"Superstar" Billy Graham passes on his knowledge
During RAW's Oct. 3 Homecoming on USA Network, WWE will pay tribute to many of the Legends who helped pave the way for all of WWE's future success. WWE.com will be posting interviews with many of these Legends as we recognize the vital role they played well before RAW ever became the landmark show of sports-entertainment.
"The man of the hour, the man with the power, too sweet to be sour!" That perfectly describes WWE Hall of Famer "Superstar" Billy Graham, who will be on hand for WWE Homecoming when RAW goes back home to the USA Network. Graham is one of the most colorful Superstars in WWE history. He was the man who dethroned Bruno Sammartino for the WWE Championship after an amazing three-plus year reign. He went on to defend the Championship for an impressive 10 months. Graham's style inside and outside the ring have influenced many WWE Superstars including the "Immortal" Hulk Hogan. WWE.com caught up with "Superstar" and go this thoughts on WWE Homecoming.
WWE.com: What did it feel like to find out you'll be involved with WWE Homecoming on Oct. 3 when RAW goes back to the USA Network?
Graham: It felt great. It's a real honor. It will be very exciting, and I'm very thankful to Vince McMahon because without him, the Legends wouldn't be coming back like this. It's been a long time since I've seen a lot of the guys. I haven't seen Chief Jay Strongbow in years and years and years. The reunion will be great. It will be nice to be out there with these guys who have really set the standard and paid the price. They've gone down that road for thousands of untold miles. Getting honored like this is a big deal.
WWE.com: What do you think of having the Legends on a show with the current Superstars?
Graham: I think it's great because it will be like a Fan Appreciation Day. Again, it goes back to Vince, because it's his belief in the Legends and his respect for the guys who have come first that makes this happen. I think the fans will love it because they're going to see history. They're going to see their heroes of now and their heroes of then, so it's like a complete circle. Even though some of the fans might be too young to have seen us, this is a way for them to learn about us and respect us.
WWE.com: Is there a place for the Legends to keep coming back?
Graham: Absolutely. Because of Vince's commitment and respect for the guys who came before the current Superstars, it's going to be a wonderful thing. The interaction between us and the current Superstars is a great thing. Not only with marketing, but it's great for the fans. The younger fans will be educated about us and will be richer for it.
WWE.com: Are there any current Superstars on RAW you're looking forward to seeing?
Graham: I've been to the last two WrestleManias, SummerSlam and some RAW events, so I've become good friends with a lot of the current Superstars. It's really like a family. I'm looking forward to getting back there and seeing everyone. It's nice because I really appreciate how the younger guys treat me and respect the older Legends.
WWE.com: When you started going to some of the RAW events, how did your expectations of how the younger Superstars would treat you match up to their actual reactions?
Graham: I really wasn't sure how they would treat me when I met them. I didn't know how they would treat the Legends. I figured they'd treat me with respect, but maybe nothing more than a handshake. But as it turned out, I've bonded with these guys. I feel so comfortable with them now and it feels like I'm back in the family.
WWE.com: What have you given back to the younger Superstars?
Graham: I've passed on a lot of my knowledge to a bunch of the younger guys. I spoke with Batista early on and encouraged him to do more posing and talked to him about some of the aspects of his wrestling ability. I've done much of the same thing with Chris Masters as well. I've encouraged him in a few ways and helped him express himself in interviews. So, I'm able to give back in that respect. I'm trying to pass on a lot of the charisma I had to some of these guys. It's very interactive.
WWE.com: What does it feel like to see someone you've helped go on to have success like Masters has recently?
Graham: It feels great because I look back at my own career. I was struggling early on until I became tag team partners with Pat Patterson. Then Pat Patterson took me under his wing and encouraged me, and showed me the things to do and what not to do. So this is like me giving back in the same way to a guy like Chris Masters because there are a lot of similarities between him and when I was competing in terms of physique. He's been very appreciative, too, so it's a great feeling to see him go on and do good things. I've also tried to reach out to Rob Conway. The guys have been very receptive to my help.
WWE.com: What kind of advantages do you think RAW might have going back to USA?
Graham: I think it will be a great advantage in the ratings, especially with this monster kick-off show. There's been a tremendous energy out there about this. Everyone is extremely excited and motivated. It's a great thing for WWE.