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YouTubular: “Quick Draw” Rick McGraw

June 2, 2011 | Posted by Leonard Hayhurst
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YouTubular: “Quick Draw” Rick McGraw  

As requested by Lord Darias, we have “Quick Draw” Rick McGraw. McGraw turned pro in 1976 in Florida and also wrestled for Mid-Atlantic. He was part of the New York Dolls tag team and was managed by Jimmy Hart in Memphis. He also teamed with Andre the Giant and with Steve Travis in the Carolina Connection. Arnold Skaaland managed McGraw for a time in WWE and he had his neck broken (in storyline) by Killer Khan.

According to Wikipedia, McGraw had a severe drug problem and this most likely led to the heart attack that killed him on Nov. 1, 1985. This was shortly after McGraw’s appearance on Piper’s Pit shown below and the ensuing match.

Rick McGraw vs. Roddy Piper
Video Length: 6:51


This is from “WWF Championship Wrestling” with Vince McMahon and Bruno Sammartino on commentary. McGraw is wearing a Hot Rod shirt to mock Piper. He rips it off, blows his nose into it and then flings it at Piper. At least he didn’t use it for a jizz rag. Piper hits the floor and says into the camera he’s going to show McGraw while they don’t let him wrestle on TV. This is in reference to the above clip where McGraw accuses Piper of never wrestling on television.

McGraw beats on Piper as he tries to take his shirt off. McGraw hip tosses Piper out of the corner and slugs away on him. The crowd is hot for McGraw, but that’s probably because they hate Piper so much. Piper covers up in the corner and the referee pulls McGraw off. That allows Piper to sucker punch McGraw and take over. Piper hits a double throat thrust and McGraw takes a header to the floor. Piper follows and slams McGraw into the guardrail a few times. Back in the ring, Piper hits a knee lift. He forgoes a cover for more punching. McGraw fights back, but Piper no sells an eye rake and follows with his famous Three Stooges eye poke. McGraw slugs away and Piper no sells with a look of someone annoyed by a gnat buzzing around their head. McGraw hooks a headlock, but Piper breaks with a backdrop suplex. Piper thumbs his nose at McGraw. Rick fires back again. Piper utilizes a double leg takedown to get Rick off his feet and bashes his head into the mat.

Piper with a DDT. He paintbrushes McGraw with slaps to set up a neckbreaker. Piper with a regular suplex. Piper hits another DDT, which Sammartino calls a version of a piledriver. The referee calls for the bell and declares Piper the winner. That’s one of the few cannot continue decisions I’ve seen in wrestling, especially that didn’t involve blood loss. Piper lays in a few boots after the match just because. Piper reiterates that’s why they don’t let him wrestle on TV. It was just brawling and some random moves. However, it carried over the storyline from Piper’s Pit and had good energy. * ½.

Rick McGraw vs. Killer Khan with Fred Blassie
Video Length: 7:38


This is from “Championship Wrestling” with McMahon and Pat Patterson on commentary. McMahon and Patterson preview the show with Patterson tripping over his words like the Shockmaster over his own feet. Patterson does some foreshadowing by saying Blassie does push his men to hurt grapplers. That could give Khan the edge, but Patterson is rooting for McGraw. Funny, he doesn’t look like Pat’s type. McMahon then catches Blassie on their way to the ring. He informs Blassie Khan has been fined $1,000 for injuring a referee the previous week. Blassie doesn’t care, the man shouldn’t have gotten in Khan’s way.

Khan lunges for McGraw, but he uses his speed to avoid the big man. McGraw uses a smart stick and move strategy to control early. Khan fights out of a rear waistlock and McGraw makes the mistake of locking up with Khan. Rick is clubbed in the head. Khan decides to start no selling and lays in the chops. Khan whiffs on a big boot, because McGraw was too far away, so he takes a step up and does it again. Rick is nice enough to sell the miss though. Khan stomps away and then pulls McGraw up for a big chop. He pulls him up again for a knee lift. Khan chokes McGraw out on the mat. Khan whips McGraw to the corner and he moves on the charge. Rick comes back with a dropkick and covers for two. Khan avoids a second dropkick. He floors McGraw with a double throat thrust and covers after a knee drop. Khan pulls McGraw up. He kicks McGraw to the floor and follows to knee drop him across the throat on the concrete. Khan does it again and McGraw goes into convulsions. Khan wins by count out. Khan works McGraw over more after the bell. ½* This was just a squash to get the character of Khan over as a monster that hurt people. It continued his storyline and McGraw was his usual scrappy self in getting the crowd fired up and selling well. McGraw is carried out on a stretcher and would suffer that broken neck mentioned above.

Rick McGraw vs. Mr. Fuji
Video Length: 6:06


This is from the Philadelphia Spectrum in 1982. Commentators are Kal Rudman and Dick Graham. Fuji was buff back in the day. Well, as compared to later on. McGraw’s nickname here is “fiery.”

Fuji bows and throws the ceremonial salts when the bell rings. McGraw blocks a punch and throws his own. They lockup and Fuji breaks clean as McGraw goes into the ropes. McGraw mocks Fuji with a mock half bow. They lock up again and Fuji hits a quick thrust to the throat and a couple knee lifts. Fuji clamps on a trapezes hold. McGraw starts to power out, so Fuji takes him to the mat by his hair. McGraw works up again and Fuji forces him back down. I play a game of Risk and come back to Fuji still working the hold. McGraw finally breaks and pounds on Fuji in the corner. McGraw tries to whip Fuji to the opposite corner, but he puts on the breaks and throws Rick into the adjacent corner. McGraw jumps to the second rope and tries to surprise with a cross body, but Fuji moves. Good sequence. Fuji hangs McGraw in the tree of woe. It looks like Fuji is skull fucking McGraw and the Devious One is disqualified by the referee. Yes, Rick McGraw holds a win over Mr. Fuji. ¼* The end was out of nowhere and really wasn’t set up by anything in the match. The bout was a little over four minutes and half of it was spent in the trapezes hold. The ring presence of both men keeps this from being a total dud.

Rick McGraw vs. Paul Orndorff
Video Length: 3:29


This is from “Championship Wrestling” with McMahon and Sammartino. Orndorff and McGraw jaw at each other to start. Orndorff shoves McGraw and it’s on. Paul rakes the eyes to take control. McGraw is introduced to the top turnbuckle and then whipped across the ring. Orndorff catches McGraw on the bounce out for a backdrop. McGraw tries to block Orndorff from picking him up to get a small package, but Orndorff is too strong and scores a back breaker. Orndorff works a chinlock. McGraw works to his feet and breaks with a series of elbows. He returns the eye rake from earlier and punches away. A dropkick leads to a sunset flip for two. Orndorff blocks a flying head scissors and hangs Rick out to dry on the top rope. Orndorff hits a swinging neckbreaker and signals for the piledriver. That will finish it. ½* A really good short match thanks to the chemistry of the two. There was some continuity with the eye rakes and Orndorff worked the neck in several ways to setup his finisher.

Rick McGraw vs. Terry Funk
Video Length: 14:58


This is from Boston Garden in Aug. 1985. Gorilla Monsoon and Gene Okerlund are on commentary. McGraw is wearing a T-shirt that says “Physical” on it and it looks like he got a perm. No, that doesn’t make him seem gay at all. Even Monsoon comments on the hair.

Funk complains to the referee that McGraw keeps dancing around and won’t lockup. They finally tie up and McGraw pushes Funk through the ropes to the apron. Funk makes his feet and spits at McGraw. Rick goes after him, but Terry pokes his head through the ropes to keep him off via the referee. They lockup again. Funk forces McGraw into the ropes and chops him. They go into the corner. McGraw reverses a whip and Funk does his comical overselling. He gets tied up in the ropes, then drops down to roll to the outside. Back in, Funk hits a shoulder block off the ropes. He tries another, but McGraw catches him for a scoop slam. McGraw catches Funk for a second one. Funk is frustrated and kicks the ropes. Funk reverses a whip, but McGraw moves and Funk posts his shoulder. Monsoon keeps calling McGraw “the Little Fireplug.”

McGraw wrenches Funk’s arm over the tope rope. He follows with a shoulder breaker for a near fall. We seem to clip ahead a bit. McGraw reverses a top wristlock into a hammerlock. Funk makes the ropes to break. Funk offers a handshake, but McGraw refuses to take it. The two men spill to the floor. McGraw goes for a punch, but Funk puts his hands up and says he doesn’t want to fight outside. He offers a handshake and McGraw refuses. Funk takes the steps back into the ring. The commentators just know Funk is setting Rick up for something. Back inside, Funk takes a headlock into a hammerlock and then a heel pick. McGraw kicks Funk off. Funk throws his hands up like he’s saying ‘ok, ok, he’s doing pretty good.’ We seem to skip ahead some more. Funk wants a test of strength, but keeps pulling back. They go into the ropes and Funk applauds McGraw for the clean break. Funk scores a headlock and uses a little subterfuge to distract the ref before kicking McGraw in the groin. Funk gets nasty and throws McGraw to the floor. He follows and fakes going after a fan. He then works McGraw over on the outside. The crowd is so into McGraw, they start chanting “JYD.”

Funk meets McGraw on the apron and hits a series of head butts. Rick falls back to the floor and Funk jaws at the fans. Funk suplexes McGraw in from the apron for two. Funk mocks the Junk Yard Dog with a crawling head butt. The two were feuding at the time. Funk telegraphs a backdrop and takes a sunset flip for two. McGraw moves on a leg drop. McGraw follows with an atomic drop. Funk way oversells it by slamming on his rear and then bouncing like a Super Ball to the floor. McGraw slams Funk’s head in the barricade and whips on him. Back in the ring, McGraw hits a suplex for two. They collide off of a whip into the ropes. Funk does this bowlegged shuffle dance before collapsing. I get the sense Funk had no interest in this match and is just trying to amuse himself with overselling everything. Funk scores a body slam, but misses an elbow drop. So he tries it again and misses again. McGraw gets an airplane spin into a Samoan Drop. A cross body gets two. The commentators do a nice job of putting over how gassed McGraw is, which leads to Funk locking in the sleeper hold for the win. Funk grabs his branding iron and paints his mark on McGraw’s chest. Funk brings McGraw around and he steals the branding iron to chase Terry to the back. * A little long for what it was and that was even with some clipping. Funk’s overselling doesn’t endear himself to me. There were some slow spots, but the match was overall solid. Funk did a great job of telling the story and working in his feud with JYD.

Rick McGraw vs. Buddy Rose with the Grand Wizard
Video Length: 6:08


The commentary is in Spanish. McGraw has blonde hair. This seems joined shortly after the bell. Rose dives to the floor and hides behind the Wizard as McGraw pursues. Back in the ring, Rose knocks McGraw down with a shoulder block off the ropes. McGraw ends a crisscross sequence with a dropkick. Rose runs into an arm drag and McGraw clamps on an arm bar. Rose throws McGraw into the ropes to break and gets a shoulder block. McGraw runs the ropes and Rose trips him with a nice ankle scissors. He tries to roll into a headlock, but McGraw is quicker and comes up with a hammerlock. McGraw maneuvers into a pin fall attempt. They trade off on a hammerlock. Rose breaks with a leg pick and gets a near fall. McGraw kicks him off and sets up for a monkey flip. Rose cartwheels out of the way. This is several years away from the infamous Blow Away Diet fake commercial. Rose thinks he’s hot stuff, but turns into a dropkick.

McGraw hits an arm drag into an arm bar. McGraw works the arm and then goes to a headlock. He throws McGraw into the ropes for a scoop slam. McGraw lands on his back and kicks straight up into Rose. McGraw hits a body slam and goes back to the arm. McGraw hits a shoulder block. He leap frogs over a backdrop try, but eats a back elbow. Rose slams McGraw head first into the turnbuckle and then drops a couple knees. Rose tries the backdrop again and takes a sunset flip for a near fall. McGraw blocks a shot to the turnbuckle and does it to Rose. McGraw whips Rose from corner to corner. McGraw gets aggressive with a mounted punch count. He back flips off of Rose and tries a dropkick. Rose pulls backs and Rick misses. Rose uses a neck breaker and a snapmare to set up a top rope…awwwwwwwwwwwwww The video cuts off. I’m guessing Rose won from there. I’m going to go NR since we didn’t have the start or finish. What we do have is decent if not spectacular. The technical stuff is good, but a little disjoined and the pacing is slow.

Rick McGraw vs. Sgt. Slaughter with The Grand Wizard
Video Length: 8:06


For those who think Slaughter was only a heel during his American traitor phase, witness this match. This would also seem to be from “Championship Wrestling” with Patterson and McMahon on commentary. Slaughter pantomimes slamming McGraw to the canvas or dipping him during a tango, one or the other. Arnold Skaaland is shown to be watching from the crowd.

They lock up to start and Slaughter muscles McGraw into the corner. McGraw uses his speed on another lockup to get behind Slaughter and push him into the ropes. Slaughter covers his ears to block a loud “Let’s go Rick” chant. McGraw again uses his speed to get behind Slaughter and he turns around into a punch to that giant chin. They trade chops and Slaughter is furious while McGraw jaws at the Wizard. McGraw scurries out of a leg scissors takedown. He hits Slaughter with a few shoulder blocks off the ropes, but he won’t go down. Part one ends there.

Slaughter catches McGraw on another shoulder block try and throws him into the turnbuckle. McGraw stumbles into a back suplex. Wizard and Slaughter taunt Skaaland, which allows McGraw to recover with a dropkick. He whips Slaughter to the far corner and catches him coming out with a backdrop. Slaughter hammers away to take over and gets his short arm whip into a knee lift. Gutbuster. Another knee lift and some clubbing leads to a clothesline. That gets the win. ¾* That was another pretty decent short match. It had a nice balance of actual wrestling and storytelling to make a complete match. McGraw learned early on that Slaughter was too powerful for him, so he went for the speed game, but as soon as Slaughter caught him it was over.

After the match, the heels try to talk to McMahon, but he shuns them for Skaaland. Skaaland said he sees a big flaw in Slaughter he can exploit. Slaughter returns to jaw at Skaaland and then beats him up. Two guys save, but I can’t tell who.

Rick McGraw vs. Harley Race
Video Length: 4:50


This is from Georgia Championship Wrestling with Gordon Solie on commentary. Date is Feb. 1979. Race is the NWA World Heavyweight Champion. The picture is a bit dark.

McGraw controls early with a hip toss and arm drag. McGraw works the arm on the mat. Race works up and sends McGraw into the ropes for a leapfrog, but Race turns into an arm drag and we go back to the mat. McGraw leg drops the arm and covers for a near fall. Race breaks a headlock with a back suplex. He drops a knee to the head. A gutwrench suplex gets two. Race throws Rick to the floor. Race follows out for a punch to the head. He drives a knee to the head and breaks the count. McGraw hits two shoulder thrusts between the ropes, but Race catches him on a third with a knee. McGraw reverses a whip for a backdrop. Race scores a stun gun and finishes with a suplex. ½* Decent enough match to get the champion on television. He looked in control while not burying McGraw. Even in a loss, McGraw looks good by being able to stand toe to toe with Race.

The 411: If Rick McGraw was a baseball player he would be a utility infielder often used for pinch hitting and the first guy in the lineup if there was an injury to a starter. McGraw didn’t have great size or a superstar look, but he had surprising charisma. He knew how to work a crowd by knowing how to work a match and build chemistry with his opponents. McGraw could hold his own against top heels, like Piper, and even if you knew he was going to get his ass handed to him, you still rooted for it not to happen. His offense was at the cutting edge of the period, compared to many guys who were still working a 1970’s slower, wear down hold style. McGraw could hang with those guys, but he really shined in the shorter, faster paced television matches like the ones with Orndorff, Khan and Piper above.
Final Score:  7.0   [ Good ]  legend

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Leonard Hayhurst

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