Thursday, April 9, 2009

"Playboy" Buddy Rose

Trained by Verne Gagne and Billy Robinson in the early 1970s "Playboy" Buddy Rose went on to become one of the best working "big" men in the history of the sport. Wrestling primarily for the AWA, WWF, and for promoter Don Owen in Pacific Northwest Wrestling, his 20 year career memorable to most who saw him perform.

One of the most legendary feuds in the Pacific Northwest history, pitted Rose against "Rowdy" Roddy Piper. According to Piper in his autobiography, this was the feud that really made him a name in the business, and it cemented Rose's status as an icon of the region. Rose also had a long feud with "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka. His long-time tag team parter, Ed Wiskoski, stood by his side for three decades. A long relationship by any standard, let alone in wrestling.

When competing in the WWF during 1982-83, he would often work 90 days in a row. When finally he managed a day off, he would fly back to the West Coast and headline cards there. At the peak of his WWF run, he was main eventing at Madison Square Garden against Bob Backlund for the WWF World Heavyweight title. Rose, who also had some fantastic bouts with Pedro Morales during this period, was managed by the late, great, Grand Wizard.

Rose, wrestling as the masked Executioner, lost to Tito Santana in the opening match of WrestleMania 1985.
From the WWF he ventured back to the AWA, where he was managed by Sherri Martel, and formed a team with "Pretty Boy" Doug Somers. Rose and Doug Somers engaged in an epic feud with the Midnight Rockers over the AWA Tag Team Titles in 1986 and 1987. During this run, Rose was never pinned. It is said this feud carried the company for that period, which was starting to feel the pinch of Vince McMahon's continued talent raids. On a personal note, it cemented Rose and Somers as one of my top 10 tag-teams of all time.

A consummate heel, Rose was well respected for his great ability to both work the microphone along with being a ring general. He even turned his weight gain during the later part of his career into a gimmick. When the ring announcer listed his weight as 271 lbs., Rose would take the microphone away from him and say, "I do not weigh 271 pounds. I weigh a slim, trim 217." This would, of course, bait the crowd into a booing frenzy. On occasion, he would also do one-handed push-ups & kip ups in the ring, and challenge other more muscular opponents to a "pose-down." His Buddy Rose "blow-away diet" remains one of the high-points of Saturday Night's Main Event. It can be viewed in it's entirity - here.
His last match took place at Wrestle Reunion 2005 in Tampa, Florida. He competed in a six-man tag team bout pitting himself, Col. DeBeers (Ed Wiskoski) & Bob Orton, Jr. against Jimmy Valiant, Roddy Piper and Jimmy Snuka. This was billed as Jimmy Valiant's retirement match, but Rose (who took the biggest bump of the night) basically retired after this as a wrestler, and now only makes personal appearances.

You can check him out at his own website at -

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