Just under a month after the pro wrestling fandom gave a fond farewell to Mr. Wonderful Paul Orndorff, the sports-entertainment world was newly shaken up this week over the death of another wrestling legend. Robert Lee Eaton, better known to fans as "Beautiful" Bobby Eaton, passed away at the age of 62.
News of Bobby Eaton's death on Wednesday, August 4, came via his older sister Debbie Eaton Lewis, who was heartbroken in making the announcement on her Facebook page, where she went on to share a ton of excellent family photos with Eaton through the years. Here's how she explained it:
I never wanted to have to post this, but my Little Brother Beautiful Bobby Eaton passed away last night. When i find out all the details i will post them. Bobby was the kindest, loving person you would ever meet. I loved him so much and going to miss him.
It's known that Bobby Eaton was hospitalized in the last week of July after a particularly serious fall. He suffered multiple broken fingers and an injured hip, he was set up for a stint of physical therapy to heal those injuries after he was released from the hospital. At this time, it's unclear if that recent hospitalization played a factor in Eaton's death.
Many younger wrestling fans may not remember Bobby Eaton from his heyday, as he remains one of the most popular generation-spanning pro wrestlers who never signed on for a big promotion with Vince McMahon and the WWE. (Even though the WWE now owns the WCW, where Eaton enjoyed most of his on-screen action.) In the early '80s, he started a feud with fellow wrestler Stan Lane at the CWA, both in tag and singles matches, and it was in 1987 when Eaton, along with longtime manager Jim Cornette, teamed up with Lane to become the greatest version of the tag team The Midnight Express.
Bobby Eaton and "Sweet" Stan Lane's Midnight Express rivalries with tons of major duos from the '80s and '90s, from The Fantastics to The Rock 'n' Roll Express to the Road Warriors to the Steiner brothers. It was in 1990 when Eaton reverted to a singles career for the first time, though that shifted once the super-squad known as The Dangerous Alliance came into existence, with Eaton teaming up with Rick Rude, Larry Zbyszko and Arn Anderson for a couple of years.
Through the 1990s, Bobby Eaton was fired and later rehired by the WCW, taking on gigs in the interim with Smoky Mountain Wrestling (with Jim Cornette) and New Japan Pro-Wrestling. Once he returned to the WCW in 1993, Eaton teamed up with current WWE exec Steven Regal as part of the posh tag team The Blue Bloods, which marked his final major wrestling pairing. He worked again on the indie circuit after leaving WCW for the last time, popping by Total Nonstop Action (TNA) Wrestling for a single match in 2003, with his very last match happening against Ricky Morton in 2015. (Eaton lost.)
Despite arguably not being as big of a superstar as many of his fellow athletes, Bobby Eaton was a wrestler's wrestler, in that he was as highly skilled in the ring as anyone, even without the most chiseled physique. And while he was a fine enough babyface when that was in play, Eaton made for a far more convincing heel, both as a solo star and as a tag team champ. He could slam opponents both on the mic and the mat with ease, and his career will never be forgotten.
The National Wrestling Alliance mourned Bobby Eaton's loss with an image that pays tribute to each memorable span of the legend's career.
We at CinemaBlend send our thoughts and condolences to the family and friends of Bobby Eaton during this difficult time.