Superstar Billy Graham: Tangled Ropes

Front Cover
"I'm the man of the hour," Superstar Billy Graham told his audiences, "the man with the power. Too sweet to be sour!"

Despite years of devastating health issues (a long history of drug abuse led to a liver transplant in 2002), the man regarded as one of the most influential professional wrestlers of the past thirty years still flaunts the same optimism that made his interviews as compelling as his matches. In "Tangled Ropes," his autobiography, Graham remembers his victories -- and his setbacks -- on both the wrestling and the evangelism circuits in vibrant detail.

At his core, Graham is still Wayne Coleman, the artistic, curious boy who escaped the wrath of his disabled father in post-war Phoenix through painting, sports, and bodybuilding.

When his photo appeared in a bodybuilding magazine, the young man caught the attention of a family in Texas who began praying for his soul. Soon, Wayne found religion at a revival meeting, then mortified his parents as he left home to bend steel, rip phone books in half, and preach the Gospel on the back roads of America.

Because of his natural athleticism, Wayne held a series of jobs -- from bouncer to boxer, from repo man to football player. However, it was under the training of the "Mentor of Mayhem," Stu Hart, that the wrestler was revealed. Then the fading headliner Dr. Jerry Graham bleached Wayne's hair blond and transformed him into an in-ring "brother." Still reverent of men of faith, Coleman became "Billy Graham," after the preacher. Graham completed the package with his golden tan and enormous "pythons," a succession of color-coordinated outfits and jive-talking -- a persona imitated by countless wrestlers, including Hulk Hogan and Jesse "The Body" Ventura.

The Superstar's greatest wrestling achievement came in 1977, when he took the World Wide Wrestling Federation Championship from Bruno Sammartino. He held the prize for nearly a year -- the first wrestling villain to do so. But after he lost the title to wholesome Bob Backlund, Graham fell into a deep depression. He disappeared from the business, squandering his money and losing himself in a haze of drugs.

In "Tangled Ropes" -- co-written with Keith Elliot Greenberg -- Superstar Billy Graham tells a story that transcends his life in the wrestling profession, offering candor, nostalgia, inspiration, and humor. Graham's narrative is supplemented by anecdotes from personalities like Vince McMahon, Jesse Ventura, Ivan Koloff, Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes, and California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

 

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User Review  - Clarencex - LibraryThing

This is a must read for wrestling fans. Billy played an extremely important role in the development of the modern style of pro wrestling. Not much of a wrestler himself, but he brought in all the ... Read full review

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Not to fond of the WWF.

Selected pages

Contents

Section 1
2
Section 2
4
Section 3
13
Section 4
33
Section 5
44
Section 6
88
Section 7
105
Section 8
110
Section 13
160
Section 14
177
Section 15
183
Section 16
187
Section 17
242
Section 18
280
Section 19
282
Section 20
309

Section 9
112
Section 10
115
Section 11
124
Section 12
126
Section 21
326
Section 22
331
Copyright

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About the author (2006)

William Franklin Graham Jr. was born near Charlotte, North Carolina on November 7, 1918. In 1934 at the age of 16, he was saved by Rev. Mordecai Ham, an itinerant preacher from Kentucky. Graham graduated from the Florida Bible Institute in 1940 and received a bachelor's degree in anthropology from Wheaton College in 1943. After graduation from Wheaton College, he married fellow student Ruth McCue Bell, the daughter of a missionary surgeon. Graham was ordained to the ministry by a church in the Southern Baptist Convention in 1939. He was the Pastor of the First Baptist Church in Western Springs, Illinois from 1943-1945. In 1943, he took over the radio program Songs in the Night, a Sunday hour of sermonizing and gospel singing broadcast by a Chicago radio station. He was also Charter Vice President for Youth for Christ International in Chicago, Illinois from 1945-1950 and the President of Northwestern Schools from 1947-1952. In 1950, he founded the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association in Minneapolis and began the weekly Hour of Decision radio program. Graham wrote numerous books including Peace with God, World Aflame, Just As I Am, The Reason for My Hope: Salvation, and Nearing Home: Life, Faith, and Finishing Well. He won several awards including the ECPA Platinum Book Award for Angels: God's Secret Agents, the ECPA Gold Book Award for The Holy Spirit, and the ECPA Gold Book Award for Approaching Hoofbeats: The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. He was honored for his work on behalf of the welfare of children, his efforts to foster better understanding among all faiths, his contributions to race relations, and his contributions to the cause of freedom. He received numerous awards throughout his career including the Distinguished Service Medal from the Salvation Army, the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1983, and the Congressional Gold Medal. He died on February 21, 2018 at the age of 99.

Keith Elliot Greenberg is a lifelong wrestling fan and a senior writer for World Wrestling Entertainment publications. He is also an award winning television producer whose work has been seen on 48 Hours, America's Most Wanted, VH-1 and The History Channel. He is the author of more than thirty non-fiction books for children and lives with his family in Brooklyn, New York.

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