In 1978, Backlund defeated “Superstar” Billy Graham at a sold out Madison Square Garden show to win the WWF title. As WWF champion, he has the longest reign of any world champion of the modern era at 2135 days. Backlund stopped wrestling full-time in 1984, but returned once again to the WWE in 1993. He defeated Bret Hart at the 1994 Survivor Series to claim his second world title. Backlund was inducted into the WWE hall of Fame in 2013.
Backlund was a two-time All-American for North Dakota State, placing first at the Division II NCAA tournament in 1971 and fifth in 1972. He was also runner-up at the junior college national tournament for Waldorf in 1970 and a third place finisher in 1969.