“Weaver, who passed away Feb. 15 at the age of 72 at his home in Charlotte, was to wrestling fans in the Carolinas what Mickey Mantle was to baseball and Johnny Unitas was to football. He wasn’t particularly flashy, but that was part of his appeal. He was a genuine everyman’s hero who related to the predominantly blue-collar audience that followed the sport religiously back in those days.

One of those fans was me.

Watching the Saturday afternoon wrestling show was a ritual for me and my grandmother, a sweet, soft-spoken, little Greek lady who turned into a rabid fanatic whenever one of her favorites was on the receiving end of the bad guys’ underhanded and devious tactics. With her wooden cane taking dead aim at the television set, she would yell and scream in a mixture of Greek and broken English, as if she could somehow get the attention of the hapless referee who never could quite catch the villains in the act.

Granny had her share of favorites, but no one could touch Johnny Weaver.”

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