Former WWF and Portland Wrestling star Playboy Buddy Rose (Paul Perschmann) was found dead by his wife on Tuesday afternoon.
Rose, who was extremely heavy the last time I saw him in 2005, had been dealing with diabetic issues in recent years.
Rose originally broke into the business in the old Verne Gagne AWA, having been trained by Gagne and famed shooter Billy Robinson. He went on to become a true star heel for Don Owens’ Portland Wrestling.
In his 2002 autobiography, Roddy Piper credited Rose for helping put him on the map in the Portland area, providing him a forum to hone his interview skills and become a true main eventer. Piper noted in the book that Rose invited him to come work the territory. Piper initially turned him down as he had been working regularly in Los Angeles, then reconsidered and took the job, setting him off to stardom.
Rose worked for the WWF at different points in his career. He was pushed as a top heel at one point in the late 1970s, including a series of matches against then-WWF champion Bob Backlund.
Rose also wrestled on the first Wrestlemania event as the masked Executioner, losing to Tito Santana in the opening contest, becoming the answer to an immediate trivia question.
Rose’s final run with WWF was as an undercard comedy heel who was out of shape, setting the stage for the infamous “Blowaway Diet” vignettes. During that run, he mostly worked comedic opening matches on house show, playing off his weight by doing jumping jacks and other exercises while on offense. The vignettes were so silly they ended up becoming memorable among fans.
Rose, who was considered a good talker and great bumper, also held the AWA World Tag Team championships with Doug Somers in 1986, defeating Scott Hall and the late Curt Hennig. They later dropped the belts to the then-Midnight Rockers, Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty.
What is believed to be Rose’s last match took place at the first WrestleReunion convention event in Tampa, Florida in January 2005. Rose, long-time close friend Col. DeBeers (Ed Wiskoski) and Bob Orton lost to Jimmy Valiant, Roddy Piper and Jimmy Snuka in what was billed as Valiant’s retirement match.
In recent years, Rose maintained an official website at www.playboybuddyrose.com. The website had noted that Rose was working on a book, although how far into the writing process he was I can’t confirm at this time.
On behalf of everyone associated with the site, we’d like to express our deepest sympathies to Buddy Rose’s family and friends.