Buddy Rose Going Strong

Beaver County Times – July 25, 2002
By Anthony Conchel

"Playboy" Buddy Rose applies a rear chinlock on an opponent in a match recently in Marion, Ohio.

“Playboy” Buddy Rose applies a rear chinlock on an opponent in a match recently in Marion, Ohio.

Playboy Buddy Rose has changed as much as the face of wrestling has over the past couple of decades.

No longer a portly fellow working with Pretty Boy Doug Sommers in the old AWA, the much slimmer Rose lives in Parkersburg, W. Va., works a full-time job “turning wrenches” and helps a small promotion called Southern Championship Wrestling, based in Lancaster, Ohio.

He’s become a proud grandpa, but Rose still gets heat with a crowd.  Even with his mom seated in the front row at Evers Arena in Marion, Ohio, Rose knows how to work the fans.

“I wrote the book on flamboyancy.  Basically I’ve been doing that for 20-plus years,” said the 46-year-old.

Wearing pink tights and working with tag team partners Precious Paul and Mr. Passion as The Love Connection, Rose can make fans “sit up and take notice.  It takes a whole lot of guts for somebody to do this.”

Rose says he’s never had an ego problem, unlike many in the business.

“Some guys forget what we do is for the fans.  It’s to entertain the fans, not to stroke our own egos.  Anybody can be beaten.  It’s not about who wins.”

Like many stars of yesterday Rose thinks the direction of sports entertainment leaves something to be desired.

“I get irritated with it.  (I) wish they left it at what it was founded as.  It came from the carnivals during the Depression.  Old-style wrestling is what these smaller promotions do and fans seem to enjoy it,” Rose said.

Rose was trained by Gene Anderson, a tough taskmaster who has schooled hundreds of stars.

“Gene taught me a lot.  He was tough, I worked my (behind) off for a year and a half training before I worked in front of a lie crowd.  We went over moves time and time until he knew I was ready.

“Once he had me doing back drops in the ring over and over and wasn’t even watching me.  I asked one of the guys later what that was about and he told me Gene was listening.  I said ‘listening.’  He said, ‘Yes.  He can tell if you’re doing it right by the sound you make when you land on the mat.’”

Rose thinks some of today’s stars lack that work ethic.

“Juiced up, muscle-bound wanna-bes is what they are.  You can only get your arms so big naturally.  Then it’s chemistry.”

He thinks Rob Van Dam is a great worker.

“What he does in the ring is tremendous.  If he was 50 pounds heavier, he’d be pushed as a world champion.  No doubt about it.”

Rose also admires the Japanese wrestlers for “their ability to absorb pain.”

In Japan, the sport is a national pastime, but in this country promoters like Vince McMahon often “insult the intelligence of John Q. Public.  Superheroes are in comic books.  They’re not in wrestling.

“I’m often asked why do I still do it at my age?  I love the sport.  I want to help young guys who have drive and dedication be able to work in this business.”

Rose, who used to be billed as weighing 217 pounds despite being more than a hundred pounds above that, has dropped the extra baggage.

Rose has been to the apex of pro wrestling, holding numerous titles in the AWA and other national and regional promotions.

“I been to the dance.  Now I just want to help some of these kids learn what they need to in order to make it.

“That’s what I’m trying to do here,” he said, without a hint of flamboyance.

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