Eddie Morris has always loved wrestling. “At 3 and 4 years old, I was the kid who would stop playing outside to come in the house and watch wrestling. Every Saturday and Sunday, at 5:05 p.m. on WTBS, I would watch world class championship wrestling with my brother and grandfather.” His older brother was Eddie’s idol, a boy with health problems who loved music and wrestling, and who worked out a lot to try and maintain his strength. Not only did he want to be like his brother, Eddie was also intrigued by the idea of being a real-life version of a super-hero. “I was a skinny runt with big, thick glasses who got bullied,” Eddie says. “So I started working at 14, made some money, got some contact lenses and grew my mullet out like the Rock and Roll Express, because they were my favorite.” Eddie had always been told he was too small to be a wrestler, but it didn’t dampen his interest, and in his early 20’s he saw a television ad that stopped him in his tracks. “It was a fifteen-second commercial for Galaxy Championship Wrestling in Little Rock. I couldn’t believe it. The schools I had checked into before were in Florida or Georgia, too far away for me, and I knew I had to see about this.”
Eddie was welcomed at Galaxy, and he soon met owners Crazy Luke Graham and Crazy Luke Graham, Junior (who, in true show biz fashion, are actually not related at all). “Crazy Luke had actually worked for Vince McMahon, Senior and was a big thing in starting the wrestling business,” Eddie said. “In fact, he was the first tag team champion with Tarzan Tyler when tag teams started carrying titles. So I got in the ring, and he taught me the basics like running the ropes, because there’s an art to doing that. He also asked if I could dance, because he said if you can dance, you can wrestle – it’s all about timing. He said I was a natural, and after about a year of training, I started to compete.”
One of the most important things Eddie learned while training was how to choreograph the match in advance, both for entertainment and safety. “Wrestling started in carnivals in the 1920’s,” he explained. “Professional wrestling was just two big guys fighting in the ring, one would make it and one was quite likely crippled for life. Eventually, the wrestlers decided they wanted to make a career out of it, and live to see another day, so some of them decided ‘hey, let’s just pretend we’re hurt’ and professional wrestling was born. You generally spend 30-45 minutes in the ring before a match, getting ready and setting the storyline. We’re not only pro-wrestlers, we’re stunt men. We know how to protect ourselves and the other wrestlers. It’s not fake, it’s predetermined.”
At first, promoters wanted to call him Fast Eddie, but he wanted something more unique. Having Native-American roots, Eddie had always been very fond of a family ring with a turquoise phoenix on it. He also liked the idea that a phoenix would always rise from the ashes, so he decided to become Eddie Phenixxx, changing the spelling to include the triple-X.
Over the last 25 years, Eddie has held titles in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama and has been offered matches as far away as Japan, but it wasn’t much of a money-making venture. “There were no million-dollar contracts back then. You might make a hundred dollars on a match, but you had to travel and pay for your own transportation, food, and so on.” In addition, family responsibilities always came first. His brother succumbed to Lou Gehrig’s disease, and Eddie had children to look after through the years, including his three-year-old son, Jaxson. However, he never sustained any permanent injuries and continued to train. Now, after a two-year hiatus, Eddie will be going back into the ring on Saturday, February 26 in Mountain Pine. The match is also being filmed for a documentary which will highlight “The Rise of the Phenixxx”.
As long as he has loved wrestling, Eddie has also loved music, just like his brother, and he writes music and sings. He won a competition on the Nashville Network, and did some recording on Music Row, but ultimately decided not to pursue a professional career, and just plays now for fun. Whether it’s music or wrestling, though, Eddie always tells young people to never let go of their aspirations. “It’s not a dream if you’re doing it; it’s a dream if you’re sitting around thinking about it. Get up and do the things you love.”