Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Johnny Weaver in TV Production

Here is a great photo of Johnny working behind the scenes in TV production. Even though Johnny was by 1983 a regular member as a TV commentator and working behind the scenes as well, he still was fairly active in the ring, and would continue to be so well into 1984.

This photo was in the "Starrcade 83" photo album. I didn't think they were still using 2" video tape at that point, so this photo could have been taken a little earlier.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Pro Wrestling Illustrated Annual - Year In Review

From the "Pro Wrestling Illustrated Annual" for 2008, where the review the significant events over the previous year:

Mid-Atlantic Legend Johnny Weaver Dead at 72
Among the many wrestling heroes that came through the Carolina wrestling scene throughout the territory's rich history, perhaps none was more beloved than Johnny Weaver.

Weaver, whose wrestling career spanned more than 40 years, was found dead from natural causes in his Charlotte home on February 15. The accomplished wrestling announcer and booker was 72 years old.

"The business has lost one of the greats," Weaver's former friend and colleague, Blackjack Mulligan, told the Charlotte Observer. "He was a master at this business. He's going to be missed greatly."

Born in East St. Louis, Illinois, Weaver began his pro career in the mid-50s and came to work for Jim Crockett, Sr. in his Mid-Atlantic territory in 1962. Weaver made his first big splash as part of a main event tag team act with partner George Becker. The two captured multiple championships and took part in memorable rivalries against teams including Swede Hansen and Rip Hawk and Gene and Ole Anderson.

Using his "Weaverlock" sleeper hold, Weaver also saw singles success, and was a perennial top contender for the NWA heavyweight championship.

Weaver wore many other hats, including those of a creative team member and a likeable and knowledgeable color commentator – a role he played for nearly 20 years until leaving the wrestling business in the late 1980s. As an elder statesman, Weaver also helped groom some of wrestling's future stars working in the territory, including Greg Valentine, Roddy Piper and Ric Flair.

Weaver later took on a second career as deputy sheriff with Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, where he was set to retire months after his passing. In the job, Weaver transported prisoners around Carolina, through the various back roads he became familiar with during his years as a wrestler.

Pro-Wrestling Illustrated is the premier wrestling magazine on the market. Check it out at your local newsstand, supermarket, Walmart, or order online at http://www.pwi-online.com/
Thanks to Blake Arledge and Peggy Lathan for their help with this feature.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Moving Forward Without Johnny

To: Dick Bourne, Mid-Atlantic Gateway
From: Captain Michael Smith, Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office
Date: February 27, 2009

I just wanted to again thank you for the continuous support for Johnny Weaver. I still miss that man everyday I come to work. We have many magnificent employees and dedicated individuals who put their life on the line and families on stand by on a daily basis. One thing we don’t have, or have not found yet, is another Johnny Weaver and I am sure we never will. He was the greatest.

Well things around here have moved forward. Many new faces have taken on the task but nobody has the trait of Johnny and nobody almost certainly ever will. I even miss Johnny more now than I ever thought I would.

I have about 8 more years until I retire and move on to another career and as much as I regret having to move on without my friend, co-worker, and a phenomenon and idol to many people, life goes on. And I miss Johnny.

Thanks for what you all continue to do to remember Johnny. You know he would not have wanted it, but he deserves it.

Captain Michael Smith
Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office

(See also: Thanks Kid - Remarks Made by Capt. Michael Smith At Johnny Weaver's Funeral)