A Sad Florida Memory

In an earlier memory I recalled coming into Florida and doing a series of vignettes that played for three weeks prior to my actual CWF TV arrival. The filming was done in the boardroom of a local Tampa television station. We took the raw footage back to the Tampa Sportatorium, where Eddie Graham was anxiously awaiting to meet his new manager acquisition.

This was going to be my first time meeting Eddie, and to say that I was nervous was an understatement. When we entered Eddie’s upstairs office he wasn’t alone. The Dean Of Wrestling Announcers himself was seated at Eddie’s desk, the late Gordon Solie. This was also my first time to meet Gordon, talking about intimidation! Brother! It didn’t take long for the two wrestling greats to make me feel comfortable, as we sat and watched the videotape. They were very pleased with my work, and I enjoyed hearing a chuckle or two out of both of them as I made my usual contorted facial expressions.

Unfortunately, a little over a week after my arrival into Championship Wrestling from Florida, Eddie Graham met his untimely demise.

It was Super Bowl Sunday. We had an afternoon show at The Eddie Graham Sports Complex in Orlando. I was riding with The Freebirds that day, and as we pulled up into Jimmy Garvin’s Tampa driveway, Buddy Robert’s wife ran out to the car. “I have some bad news guys…” she said, “Eddie shot himself”.

Eddie was in critical condition in the hospital. We all felt helpless, because obviously there was nothing that any of us could do. So, we tried to ease the pain by drowning ourselves in a bottle of Jack Daniels, and acting like we were watching The Superbowl. As a side note, Eddie’s son Mike was actually at The Superbowl, and they had to page him to give him the horrible news.

As the evening passed, Michael Hayes said that he just had to do something; he couldn’t sit around any longer. He said that he was going to the hospital. Buddy and Terry agreed, and they both said they were going too. I did my best to try to talk them out of it, because as I mentioned we did have a cocktail or ten. So The Fabulous Freebirds went to hospital, which was very near where we lived at the time. I understand that The Graham Family were very pleased that they were there.

In the early morning hours of the next day, the legendary Eddie Graham passed away.

I have many memories of time in Florida that I will be sharing with you as time goes by. Take care!