Buddy Roberts, one-third of the legendary Fabulous Freebirds faction, has passed away at age 65, WWE.com announced Thursday.
Roberts had battled throat cancer in recent years. Jim Ross addressed Roberts’ battle in a blog on jrsbarbq.com: “Buddy had battled, I believe, throat cancer in recent years, while living in the Chicago area and doing construction work there. He only recently fell ill again and I’d know over the past several days that things were touch and go.”
His cause of death has not been announced. WWE.com wrote of the grappler, “Roberts first made an impact on wrestling in the 1970s, working his way through the territories as one-half of a tag team called The Hollywood Blonds with Jerry Brown. The duo racked up championships across the United States before parting ways late in the decade.
“As the 1980s began, so did The Fabulous Freebirds. The technically sound Roberts joined forces with the charismatic Michael “P.S.” Hayes and the hard-hitting Terry “Bam Bam” Gordy, and Southern wrestling was never the same. The trio ran roughshod over the South before landing in Dallas and World Class Championship Wrestling.
“On Christmas night 1982, The Freebirds made history — not only for becoming the first WCCW Six-Man Tag Team Champions, but also more notoriously for turning against Kerry Von Erich, setting off a rivalry that is remembered as one of the greatest in history. The battles between The Freebirds and The Von Erich family are legendary for their sheer brutality and the passion they inspired in Texans.
“In the midst of the Freebirds–Von Erichs war, Roberts developed a rivalry with Iceman King Parsons. It began when Roberts cut off Iceman’s signature braids, ultimately culminating with a Hair vs. Hair Match at Reunion Arena in June 1983. Leading into the bout, Roberts taunted Parsons with a Nair-like substance he called “Freebird Hair Cream,” claiming he would take the rest of Parsons’ hair with it.
“Roberts used nefarious tactics to win the match, only for the official to restart the bout, during which Parsons smeared the cream over his cranium. The Freebird writhed around the mat, clutching what was left of his once-luxurious blond hair, to the fans’ delight. Over the next few weeks, fans giggled as Buddy Roberts appeared on television wearing a blond wig held in place by boxing headgear, claiming his hair had grown back immediately.
“After stints in WWE, AWA and Cowboy Bill Watts’ UWF, Roberts returned to WCCW, this time as the manager for the animalistic Samoan Swat Team. Buddy Roberts left the industry shortly after WCCW’s closing in the late 1980s.
“In the years since he left the ring, Roberts survived a battle with throat cancer. Buddy Roberts will always be remembered as a tenacious competitor.”