by David Chappell
The early autumn of 1975 saw changes in the Mid-Atlantic States that went beyond the advent of the colorful fall foliage. October in Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling witnessed the arrival of two newcomers that were even more colorful than the falling leaves outside, Superstar Billy Graham and Steve Strong.
|Superstar Billy Graham|
Charlotte Park Center (1975)
Young, brash and jacked up, Graham and Strong verbally hit the territory by storm. Graham already had a national reputation in the wrestling world, and Strong was developing one. Prior to their introductory interview with announcer Bob Caudle on October 15th, Graham had popped into the territory for a match in Greensboro in April and Strong had been on the prior week’s TV show watching the matches, but otherwise they were brand new to the fans of Jim Crockett Promotions.
Bob Caudle began the interview, “We bring you the very finest professional wrestling in the world. And in the Mid-Atlantic area we have the greatest wrestlers also in the world, and two more that have now arrived in the Mid-Atlantic area and we want to introduce them to you right now, Superstar…”
The flamboyant Graham interrupted Caudle by spouting out, “Don’t just say two more, this is something special baby! It’s not just two more wrestlers arriving; you are lookin’ at two of the greatest in the entire world, in the entire universe. Comin’ in for one reason and one reason only…to get a hold of Wahoo McDaniel baby, to get a hold of Paul Jones man, but cannot get them under contract baby! They will not, they refuse to ink the contract mama. They refuse to step inside the ring with Superstar Billy Graham!”
Graham went on to disparage Wahoo, bellowing, “I ran the Indian-cat out of Minnesota baby. He had to leave the state, leave the northern plains and come down to the Carolinas, the Mid-Atlantic coast baby. Now the Superstar and the Strong-man baby are gonna put some lumps on his head, gonna put some cuts on his head! And him and Paul Jones are gonna be hitchhiking on Route 67 baby, goin’ south…further south!”
The Superstar then wanted to rap about his own muscular body, boasting, “No way, no way in the world you can penetrate this body…and I want all the ladies to take a good look, but don’t touch, baby! Just take a good look at the power, take a look at the beauty, take a look at the body, and most of all McDaniel Wahoo and Paul Jones, take a good look baby and get ready because we’re comin’ someplace sometime. Just get us in the ring with the Indian-man and Paul Jones!”
With the interview segment almost out of time, Caudle attempted to at least get a word in edgewise with Strong, inquiring, “What about that Steve Strong, that’s Superstar Billy Graham.” Steve cockily answered, “Wahoo McDaniel is strictly reservation material. Has no right to be in the ring with the Strong-man and Superstar. Paul Jones, Number 1, I eat more for breakfast than that man weighs!”
Caudle concluded, “I tell you fans, two of the greatest…you don’t want to miss them whenever they get into your area. Superstar Billy Graham, Steve Strong now…talking about Wahoo McDaniel, Paul Jones. Also we have Steve Keirn, Tiger Conway, and all of the great wrestlers around the Mid-Atlantic area will be waiting on them and will be meeting them soon. So, that’s it from them.”
The muscular duo would team occasionally during the fall of 1975, but Graham’s appearances were sporadic and he would often wrestle Wahoo McDaniel in specialty matches in the area’s bigger venues before leaving the territory in between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Strong would also team with Blackjack Mulligan, but his main event run in the territory fizzled out by the end of 1975, though he stayed around into the spring of 1976 working matches further down the cards.
With the super strong arrival of these two in October, it’s a bit surprising that their 1975 run in Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling only amounted to a largely forgotten footnote in the history books of Jim Crockett Promotions. Like those colorful fall leaves, the brash and colorful Superstar Billy Graham and Steve Strong had largely been blown away by the approaching chill of the Mid-Atlantic winter.