After publishing a feature on WGHP TV studio wrestling on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway a few years back, I received an e-mail from a fellow who, as a young man, had a life-changing encounter with Johnny Weaver. Here is that e-mail:
Dear Mid-Atlantic Gateway,
I spent many days at the TV tapings at High Point, and I got to know a lot of the guys, at least as well as a little kid that was star struck could. Two of my earliest memories are from those tapings.
I never had a dad around, and even as a very young man I was already showing signs of going down a bad road. I was fighting and telling lies. My mom saw where this kind of thing could lead. Well one day after we went to the tapings at WGHP, she went to Johnny and talked to him for a few minutes, then she called me over. I was in awe. The studio was empty other than us. Johnny was sitting on the ring near were the seats were and I was standing there next to him looking up at my hero. My mom had let him in on my acting up, and he asked me what was going on. I really don’t remember what I said, more than likely not a lot, people that have known me for a long time would be shocked that I was ever at a loss for words, but I was then. I do remember that he asked what I wanted to do with my life, and I said with out a moments thought that I wanted to be a wrestler. He smiled and said if I acted right at home and did not give my mom problems, and did good in school, that he would one day teach me how to wrestle.
Well I thought of that many times in my life after that. I ended up only being 5'8" so I never did call him on it! But I have no doubt that it changed my life. I did stop telling lies, and tried to be a good person, and I to this day try my best to live a life where I help people. In just a few minutes he became my role model, and I will never forget that.
- Michael Roach, February 2006
Originally published on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway