Eddie Sullivan

Eddie Sullivan got his start in the 1960s when he was trained by Tonah Tomah, Mike Dibiase and others. Though he would continued to live in Arizona for most of his life, it was outside the state where he gained most of his fame.

Sullivan was big for the old Gulas territory in the deep south, teaming under a hood with Frank Morrell as The Mighty Yankees, then as himself, unmasked, with Rip Tyler. He also appeared regularly in the midwest and in japan. Some of his opponents over the years included Wayne Farris (later known as The Honkytonk Man), Steve Lawler, Jerry Lawler , Frank hester, Lee Fields, Bobby Fields, Johnny Eagles, Dick Raines, Dick Murdock, Reggie Parks, Ken Lucas, Baba The Giant, Jerry Graham, Luke Graham, Phil Melby, Tommy Rich, the original Medics, Dory Funk Sr., Rocky Johnson, The Road Warriors, Kamala, Ripper Collins, Chris Colt, Logger Larson, Jay Clintstock, Don Vitelli, Geroge Gulas, Tojo Yamamoto, Whitey Caldwell, Billy Hines and others.

During his early days in Arizona, Eddie proved himself with his first main event feud, filling the old Madison Square Garden for a series of matches with Cowboy Bob Ellis. he continued to appear in Arizona at various itnervals from the 1970s into the late 1980s, even bringing in oldtime partner Rip Tyler for a series of matches in 1986. People he faced in Arizona aside from Ellis included Cowboy Bob Yuma, Jody Arnold, John Ringer, the Lumberjacks, Pedro El Grande, Tito Montez, Rick Renaldo, Navajo Frank, Nano Ortega, Tony Hernandez, Eddie Lopez, Billy Anderson, Killer Kane, John Shane and Spike Jones.

A stroke in the late 1980s finished off his wrestling career and from there he encountered multiple health problems. Diabetic issues took their toll, he suffered from high blood pressure, he contacted Valley Fever (a lung infection almost exclusive to people living in the desert states), he suffered a heart attack, he stepped on a sewing needle lodged in the carpet at his home and had to have surgery when it broke off in his foot, then finally a series of more sever strokes took their toll. He passed away in a mesa hospital and was buried in Sious Falls, South Dakota, where he owned a plot purchased long before.

Sullivan was involved with wrestling from many sides, long after stepping out of the ring. he promoted, he booked, he trained people, he advised, and was also big on organizing or attending various old timer reunions. He was a rugged outdoorsman who enjoyed fishing, camping, desert exploration and outdoor cookouts. He also operated a profitable tile business in Phoenix prior to his death.

“I remember Sullivan’s humor, even in serious matches,” said Billy Anderson. “Once in phoenix he clamped me in a headlock and said, “I’ve got you now you Chris Colt -looking son of a bitch.” (Anderson teamed with Chris Colt long ago as Billy Colt in Tennessee).

“I learned a lot from Eddie Sullivan, both when I was doing Mad Dog Marcial Bovee and later as The Time Traveler,” commented the Arizona manager. “He had a mind for ring psychology and a mind for wrestling like few others, and it showed. If you listened to him, you could learn a lot. He was the master at what he did.”

Prior to his death, Sullivan played an interesting though unconvincing Doc Holliday (the real gunfighter was thin as a rail and dying from TB when he and the earps battled Clantons in the 1880s) in the short movie, Gunfight In Tombstone, alongside associate Cowoby Bob Kelly from down south, who played Wyatt Earp. Years before, he and Rip Tyler also took part in .various films when they were in Japan.

“I remember how proud he was of that film he was doing,” said indy manager Rainbow. “He seemed as in to that as he was wrestling. One thing about his devilish personality though still comes through. he was a diabetic and his wife kept an eye on him and when she was not looking he would snatch up extra sugar and put it in his coffee and look at me as if to say “shhhhh….don’t tell her you saw that.” That was his personality, like a big kid sometimes. I have met a lot of jerks over the years in wretsling, who I am not even going to name, and sadly, not as many good people, but he was one of the good ones. His death hurt everyone.”

One man he did not have a great liking for was Tojo Yamamoto and often told a story about this man. if it is true, it is great stuff. if it is not true, it should be.

“Tojo was scared of this wrestling bear Gulas used, that Pat Malone trained. he hated the thing so he would always walk by and glare at the bear in the cage, then he’d pull a hair out of its ass, as if to say, “Aw, you don’t scare me.’ Well, one time, he’s coming downstairs to the locker room, and he has that hawaiian shirt and that dumbassed hat and those clodhopper wooden shoes on and he walks up to the bear and is ready to do the hair pulling thing. What he didn’t know is Rip Tyler and I had left the cage open. That bear came out and Tojo was up those stairs and out of there like a bat out of hell. Seved him right. I never liked that (expletive), Tojo.”

During the last year or so of his life, Sullivan’s health problems were taking their toll, not helped by the fact he had seen many past associates die before him, from his generation, including Gentleman Saul Weigneroff, Chris Colt, Ron Dupree, Treach Phillips , Ernie Muhammid, Nick Gulas, Ripper Collins, Dick Murdock, and his partner, Rip Tyler.