Former Montreal Alouettes defensive tackle Eldridge Wayne Coleman, who rose to prominence in the WWE under the stage name ‘Superstar Billy Graham’ has passed away at the age of 79.
Coleman joined the Calgary Stampeders in 1968 but was traded to the Alouettes in July, only to be cut two days later. He stuck around on the practice roster and was activated for five games as a rookie, though no defensive statistics are available during that era.
An award-winning bodybuilder prior to his CFL career, Coleman rose to prominence after completing a photo shoot with Arnold Schwarzenegger for Muscle and Fitness magazine. In 1969, the Arizona native left pro football to train with the Calgary-based Stampede Wrestling.
He joined the American Wrestling Association (AWA) in 1972 and would go on to spend time in the World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF) and National Wrestling Association (NWA). He is widely regarded as a pioneer of modern wrestling due to his colourful personality and was a one-time WWWF Heavyweight Champion. Coleman was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2004.
“Superstar Billy Graham” is one of many iconic pro wrestlers with experience playing in the CFL. Others include Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Roman Reigns, Lex Luger and Tito Santana.