Everything evolves and changes and after doing some research it was time to change the Hall of Fame a little bit to allow for me to recognize some more deserving talent of the past. I prefer the opportunity to shine the spotlight on the past, but there is only so many spots I can allocate for the Hall of Fame to avoid diluting the space. One thing I didn't think about was just adding a new wing for the Hall of Fame focused on honoring those from the early television era (1949-1970).
I honestly couldn't have thought a better "first ballot" Hall of Fame inductee then Eddie Graham. During his career Eddie did a little bit of everything in the wrestling business and was one of those who had a mind for the business. Eddie Graham started out as the "brother" of Buddy Rogers under the name of Rip Rogers before being renamed Eddie Graham and becoming a member of the legendary Graham family alongside Jerry, Luke, and Billy Graham. Eddie would move on from the team in 1960 heading to Championship Wrestling From Florida where he would become a legend. Ironically enough the man that Eddie would inherit the territory from is the same man who trained him back in 1947 "Cowboy" Luttrell. It was in 1971 when Eddie took over both booking and promoting of the Florida territory which he would have control until his death in 1985.
Over his twenty-five year stay within the ranks of the NWA he would become one of if not the most respected member of the Alliance next to only Sam Muchnik. Eddie Graham would donate to a number of local charities and school in Florida and became a local legend in the area. If not for Eddie Graham a number of legends wouldn't have come close to reaching the level of success they did in the sport and those same legends wouldn't have been given the chance to sit under the learning tree. Eddie directly influenced Dusty Rhodes, Steve Kiern, Dick Slater, Jack Brisco, Kevin Sullivan and various other. It was Eddie Graham who gave Gordon Solie is start in the wrestling and it was Eddie Graham who sent him to Georgia. Without Eddie Graham nobody would've taught Paul Heyman the creative side of wrestling and we wouldn't have gotten the "American Dream." It is an honor to welcome Eddie Graham not only into the Hall of Fame but as the first induction into the Television Era wing of the Wrestling Express Hall of Fame Class of 2022.