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 - Jim Zordani

Superstar Billy Graham was different than any wrestler that had previously competed in the AWA. Not only did Graham possess a Charles Atlas like physique but he wore very colorful tie-dyed outfits and gave interviews similar to Muhammad Ali. Superstar Billy Graham made his AWA debut in January of 1973 and immediately immersed himself into a violent feud with Wahoo McDaniel. When Billy Graham joined forces with Ivan Koloff, Wahoo recruited the Crusher to be his tag team partner. Graham and Koloff battled Wahoo and the Crusher on several occasions during1973. The Crusher really grew to dislike Superstar Graham and before too long began opposing the brash muscleman in a series of singles matches during the second half of 1973.

For several years, the biggest rival of the Crusher was Mad Dog Vachon. It was inconceivable that Crusher and Mad Dog could ever form a tag team. When it was announced Vachon would be Crusher's partner against Superstar Graham and Ivan Koloff in a cage match to be held on September 29th, 1973 in Milwaukee Wisconsin, fans were shocked! Vachon claimed to still despise the Crusher but said fate had brought them together and vowed not to betray Crusher. Crusher and Mad Dog worked surprisingly well together as if they'd been teaming for years and defeated Graham and Koloff in the cage match with a sellout crowd of 12,300 fans going nuts at the Milwaukee Arena. Crusher and Mad Dog teamed together several times over the next few months and seemingly won the AWA tag team titles from Nick Bockwinkel and Ray Stevens in a no disqualification match on January 9th, 1974 at the Milwaukee Auditorium. The AWA later the team of Crusher and Mad Dog pinned the wrong opponent and the AWA tag team titles were returned to Bockwinkel and Stevens.

Mad Dog Vachon wasn't the only partner Crusher teamed with in 1974.  Billy Robinson, Red Bastien, Chris Taylor, Ivan Putski, Wahoo McDaniel and Ken Patera all teamed with The Crusher during the first half of1974. While Crusher and his various partners enjoyed great success against Larry Heiniemi (Lars Anderson) and Buddy Wolff or Heiniemi and Superstar Graham when Wolff was wrestling singles, the Crusher was unable to win the AWA tag team titles from Nick Bockwinkel and Ray Stevens no matter who his tag partner was.   More...

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