Kayfabe, Lies and Alibis: Playboy Buddy Rose Shoot Interview

 Presented by RF Video

This is not a traditional RF Video shoot interview, as this was done on a real set and conducted by some young guy from “The Wrestling Hotline” named Ryan Bennett who appears to be local to the Northwest America scene. He’s only 19 and would prove to be very raw at this.

This was apparently taped in the mid-90’s as Rose and the host start by discussing the OJ Simpson trial, which they said just went into jury deliberations as they tape this.  Rose said “OJ will either get off or it’ll be a hung jury and I’m never wrong!”

Rose says in 1972 he was trained by Verne Gagne and “50 guys tried out and 47 quit – it was just me Sgt. Slaughter and Chris Taylor who made it through”. This was the camp right after Flair, Patera and Greg Gagne graduated.

His first booking was against Bob Remus (Slaughter) in a 15 minute draw in Rice Lake, Wisconsin.  They drove there together in Sarge’s truck.

They mostly drove but had to fly into Denver and other far out places.

Rose was groomed in Texas after his early AWA learning days.  Rose found his way to Portland and was able to make a huge splash for years.

Rose’s heel run in Portland earned him so much infamy that the band The Cleavers wrote a song about his wrasslin’ ways.

The kid interviewing Buddy keeps slightly making fun of Rose and skipping ahead on Rose’s career while Buddy’s trying to weave his tale.

Rose explains why he as a rulebreaker teamed with a goody goody like Hulk Hogan during his Japan run. ($$$).

The Kid asks Rose about his best match and Rose says “All of them” as he never intentionally dogged it.

Buddy then asks for a bottle of water and the kid says “You have to pay for it” and keeps on interviewing Rose without getting him the drink. 

Rose headlined a full week of cards against Andre and made Andre bleed in some really tough matches.

After being trained by Verne Gagne and Billy Robinson, Rose spent several months working as a referee and as part of the ring crew. Under his real name (Paul Perschman) Rose would eventually start working the undercard on AWA events, losing to other green workers like Ric Flair, The Iron Shiek and Greg Gagne. Rose’s most significant action during this period would probably be acting as the ref between Nick Bockwinkel and Verne Gagne on the night that Verne Gagne’s AWA title reign of over 7 years came to an end, with Buddy missing the outside interference that led to Gagne’s defeat.

In early 1976 Rose took his talents to Texas for a brief run in order to continue his development and perhaps escape the jobber duty that his AWA career consisted of so far. By May Rose had adopted “Playboy Buddy Rose” as his ring name and entered Portland wrestling with a solid push alongside tag team partner Jesse Ventura.   Rose would become THE star of Portland for nearly the next decade – working with Andre the Giant, Rick Martel , Adrian Adonis, Rip Oliver, Jay Youngblood, Matt Borne, The Dynamite Kid and many others.

Two of his biggest feuds saw him battling Jimmy Snuka and Roddy Piper.  Snuka and he battled throughout 1976 and off and on until mid-1978.  They battled again in a series of bouts in the WWF in late 1982 and into 1983.

Piper and Rose began as allies until a misunderstanding led to Piper turning face and clashing with Buddy for months. Several years later when Piper was already the WWF’s top villain, he returned to Portland to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of Owens Promotions and he and Rose faced off yet again helping Portland draw one of their biggest houses ever.

Piper is brought up and Rose says he doesn’t like that Piper lies about only being pinned once, since Rose beat him a bunch in PCW.

Piper’s return to Portland in midst of his ultra-hot run in the WWF against Hogan is discussed.  Rose says Piper thought he’d take Rose’s spot as top heel for the night based on his WWF actions, but Rose was too hated and Piper received a big ovation as the two men drew a huge house.

The WWF allowed Piper to acknowledge his past with Rose, much like what went down with Roddy and Valentine.

Buddy rips on some of the then current Portland promotions.

Rose was a proven commodity after drawing well in Portland, which allowed him to branch off to work in the Vancouver, Hawaii, and San Francisco territories.  This would led to an infamous moment in the late 70’s when Rose and San Fran promoter Roy Shire had a falling out after Rose was having issues with the local commission and was questionable to be able to work a main event shot.  Rose was able to get an injunction that cleared him to work, but Shire told Buddy that TV was already shown to promote the card without him and Shire wasn’t going to let him headline without notice to the fans.  Rose then went out to the arena and got on the mic and did a shoot promo on Shire, telling the fans of the shady practices going down.  Shire – who was already struggling – went out of business soon after this debacle.

Rose’s west coast success led to Vince McMahon Sr. to bring in Buddy for a series of matches with World Champion Bob Backlund in 1982. Supposedly the vignette below played a big part in catching Sr.’s eye:

Even while working along the east coast for the WWF, Rose would still fly back to Portland for occasional shots. To help build him up even well away, Rose would cut promos with the WWF crew and send them in to Portland:

Rose’s WWF run peaked with a MSG main event against Backlund. The WWF even used Rose’s west coast fame to their advantage by using Rose versus Backlund as their head line act at the L.A. Sports Arena – a precursor to the national expansion that was soon to happen.

Once Rose returned to Portland, he freshened up his act by turning baby face for the first time in 8 years.  Rose had to share top face billing with break out star Billy Jack Hayes and a green but talented Curt Hennig.  Hennig would credit Rose with teaching him tons during their time together, Hennig gave HHH pointers in “how Buddy would do it” while Hennig and HHH were aligned in the WWF.

Buddy would return to his more natural heel role the following summer but within a few months of that, Rose jumped to the expanding WWF.  Rose was used as a lower card heel and his push was minimal since so much talent was pouring into the WWF that it was easy to be lost in the shuffle.  Rose would appear at Wrestlemania 1 the following Spring under a hood as “The Executioner”.  Supposedly this was because booker George Scott had further plans for Rose and didn’t want him to job on the big stage.  This has to be questioned though as the push never materialized and also due to the fact that Rose taped a match where he lost to the British Bulldogs on TV right before Wrestlemania.

Don Owens was a great promoter, but it’s up to the wrestlers to get themselves over and then get the promoter to give them the proper cut of the gate.

“The Playboy” got his nick name from having so many women chase him and Rose chasing women.  His wife has him all to herself now.

The current product has too many bells and whistles now and WWF and WCW need to remember that the most important part of the show is the wrestlers and wrestling.

Some promoters wanted to tell Rose “I made you”, Rose would tell them “I made you – set up a ring and don’t put any wrestlers in it and try and draw then”.

The host mocks the Dungeon of Doom angle and Hogan – Rose says Hogan and Flair wrestle the same match every night but always seem to win with it. Rose would try and offer a variety of matches.

Rose prefers to watch WCW as they have older workers; meanwhile the WWF is paying peanuts. Rose and the host argue over who the highest paid wrestler is.  Rose tries to claim Hogan makes $330,000 a week for appearing on Nitro.

Buddy has seen Sabu work once and thinks he’s a wreck waiting to happen and will be crippled before he’s 30.

Scott Norton was getting a good push in Portland and then WCW wasted him.

After finding himself looking up at the lights and realizing that a real push wasn’t forth coming, Rose jumped back to Portland by the Summer of 1985.  Portland had very little talent at this point and Rose briefly left the dying promotion for another troubled promotion in Championship Wrestling from Florida.  After another stint in Portland, Rose left in early 1986 to join the AWA.

By the time Rose made his way back to his trainer Verne Gagne’s AWA, it was on its last legs as a viable promotion and Rose was placed in a tag team with “Pretty Boy” Doug Somers.  The two men received an immediate push and beat AWA tag team champions Scott Hall and Curt Hennig for the belts.  The match ended in a count out but the titles changed hands anyway as the AWA wanted the titles switched without hurting their faces heat and basically said to Hell with logic. Rose and Somers were placed into a feud with the young Midnight Rockers. The teams battled in some phenomenal bouts that were easily one of the last true highlights of the AWA.  The feud lasted from April of 1986 until the Spring of 1987 when Rose was fired by Verne for working at an independent show that Gagne felt was competition.

The Kid tries to argue that Sabu is a better wrestler than Hulk Hogan – Rose points out the box office says otherwise and it’s all about the $$$.

Rose says the WWF took away the frequent flyer miles from the workers and he’d never have worked there had Vince tried that in the 80’s.

Buddy says he’s still a bigger draw in the Northwest – even more than WWF Champ Shawn Michaels.

The Wrestling Observer Newsletter is ripped by Rose and he says Dave is wrong way more than right.

We then skip ahead 5 years in the future as Ryan Bennett is still hosting a show and it’s now the year 2000 and Rose is back for another interview.

Rose talks about how as a high schooler he met Red Bastien and Nick Bockwinkel at his job as a bag boy at a grocery store.

He felt sports were too rough for him to participate in as he grew up.

Dennis Stamp (of Beyond the Mat infamy) gave Rose his first body slam when both men were on the AWA road crew team.

Seeing Vivian Vachon work made Buddy realize that he could be wrestler since she was a woman.  

He tells the Verne Gagne training story again – upgrading the story to 100 guys started on day one and 97 quit. The training was free – but you had to survive and then give Verne 10 % of your first year of earnings.

Rose feels there are too many wrestling schools scamming kids out of their money now without offering a real base to learn to work with.

Buddy was taken under the wing of Stevens and Bockwinkel as he asked a lot of questions and followed up in the ring by implementing what he learned.

Terry Funk, Lars Anderson, Buddy Wolfe, Stevens and Bockwinkel were the guys Rose “stole” the most stuff from.

Funk made up the “Buddy Rose” name while on the road with Buddy.

Rose asked Gary Hart for permission to use the “Playboy” nickname as Buddy didn’t want heat for stealing his gimmick.

While in Portland in the late 70’s, Buddy was offered a $40,000 raise to wrestle in Australia – the promotion closed down before Buddy could ever arrive.  He ended up working Hawaii for several months as he was “banned” from Portland via the storyline.  Rose would rotate between Hawaii, California and eventually Portland (under a mask) during the week until he was called to head to the WWF.

Roy Shire (San Fran promoter) offered Rose a contract that would only require Rose to work 3 days a week. He was to work with Moondog Mayne but Mayne was killed in a car wreck.

Buddy convinced Roddy Piper to come to Portland and feud with Rose and Ed Wiskoski (Col. Debeers).

Bob Orton Jr. and Rose were considered “rebels” in the business and Vince Sr. told Buddy a lot of promoters bad mouthed him.  McMahon was happy with the money drawn by Rose though.

Curt Hennig was given a WWF run in the early 80’s thanks to Rose putting in the good word.

Rose made $150,000 in one 6 month WWF run.

Backlund and Buddy would do a spot where Rose’s pants were pulled down as he tried to escape during a cage match – then he’d get scolded in the back by Sr. for exposing his ass.  Rose says its tame compared to what is seen now.

Buddy says he popularized having valets at ringside.

The modern product using insider terms on air bothers Rose as he was trained in a much different manner and respects the business.

Rose says he currently works for XPW and Rob Black (a fairly infamous ECW rip off promotion at the time) as a manager and an interview segment host.

Kevin Von Erich was trained by Rose, and Papa Fritz would pay Rose 150 dollars an afternoon to teach Kevin the business.

Buddy loved to call matches in the ring with no pre-planning.

Hogan was a class act.  Jesse Ventura has some skeletons in his closet that Rose could expose…but chooses not to.

Matt Bourne is a great asset to the business. “King of the wrestling frat house.”

Rose went back to Portland after his AWA run ended and would stay there until 1989 when he was given one last run in the WWF – this time as a glorified jobber whose weight was openly mocked.

After his WWF run ended Buddy focused on jumping around the Northwest indy scene, well out of shape and past his prime.  In one embarrassing incident, the ring collapsed after one bump from Rose’s girth:

Buddy would train some workers with his old friend Ed “Col. Debeers” Wiskoski and worked sporadically into the late 90’s – coming out of retirement for one final match in January of 2005 where he teamed with Bob Orton Jr. and Col. Debeers to face Roddy Piper, Jimmy Valiant and Jimmy Snuka at Wrestle Reunion.

Rose’s weight ended up causing his death at a much too young age as he died in 2009 at the age of 56 via complications of diabetes and other obesity related side effects.

Billy Jack Haynes blew his chance at being a long term success and fell apart.   Haynes thought he could be a promoter and rake in the cash but reality bit him.

Piper is a first class guy and still a very good friend.

Don Owens was a very fair promoter but was somewhat whiny.

Rose says he took a table bump in the 80’s and got yelled at by Owens. Now it happens on TV every week.

The Portland Athletic Commission added a lot of regulations and wrecked the Northwest wrestling scene.

Buddy says he was negotiating with I-Generation Wrestling to appear on an upcoming PPV. Dennis Rodman worked for them and was paid $250,000 – Hennig toured for 3 weeks and made 60K.

Final Thoughts:  The first half (the 1995 interview) was somewhat of a chore to watch as Rose was almost in character, doing a heel shtick. Meanwhile the interviewer was a young pup, inexperienced and rushing Rose through the show.  The later interview was much more subdued and entertaining, however overall this whole DVD was like a big tease since Rose didn’t really get to do a proper career overview and a fair portion of both shows were talking about Portland indy promoters who the rest of the world had never heard of.  I guess I’ll have to stick with Dave Meltzer’s WON Obituary for the most through retrospective possible on Rose’s career. You can probably pass on this DVD.


Written by Andrew Lutzke

The grumpy old man of culturecrossfire.com, lover of wrasslin' and true crimes.

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