Mike Graham (wrestler)
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Michael Gossett (September 22, 1951 – c. October 19, 2012), better known as Mike Graham, was an American professional wrestler. The son of wrestler and promoter Eddie Graham, Gossett was born in Tampa, Florida.
|Birth name||Michael Gossett|
|Born||September 22, 1951|
Tampa, Florida, U.S.
|Died||October 19, 2012 (aged 61)|
Daytona, Florida, U.S.
|Cause of death||Multiple gunshot suicide|
|Family||Eddie Graham (father)|
|Professional wrestling career|
|Ring name(s)||Mike Graham|
|Billed height||5 ft 8 in (173 cm)|
|Billed weight||230 lb (104 kg)|
|Trained by||Eddie Graham|
Amateur & Professional WrestlingEdit
Mike Graham was a Florida high school wrestling District champion his senior year in 1969 for Robinson High School (In Tampa, Florida). In the District finals, to qualify for state, he faced Richard Blood and beat him by one point. Blood, who was a sophomore at the time, would win the state title himself two years later. Blood went on to gain success and fame in professional wrestling as Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat.
Michael Gossett started wrestling in 1972 in his father's Championship Wrestling from Florida, which was a National Wrestling Alliance territory. He was trained by his father, Boris Malenko and Hiro Matsuda.
He teamed with his father upon his arrival but also formed a successful team with Kevin Sullivan. Sullivan eventually turned on him to form his "Satanic cult", The Army of Darkness. Graham then teamed with Steve Keirn and Barry Windham to feud with them and to capture several tag team titles over the years.
Graham headed back to Florida in 1983 primarily as a singles wrestlers. He started teaming with Keirn again in the late 1980s and wrestled in the NWA's Jim Crockett Promotions with Keirn briefly around this time.
He then went back to the AWA in 1988 where he won the Light Heavyweight Title again.
In 1988, Mike Graham & Steve Keirn wrestled in Memphis as a tag team.
In 1989, he went back to Florida to the newly renamed Florida Championship Wrestling and teamed briefly with Dustin Rhodes.
By 1990, Graham was an infrequent in-ring competitor and he became a road agent for World Championship Wrestling. Along with Paul Orndorff, Pez Whatley and DeWayne Bruce, Graham worked as a trainer in WCW as part of the WCW Power Plant. At Slamboree 1993, Mike represented his father when he was inducted into the WCW Hall of Fame.
In the early 2000s, Graham was a road agent for the short-lived Xcitement Wrestling Federation and for Turnbuckle Championship Wrestling. He made occasional appearances for the revived Florida Championship Wrestling.
Mike Graham worked with World Wrestling Entertainment in early 2006 on a DVD about Dusty Rhodes, which was released on June 6, 2006. He has appeared on WWE 24/7's Legends of Wrestling series as part of a panel which discussed famous pro wrestlers of the 1980s. He hosted classic episodes of Championship Wrestling from Florida on WWE 24/7 Classics.
In March 2012, Graham teamed with long-time friend and tag-team partner Brian Blair, Lanny Poffo and Carlós Colon to defeat the team of Ron Bass, Larry Zbyszko, The Masked Superstar, and Gary Royal in an eight-man tag team elimination match at a Pro Wrestling Superstars at an event which featured former Championship Wrestling from Florida talent.
World Champion Offshore Power Boat RacingEdit
In addition to his wrestling career, Graham also competed in offshore power boat racing. In 1993, Graham throttled Kiely Motorsports' 35' Offshore Class C catamaran to multiple championship finishes:
- 1st Place Finish: Sarasota, Florida
- 1st Place Finish: Marathon, Florida
- 3rd Place Finish: New Orleans, Louisiana
- Reserve Championship: APBA / UIM Offshore World Championship in Sanibel Island, Florida.
Graham maintained position as the throttle man for each finish.
Graham elevated the profile of powerboat racing nationally and was known as a fierce competitor and a true sportsman.
On October 19, 2012, Graham was found dead by his wife of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head at their residence in Daytona Beach, Florida. His father and son had committed suicide in similar manners on January 21, 1985 and December 14, 2010, respectively. His grandfather and uncle also committed suicide. His uncle was ill with cancer at the time.
Championships and accomplishmentsEdit
- American Wrestling Association
- Championship Wrestling from Florida
- FCW Tag Team Championship (2 times) - with Dustin Rhodes (1) and Joe Gomez (1)
- NWA Florida Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- NWA Florida Global Tag Team Championship (1 time) - with Scott McGhee
- NWA Florida Tag Team Championship (16 times) - with Kevin Sullivan (3), Eddie Graham (1), Ken Lucas (1), Steve Keirn (9), Ray Stevens (1), and Barry Windham (1)
- NWA Florida Television Championship (2 times)
- NWA International Junior Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- NWA North American Tag Team Championship (Florida version) (1 time) – with Steve Keirn
- NWA United States Tag Team Championship (Florida version) (3 times) - with Steve Keirn
- PWF Florida Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- Mid-South Sports
- NWA Mid-America
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- Southeastern Championship Wrestling
- "Mike Graham Profile". Online World Of Wrestling. Retrieved 2008-04-18.
- "CAUSE OF DEATH FOR MIKE GRAHAM, WWE ISSUES STATEMENT - PWInsider.com". www.pwinsider.com.
- Harris, Keith (22 October 2012). "Mike Graham commits suicide like his father". Cageside Seats.
- "PWI Awards". Pro Wrestling Illustrated. Kappa Publishing Group. Retrieved June 9, 2017.
- Mike Graham cagematch.net Retrieved on January 13, 2019
- Wrestling Information Archive - Pro Wrestling Illustrated's Top 500 Wrestlers of the PWI Years Retrieved on January 13, 2019