One of the hardest things to deal with when you are a life long wrestling fan who becomes a professional wrestler is some of the disappointment you encounter when meeting your childhood heroes. Some of your idols won’t just let you down on a professional level but on a personal level as well. You will meet men that you once thought walked on water only to realize that they can’t even stand on their own two feet. Men that you wouldn’t want your kids to grow up and become but this story isn’t about any of those men. This story is about the man who I consider my greatest experience in this business, “Beautiful” Bobby Eaton.
Growing up I was always drawn to certain type of wrestler. That seamless southern heel that made everything look so effortless. Arn Anderson, Ric Flair, Ted Dibiase, Tully Blanchard, Barry Windham and of course Bobby Eaton. Those were the men and their work that I tried to emulate. Bobby especially caught my eye. In wrestling, we always talk about the little things that make people and matches special. Everything Bobby did looked better than anyone else. I simple right hand meant more coming from Bobby Eaton than it did from 99% of anyone else in professional wrestling.
Not only was Bobby great at all the little things but he was also an innovator. One of the first men that utilized the top rope so flawlessly. We all remember his top rope leg drop, The Alabama Jam, but he also did a knee drop and elbow drop from the top rope that was 2nd to none. By today’s standards that may seem a little tame but 30 years ago seeing a 230 pound man to those things was nothing short of revolutionary.
With all of his accolades in professional wrestling, those things don’t even compare to the kind of man Bobby Eaton is. I first met Bobby in late 2004. Bobby didn’t know from a hole in the wall but he treated with the respect as a peer. He complimented me after my match and thanked me more than once for various things that night. He was one of my idols, now after meeting him, how is it possible for me to have even more respect for him now.
In 2009, Bobby would be moving to my area and was seeking a young man to become his partner. A kind of apprenticeship in tag team wrestling. My name was brought up and I was handpicked by Bobby and his manager Brian Thompson to form a tag team which eventually to be named Midnight Gold.
As Midnight Gold, we traveled throughout the south for 2 years. Bobby taught me a lot about tag team wrestling. Even though I had been working for 8 years up to that point I was never really apart of a true blue tag team. I was mainly a singles wrestler. Bobby gave me a lot of confidence in myself. He entrusted me and often referred to me as the captain of Midnight Gold. In the entire 2 year run of Midnight Gold, I was never pinned once. Bobby wouldn’t allow it. There aren’t too many men with Bobby’s credentials that would have done that.
Bobby, more than just a tag partner, became a friend. Genuinely the nicest, most humble person I’ve met in my life. He would literally give you the shirt off his back. Bobby may not have ever main evented WrestleMania or been a world heavyweight champion as a singles wrestler, some of the brass rings people may gage someone’s career on nowadays but when I say the word “Legend”, Bobby is exactly who I have in mind. Someone that not only had the incredible work and the respect of his peers but never forgot where he came from and we are all just wrestling fans at the end of the day. Someone that gave back to young talents just like myself.
I could go on forever about this man and his accomplishments but I guess what I’ve been trying to say from the beginning of this article is “Thank you Bobby”.
— Greg Anthony, OWW columnist