They call it sports entertainment today, but Big Bill Dromo was a wrestler, making a living in a world where the good guys were baby faces and the bad guys were heels.
Dromo was never a cartoon character. He was a blue collar Canadian who, in a sport that defies reality, kept it real, working without a gimmick or a flamboyant personality.
A site that keeps up with unlikely statistics reports Dromo had 1,193 matches against 449 different opponents in a career stretched over four decades.
It doesn't report where those matches were held, but anyone who grew up around his generation of professional wrestling knows most of them were in Georgia.
This was the era before pay-per-view extravaganzas and steroid monsters and before toy departments sold action figures made in the image of Triple H or John Cena.
Dromo wrestled world champions and competed in major venues around the world, but his greatest moments came in Columbus and Macon, working for Fred Ward.
From the tiny Sports Arena on Front Avenue, Ward promoted the territory south of Atlanta. In Columbus, he had weekly Wednesday matches at the City Auditorium and Saturday afternoon shows live on WRBL with Ward ending the broadcast by telling shut-ins he hoped they would be up and at 'em soon.
Dromo was his star, a handsome good guy who wasn't afraid to mix it up when the villains got out of hand, a worker who week after week gave small-town customers their money's worth.
"Fred always treated me right," Dromo told a wrestling historian. "He always treated me the way he wanted to be treated. A lot of the guys wouldn't go along with him, but for some strange reason, he took a liking to me. I was the guy he booked the longest."
Dromo was born in Canada but died in Georgia. He lived in Carrollton for the past nine years and that is where he passed away Dec. 28. He was 75. His funeral is today in Cobb County with the Rev. Bobby Simmons, a former referee, officiating.
A member of the Georgia Wrestling Hall of Fame, Dromo found a home in Atlanta, where former Columbus resident Dick Steinborn took him to a dentist to get his teeth fixed. There he met his wife, Karen, a dental assistant.
"That visit cost me $750 and a marriage license," he joked. The Dromos were married 53 years.
Former wrestler Buddy Colt remembered Dromo from the 12 or 13 matches they had in Fred Ward's towns.
"We drew a lot of money down there," he said. "Bill Dromo was very believable in the ring, nothing fancy, but a solid worker. He made you believe. "
And in the make-believe world of wrestling, that is a compliment.
-- Richard Hyatt is an independent correspondent. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.