Hall of Famer is not one of the things he wants to be, at least this week.
In an ongoing verbal barrage, Graham has told everyone who will listen or read via his Facebook that he wants out of the WWE Hall of Fame, partially because the company decided to put Abdullah the Butcher in the Hall several years ago when Wrestlemania was in Atlanta and partially because CM Punk, a heel, actually acted like one when he put himself over at the expense of Bruno Sammartino on Raw. You know, like Superstar Graham would have back in the day.
Graham's comments are the latest in his love/hate relationship with the company, with the former WWWF champion falling on the side against WWE, with the exception of the time periods where they are actually paying him a salary.
In the 1980s, Graham finished his wrestling career with the company and was moved into a manager's role before working as an announcer. When he was let go, he was one of many who attacked it with unbridled fury during the sex and steroid scandals of the 1990s.
Graham went as far as to tell a story on the Phil Donohue Show (with Vince McMahon sitting seats away from him on the panel, no less) of watching Pat Patterson grabbing an underage ring boy on the crotch before a live show in New Haven, CT.
The only problem was, it never happened. Not with Patterson. The ring boy in question never existed. There were issues, absolutely, with others in the company, such as the late Terry Garvin and ring announcer Mel Phillips. They were shown the door and never returned.
Patterson did, because the allegations were unfounded.
In his autobiography Tangled Ropes, Graham recounted the moment, writing, "I'd traveled with Pat, and had never seen that side of him. But, I was so caught up in my vengeance towards the company that I now directed my rage at a man who'd only treated me as a friend."
Graham claimed in his book that he was on halcion during the taping and wrote, "In my pathetic, self-absorbed state, I hurt a good man who I knew was 100 percent innocent."
Despite all that, WWE still welcomed Graham back into the fold in the early 2000s (You know Pat Patterson must have loved THAT), inducting him into their Hall of Fame in 2004. With that induction came a paycheck for the appearance, a consultant's salary, WWE publishing Graham's aforementioned autobiography and the production of a WWE DVD.
All of this came after Graham admittedly lied on live, national TV. If there was ever a case study on WWE turning the other cheek, this was it.
Like all things in life, the consultant's job did not last forever. It's not hard to see why. Graham was not on the road and wasn't really utilized much by the company, not even for Raw cameos or as a talking head on their DVDs. He was let go during a cost-cutting effort that also saw much more valuable and much more loyal veterans, like Afa and Sgt. Slaughter, also let go. It wasn't personal. It was accounting.
So now Graham is on the warpath again, raging against WWE and Abdullah the Butcher and CM Punk promos and anything else that he can cling to as proof of what a terrible company WWE is.
This morning, when Graham again made his claims, this time via Facebook, I decided to ask a simple question.
"Billy, I mean no disrespect by this question, but if WWE was to remove you from the Hall of Fame like you ask, would you be willing to return what they paid you to be inducted?"
The question was deleted within an hour. Graham did not respond.
I'd love to ask Graham exactly why he's so angry with the company. Is he really mad Abdullah is in the Hall of Fame? Is he seriously of the belief that Abdullah, as Graham has claimed, purposely cut people without their permission? How can one believe these claims after Graham admittedly lied, on a much larger stage, about Pat Patterson? Why is it that Graham has nothing but awesome things to say about WWE when he's collecting a check from Stamford but likens the company to Satan when he's not on the payroll?
I'd love to ask these and more, but well, we saw what happened when I asked one question.
There's no argument that Superstar Graham was a trendsetter, but with every outburst, he colors and shadows all that he did accomplish and moves farther and farther away from the legacy WWE allowed him to embrace after they had no reason to do so.
Only this time, WWE has no reason to turn the cheek....or honor his requests. After all, Graham's not going to return his Hall of Fame ring. He already sold it.
Mike Johnson can be reached at Mike@PWInsider.com. He does, despite it all, suggest reading Graham's autobiography.
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