” Valerie Graham, Graham’s wife, wrote. Two days later, on May 17, Graham passed away.
Graham, whose true name is Eldridge Wayne Coleman, was born in Phoenix, Arizona, on June 7, 1943. He began his career as a professional bodybuilder, becoming close friends and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s training companion.
He became famous as a professional wrestler by taking on the flashy and captivating “Superstar” Billy Graham persona. He stood out because of his sculpted bodybuilder figure, extravagant outfits, and handlebar mustache.
Graham rose to stardom in the WWWF (now the WWE) in the late 1970s. He won the federation’s heavyweight championship in 1977 by defeating Bruno Sammartino, which he held for nine months.
Graham was renowned for giving colorful interviews consisting of bombastic trash talk and catchphrases, making him a fan favorite. However, Graham’s most enduring impact was his magnetic personality.
He established much of the flamboyance and individual flair now typical of professional wrestlers. For example, he is renowned for coining the term “brother” in his promos, which has since been adopted by numerous wrestlers, most notably Hulk Hogan.
According to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, this industry would be quite different today if Billy Graham didn’t exist. “He became the model for the charismatic superstar,” says the author.
Famous wrestlers like Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin, Jesse Ventura, and Ric Flair have all been influenced by Graham.
Graham’s health suffered due to professional wrestling; he needed a hip surgery and retired in 1987. 2015 he returned to the WWE under a Legends Contract after being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2004.
Graham warned other wrestlers about the risks of steroid use throughout his career and engaged in several arguments with Vince McMahon, executive chairman of the WWE.
Many professional wrestlers expressed their condolences following Graham’s passing and remembered him as a legend and an inspiration to others who came after him.
“Billy Graham, the Superstar, Has Left Us! Vic Flair commented, “THANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR INFLUENCE ON MY CAREER.
I’m very depressed. He influenced many people’s lives, including mine, and many others, including Flair, Hogan, Jesse, and a ton of people you wouldn’t know. “Valerie, I just want to wish you the best. You’re a saint, and more people than you know know it.”
Billy Graham, a legendary Superstar who significantly impacted all wrestlers who came after him, may you rest in peace.