I had just settled into my first beer Saturday night. It had been a really hectic week. I am involved with a number of different businesses here in Los Angeles and the week had been a roller coaster the last seven days. Finally I was ready have a couple of cold ones and talk some sports at the pub. It would be nice to forget about all the balls I seem to constantly have juggling.
As I took my first sip, I noticed my phone was blowing up with messages. I could only imagine what this could be. Actually I couldn’t.
Buddy Wayne died a short bit ago it said. I honestly thought it was a rib. There was no way. I had talked to him not long ago and he told me he was doing well. This can’t be true. I was so stunned I didn’t even know what to say. I literally just stopped talking and stared at my phone.
I hit up some of our closest friends for some sort of news. I wanted someone, anyone, to let me in on the rib. Ok, Buddy, you got me. Good one. Now let me get back to that beer.
Sadly that news never came. Buddy Wayne passed away on Saturday and for anyone who ever came across him, we all lost a great, great friend.
Buddy had one of the biggest hearts of anyone I have ever met in the business. He was absolutely unselfish and would give you his body in trust and let you do what ever you wanted with him. He had so much respect for those he worked that he would rarely ask a person if they knew how properly give any sort of dangerous move with him. He would just trust them.
The first time I met Buddy was my second time into Vancouver. The first trip in was for a cup of coffee but this time I planned to make a go of it. Al Tomko had Buddy put me over in my first match back. Sometimes in a situation like that you never know how a guy is going to take that. As a matter of fact, Buddy and I hit it off so well before the match I actually thought that it might be a set up because nobody could be this cool.
I was wrong. He was.
Buddy was an absolutely amazing worker. It was a complete night off if you worked with him. You knew you were going to have a great match and a lot of fun and the people would totally be into it. Those nights really were a dream to climb in the ring. They reminded you why you got into this crazy business to start with.
But there was way more to Buddy than what was in the ring. He was also one of the funnest guys you could ever hang out with. He seriously was the life of the party and made people laugh anywhere he went.
Buddy used to call me Doc. “Hey Doc,” he would say in the dressing room, “are we cooking tonight?” Somehow we had started this thing that when we would go to parties after the show, I would often cook up whole roasts of beef, steaks or chops or whatever else was in the freezer for the boys. Buddy was like my Sous Chef on many of these occasions.
I remember rolling up to a party one night and there was a girl sitting on the steps of the building with one of the ref’s who seemed to be trying to calm her down. “Oh, Denton, I’m glad you’re here,” she said. “That Buddy is upstairs in my kitchen cooking!” I leaned in and asked “this is very important, what is he cooking?” “A roast,” she replied. “Perfect, I’ll take it from here,” I told her and headed upstairs.
I walked in and the first person I spotted was Buddy in an apron. “Doc, thank God you’re here,” he said. “I got us going.”
Like a surgeon going to work I started firing questions: “What is the oven temp? How many pounds is the roast? How long has it been in for? Any basting yet? Veggies involved or pure protein?”
Buddy fired back like a pro. Now the thing to keep in mind, is that just a short time ago we were both bleeding like stuck pigs in a ring. Both had bandages on our heads and needless to say, both had consumed a number of cocktails. But, we all ate like kings and queens that night.
A while after I left Vancouver I was very lucky to have a great run in Mexico. I was with Rick Patterson and Eddie Watts called Los Animales. Rick had gotten sick and couldn’t go back after Christmas so I called Buddy without any hesitation to fill in. He was game for it.
The office liked Buddy. I told them he was an amazing worker so they let him come on board. The only thing they didn’t tell him is what his gimmick would be.
On the way to Buddy’s first show he still didn’t know what they were going to call him. They office just told him to show up at the Stadium and they would give him his gimmick. On the way to the stadium we saw a billboard and it said Animal I, which was me and his partner that night the Pink Gardenia.
I didn’t say anything hoping he wouldn’t notice but finally he said “hey Doc, did you see that billboard?” “Uh, yeah Buddy it was for the show tonight,” I responded. “Doc,” he asked, “who do you think the Pink Gardena is?” I couldn’t hold it in and burst out laughing. “Oh, no,” he said, “that’s not me is it?” I couldn’t even answer.
The taxi ride got even funnier when I had to explain to him that it meant pink flower. “Doc, I don’t want to be the pink flower,” he said. We both started cracking up and laughed so hard we were crying.
But being the trooper he was, Buddy became the Pink Gardenia. And he worked it.
The office books Buddy and I on a show in Torreon which is a few hours outside of Monterrey. It was a good town and drew a few thousand fans regularly. Because Buddy is new, the office adds a Mexican worker to our tag team. They have all the TV production there because they wanted us to go out and be really strong in the first fall against our opponents. They were going to shoot that fall for TV. Then they wanted us to let the opponents get their stuff in after that.
The bell rings and Buddy and I go basic Road Warrior style and start decimating the other team. Our partner thinks this is the greatest thing ever and goes hog wild. The fans are going crazy and the building is coming unglued. We take the fall and they stop the TV filming. Now it is the other team’s turn to get it going.
One problem here is that our Mexican partner had basically gone crazy because he had never been involved in anything like this. The bell rings for the second fall and he charges across the ring like a mad man and just keeps pounding on everyone and the other guys keep selling.
Buddy is yelling at me and asking what is going on? I tell him the guy has gone rogue and to fight for his life. Now the fans go bonkers and start throwing chairs. With chairs whizzing by us Buddy asks what is happening. I tell him it is now a riot. I tell him to put a chair on his head and let’s get out of here. With that we escape to the dressing room. The fans completely filled the ring with chairs.
Once in the room, there was dead silence. Everyone was stunned. The other team came in and thanked us for the match. Buddy looked at me and said “Doc, this place is fucked up!”
We got out of town that night hiding in the back of a police car. Yet another crazy night in Mexico. On the way back to Monterrey, we stopped at local spot and Buddy spent 20 minutes trying to explain to the lady behind the counter that he wanted to buy the Triki Tracks Cookies. I was crying again from laughter. He finally asked me to tell her he just wanted the Triki Tracks.
Buddy left to go home not long after that whole experience. He said the place was mad. I agreed with him but I had gotten used to it.
I saw Buddy many times after that and we always talked about that trip. He would forever yell, “I just want the Triki Tracks,” and we would start laughing.
I thought of all of this on Saturday night. I relived that and so many other great and fun Buddy stories. Just so many wonderful and fun times with him.
As a worker, Buddy was second to none. As a friend, he was even better.
Buddy, you and the Doc will cook again … down the road … R.I.P.