Name: David Graves
Nickname(s): The 80 Minute Man, The Grafter
Height: 5ft 11
From: The Dugout/Top of the League (aka Leeds, England)
Started training: 2012
Companies worked for:
British Wrestling Entertainment
British Wrestling Revolution
Elite British Wrestling
Empire Professional Wrestling
Extreme American Wrestling
International Pro Wrestling: UK
Main Event Wrestling
New Generation Wrestling
Norton British Wrestling
Phoenix Events Yorkshire
Radical Innovation of Sports Entertainment (RISE) England
Royal Wrestling Promotions
Shield Pro Wrestling
Tap Out Wrestling
Three Count Wrestling
Tidal Championship Wrestling
Ultimate Rumble Wrestling
Grapple Wrestling British Championship
Grapple Wrestling Tag Team Championship
Try Time Driver / TTD
5th & Last
If you haven’t heard the name David Graves then you aren’t alone. It wasn’t until fairly recently when I was putting together the matches for the Calling Spots Championship Tournament that his name was suggested to me and people I have a lot of respect for sang his praises. Before saying yay or nay I decided to check him out and have a chat with the man himself. 30-40 minutes into my research on YouTube and my mind was made up, unless the man is a proper numpty he was going up against Liam Slater at Grapple Wrestling on Saturday 1st October 2016. I was impressed by his aggressive technical, ground based style with the odd thing borrowed from the rugby field thrown in alongside some amateur wrestling techniques and a healthy amount of meaty strikes.
As the match went ahead ( the majority of the match can be viewed here *excuse the footage*), and Graves was beaten by the more experienced Liam Slater, you can probably assume the guy passed the “non-numpty” test. In fact he aced it. He is so far from a numpty that I’d probably even describe his as quite nice so I was a tiny bit disappointed. You see from what little I had seen of Graves he usually played a bad guy, and he was good at playing the bad guy, he’s the guy that makes you boo him and cheer for his opponent, in short he semed to be a dick and I was kinda hoping the guy was a bit of a dick cos I enjoyed booing him. I have written many times that sometimes I meet someone and they are completely different to what I had expected and Graves is another perfect example of why you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover (although with this is mind I don’t fully understand the purpose of illustrations in book covers). Graves informed me that, in fact, he’s usually a good guy and given how polite and friendly I found him to be I wasn’t surprised at all to find that out.
I asked Graves what had gotten him into wrestling and he told me that he couldn’t remember not being a fan. He would regularly watch WCW as a child but when he would play wrestling with his friends and neighbours he was always given the character of Road Dogg (he is unsure exactly why but thinks it may have been due to their mutual chubbiness). Given his lack of WWF knowledge this led to him being a bit lost but did leave him wanting to know abit more about wrestling outside of what he was being treated to by Ted Turner’s World Championship Wrestling. Luckily for Graves when he moved up to secondary school his uncle started recording WWF which he would watch when he went there after school and waited for his parents to pick him up. Over time he built up quite a collection of Raw and Smackdown recorded on tapes (remember them) along with the occasional PPV. He also watched “a ton of” The Wrestling Channel which was the first time he saw anything of British wrestling and realised that this thing he loved wasn’t just for the Americans. At first he loved World of Sport with Big Daddy, Giant Haystacks and Kendo Nagasaki and then he started checking out FWA Academy shows which were also on the channel. He told me “I remember seeing a young Spud getting beat up and thinking “I’d love to do that”. That made me aware of wrestling in the uk and planted the seed I guess, that was when I started searching for training schools.”
It wasn’t until around the age of 20 that Graves made the decision to finally attend a school and four short years later he is one of the best young wrestlers in his area and has shown his trainers plenty of potential. I spoke to El Ligero about Graves and he had nothing but praise for the young man from Leeds.
While we were speaking to Graves we discussed what wrestling we currently watch and he answered “Now I watch a lot of stuff on the WWE network, NXT and the recent Cruiserweight Classic. I’ll catch RAW and Smackdown’s shortened versions on Sky One sometimes and I watch all of the PPVs as well as going back and watching some ‘from the vault’ or ‘hidden gems’ every now and again. The rest of my wrestling consumption tends to come via YouTube, highlight videos and I like to listen to lots of wrestling related podcasts and read up on wrestling when I can.”
That answer highlights what I found most impressive about Graves. He absolutely loves wrestling and wants to get better at it. He isn’t one of those performers that are happy that they have made their debut and don’t want to progress any further (not that there is necessarily anything wrong with that). He also isn’t someone that spends so much time wrestling or training that in his off time he wants nothing to do with it (again, not that there is anything wrong with that). Instead he appears to be someone who is rightly proud of what he has achieved so far but also wants to continue his progression while also remaining a fan of what got him interested in the beginning.
David Graves is not someone I previously knew a lot about but he is definitely someone I will be looking out for from now on and someone I hope has the success their hard work and determination deserves. On behalf of the entire Calling Spots staff would like to wish Graves the best of luck in the future.
Facebook – David Graves – 80 Minute Man (@davidgraves80)
Instagram – @DavidGraves80
Twitter – @davidgraves80
Grave’s dream match would be a tag team match with himself and Marty Jones again The Brain Busters (aka Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard).
The name David Graves comes from the nickname ‘Gravy Davey’ which Graves’ Grandma gave him when he was a chubby pre-teen. When I asked where this nickname came from Graves answered “guess because I liked gravy…” When Graves told me this I was instantly reminded of this from classic Soccer AM.
It took Graves three years to score his first try when he started playing rugby. Originally he played at prop but moved to loose forward before becoming what he describes as a utility forward as he plays anywhere across the front line depending on where he is needed.
Rather embarrassingly Graves used to get let out of class early before breaks at Primary School because it took him so long to tie his shoelaces. He would obsess over making the ‘bunny ears’ the exact same size. Apparently wearing indoor shoes was something that they did/do in Leeds but don’t do in Newcastle (at least my school anyway).
Graves was banned from watching wrestling as after watching the culmination of the Triple H/Goldberg feud because he speared his sister onto a step and broke her coccyx. He blames the architect for putting the step there.
* As of October 2017
Written by Neil Rogers