Matt Sigmon and Larry (Lars) Mitchell are pro wrestlers. They put in the miles, both on the road and in the gym to entertain their fans often for little pay all while putting their bodies through grueling physical pain. Today they are heroes, too. On Friday their mentor, Bobby Eaton, went missing and they kept into action.
“Beautiful” Bobby Eaton is best known as one half of the Midnight Express, one of the greatest tag teams in the history of pro wrestling. He is a six time World Tag Team Champion and held numerous other titles throughout his career. The man truly is a legend in the sport.
That is why on Thursday he was in Charlotte, North Carolina at the National Wrestling Alliance Legends Fanfest along with his former manager, Jim Cornette, his former tag team partner, Stan Lane, and WWE Hall of Fame announcer, Jim Ross.
Friday he was scheduled to fly home, but things didn’t work out and he went missing. I spoke with Mr. Eaton’s manager, Brian Thompson, about what happened. “He’s my best friend and roommate. He had appeared at NWA Legends Fanfest in Charlotte and was coming home but missed a connector flight. Then we were unable to track him down…”
It was apparent on social media that fans, wrestlers and promoters have a great deal of love for Mr. Eaton, as Twitter and Facebook were abuzz with posts trying to help find him after his sister, Debbie Eaton Lewis, posted asking for help locating him. “There is not a mean bone in Bobby’s body. He would, and nearly has before, gave the shirt off his back if he new it would help someone,” she told me.
Even Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson tweeted about Mr. Eaton, Friday night, saying, “Hate seeing this man’s missing. Wrestling legend and one of the kindest souls. Let’s get him safe.”
No one had heard from him for many hours. Lars Mitchell, a friend of Mr. Eaton’s told me, “He missed a flight and… His phone battery was dead. We don’t keep phone numbers written down anymore… we had to track down which airport he was at before searching for him.”
A Twitter post had shown Mr. Eaton eating breakfast Friday morning in Atlanta, Georgia. Mr. Mitchell went on, “Atlanta is one of the busiest airports in the world. Every concourse is like a small city. Finding one person can be difficult.”
To make matters worse, Mrs. Lewis told me about Mr. Eaton, “He has trouble with his sugar levels . They got real low and he was confused.”
Friday evening Matt Sigmon tweeted, “Records show he’s been here at ATL airport. No signs he’s left so far. Police teams are searching concourses. Hope to have more info soon!” Mr. Sigmon is a wrestler that is well known in the South and was in Florida. When he found out his friend was missing he drove to Atlanta to join Lars Mitchell in the search.
Mr. Mitchell told me, “We got an approximate last known location. We made contact with Atlanta PD’s airport precinct, gave them all the information and a description. APD retrieved him. Bobby was in good health when we met up with him.”
At this point Mr. Eaton had been missing for many hours. He is now safe and sound with friends in Kingsport, Tennessee where he attended the NWA Smoky Mountain Wrestling show. Lars Mitchell and Matt Sigmon provided the authorities with, not only information to find Mr. Eaton, but helped motivate them to make it a priority. They are heroes for helping find their missing friend and mentor who was lost in one of the busiest airports in the world and suffering from a medical condition. They deserve accolades for what they did.
Mr. Sigmon told me, “Bobby means the world to me. He has traveled with me and helped me over the years more than anyone in the business. He would do the same for me or anyone else in the same situation.”
Mr. Mitchell told me, “Bobby’s manager asked if I could help out and I did whatever I could. Not really a decision. When a friend needs help you help them out.”
Both men were nothing but modest about what they had done and that’s just another trait of true heroes.