BUDDY ROSE & DOUG SOMERS
AWA World Tag Team Champions
Written by Adam Zimmerman
"Playboy" Buddy Rose and "Pretty Boy" Doug Somers were only a team for a short period of time in one promotion, but they made a huge impact and are still fondly remembered as a great tag team.
Both men had already been wrestling for over a decade before they began teaming together. Buddy Rose was trained by Verne Gagne and the legendary catch-wrestler Billy Robinson. He made his debut in the AWA by wrestling a young (or at least younger) Sgt. Slaughter in 1973. Rose went on to compete in the WWF, most comically as the masked Executioner at the first WrestleMania. At the time, I guess a lot of fans weren't familiar with Rose but, looking back on it now, with his distinctive voice and mask that didn't even conceal his whole face; it's a pretty comical pre-match interview and match. Throughout the late 70s and early 80s Buddy Rose also became the biggest star in Pacific Northwest Wrestling which is more simply known as, "Portland". In Portland, Rose was the biggest heel and arguably the biggest star in the promotion. He had a legendary feud against Roddy Piper that really pushed Piper into the spotlight. Those two had some great matches, let me tell you.
Doug Somers, on the other hand, was trained by Harley Race around the same time that Rose broke into the business. His early career, however, is somewhat shrouded in mystery. Not much is know about it. I assume he spent those 10-15 years traveling the country as a journeyman wrestler but never becoming a big enough star anywhere to really make a name for himself. All of this changed when the two finally teamed up.
By the mid-80s, the AWA was trying to repair itself and foster new talent after having their established talent somewhat "raided" by the WWF at the time. I assume that's why Rose and Somers were first teamed up. Rose was a solid veteran; Somers seemed like a solid worker (even if no one was previously aware of who he was). One could assume that, if their personalities clicked and they could get on the same page, they would make a good team... and they did. They made a great team!
Rose and Somers were teamed up with another great, Sherri Martel. It didn't take long (obviously.... considering their entire career as a team only lasted a little over a year) before the doughy duo captured their first world titles by defeating Curt Hennig and Scott Hall.
Rose and Somers had a great gimmick of being self proclaimed "loverboys" even though they had some of the worst bodies in the business. Buddy Rose sort of slowly "ballooned up" his whole career; if you ever see pictures of him at the beginning of his career, he was in quite good shape. Almost unrecognizable. Later on, he was still somehow in great "ring shape" but he nonetheless grew larger and larger.
He masterfully used this in order to get heat. When being announced as weighing in at 271 lbs, he would correct the ring announcer and insisted that he was a "slim, trim 217 lbs". He would usually follow this being doing what would seem to be impossible (considering his size) one-armed push-ups and kip-ups in the center of the ring. This would infuriate the crowd and was always my favorite part of his gimmick like, "You don't think I'm in great shape? Just watch this". It was really amazing stuff.
Doug Somers always just kinda looked like someone's dad; skinny arms and legs and a potbelly. He could really work his ass off, though. Great bump taker.
You could even catch both teams in action on the AWA's ESPN afternoon show (I used to love that show, by the way. I believe it came on at 4 pm; some great, after-school pro wrestling to enjoy at the time).
Eventually, The Midnight Rockers won the AWA World Tag Team Championship from Rose and Somers on January 27, 1987. During their time as a team together, Buddy Rose was never pinned.
After this, Somers stuck around the AWA off and on until its closure. He then went on to Global Wrestling Federation which, interestingly enough, was the next promotion to have an ESPN show after the AWA folded. Buddy Rose resurfaced for another WWF run in 1990 where he basically did more of the same gimmick except he was even bigger. It was during this run that he did the infamous "infomercial", the Blow Away Diet.
Although their time together was brief, Rose and Somers was definitely one of the best tag teams at the time and still a great team to look back on.