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., wrestlingobserver.com reported early Wednesday morning. His age is listed as 56 on imdb.com.
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 wrestlingobserver.com.
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.