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— Bay News 9 reports that Mike Graham’s memorial service was held yesterday in Largo, Florida. Graham, as previously reported, killed himself via gunshot wound. His widow Diane spoke with Bay News 9, noting, “There were no signs leading up to it, no warnings, my job was to protect him, you know.”
She said she believed that Graham’s decision to kill himself was a “spur of the moment” one and said he was affected by his son and father’s suicides, saying, “When Steven took his life Mike said, ‘I must’ve been a bad son for my dad to do this and I must’ve been a bad father for my son to do this.’ And he took it so personal that he felt guilty that he didn’t do it.”
— Tim Horner called into Busted Open Radio with Dave Lagreca and Doug Mortman today to talk about Brad Armstrong’s passing and more. Check out the highlights:
On Brad Armstrong’s passing: “My heart is heavy, I’ve lost a great friend. My dad passed away a couple of weeks ago, so I’m just emotionally drained at this point. I’ve gotten several calls that you guys were talking about Brad, so I just wanted to call in on behalf of the family and ask for prayers. Brad was one of the greatest guys that I have ever met. He was a heck of a guy. Brad and I teamed up back in May with Ted Dibiase on a show locally here in Tennessee in my hometown for the football team. People caught it on the internet and then we got another booking this past Saturday which I ended up cancelling because I had shingles and then my father passed, but that was another legends thing that was sold out here down South. I hate now I didn’t go. I talked to Brad on Friday and he was up for it. Brad was one of those guys who could work with a broom. That’s a rare find these days.”
On the Lightning Express: “We were champions in Georgia. Then we went out to the UWF in 1987 and our first match was with Sting and Rick Steiner, who we had never met, but we ended up going 29 minutes with them on TV and took the titles from them. I told a lot of guys these days, you couldn’t work in the business 20 years ago, because there were many times when we met the guys in the ring for the first time in the ring. You guys were talking about how Brad never got that push, He was just one of those guys and you might call them mid-carders, and I was in that mold too, but were a guy that could work anywhere on the card. We were more valuable to the companies making their stars. Everybody cant be a quarterback, someone has to block. That’s what the guys don’t understand today. It’s a team effort.”
On the difference in wrestling from 20 years ago: “No one was under contract. You got paid on what the house drew. So at that point everybody busted their hump to be in a good position on the card. With that being said, Brad and I wanted to be in a good spot on the card because it meant more money so you hustled. When contracts came along, it took away the initiative for guys to really want to learn and bust their humps because they are going to get paid anyway.”
Why weren’t the Lightning Express pushed more on Georgia Championship Wrestling: “Well if you recall, that’s when Vince came in and took over TBS on that Black Saturday. When he came in, we were offered to go. Brad and I both being young, we felt that we owed it to Ole Anderson because he had given us our break. So we opted to stay and of course Georgia Championship Wrestling couldn’t exist and didn’t have the power to stay. So Brad and I went to Mid South to compete there.”
On Brad Armstrong the wrestler: “He was a man’s man. He was a fantastic wrestler and performer and a great athlete. He was able to go out there, get himself over and get other guys over who had no clue on what they were doing. There were many guys like that. For example, Ole wanted to make another Road Warriors and he had the Master Blasters. Ole said at that point, I’m going to put Horner and Armstrong with them because if they cant get them over, they will never get over. Which I guess was giving us kudos. It didn’t do anything for us at that point but they felt like that was the way our talent was utilized. They asked us to get other guys over. Brad probably got a little more opportunities than I did. His dad was in a situation to give him a little more notoriety in the beginning of his career. It was amazing to watch him work. Guys have matches and have no clue on what they should be doing. Anybody who wants to go on YouTube and watch some of the old stuff, it’s incredible.”
If he has talked to the Armstrong family since Brad’s passing: “I talked to Steve yesterday. They were pretty much in shock. They were all in Pensacola, Florida and Brad lived in Marietta, Georgia. Everyone is kind of in the dark here with what happened. I know there will be an autopsy performed. First indications was a possible massive heart attack. Other than that, that’s speculation from things that have been said, and probably things being said on the internet. I just want people to keep them in their prayers because its been tough and I have been like a family member to them. I was always the fifth Armstrong. growing up in the business with them and constantly keeping in touch with them. Bob and his mother, they are all just great people. I appreciate any prayers to them and all the people up in the Northeast.”