March 31st, 1985. Wrestlemania I. The day pro wrestling officially took its first baby steps out of the “smoky bingo halls” and into mainstream America culture (or at least that’s what Vinnie Mac would have us believe). A sold-out Madison Square Garden and thousands of people watching at closed-circuit locations nationwide all waited in anticipation for what had been dubbed “the greatest wrestling event of all time”. Things got off to a rocky start though as the show was started off by Mean Gene Okerlund crooned out a version of “The Star Spangled Banner” that was apparently written by Francis Scott OFF-Key.
Fans who hadn’t passed out due to equilibrium problems stemming from severe inner ear damage caused by Geno would see the curtain move and the first participant in Wrestlemania history make his way to the ring. Who would it be? Andre the Giant? The Junkyard Dog? Maybe the Hulkster himself? Nope, it was no other than our number two all- time Wrestlemania Jobber: from Parts Unknown, weight unknown (but definitely known to be heavy), the masked Executioner.
As our token generic masked heel entered the ring, getting ready to face Tito Santana in the opening match, one thing was apparent. This guy was chubby. In fact, the best way to describe him would he that he looked like the Pillsbury Dough Boy dressed up like Spider-Man for Halloween.
Wait a second, upon closer inspection, that’s no homicidal masked-man. That hooded hood is really “Playboy” Buddy Rose. How did the lovable Mr. Rose get underneath that mask and make it to the big time? Que the time machine.
A great all-around athelete in a few different sports, one Paul Perschman decided to try his hand at pro wrestling. He wouldn’t waste any time as he would be trained by two of the most respected old-school guys around, Verne Gagne and Billy Robinson. After learning the ins-and-outs from old man Verne, the future Playboy would make his debut on Dec. 3rd, 1973, taking a young Bob Remus aka Sgt. Slaughter to a 15 minute draw. That might have been the only highlight for a while as Paul would spend a lot of time in the mid-70’s AWA strictly doing the “job”.
Likely tired of the Minnesota weather, Paul would head west in the late 70’s, and in turn would become one hell of a stylish lady killer. The end of the decade would see the rise of one stylin’ and profilin’ wrestling bleach blond. Silly Crapper, I’m not talking about Ric Flair; I’m talking about Paul turning into the “slim, trim” Playboy!
Following a stint in California which would see him claim the NWA tag team titles with running buddy Ed Wiskoski aka Col. Debeers, Buddy arrived in the area in which he would achieve his greatest success: the Pacific Northwest. It was here where Buddy engaged in his most notable feud, one with the Hod Rod himself, Roddy Piper. The two feuded for a while in the early 80’s PNW, trading various titles including the PNW heavyweight title in the process. Perhaps Buddy’s best moment occured when he stole Piper’s kilt and proceded to set it on fire on TV. One slight problem was it also set a nearby no-smoking sign on fire, prompting fans tuning in at home to call the fire department to have them get down to the local arena pronto to extinguish the flame. But since the show was aired on a two hour delay, all the firemen found upon arrival was a locked up arena.
Seeing as how he had become a respected main heel up north, a stint in McMahon land was up next for Buddy. The years of 1982-83 would see him could up on the losing end of things in battles with some of the WWF’s best, including Bob Backlund, Pedro Morales, and Jimmy Snuka. It was an omen of losing times to come in his time with the Vinnies. He would roam around Japan and the US some more before returning to the WWF in early 1985, just in time for Wrestlemania.
uddy really wanted to be a part of the big show, but booker George Scoot didn’t want to kill a planned push of the Playboy by having him lose to the popular Tito Santana. Rose’s solutionwas to borrow one of DeBeer’s outfits he had worn as part of an old gimmick called the Convict. Buddy found a mask somewhere, and used black sports tape to cover up his the word “Rose” stitched into his boots. Thus, this rather hand-me-down looking Executioner was born.
The match wasn’t much prettier. A quick, five-minute bit that would see a little bit of offense for Buddy, before Tito made the victorious comeback. It would be the last time we would see this Executioner. And really, the last time Buddy would be seen in the WWF for a few years. The anticipated push never came and Buddy would move on to Florida and then later a return to the AWA.
The years of 86 and 87 were good to the ol’ Playboy, as he would capture the tag belts with “Pretty Boy” Doug Somers. Managed by Sherri Martel, they would go on to have a VERY long feud with the up and coming Midnight Rockers. After finally dropping the belts to the youngsters, Rose went back to Portland for a while before making one last stand in the WWF.
As the 90’s started Buddy found his way back to the WWF. He signed a one-year contract to more or less be enhancement talent. But one thing was different this time around: Buddy was now ENORMOUS, well over 375 lbs. He still would scold the ring announcers though, demanding they announce his weight as being 217 lbs. He was also certain to do one-arm push-ups to wow the crowd as well.
Lots of losses would be in the cards this go around. In a bit of irony, almost five years to the date of Wrestlemania, Rose and Santana would have a Madison Square Garden rematch.
The devastating loss would cause Buddy to go on his infamous “Blow-a-Way” diet plan. (All that white powder…must….not….make…Ed…Leslie…reference.) Despite losing a whipping 1/4 pound on his groundbreaking new-age diet, Rose soon disappeared from the mainstream eye at the end of 1990.
Today Buddy can be found where he achieved his greatest glory, up in Washington. He currently runs a pro-wrestling school with longtime friend Col. Debeers. To this day, he still weighs in at a slim, trim 217 lbs. As we approach the historic Wrestlemania 20, Buddy is doing something to celebrate. He is auctioning off the Executioner’s mask and boots he wore twety years ago. Be sure to check out http://www.playboybuddyrose.com for all your used Parts Unknown gear needs.
And then be sure to come back next week as we unveil one of the most requested enhancement talents ever – our #1 all-time Wrestlemania jobber!