History can be told by the people in power, but thank God everybody loved Bobby Eaton because he put the “true” in the “one true sport.”
One-half of the Midnight Express, Eaton sadly passed away on August 4, leaving behind a resume and reputation that rose above a business built on the foundation of a con. For someone who was hooked on the WCW vs. nWo action of the late 1990s, I initially associated Eaton as someone who did the honors for a red-hot star like Bill Goldberg, whose undefeated streak further fuelled my prepubescent fandom. Eaton, however, was so great to the squared circle and its in-ring participants, that “Da Man” Goldberg, a vibrant green monster who was new to the business and in the midst of his rise to stardom was willing to get his streak slammed in Alabama by Bobby in his hometown of Huntsville.
“I wanted to put Bobby Eaton over in his hometown, on his birthday, in a dark match during my streak. They wouldn’t let me do it,” Goldberg told Steve Austin in 2016.
That tells you all you need to know about “Beautiful” Bobby Eaton. Hell, that moniker seems to undervalue the true artist Eaton was on the canvas and even more so as a person on his own two feet.
“Bobby Eaton is a man with a professional reputation you aspire to build & a personal reputation you hope those you care for have about you,” Samoa Joe wrote on Twitter. “A MASTER of our craft and one of the nicest men I’ve had the pleasure to meet.”
Eaton wasn’t a fan of the Internet super-highway and why would he be? For someone notoriously so kind and thoughtful, the cesspool world of social media doesn’t put a whole lot of thought into life outside its respective timelines.
“From what I’ve seen, everyone’s swearing at one another and no one is talking about wrestling,” Eaton fittingly foreshadowed for us all several years back, but in a synergetic sense of irony, it was Bobby who brought the cutthroat wrestling birdhouse of Twitter together on Thursday to sing his praises. Bitter enemies who typically take time to bicker over weekly demos, polarizing booking choices and which star should get lampooned for what comment shifted into a celebration of Bobby’s beauty as a human being.
The battle lines of promotion were blurred as stars from every company clasped hands in agreement about Eaton’s legacy as a tag team legend, a mentor and a man to lend a helping hand (or extra towel). Fans and younger talent who weren’t as familiar with Eaton’s work became introduced to the grace and grit Eaton performed with. He made matches look technical, real and believable. He was considered a “day off” for his dance partners, yet a guy that was certain to get all parties over as they fell victim to a harsh right hand.
Thank you Bobby. #RIPBobbyEaton pic.twitter.com/YwvkAkLOag
— James Storm (@JamesStormBrand) August 5, 2021
Dax Harwood penned a poignant tribute to Eaton, rightfully stating that Bobby was “one of the very few men to change the style of professional wrestling,” he shared on social media. “Tiger Mask, Dynamite Kid, Bret, Shawn, Liger, they all get their respective praise. But this man was doing things people in North America had never seen before; and he did it so effortlessly.”
“There will never be another…” always gets said, but this is absolutely true; “Beautiful” Bobby Eaton was literally one of a kind.
Rest In Peace, Bobby. The wrestling Business did not deserve you, but I’m glad we got you.#RIPBobbyEaton
*clips on my Instagram* pic.twitter.com/XLoH3P22f1
— Uncle Dax FTR (@DaxFTR) August 5, 2021
MLW CEO Court Bauer recommended viewing Eaton’s efforts as a singles competitor and noted the master class shown at WCW Clash Of Champions 1991. It was there where Bobby battled Ric Flair for “The Big Gold” in a two-out-of-three falls match and while Ric may be known to make a greenhorn look like a GOAT, this bout was Van Gogh collaborating with Pollack as the two artists used the canvas of the ring to paint a true masterpiece of mat work. It positioned Bobby as the underdog who had Ric Flair’s number as the Alabama wild man fought from behind only to be done dirty by the “dirtiest player in the game.”
Bobby worked tag, he worked singles and he worked comedy too. Clips began floating around of his WCW alliance with Lord Steven Regal where the two became “The Blue Bloods” and Bobby became the “Oscar” to Regal’s “Felix.” The series of vignettes released displayed the juxtaposition of the two as Bobby fine-dined, received a new wardrobe and even found himself amid the OJ Simpson scandal by discovering an errant knife in the bushes.
How wrestling should be portrayed has always been a divisive topic of contention amongst the fans of the genre, but a talent like Bobby was capable of conveying all that is good about pro-wrestling and nothing that is bad, only another reminder that we lose so many too soon.
Fans of wrestling, no matter their background, know there is heart and humanity to the sport of kings. Leave it to Bobby Eaton to show us the true blue beauty behind it all. R.I.P.
If you’d like to help Bobby Eaton’s family during this difficult time, you can contribute to the GoFundMe set up in his honor. Collar and Elbow also has a special t-shirt made for Bobby which all proceeds go into helping his family as well.
Bobby Eaton Funeral Expenses
— WrestleZone (@WRESTLEZONEcom) August 6, 2021
The @COLLARxELBOW Bobby Eaton Memorial shirt. All proceeds from the sales from this shirt will go directly to the family of our friend Beautiful Bobby Eaton. https://t.co/BfZ1QdvsgG pic.twitter.com/zpd9i9Q0xM
— Brian Heffron aka The Blue Meanie (@BlueMeanieBWO) August 5, 2021
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