New York Played a Huge Role in Superstar Billy Graham’s Career
He was the man of the hour, the man with the power and too sweet to be sour.
He ate T-Bone steaks and lifted barbell plates.
And no matter the price you paid to see him at the Garden, brother, you got a bargain.
WWE Hall Of Famer Superstar Billy Graham passed away last week at the age of 79. His legacy both in and out of the ring is immense and unsurpassable. You can view the tribute from WWE here.
To be honest, by the time I became a wrestling fan in 1991, the Superstar was long gone from the World Wrestling Federation. For years, he was the weird Tie Dye guy who voiced the line "That's familiar music brother" when the Ultimate Warrior's music filled Madison Square Garden as he defeated Honky Tonk Man, bringing and end to the longest Intercontinental Title Reign in WWE history. "That's what you do when you want something. You go out and get it, baby."
It wasn't until the WWE released a DVD entitled 20 Years Too Soon: The Superstar Billy Graham Story, that I got to finally delve into the career of a true innovator. I was instantly drawn to the charisma of the man as people had been when he was an active competitor. I have no idea how my mind would have been blown at the time if I was seeing him in the time he was out there, rather than from my time when I had already seen his profound influence in the form of so many of my favorites.
As for the Empire State, Superstar truly earned his name here. As a headline main event attraction, Graham would sell out Madison Square Garden an astonishing 19 times. And this is as a heel, or bad guy. His legendary matches with Dusty Rhodes "popped the territory" for 3 of those events. Bruno Sammartino would exact revenge there on the Superstar for taking his WWWF Title in a match in Maryland.
Toward the end of his career, it would be an event in Syracuse that would mark the end of the in-ring career of Superstar Billy Graham. After defeating "Natural" Butch Reed, he would be attacked by One Man Gang and be on the receiving end of running splash from the 400+ pounder on the concrete. This would retire superstar from competition and would segue him into a managerial role for Don Muraco.
New York just understood Superstar Billy Graham. If you witnessed him in person, you understand that he truly was the reflection of perfection. If you haven't, do yourself a favor and look into the life and career of the Superstar. Because what you see is what you get and what you don't see is better yet.