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April 29, 2009

Remembering Playboy Buddy Rose

Paul Perschmann, better known to wrestling fans as Playboy Buddy Rose, was found dead by his wife at their home Tuesday in Portland, Ore., reported early Wednesday morning. His age is listed as 56 on

The cause of death is still unknown, although he had told people that he had been having blood sugar issues with his diabetes, according to

During his heyday in the 1970s and ’80s, the rotund Rose was the ultimate example of not judging a book by its cover. Despite his flabby physique, Rose was actually a gifted worker. He could deliver a nice dropkick, was a proficient bump-taker and cut good promos.

Rose was the top heel for a number of years in the Portland territory, where he had legendary feuds with Roddy Piper and Jimmy Snuka. I first saw Rose wrestle in person in the early ’80s during his stint in the WWF. He and champion Bob Backlund had some entertaining matches together. I remember how surprised I was that Rose could keep up in the ring with Backlund, who was in incredible shape.

In 1985, Rose became the answer to a trivia question. Wearing a mask and billed as The Executioner, he wrestled in the very first WrestleMania match, losing to Tito Santana.

He later went to the AWA and won the tag team title there with Doug Somers. Rose and Somers had a heated feud with a couple of young upstarts known as The Midnight Rockers (Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty). The two teams engaged in a memorable bloodbath on TV (at the time, the AWA was shown on ESPN) in 1986.

Rose came back to the WWF later in his career and worked as an enhancement guy. Severely overweight at that point, his gimmick was that he demanded to be announced as weighing 217 pounds. Fans from that era probably recall the campy “Blow Away Diet” infomercial spoof that Rose did.

My condolences go out to Rose’s family and friends.

Posted by Kevin Eck at 4:19 AM | | Comments (30)


Very sad news . He was truely a favorite of mine growing up . I have many fond memories of his matches , promos , etc . A sad day .
RIP Playboy .

What a shame! The man was a hard worker, and (from what it seemed) a pretty decent person, as well. If you look closely at the first Wrestlemania match, you'll notice electrical tape on the sides of his boots, hastily put there at the last moment to cover his name.

Rose could sell and always did every thing he could to make the other guy look great. He had the kind of unselfish work ethic that's rare these days.

Buddy Rose was my wrestling trainer. He will be sorely missed.

Very sad to hear about Playboy Buddy Rose. He also had a great tag team with his friend Ed Wiskowski (later known as Col. DeBeers in the AWA)

I definitely remember his "Blow Away diet in the WWE. RIP

I grew up with Portland Wrestling, it started in the early 80's for me, but my great grandmother, was the first to bring it to light for our family. She use to stay up late nights talking to her girlfriend about what had happen on the just aired show, and one of her favorites was Playboy Buddy Rose, she loved how he had a bad attitude even though deep down, we knew he had a soft spot. He will be greatly missed all around, not just in our community, but in the wrestling community all together...

Rose started using the gimmick of demanding to be announced as weighing 217 pounds when he was in the AWA before he came back to the WWF.

The highlight of my first live show was seeing Playboy Buddy Rose team with the Brooklyn Brawler against the Bushwackers in the Fargo Civic Center in about 1990. Rose stole the spotlight from a no-show Ultimate Warrior when he pulled a ham sandwich from under the ring apron and refused to tag into the match while eating it.

rip buddy rose. they recently played that match with the midnight rockers on espn classic. Classic indeed.

"Rose came back to the WWF later in his career and worked as an enhancement guy. Severely overweight at that point, his gimmick was that he demanded to be announced as weighing 217 pounds. Fans from that era probably recall the campy “Blow Away Diet” infomercial spoof that Rose did."

At my second live event, he was doing this gimmick. His match was on second, and he took the mic during his introduction and told the crowd that his body was worth the price of admission. My friends and I (we were 10- or 11-years-old at the time) started chanting "RE-FUND! RE-FUND!"

To this day, I don't remember anything about that event except the a couple marquee matches and Playboy Buddy Rose. A good man and a good performer, may he rest in peace.

It's funny, before I even started reading this entry I thought about his picture in a WWF magazine from the late 80s/early 90s with a blurb on Buddy Rose covered powder for the diet spoof. For some odd reason I can see that picture as clear as day. Maybe because it was so disturbing...


It is nostalgic to remember the "Playboy". It reminds me of a time when it was more about the build up of the storylines than it is today. The feuds you referenced took months and months to play out.

I really believe that needing instantaneous gratification leads to the feuds losing their meaning. "Playboy" was not an main event guy later in his career but he was still able to sell a story line.

Look at Matt versus Jeff. That should have been much more than it was. Even Shawn versus JBL could have been more developed than it was but showed that people actually would invest the time if it were a compelling story.

Thanks for letting me share my opinion.

As a lifelong PNW resident and fan growing up in the 70s and 80s I was truly saddened to hear of this news. Rose and Roddy Piper had probably the most legendary fued in the history of the territory and he was always a friendly guy when spotted around town in Portland or in Vancouver, Washington where he made his home. A classic “heel” who will be sorely missed by the many he touched through his performances, I remember many nights when the Portland Sports Arena nearly rioted due to Buddy’s actions. RIP Playboy

My first WWF event was in 1982 at the old Capital Centre in Landover MD. The main event was Bob Backlund vs. 'Playboy' Buddy Rose. I remember my Mom stating how fat Rose was but Whoa Nelly! He could fly around the ring with the best of them. After he submitted to the cross-faced chicken wing, he took the ring announcer's mic and screamed "I never gave up" at Backlund. Great show! God Bless you Buddy!

I'll really miss Playboy Buddy Rose, he was one of my favorite wrestlers. I loved it when he and Rowdy Roddy Piper got into it.

Kevin , I'm trying to get over this one . I used to love watching the Playboy.
Back when ESPN was in its infancy AWA wrestling was part of its programming . A lot of big names passed through there . I've got a lot of fond memories from those days growing up .
No matter how many times I saw Buddy Rose correct the ring announcer about his weight , "217" , I had to laugh . The "arteeest" will surely miss him . That entire era of "the Buddy Rose types" left a lasting impression on me .
( Kevin , didn't he also have a wrestling school ? )

First, I want to send my condolences out to Tammy (Buddy's wife...Tammy, our thoughts and prayers are with you) and to Buddy's family.
I had the honors of working for Portland Wrestling in the late 70s and early 80s, running concession. I knew Buddy back then as a friend along with some of the other wrestlers. They always showed their concern for me and for my well being. I lost contact with the wrestlers for about 10 years (I married and had moved out of town until my divorce in 1991).
In 1991, I reconciled with the wrestling world (along with my 2 boys who were just 4 and 7 at that time), some of the guys still wrestled here who had wrestled back in the 70s and 80s when I ran concession and remembered me.

During the mid 90s, a few smaller promotions started up here in Oregon and I had the honors of designing the logos and posters for these promotions. I worked with Buddy during this time (he would come to pick the posters up, give me any pointers if he felt something should be changed, etc and then he would take them to the printers). It was then that I came to realize just what a caring and likeable person he really was. My boys' father had 'pushed them out of his life' in 1991, Buddy and some of the other wrestlers took to them and showed them that someone really cared about them, I will always honor this and so will my boys. They are both grown now, the older one is married and has a family of his own.
Buddy took the time to talk to them, made an appearance at their school on drug awareness and always let them know that someone cared about them.
I wish every fan had the honors and priveledge that myself and my boys have had to be so close to so many wonderful people.
Buddy, we will miss you dearly, you are a legend for sure!!
With much love,
Val A

You can see pics of Buddy and I from back in the 80s at my website below, unfortunately, the pics of him we took with my boys did not turn out :(

Wow. That is sad, sad news. I remember when ESPN Classic started replaying the old AWA show's I said to myself, "I hope they show those matches between the Midnight Rockers and The Playboy& The Pretty Boy." Recently they did, and they were even better than I remember them.
I also remember the "I'm 217 lbs." bit starting in the AWA but didn't he add "A slim, trim, svelte 217 lbs" whenever he did it in the WWF. Whatever the case may be, Playboy, may you rest in peace!!

As one of Buddy's wrestling students he will always hold a special place not only in my life but in my heart. RIP Buddy and thank you for everything.

Another great wrestler from back in the day. Will be missed sorely.

RIP MY FRIEND. I was born and raised here in Portland and grew up going to th Portland Sports Arena and watching PBR and others do battle. I met PBR when I was 11 (now 37) , at the one of the flea markets Sandy Barr (rip) ran on 146th and SE Stark. He was there with Billy Jack Haynes. It was one of my many great memories of PBR. I have never left a memorandum for any passed wrestler, but PBR has always been a favorite of mine. I watch AWA Mon-Fri., and really enjoy when PBR is on. I have some old VHS tapes with PBR matches and will dust them off, along with You Tube.

RIP, you will tuely be missed.

Classic Fan


My condolences to Tammy - a sweetheart -the love of Buddy's life ,his friend , partner and wife ,Buddy is my ex -Brother-in-law,I was married to Tammy's brother , I always enjoyed family times at christmas etc ...with Buddy around ,as well he was great about getting the kids tickets to matches . Despite what anyone saw in the ring he was a big fluff !:) He really did have a kind heart ,and he surely loved his little "doxies".My heart felt sympathies to Tammy and Buddy's daughter , God Bless!

I knew Buddy from way back when and he was always nice and had a sense of humor! He will be greatly missed! RIP BUDDY!

Portland Wrestling has 'Officially' died with the news of The Playboy's death. He 'Was' Portland Wrestling. He was the heel to every new 'face' that came to town. He was the Ric Flair of the Pacific Northwest. In my opinion, one of the three best Pro Wrestlers ever. I grew up watching his antics and abilities honed to perfection from 1978 until his last days in Portland. I watched on the edge of my seat every Saturday night all the hair matches, loser leaves town matches, strap matches, cage matches, and one that he help make famous along with Dutch Salvage, the coal-miners glove matches. He loved the camera's and he loved to make the crowd his own. He enticed them to chant some of the most rememberable chants ever like 'Rump Roast!' and "Whale On The Beach!" He ruled them all! He created a movement in the Northwest; no pun intended. Truely the greatest wrestler in Portland history. What a tremendous loss. My heartfelt condolences to Paul's friends and family and to the wrestling world.


I wrestled for Don Owen in 1978. Buddy Rose lost a haircut match and started wearing a blond wig. I saw the crowd POP. I watched and remembered. Then in WrestleMania 6, Brutus Beefcake cut my hair. I copied Buddy Rose's gimmick and started wrestling in a wig. I pretended to be humiliated when Hulk Hogan would tear my wig off. The crowd enjoyed it but I stole Buddy Rose's gimmick! He was the creator and I was just the copycat. I love you Paul. Rest in peace dear friend!

The October 2, 1982 card at the Cap Centre was also my first live event. Rose was such a great heel. What I didn't realize until looking at the historical results today was that The Playboy and Backlund went for 32 minutes.

He'll be missed.

RIP Playboy Buddy Rose. Used to love his robe he wore to the ring. Believe early in the WWE, did Sherri Martel accompany him to the ring?
Nice tribute from the "Genius".

Pretty sure Sherri managed Buddy Rose and Doug Somers in the AWA.

I first came to Portland and worked with Buddy in 1999. There were several of us that were together. PBR, Moon Dog Ed Moretti, Tornado Tony Kozina, Bruiser Brian Cox(rip) and Many others. I had the pleasure of hanging with Buddy and many other greats. I want his wife to know, I am saddened and will say that he was a gentleman that, taught me some wonderful things about the biz. I'll miss you Brotha


Wow. I just found out about the passing of Buddy Rose.He was my favorite wrestler when I was growing up in the 70s and 80s in Oregon and Texas. I have always enjoyed reading about his kindness to others. My condolences to his wife, daughter and grandchildren.

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About Kevin Eck
The Baltimore Sun's Kevin Eck blogs about professional wrestling.
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