I was very sad to learn about the death of Buddy Roberts today. According to Wikipedia, he was 67 years old. I know he had a pretty long career before I started watching wrestling (heck, before I was even born!), but I only knew him as one of the Fabulous Freebirds along with Michael Hayes and Terry Gordy.
I have many memories of watching Buddy “Jack” Roberts in World Class Championship Wrestling and in the USWA. But I really enjoyed his work in Bill Watts’ UWF. He really got the chance to do some singles work there and he was really entertaining. I have a pretty vivid memory of Jim Ross calling a match and calling him “the little runt of the Freebirds”.
His character seemed to straddle the line between being a tough, grizzled veteren and a cowardly little weasel. The fact that he was usually surrounded by bigger guys like Hayes and Gordy allowed him to instigate fights and then run and hide behind them (especially Terry “Bam Bam” Gordy!)
I also have a vague memory of him losing his hair due to a mishap with some “Freebird hair cream” or something like that and him wearing boxing headgear for a while. I think he even did some boxing matches in wrestling too.
Roberts was actually not too bad on the mic either, but he was often out shined by the more flamboyant Hayes so he had to stick back behind the loudmouth Hayes and the big tough guy Gordy. He even had his own interview segment for a while called “Buddy Jack’s Bar Stool” which was a little like Piper’s Pit.
Even though it’s been a long time since I’ve seen Buddy on TV, having these memories come up today make it seem like it wasn’t that long ago that he was winning the UWF TV Title and feuding with Savannah Jack. It makes me even more sad when I think about how WWE did not induct the Fabulous Freebirds into the Hall of Fame when WrestleMania was in Atlanta last year. It could have been a really nice moment for Hayes and Roberts to get the recognition that they so rightfully deserve. It was a really big missed opportunity in my mind.
I think I speak for everyone here at This Week in Pro Wrestling when I offer the deepest condolences to the friends and family of Buddy “Jack” Roberts.
Rest In Peace Buddy, you will be missed.
Here is a great video from Bill Apter with his memories of Buddy Roberts: