Johnny Weaver Death – Undisclosed Causes

Johnny Weaver Death

Johnny Weaver was a fixture in Jim Crockett Promotions, later serving as a mentor to younger stars.

1935-2008 (Age 72)

Johnny Weaver captured the hearts of wrestling fans from his days as a rookie grappler to his later years as a savvy veteran. Johnny Weaver was a fixture in Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling in the Carolinas.

The rugged everyman became a household name in the area thanks to his in-ring exploits, unquenchable fighting spirit, and a persona that working-class fans easily related to.

Tag Team Specialist

Kenneth Weaver was born in Indianapolis, Indiana on November 17, 1935. He debuted in 1955, both as a referee and a wrestler (working as Johnny Ace). Before long, he teamed with Sonny Meyers, taking the name, Johnny Weaver.

“The Buzzsaw” (just one of Johnny’s wrestling nicknames) was best-known for his many successful tag teams in Jim Crockett Promotions (JCP). The Carolinas-based NWA territory (often referred to as Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling) focused on tag team wrestling for decades until the 1970s.

Weaver forged successful partnerships during the peak of his career with wrestlers including Art Nelson, George Becker, and “Cowboy” Bob Ellis. Weaver held JCP’s Atlantic Coast Tag Team Championship and its NWA Southern Tag Team Championship multiple times.

The tag team virtuoso battled some of the toughest teams of his era including Gene and Ole Anderson; Rip Hawk and Swede Hanson; and Larry Hamilton and Pampero Firpo.

A Mentor and a Champion

Weaver remained a formidable opponent even as his career slowed down. “The Dean of Wrestling” won championship gold with younger wrestlers such as Jay Youngblood and Dick Slater. He passed down his vast knowledge to a new generation while remaining popular with fans from two generations.

Although he was known for his many tag team endeavors, Weaver was no stranger to one-on-one matches, competing for singles belts including the NWA World Heavyweight Championship, a title that eluded him during his career.

He held regional singles titles in various NWA territories including Florida’s Southern Heavyweight Championship and JCP’s NWA Television Championship.

Proving Himself All Over Again

Weaver began wrestling less frequently but could be found every week providing color commentary on Mid-Atlantic’s World Wide Wrestling alongside Rob Landrum, occasionally throwing down with heels.

Later, Weaver helped fuel angles for other wrestlers such as when he taught the Weaver Lock to Dusty Rhodes, running afoul of heel manager Hiro Matsuda.

Johnny Weaver’s career battling heels in the ring led to a similar job outside the ring when he hung up his wrestling boots and joined the local Sheriff’s Department. Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling historian Dick Bourne would write:

Faced with a forced career change, with his priorities now on benefits and securing a pension, something the wrestling business had never provided, at 53 years of age he became the oldest ever rookie in the Mecklenburg County Sherriff’s Department. But as his Captain later told us, he was tougher, stronger, and in better shape than some officers half his age.

Although “The Buzzsaw” was in his 50s, he was still ready to rumble and continued working in law enforcement until he passed away.

The Death of Johnny Weaver

In addition to working as a deputy sheriff, Johnny Weaver attended wrestling reunions. He enjoyed catching up with fans and his fellow wrestlers.

Johnny Weaver died on February 15, 2008. He was 72. According to SLAM! Wrestling: 

When co-workers of his noticed he was not at work Friday morning, they called his house. After hearing no response they went to his house to find him dead.

Several sources including the Charleston City Paper reported Johnny Weaver died from natural causes.

He was married twice and had a son (Bill) by his first wife (Betty) and a daughter (Wendi) by his second wife. Weaver was survived by his ex-wife and daughter.  He is buried at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Mathews North Carolina.

Other pro wrestlers who died in 2008 include Chase Tatum, Don Curtis, Gary Hart, Killer Kowalski, Mike Bell, and S.D. Jones.

What are your favorite memories of Johnny Weaver? Let us know in the comments below.