Graeme Stevely (June 2, 1988), better known by the ring name Grado, is a Scottish professional wrestler and actor. He is known for his work with Insane Championship Wrestling (ICW) where he is a former ICW World Heavyweight Champion and Impact Wrestling. Stevely is a supporter of Rangers.
Professional wrestling career
Early career (2002–2006)
Grado first got into wrestling in 2002. He trained briefly with Red Lightning, Kid Fite, and Drew Galloway at British Championship Wrestling. He then went back to train a few years later with Scottish Wrestling Alliance as they were closer to home. He made his debut for the Scottish Wrestling Alliance (SWA) in 2004, under the ring name Grant Dunbar, as part of The Lowlanders with Glen Dunbar. They achieved little success, but held the SWA Tag Team Championships on two occasions.
Insane Championship Wrestling (2012–present)
After years of wrestling sporadically and performing as lead singer of Scottish metalcore band Prezident Prime, Grado returned to training at SWA, this time with new head trainer Big Damo. He made a Facebook video to sell tickets for a Scottish Wrestling Alliance show next to his home town, leading to a promo feud with Jackie Polo which included his first time dancing along to Madonna "Like a Prayer". These videos and promos became popular and Mark Dallas from Insane Championship Wrestling (ICW) hatched the "Get Grado Booked" campaign. During this time, Grado was the subject of a Vice documentary, The British Wrestler, which saw his popularity rise with American stars like Sonjay Dutt voicing their support. As part of the Vice documentary, Grado appeared to defeat ICW Heavyweight Champion Red Lightning at Super Smokin' Thunderbowl to win the ICW Heavyweight Championship. The match was later restarted as Red Lightning had his leg under the bottom rope. Red Lightning would go on to retain the title.
During the ICW Fringe Tour in 2014, Grado teamed up with Colt Cabana to face the New Age Kliq (Chris Renfrew and BT Gunn) and won the first Official ICW Tag Team Championships. Grado and Cabana are known as Irn Jew and on the last night of the tour they lost their Tag Team Champship Belts to The Age Kliq on 15 November 2015 Fear & Loathing VIII Grado defeated Drew Galloway to win the ICW World Championship at the SECC.
At the fifth annual Square Go on 24 January 2016, Grado lost the ICW World Heavyweight Championship to Chris Renfrew, ending his reign at just two months, the shortest reign in ICW History. At the event he also debuted a new theme, and a new look, coming out to a rock version of "99 Problems" replacing his long time theme "Like A Prayer", as well as ditching his long time singlet for trunks, and the flannel given to him by Mick Foley at Fear and Loathing VIII.
Independent circuit (2006–present)
In addition to working in Insane Championship Wrestling, Grado also appears for various companies around the UK. He has worked for SWA, PWE, SWE, PBW and Wrestlezone among other companies. At WrestleZone's Aberdeen Anarchy event in the Beach Ballroom in front of a sold out 1,300 crowd, Grado defeated childhood hero Scotty 2 Hotty. Later that year, Grado won the PWE Elite Rumble there for earning a title shot and the opportunity to name the next event. The next PWE show was called Gradomania. He won the Pro Wrestling Elite Heavyweight Championship from Dave Mastiff at GradoMania. He lost the title to Iestyn Rees after Rees cashed in his title shot at PWE Jingle All The Galloway. Grado and Kenny Williams were PBW Tag Team Champions. On July 27 & 28, Grado is scheduled to compete in WhatCulture Pro Wrestling.
Total Nonstop Action Wrestling / Impact Wrestling
Various storylines (2014–2016)
In 2014, Grado appeared on the second season of TNA British Boot Camp in an ongoing feud with judge Al Snow. After missing the second round of the competition due to having lunch and losing track of time, Snow threw Grado out of the competition. Grado would then appear at the Manchester auditions and was once again thrown out. He reappeared in London and with some convincing from Gail Kim, Snow allowed him back into the competition. Snow would then send Sha Samuels to rough up Grado in the second round. He would make it through to the British finals and onto the U.S. finals before finally being eliminated at the Top 6. After Snow eliminated Grado from the competition, Grado challenged Snow to a match at the SSE Hydro as part of TNA's Maximum Impact Tour in January 2015. Snow accepted and Grado went on to win the match, followed by Snow shaking his hand.
Grado appeared at Destination X on 10 June, having earned another chance in TNA following his victory over Snow. Grado later appeared in several backstage segments, attempting parkour and trying to lose weight to be able to compete in the X Division. Only at the weigh-in did Jeremy Borash inform Grado that "there are no limits in the X-Division". Grado would immediately compete against Kenny King and Cruz, getting the pinfall victory over the latter. Grado fought for the TNA X Division Championship in a losing effort against Low Ki and Tigre Uno. Uno won the match and the title. During October and November (taped in July), Grado went on to participate in the new TNA World Title Series tournament, where he was placed fourth of his block in Team UK. He failed to win all the matches against Drew Galloway, Rockstar Spud, and Bram, thus failing to advance to the round of 16 from his block. On the 26 January 2016 edition of Impact Wrestling. Grado competed in the Feast or Fired match and was the first man to grab the briefcase. Unfortunately, later in the broadcast, during the reveal ceremony, the briefcase revealed that Grado contained the pink slip and as a result of that, he was immediately fired from TNA.
On 9 February 2016, Grado returned to Impact Wrestling claiming he was screwed and was going to show proof that he was screwed when Eli Drake arrived with security. His security then chased Grado out the ring, and Drake attempted to attack him only to be assaulted by Grado. Grado escaped through a tunnel. Later in the night, Billy Corgan was talking about the new UK tour when Grado complained about being screwed. After repeatedly making a rant, security escorted him away. Drake then interrupted Grado and told him "he better shut up about whatever he thinks he knows" and then attacked him.
Teaming with Shera (2016–2017)
During TNA's Maximum Impact tour of the UK, Grado would make an appearance as a masked wrestler under the guise of Odarg the Great, tagging with Mahabali Shera against Eli Drake and Jessie Godderz. He was billed from "Parts Unknown" and used Grado's move set and entrance theme. At Lockdown, he defeated Eli Drake in a Six Sides of Steel match. Grado would continue appearing during the Maximum Impact 8 tour claiming to have proof that he was "screwed" by Eli Drake. A week later, while showing viewers at home a proof for Grado's point of showing Drake peeking into Grado's briefcase, though it could not be seen if Drake indeed switched cases with Grado, the fact Drake opened Grado's case was enough for Grado to receive a contract ladder match against Drake, which he went on to win. Two weeks later, when he started talking to Mahabali Shera about his comeback party, both men were, with no clear reason, brutally attacked by Al Snow. More than a month after, on 10 May 2016 episode of Impact Wrestling, Grado returned during a rematch between Snow and Shera, making sure Shera won the match. On the 24 May episode of Impact Wrestling Grado had a street fight with Snow with Shera at ringside, which he went on to lose after interference by two unknown men. At Slammiversary, Grado and Shera were defeated by the two men, who are Basile Baraka and Baron Dax, also known as The Tribunal. On June 14 edition of Impact Wrestling, Grado and Mahabali have a four-way tag team match for the TNA World Tag Team Championship against The Tribunal, The BroMans and Decay, in a losing effort. On 28 June edition of Impact Wrestling, Grado, Mahabali Shera and Tyrus defeated Al Snow and The Tribunal. On August 4 edition of Impact Wrestling, Grado and Mahabali Shera defeated Al Snow and The Tribunal in a handicap match. At Bound for Glory, he participated in the Bound for Gold but was quickly eliminated by Rockstar Spud. On the November 24 episode of Impact Wrestling, Grado lost to Robbie E in a Turkey Bowl match where he was forced to wear a turkey suit.
Grado portrayed Police Constable Hugh McKirdie in the BBC Scotland sitcom Scot Squad. He later starred as Brian Doyle / Buster on the BBC Scotland Scottish soap opera River City, Buster was axed from the show after only few months of appearing. He also starred in BBC Two Comedy pilot The Sunny as Haircut. In 2016 he starred in the "Elfie's Magical Adventure" Pantomime at the Pavilion Theatre, Glasgow.
- Finishing moves
- Signature moves
- 17 Stone Stunner (Stunner) – parodied from Stone Cold Steve Austin
- Bionic elbow, with theatrics
- From the Tap End of Stevenson to the Rock Bottom! (Falling side slam) – parodied from The Rock
- Roll 'N Slice (Cannonball)
- The Slug / Earthworm (Chop drop to the opponent's throat, with theatrics) – parodied from Scotty 2 Hotty
- Stevenston Roundabout / Turn of Twister (Fireman's carry facebuster) – parodied from Brock Lesnar
- STF-Yersel (STF) – parodied from John Cena
- Running splash, with theatrics
- Red Lightning
- "The Chubby Wee Chancer Fae the Tap End of Stevenson"
- Entrance themes
- "Like a Prayer" by Arieand (ICW / Independent circuit; August 5, 2012 – present)
- "99 Problems" by Hugo (ICW; November 4, 2012, January 24, 2016)
- "Grace of Grado" by Dale Oliver (TNA; February 20, 2015 – March 3, 2015)
- "A Grado I Have Made" by Dale Oliver (TNA / GFW / IMPACT; June 10, 2015 – November 5, 2017)
- "Talk to the Hand" (w/ "It's Yersel" Intro) by Honeyz (IMPACT; May 10, 2018 – present)
Championships and accomplishments
- Future Pro Wrestling
- FPW Title #1 Contendership Tournament (2014)
- Insane Championship Wrestling
- Scottish Wrestling Alliance
- SWA Tag Team Championship (2 times) – with Glen Dunbar
- SWA Tag Team Title Tournament (2005)
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- PWI ranked him 293 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2016
- World of Sport Wrestling
- Grado on Twitter
- Grado on Facebook