[Eddie Graham Gallery]
||Edward F. Gossett
||January 15, 1930
|Height & Weight:
||5'11 - 215lbs
||1947 at age 17
Roy Rogers (Texas)
||Mark Lewin & Don Curtis
Red & Lou Bastien
The Von Brauners
In The Beginning:
Eddie Gossett wrestled in Texas as "Rip Rogers" and was sometimes billed as the brother of Buddy Rogers..
May 1958: Eddie Gossett transformed into Eddie Graham and lost a "loser leaves town" match to Pepper Gomez in Texas..
Capitol Wrestling / WWWF:
June 1958: Eddie Graham debuted in New York City (with the Capitol Wrestling Federation) the "baby brother" of Dr. Jerry Graham..
Eddie Graham is a member of the legendary "Golden Graham" wrestling family (not legitimately related)..
Eddie Graham and his fictional "brother" Dr. Jerry Graham became a major tag team combination on the East Coast..
September 1, 1958: Eddie & Jerry Graham defeated Mark Lewin & Don Curtis to win the WWF United States Tag Team titles..
~~~December 11, 1958: Mark Lewin & Don Curtis recaptured the titles..
May 27, 1959: Eddie & Jerry Graham defeated Mark Lewin & Don Curtis to once again win the WWF US Tag Team titles..
~~~November 1959: Eddie was replaced by Johnny Valentine but later returned to team with Jerry in March 1960..
~~~April 2, 1960: Red Bastien & Lou Bastien beat the Grahams to win the WWF US Tag Team titles..
April 16, 1960: Eddie & Jerry Graham defeated the Bastien Brothers to recapture the WWF US Tag Team titles..
~~~April 23, 1960: Red & Lou Bastien recaptured the Tag Team titles..
Championship Wrestling from Florida:
1960: Eddie Graham travelled to Florida and won the N.W.A. World Tag Team titles with three different partners..
~~~August 15, 1961: Eddie Graham & Ike Eakins beat Kurt & Karl Von Brauner to win Florida's version of the NWA World Tag titles..
~~~August 22, 1961: Kurt & Karl Von Brauner beat Eddie Graham & Ike Eakins to recapture Florida's NWA World Tag Team titles..
~~~November 16, 1961: Tojo Yamamoto & Taro Myaki defeated Eddie Graham & Dick Steinborn for the Florida NWA U.S. tag team titles..
~~~November 30, 1961: Eddie Graham & Dick Steinborn regain beat Tojo Yamamoto & Taro Myaki for the Florida NWA U.S. tag titles..
~~~Eddie also won the N.W.A. Southern Heavyweight champion twice in 1962 and again in 1963..
1968: While lacing his boots in the locker-room, 75lb. steel window fell on Graham's head..
~~~Eddie suffered torn retinas in both eyes and 300 stitches worth of damage to his face and head..
~~~Eddie was eventually awarded over $23,000 in damages by the Florida State Legislature..
Eddie was owner/operator of Championship Wrestling from Florida throughout the 1970's and 1980's..
1970's: Eddie introduced his real life son, Mike Graham to the business, forming a tag team with him..
1976-78: Eddie was elected N.W.A. President..
1978: Eddie donated $10,000 to the University Of Florida to create a wrestling room on Campus..
January 20, 1985 Eddie Gossett was found dead in his home, the victim of a self-inflicted gunshot wound..
1993: Eddie Graham was inducted into the WCW Hall of Fame, presented to his son Mike Graham..
Jay Ambler wrote: Professional wrestling promotions in Florida went back as far as the early 1940s. These early days would be considered by today's standards as an independent promotion. In 1949 Clarence 'Cowboy' Lattrall opened up Championship Wrestling from Florida (CWF). Lattrall was a well traveled wrestler during the 1930s and 40s who was originally from Illinois. The organization would allign themselves with the NWA confederation of promoters.
In 1960 Eddie Graham enjoyed a run in Lattrall's territory and in the following year bought into the promotion. Graham and Lattrall then began to run a regularly televised Saturday evening show under the same name. The show's first and only host was the legendary Gordon Solie. The 'Dean' as he was known by some would bring intelligent and lively commentary. The television show was key to CWF's success as it would often show clips from shows in other cities and towns along with a series of matches and wrestler promotions. The CWF Saturday evening show was taped at the Tampa Sportatorium, which was actually a small studio with seating for about 100 people.
By 1971 Graham would gain complete control of the promotion. This event has been debated by some suggesting that Lattrall was forced out. Then wrestlers Duke Keomuka and Hiro Matsuda would become Graham's partners. Later Buddy Colt, Dusty Rhodes, Graham's brother Skip and Gossett become shareholders. Graham would also continue as an active wrestler throughout the 1960s and 70s, introducing his son Mike to the wrestling world. His son would later become a partner in the promotion.
Graham's business acumen was probably ahead of his times. He realized that his promotion was limited to state of Florida and set about seeking venues that would fit the company's mold. This was before pay per view specials and Graham's success relied primarily on ticket sales. Graham did not promote shows in medium or large arenas. Instead Graham sought out local armories (local national guard headquarters) and highschool gymnasiums. The promotion also began a newspaper of sort entitled The Grapevine, which could be purchased at shows or via a subscription.
During the late 1970s and into the early 1980s CWF hired Dusty Rhodes as a booker and writer. It was also in Florida that Rhodes began as a singles competitor and turned from heel to babyface. The angles used were the highly successful Kevin Sullivan and his Army of Darkness, Blackjack Mulligan as the 'brass knuckles' champion and airing the CWF program in many Carribbean countries, which would open the door for Tyree Pride and his 'Bahamas Championship'. By now Buddy Colt would become Gordon Solie's co-host. Additionally because CWF was thought to be airing in Cuba, Graham capitalized on this trend and showed he was once again ahead of the pack when he hired Barbara Clary as an additional co-host. Clary is bilingual and was able to provide Spanish commentary when needed.
Because CWF was part of the NWA board, an organization where Graham would serve as president on two occasions, the promotion would enjoy a series of traveling champions. These included Dory Funk, Jr., his brother Terry, Harley Race and Ric Flair to name just a few. Addditionaly CWF would become a bit of a 'proving ground' for many future stars. These included Lex Luger, Scott Hall and Magnum TA among others. For the fans of CWF it appeared that every month there was either a well-known veteran of the squared circle or promising new talent featured in regular matches. The roster of talent and angles never failed the paying customer with entertainment value.
Unfortunately Vince McMahon and the WWF was about to change the face of professional wrestling with airing their northeast shows in neighboring territories. Graham's success had run its course. His son Mike Graham would once comment on how the smaller venues enjoyed working with father because he always paid his bills. Undoubtedly the changes in wrestling and depression brought on by them sunk Graham int